In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up, I figured I would skip the 50 Shades stuff and talk about relationships.
I’ve been with my husband for going on nine years. If I’m being real, it can take a lot to keep that romance alive. It’s especially hard when you’re in one of those awful long-distance relationships, and that’s a fact of life with the military. As anyone else who is married to someone in the military knows, we spend a lot of time apart. I’ve been lucky in that my husband is around more than he is gone, but many of my good friends are in a different situation, and one day, we might be too (though my fingers are crossed that we’ve escaped the worst of it). We’ve also been through a lot of different circumstances that have kept us apart in the past (one of those times I talk about here, way back when my blog was just my mom reading, ha).
Needless to say, we’ve worked out a few ways to keep our relationship fresh and to keep the romance alive, so to speak, so I figured I would share a few of those here.
How to keep long-distance relationships fresh:
- Keep ’em on their toes
My favorite way to do this is with little surprises, and those don’t always have to be an expensive gift. Since the beginning of our relationship Dom and I have always written little notes to each other. It’s sort of our thing. Because of this, my absolute FAVORITE way to be both romantic and surprising is by periodically sending him a postcard. Skip The Stamps is the best way to do this. It’s inexpensive (only $3), it’s personal, and they send the postcard for you (with your message). Plus, you don’t have to limit postcards to just your relationship!
- Don’t talk too much
This one might sound silly, but it’s an issue Dom and I ran into while he was deployed a few years ago. We were missing that time spent together, so we overcompensated by talking as much as we possibly could. Eventually, this caused arguments between us, so we scaled back to once a day. This made all the difference for us. It still gave us plenty to talk about even when our days were like Groundhog Day.
- Reframe the situation
When you’re forced to be apart, it’s easy to look at the situation like a dark shadow over your relationship. However, a simple reframing of the situation can make all the difference. Think of it as a learning experience, or a way to get to know each other better. It’s also a time to pursue your individual interests. Watch your favorite shows and eat your favorite foods. Travel with your friends and sleep sprawled out across your bed. And remember: long-distance relationships (usually) aren’t forever.
- FaceTime. Skype. Whatever you have available.
Dom can attest to the fact that for whatever bizarre reasoning I had, I used to think FaceTiming was the weirdest thing ever. I always felt so awkward, but like all things, if you do it enough, eventually it becomes like second nature. When he deployed, FaceTime was still a relatively new thing. Four and a half years later, it’s everywhere and in so many different forms, so take advantage of it. And get creative with how you use it–eat dinner together, watch movies together, [insert whatever dirty thing you want to do together here, because let’s be real]. Or just stare at each other, because thanks to technology, you can.
- Send actual gifts.
You can send romantic postcards, and you can also send cute gifts. Make an Amazon wish list and surprise each other with items from your list. Send each other books that remind you of the other person. Make playlists for each other. (This isn’t a physical thing to send them, but still gets the job done and can be romantic or fun.) Buy snacks and t-shirts, artwork, framed photos…get creative and keep your relationship in mind.
I know not everyone who follows this blog is military, but many still have experience with long-distance relationships. So how do you guys keep it fresh?