Being in a long-distance relationship is tough. Life’s responsibilities can make it hard to spend time with your partner, even when you’re living together. Add in the obstacle of distance (and maybe the challenge of different time zones just to make things extra fun!), and it can feel impossible to maintain a long-distance relationship.
It’s not, though. Yes, it’s true that a long-distance relationship may take more effort, and you won’t get to see each other face to face as often as you like, but it can be more than worth it for the right person. Plus, with a bit of creativity, you can still have some amazing date nights that will help you feel connected, even if you’re not physically together.
It can be a challenge to come up with fresh inspiration on that front though, so this week we bring you some of our favorite long-distance date night ideas for you to try together!
Of course we have to include video chat in this list. If you can’t be there physically, at least you can see and hear them and (trust me, this is coming from someone who has done long distance relationships without video chat) video chatting IS the next best thing to actually being together. So don’t neglect the basics. Settle down for a nice long talk at least once a week. There are all sorts of resources that can help you think of things to talk about (try our own 401 discussion questions for help here). And don’t forget to take some screenshots to add to your “pictures” together!
Here’s a fun one. Pick a recipe together, grab all the ingredients, start a video call, and cook together! Put the food in the oven at the same time, put the seasoning together, etc. You should start and finish at the same time. Once you’re done, sit down and eat it while still on video call. It’ll be like having a romantic dinner that you cooked together! Afterwards, crash out on a comfortable couch or bed and talk about your day, or stream a movie together. It’s the classic “dinner and a movie” date night, just the long-distance version.
Create a playlist of music you think your partner would like, or a playlist of songs you want to show your partner. Once you both have a playlist done, hop on a video call and take turns listening to songs. Have your partner listen to a song from your playlist. After the song is over, play a song from his or her playlist. Go back and forth for a while. You will bond over a shared experience, and may well discover some new favorite songs.
Find a co-op game you both like and play together. This can be on PC, a console, or a mobile game. Just make sure it’s a co-op game, not just multiplayer. You have to work together for a common goal. Solving challenges together (something co-op games tend to focus on) is an incredible bonding experience for couples and improves communication. Plus you’ll have fun doing it!
Portal 2: Portal 2 is a puzzle game in which you have to figure out how to cross obstacles with the use of a portal gun. The co-op mode in this game is absolutely great for couples because you have to work together to pass each level. You will see how much more effective you are as a team when you communicate and coordinate rather than work separately.
Trine: Trine is a much more laid-back (and much prettier) game. You control a wizard, a knight, and an archer, all with unique abilities, to get across different levels. This is another great game for teaching the importance of communication and teamwork. If you like it, there’s even 3 more Trine games to get your fill!
Rocket League: Rocket League is a fun little game where you try to score soccer goals using rocket cars instead of people. It isn’t a traditional “co-op” game, since you will be competing as a team against other players (or bots). However, teamwork is key to winning matches. Pass the ball to each other, set up goals, have one person be goalie and then switch out. The more you work together, the more matches you will win, symbolizing how communication will improve your relationship.
Sending care packages to your partner is a pretty common gesture, especially amongst long-distance couples. We’re gonna take it up a notch and suggest sending a very personalized gift. If you have pictures of you both from the times you’ve met up in person, turn it into a photo book of memories. If you don’t have enough or any pictures of you two together, take existing photos of each other and place them next to each other. Add in quotes and decorations to make it your own.
And here’s a fun little twist on this idea: Create a future memories photo book! Confused? Let me explain. Grab a photo book and leave the photos empty. Instead, take a marker and write down memories you want to form. As you go along your journey together, fulfill these memories, take photos, and fill them in.
You’ve probably (definitely) heard about subscription boxes, so you won’t be surprised to find out there’s date night subscription boxes. Something we have personally seen long-distance couples do is purchase 2 subscriptions to the same date night box and open them together over a video call. The couples then did the activities together just like they would have in person. Such a creative solution!
While it’s not perfect, virtual reality is pretty dang good these days. The fact that you can get a standalone virtual reality headset with great resolution and hardware for less than $200 is crazy. No PC or console required.
This date night idea isn’t exactly the most budget-friendly option on this list, and it’s arguably one of the hardest date nights to pull off, but if you can get virtual reality headsets and “visit” each other, it’ll definitely be worth it. Once you’re there, you can do a whole bunch of things together, like watch movies or videos in your virtual couch. You can even do crazier things like explore Google Earth together! Imagine being able to fly through The Bahamas or “climb” Mount Everest. Have fun!
There’s a lot of games you can play over a video chat. You can play trivia, Jeopardy, Deal or No Deal, etc. Look for a website that has these games available online so you can play against each other. Make a list or 3-5 games and play a game of each, or until you run out of time.
Alternatively, one of you can stream it while on a video call and you can both follow along while giving out your own answers/choices. Bonus points if you both grab the same snacks so you can both talk about how yummy the snack (that you chose together) is!
When you’re in a long-distance relationship, what could possibly be better than seeing your partner in person? Next time you have some free time and the available funds, take a trip to your partner’s area and surprise them! Do not tell them you’re going, don’t tell them you’re on your way, or that you’re there. Show up unannounced with a bouquet of flowers or chocolates. Seeing their reaction will be absolutely priceless.
So, what’s been your most creative long-distance date night?
Cristian Gudiño is a relationship expert who helps improve relationships through a monthly date night box.