Let’s face it: Valentine’s Day is going to look a lot different this year. If you’re in a long-distance relationship and will be celebrating without your partner by your side this time around, you aren’t alone.
Up to 75% of American students report being in a long-distance relationship at some point during college and the 2014 census revealed that 3.5 million Americans age 15 and over said they were married but their spouse was absent. In other words, 3% of all married Americans live apart from their spouse. It’s also worth noting that the census didn’t count same-sex marriages and that doesn’t explain whether spouses were separated by military service, job requirements, or some other reason. That also doesn’t account for unmarried couples who live far apart, as well as the ongoing pandemic keeping many separated, so it’s likely that you’re one of a much larger number of people in the same boat this Valentine’s Day.
That said, there’s still no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy V Day. There are many creative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day and make it a memorable experience this year. See our list of 20 long distance Valentine’s Day ideas to make the big day extra special. Some require a bit of creativity, and others simply call for advance planning or some crafting. Either route you take, your valentine is sure to feel appreciated.
Read a Romantic Book
Celebrate the beauty of love with a good read this Valentine’s Day. Invite your partner to choose an engaging romance novel to read together. Then on Valentine’s Day, grab some wine, light a candle, and enjoy a chat about the best parts of the book.
Try a Virtual Museum Tour
If you’ve been longing to show your significant other around your favorite museum, taking them on a virtual tour is the next best thing. Whether they’re partial to art museums or natural history, there’s no better time to get an online tour on your calendar.
If their fragrance wardrobe is in need of an upgrade, have a new scent delivered right to their door in time for Valentine’s Day. With every spritz, they’ll be reminded of just how much you care.
Have a Zoom Cocktail Party
If you haven’t jumped on the Zoom bandwagon as yet, give it a shot by inviting your valentine to a virtual cocktail party. Upload a Valentine’s Day-appropriate Zoom background for a festive touch and choose a cocktail to make together.
Do an At-Home Workout
Don’t lose momentum with your New Year’s fitness resolution. Stay on track by trying a new form of exercise with your favorite workout partner. Luckily, there’s no shortage of virtual workout classes right now, from yoga sessions to intense cardio. Plus, you’ll be strengthening your relationship while breaking out a sweat.
Watch a Romantic Movie Together
If you can’t have a romantic movie night on the same couch, cue up the same flick from two separate ones. You can sync your schedule so you’re watching the same film at the same time, and even enjoy it via FaceTime for an extra dose of connection. Or, head to the theater in your respective cities and discuss the movie afterward. You’re not supposed to talk in the theater anyway, so it’s a great long-distance date night.
Write Them a Letter
For modern couples, email, texting, video chat, and phone calls probably make up the bulk of your communication. If you’re the type of person who gets little else but bills and magazines in your snail mail, exchange Valentine’s Day letters with your partner. Write out how you feel in all of its mushy, cheesy splendor. For even more romantic flare, spritz the paper with a little of your signature scent before sending it on its way.
Have a Video Dinner Date
When you can’t get a table together, order the same meal from your own branches of a national chain or a similar meal from two restaurants and log onto a video call to eat a holiday dinner with your Valentine even from thousands of miles away. One of you may have to have “dinner” at a nonstandard time to allow for timezones, but it’s worth it for the “awwww” factor. Add candles and your fanciest outfit, to make it feel extra-special.
Send Them a Special Package
Make Them a Playlist
Get in your partner’s head in a good way by making them a Valentine’s Day playlist. It can include songs that are poignant to the two of you, tunes that make you think of them, or you can create a musical journey through your relationship, with songs you’ve enjoyed at various important times. Don’t forget to write out some cute liner notes to go with it!
Craft Them a Scrapbook
Scrapbooking isn’t just for preserving memories for you and your family – it can also be a great long-distance Valentine’s Day gift. Make a memory book of printed-out photos from past dates, ticket stubs and receipts if you have them, or little tokens that remind you of your best times together. It will remind both of you of the great times you’ve shared, despite the distance. A homemade gift beats a store-bought box of chocolate, any day.
Write Them a Shared Diary
To remind your significant other how often they’re in your thoughts, keep a diary for a year, a month, or a week (or however long feels right!) and send it to them for V-Day. Write down what’s happened during your days, when you’ve thought of them, and what’s reminded you of your relationship even though you’re far apart. It will drive home how many times during a day they’re at the top of your mind, and it’s a low-budget, DIY gift.
Wake Up Together (From a Distance)
Switch up your phone routine by setting your alarm and calling your sweetheart when they wake up, so your voice is the first one they hear. Then if you can, call again before they go to bed, so you can start and end the day together. It doesn’t cost a thing, but will put a smile on both of your faces.
Plan an Outing for Your Next Rendezvous
Right now, many of us are staying at home on the regular, but that won’t be the case forever. Start thinking of what outing you want to do with your loved one when it’s safe to do so, and send them a ticket, an itinerary, or a card with your plans in it for Valentine’s Day.
Send a Personalized Care Package
Show your significant other how much they’re missing — besides you, of course — by sending them a care package of their favorite things from your city. Maybe that’s a local food, memorabilia from a local sports team, something emblazoned with your city’s name or mascot, or just a selection of things you’ve enjoyed together. It will make you seem closer, no matter how large the distance.
Order Their Favorite Food
If the way to your partner’s heart is through their stomach, arrange to have their favorite food or meal sent to their home on Valentine’s Day. You could even try a snack box, themed package, or meal kit, to keep the love going past that one special day. Nothing says “I love you” like “I know your Chinese order,” right?
Enjoy a Sunrise Together
Even if you’re not in the same timezone, you can plan to wake up extra early (or late!) to watch the sunrise together via Zoom. It’s a romantic way to start the day together even if you’re physically apart.
Plan a Romantic Getaway Together
Long-distance couples can get stuck in a rut of visiting each other, but never really traveling anywhere else. Mix things up by spending Valentine’s Day planning a romantic getaway for the future. Maybe you meet in the middle or visit somewhere new that you’ve both always wanted to go. Even if you’re feeling a bit lonely on V-Day itself, planning an escape will give you something to look forward to.
Celebrate a Belated V-Day
Nobody said Feb. 14 corners the market on celebrating your love. If you can’t get together on that day, plan a belated Valentine’s Day date for the next time you see each other.
Shoot a Video of Your Life
For couples who live very different lives, or those who haven’t spent much time in each other’s respective cities, a video diary can make a meaningful gift. Use your phone to shoot a video of a day in your life and show your love what your routine looks like. Or take your phone on a tour of your hometown and hit all the highlights — think of it like a personalized promo video. Make sure to sign off with a loving message at the end, to really seal the deal.
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