What do a management consultant, an oil rig worker, and Donald Trump have in common?
They don’t see their significant other all that often.
But they all hopefully understand that a relationship that separates the two partners for repeated or long periods needs to be worked on.
We’ve done some poking around, searched ourselves and the webs, and talked to friends to find a few interesting ways how some couples keep the flame alive when they are apart.
Here’s our top Seven.
What is your most fun story or best recipe for keeping a relationship going? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org – the best story wins a free GLOBE by momenzz* (retail value $225).
1. Take a short trip together, HER style
Remember the 2013 film HER where Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with a chatbot? In it, he’s walking around town and goes to the beach, live streaming what he sees via a phone in his breast pocket.
Who says this has to be limited to an artificial intelligence Scarlett Johansson sound-a-like?
Get yourself some high quality earbuds with a microphone, make sure your data allowance is generous, fire up skype or FaceTime and take a trip together!
Imagine how fun it will be to share a running commentary of silly things being sold on a flea market or the hunks trying to impress the girls on a beach.
credit: Warner Bros.
Btw- it’s useful to have a tighter shirt than Joaquin – otherwise the phone will bounce around too much.
2. Send each other snail mail letters.
Yes, this is an old hat. But that’s because it’s true and timeless. Get yourself some high quality letter paper (UK) (US) (DE), a fountain pen (UK) (US) (DE), and dip that quill into ink (UK) (US) (DE) and your imagination!
A little bit of cheating on inspiration is allowed. Get yourself this book of love letters by great men (UK) (US) (DE) or women (UK) (US) (DE) and draw on the genius of Beethoven, Napoleon or Emily Dickinson.
These days, almost no one is able to write a longer piece of text without jumping around and editing, so write it out on a computer first and then copy it over by long hand.
Big bonus points if you spray the letter with your perfume and wrap it in a plastic sleeve before placing it in the envelope.
3. Share the ordinary…
But it’s not just about the scented love letters or virtual journeys – an important way of getting close to a “normal” relationship is to also share the humdrum things in life.
Betsy says her boyfriend sends her pictures of fairly random things he saw during the day, like trains in the snow or a new building in town.
4. … and the difficult
One day, Betsy had her boyfriend on the phone as she was clearing out some of her late husband’s possessions. She says this meant a lot to her to have him there in such a raw, emotional moment.
5. Delay fights.
Another pop culture reference. Remember how in “How I Met Your Mother” Marshall and Lily are able to create a time-out when they are fighting?
Here they are, yelling and bickering, but if one of them shouts “Pause!” the other must follow along. They step out of the fight and deal with whatever needs to be dealt with urgently. (we only found this crappy video version of it).
There’s a good lesson to be learned for long distance relationships: If it’s important, but can be delayed, it’s best to hit the pause button in the moment you’re about to start flaming at each other over the phone.
“Unpause” next time you’re seeing each other. Sure, it’s not pleasant to spend the few days you are together in a fight, but it’s really important to be able to hug it out if you find a solution or compromise. Also, a delayed fight is usually less acrimonious because both sides have time to think about their viewpoint.
Makeup sex is best enjoyed fresh, anyway. So fight in person.
6. Schedule the creation of thoughtful gifts
It’s easy to use the “I’m not creative” excuse and buy a piece of jewellery or perfume, thinking that a high price compensates for lack of effort. The fact is that these thoughtless gifts are slowly corroding the fabric of your relationship because of how impersonal they are. Their particular danger lies in the effect they have on the receiver: Because they are expensive, they evoke a bigger expression of gratitude than they deserve. So the giver is in the illusion that they have contributed to the relationship. Instead, make time to come up with a really thoughtful gift – schedule it in the same way as you would an in-person date with your loved one. Those five hours belong to them and you will compose and craft your way into their heart that Monday evening!
7. Make real-life emojis
It’s the easiest thing to send a first thing in the morning. Or three in a row because today you feel particularly in love. What’s slightly less easy but disproportionately more rewarding for both sides is to create little emoji equivalents from day to day objects. Or tiny little messages that show a bit of effort made.
One of my friends is a master at this – the messages to his girlfriends (sequential, not parallel!) over the years ranged from super elaborate (him borrowing a saxophone, learning to play their song and recording a video of himself) to whimsical 30 second efforts where he scribbles “I just thought of how much I love you” on a piece of paper, placing it on a flower bed in a park, taking a picture of it, and sending it.
Spending too much time apart can be a real drag on a relationship, whether you are a travelling businessman or you live on different continents. Making a conscious effort will help you overcome this difficult time. But whatever you do, remember these wise words of advice of an anonymous poet.
That, “You hang up first,” No, YOU hang up first” crap is really only funny the first two or three hundred times.
The story or idea we like best will win a free GLOBE by momenzz* (retail value $240)
* conditional upon GLOBE by momenzz reaching its funding goal of $100,000 on Indiegogo by end of May 2017. By submitting your message to us you allow us to publish it (using your first name only) on our blog and social media and similar outlets. We reserve the right to withhold the selection of a winner if we do not receive enough high quality submissions. No one can infer individual legal rights and claims from this announcement.