No matter what way you slice it, long-distance couples have it the worst.
Separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles, it's extremely difficult for two people to keep that burning passion going when you aren't able to physically touch each other.
It takes a lot of work (and a lot of trust) to maintain that bond over time.
It's difficult, for sure, but it's absolutely still possible. And 25-year-old Gina and 26-year-old Jeff are living proof of that.
After falling for the Georgetown quarterback ("I'll never forget when he opened that dorm door," she said), the two stayed in touch post-college and allowed things to escalate, as Jeff suspected he was about to land a New York-based job (where Gina's originally from).
Though unforeseen circumstances forced him to relocate elsewhere, regular visits and a whole lot of back-and-forth texting over the course of two years had them deciding to just do the damn thing anyway.
By September 2016, things were "official," and despite the distance, their relationship is as strong as ever.
While Jeff resides in Denver, and she continues her life in the Big Apple, the pair have made things work, even though they live so goddamn far apart.
Curious as to what things long-distance couples do to keep sparks like Jeff and Gina's alive?
Here are a few real-life suggestions (with personal commentary from the two) that show these types of relationships aren't actually so terrible... as long as you put in the effort:
1. If you can't touch each other's faces for real, video chat or FaceTime is vital.
Gina: "It feels like it makes such a difference when you're seeing each other's face, and I can actually witness what he's up to. Even if it's just chatting while he takes the dog out, it helps me feel like we are doing things and spending time together."
Jeff: "It's really tough saying goodbye when you leave each other knowing it'll be several weeks until you can be there again, and we dread it every time. We FaceTime every day, and that helps maintain that spark from the last time you were with each other.
It'll get sad if you wait almost two months to see each other again, and you kind of just want to jump through the phone in that case."
2. Plan out scheduled visits or develop some sort of routine.
Gina: "We try to take turns visiting each other at least once a month or once every other month. It makes it easier leaving each other knowing when we'll see each other next. Thank God for credit card points!"
3. When you do take that trip, make up for as much lost time as possible.
Gina: "Most of our visits consist of four to five days of uninterrupted 'us' time. We love to explore new restaurants or hike the Rocky Mountains, but the best days are when we just hang out and do normal-life things.
It's fun to cook some food together in the kitchen and attempt to watch Netflix without actually pouncing on each other."
4. Little surprises are everything.
Gina: "Jeff is so much better at this than I am. He's constantly sending me things that let me know he is thinking of me. The other week, he sent an extra long iPhone charger cord, so it can charge my phone while we're FaceTiming."
Jeff: "Random gifts are so easy and go a long way. You talk to your significant other every day, and if you're actually listening, it's very easy to know what they want and need. It can be as simple as a Brita water filter, a wine bottle cap, flowers at work or something small like that.
This also applies to dates and stuff. Don't always do the same old song and dance with dinner or drinks when you're together. Go bowling, throw snowballs, rent bikes, walk the river, ski a mountain or just do some different shit because you learn more about each other in uncomfortable environments."
5. Whatever you do, don't argue over text.
Gina: "We've learned this never ends well, and the other person never interprets your text the way you intended. When we pick up the phone and talk it out, little arguments become non-issues."
6. Nothing will work if you don't truly love and trust the other person.
Gina: "No long-distance relationship will ever work if you aren't willing to put in the effort and know that it's absolutely worth it. Every day, I feel lucky that he is mine and never doubt the way he feels about me.
I'd rather live across the country from him forever if I knew it meant he would always be mine. Actually... scratch that. I would rather not be apart from him forever. You get what I mean."
Jeff: "Be willing to sacrifice your time and invest in the relationship. Don't put the pressure on the other person. Try to plan as if the only time you'll see them depends on you. If you both do that, it eliminates a lot of stress."
I mean, c'mon, guys. Someone get me a tissue. How much cuter can you get?!