Loving Long Distance: Keeping It Interesting
No matter how in-love we are with our other half, there are moments where the relationship can get pretty stale if there’s nothing new going on or if we’re doing the same things all the time. In this case, adding a little (or a lot) of spice will do you both good.
From being in a relationship for almost 14 years, I can lend a few tips and insights as to how to keep the relationship exciting and interesting. These tips have worked for us, and I’m hoping they’ll benefit you as well.
1. Care for the little things.
Short messages, small cards, or quick calls do so much to keep the relationship strong. This should be a no-brainer, so it boggles me when some friends ask for advice and tell me the same exact thing: that they need more from their boyfriends and that they don’t communicate much between fancy dinners and overseas trips (if there are any).
With my guy - I think I’ve hit the jackpot (in more ways than one). I don’t deserve the attention he gives me. To be honest, I’m the more passive half, but that doesn’t stop him from sending little notes my way. Be it a short message on Skype or Messenger, a tag on a meme on Facebook - in short, any action that allows him to interact with me throughout the day. I often send him little notes as well. I might be passive at times, but I’m not a snob, haha.
Given our distance, small things really matter as it helps lessen the miles and makes us feel like we’re physically together.
2. Invest in experiences.
In a long distance relationship, every moment matters, and if you only get to see each other once a month (or less than), making each meeting special will take some planning.
As for us, we take turns in planning trips for our monthly get-togethers. Last December, Lance and I visited Sweden to spend time before the New Year. It was his turn to do the planning, and it was the best year-ender ever. He booked one of the prettiest hotels in Stockholm called the Nobis Hotel (and the most beautiful room ever), booked us a tour, and just made everything incredible for the both of us.
When it’s my turn to plan though, I can’t splurge on luxury trips. He insists on paying for everything all the time, but I don’t like having to rely on him that much. So, I try to budget. I book us hotels and fancy dinners too, but nothing so luxurious as somewhere abroad. I’m not as loaded as he is, but I do know how to give my guy a good time my own way. Often, the best experience is somewhere where it’s only the two of you present.
Simply put, you could either go big, or go as much as you can afford. What matters is you do something together, you experience something together, and that makes for some great stories and memories.
3. Show your affection.
Here in the Philippines, public display of affection (PDA) isn’t really the norm. Perhaps in the cities, it’s become commonplace - but most of the country are still quite conservative, so couples don’t air out their love through physical touch that often.
In other countries, PDA is very common. Couples kiss in public and touch each other without having to think of being judged or scrutinized. This foreign way of thinking has always been normal for me living in Australia as a kid, and having an Australian boyfriend certainly helped solidify my opinion on the matter.
When he’s in the country, we WEAR affection on our sleeves. We hold hands, cuddle, kiss, and touch each other with little care for what the world thinks. It’s been like that for the past 13 or so years (minus the 1st year of high school, haha), and with every year that passes by, we’ve managed to keep things exciting. (Try touching his ass in public and you’ll see what I mean.)
Don’t feel like you have to hide how you feel because people will judge. That’s natural to humans. We judge others ALL the time. Let your body loose once in a while if you’re still not convinced. It’s quite therapeutic.
4. Try role-playing.
While role-plays are usually for the bedroom, you can also use it to add some spice throughout the day. In a relationship where you can’t always physically be together, talking over Skype or phone is kind of the only way you can communicate. If you’ve been in a relationship for as long as I have, I think you’ll naturally develop some ‘inside language’ you both automatically understand depending on the mood.
There was a time where we were both feeling a little peckish (for food and something else, haha), and since we had some time to kill, we had a little phone conversation surrounding food (I was a fruit and he was a vegetable) and how we wanted to eat each other. Yeah, that happened. Left us both flushed afterwards, and it certainly helped bring us closer together.
Role-playing is the chance to look into some of your partner’s innermost thoughts. I’m very into the psychology and behavior of people, and from the books I’ve read, observing what roles they usually go for will indicate their desires. It’ll help you get to know your partner better, and complement his/her desires with your own.
5. Play with fashion.
We rely on our visuals very heavily, and when we see something we like, we snap out of boredom and turn our attention towards it like a hawk. When you’ve been with your partner for a while, playing with your wardrobe every now and then will bring the surprise.
If you’re more of a jacket, shirt, and jeans kind of girl, switch it up a bit! I’m the type who doesn’t dress up a lot, and when he’s on vacation in the Philippines, he has an expectation of what I usually wear, i.e. jeans, a regular statement shirt, and some rubbers.
The last time my boyfriend visited, I changed my style. Instead of my usual ‘blah’ outfit, I wore a printed, tubed jumpsuit, some sandals, and a lovely floral kimono I had recently bought. The guy was all over me. Couldn’t take his hands off my ass, haha.
The attire not only made me feel better about myself, it also gave my guy a new image of me in his head when he went back to Australia. Something to keep him thinking about me until we see each other again.
(If you’re not comfortable with reading about intimacy, please skip the next point.)
Sexting is a pretty taboo subject in the Philippines, but as much as people hate to admit it, this form of communication does wonders to keep the passion alive.
Personally, I think sexting outside a relationship is a no-no. Between couples though, I’m perfectly okay with it (I mean, we do it, so...). I think it’s yet another way to become closer to your significant other, and allows for exploration of another level of intimacy outside the bedroom.
Sexting shouldn’t have to be “dirty”, okay? You can do it in a classy way. Make it an art. Make it a poem or something. It doesn’t have to be a foul, disgraceful thing. Text just enough to make his imagination go wild, but don’t withhold so much too that the other has no idea what you’re actually trying to say. This is also the perfect place to try out some role-playing.
7. Write each other stories of your day.
Out of all the tips, this has been the one which I’m always excited for. I love it when Lance tells me about his day and what he feels at the end before going to sleep. Our stories could be very long or very short depending on our energy levels and how much we want to share. (Yes, you don’t have to share everything with your other half.)
In the past, we’ve sent these stories over email, but as mine has started to get clogged by other urgent things, his messages fall to the bottom of the mailbox. To avoid this, we keep a shared diary online, a blog that only we have access to. We log our events of the day and we read them before bed.
You know why this works? It makes both parties feel that regardless of how far apart they both are, they’re still involved and “in-the-know” about the important parts of their partner’s day. Yes, it requires effort, especially if you both had a very tiring day, but it’s worth every last bit of energy.
Lance and I don’t often get the chance to actively chat and be present at the same time, that’s why we leave messages and just wait until the other sees it later in the day. With these story logs, it’s the perfect day-ender. It’s like you were with him the entire day.
Like I said in the beginning, these have worked for us and are all based from experience. If any or all of these work for you, then I'm happy. If not, let me know how you made your relationship last. I might be missing a few things in here, haha.