Creative and Cheap Long Distance Dating
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One of my friends was traveling and met this really cool guy that’s interested in her. They’re considering long distance dating. What do you think? Should I encourage her to go for it, or warn her that it might be harder than she’s expecting?
I was thinking about telling her about how Matt and I dated. You remember when we met the first time we didn’t have any firework chemistry and we started off as friends. But when he did finally ask me out he was in Canada and I was in Nicaragua. I wasn’t keen on losing one of my best guy friends but I also didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be with the right guy. Plus, I kept hoping that we’d remain, friends if things didn’t work out.
We came up with some really interesting ideas. The most important thing we found out was the time we spent together had to be special. While we were on different continents, it was tough. Other than a video call, audio call, or text we didn’t have any contact. We didn’t have the money for the more extravagant options like frequent flights to visit each other. We weren’t interested in the regular boring things either so we tried to incorporate a mix of things.
Here were some of our favorite bonding and connection activities:
We had such a hard time finding games to play together and at the same time, but one that really brought us together like nothing else was a little video game called Asphalt 8. It’s a free app and the game has high-resolution graphics and great rewards and the opportunity to race cars against the computer, strangers, or friends. We loved it so much we spent all our spare time racing our new cars.
While looking around on Pinterest for new ideas for gift ideas I stumbled upon the Open When letters. They are pre-written letters that fill with little gifts and surprises for your favorite person. They are great for that person in your life that you live too far from. It combines an old-school form of communication with the care package idea. If you’ve got the circumstances you can mail the entire package to your love and they’ll be on the honor system to open the letters when you advise them. (i.e. Open when you miss me when we get into a fight.)
Card games and board games are designed to be experienced in person because you’re sharing a deck and a game board. However, one of my favorite games to play while staring into each other’s eyes on video calls was the dice game. It’s a random game you play with dice like Yahtzee. It’s perfect because you each can use your own dice to play. You can’t see the dice at all times but usually, you don’t have to worry about cheating at this level of the romance, so I would recommend it. But if you’re a competitive person this one would be better played later in the relationship.
Night at the Movies
Most dates revolve around going out to movies and we wanted the same experience even from a distance. We love being able to laugh at the same parts at the same time. So we learned how to press the play buttons on our devices at the same exact time. Very important especially if you’re sharing audio.
We took the free Love Language test online. It was my idea because I learned a long time ago that our friends and family sometimes don’t understand love the same way we do and it can cause a lot of problems and misunderstandings down the road. So we took our tests and learned what each of us needs from the other in order to feel loved. I’ll recommend to my friend to read the book too. It’s worth it and the author’s explanations are easy and simple to understand with real-life examples.
*One note of caution: If you take this test with friends and family in mind you’ll get different results than you will if you take it with your lover in mind.
One of the things we were most competitive about were our surprises and gifts. It went something like this: Matt mentioned that he had a hard time talking to me at work because he couldn’t hold his phone to his ear during painting jobs. So I got on Amazon and mailed him a new Bluetooth headset.
Living in Central America meant that for him sending something from Amazon was out of the question. The mail service is notoriously unreliable. He had to get even more creative when he wanted to surprise me. Thankfully, he had a few friends in my area and he used them to deliver flowers, a message, and specialty chocolate practically to my doorstep. In the message was a link to a YouTube song and video and I totally lost it when I listened to that song because I knew this guy was the one.
We decided together that regular Bible reading was going to be a part of our lives from the start. So in addition to everything else we instituted weekly Bible study that we’ve kept going until this day.
We were both avid watchers of YouTube so instead of signing up for a new service we created romantic music mixes for each other on YouTube. I will let my friend know she can do the same thing on any of the other services like Pandora, Deezer, and Spotify.
Something we discovered on accident was that on Pinterest there are the cutest images and quotes for lovers and we loved finding them and sending them to each other on secret boards and direct messages. *Note: Pinterest secret boards are a great place to share wedding ideas too. When planning a wedding over long distances it’s tough to explain certain things. Pinterest images are amazing for that kind of thing. You can even hint at your favorite ring pix! (I did this but he’d already bought the ring. Instead of helping us, it made him nervous that I wouldn’t like the one he got. But the ring he picked out was amazing.)
If they’re creative types like us they can even have a date night during the week or every month just for working on our individual creativity while on the video call together. He’s an artist and poet and I like to write and do DIYs so we did some of our best work while on the call together. We still have a creativity night every week.
Call Me Outside
One of my favorite things to do with Matt was to chat while outside or out and about. There was something about the background noise of Nicaragua meeting the background sounds of a coffee shop in Canada that made for the most interesting conversations. When the local park near my home installed WiFi I was even able to make video calls from the park and show him my neighborhood.
What do you think, Mom? Did I forget anything? I really hope these tips help my friend.
If you have any other inventive ideas for long distance lovers leave them in the comments below.