How to Plan A Long-Distance Valentine's Day Celebration That Doesn't Suck

by Sydnee Lyons

My first serious relationship was long-distance and no, it wasn't bi-coastal or even cross-country. I moved to Miami, Fla. for college while my boyfriend at the time lived in the Caribbean. He was a few years older than I was (a story for another time) and had already done the college thing, which meant that he was pretty much settled back in the Caribbean. Nevertheless, since we dated for four years, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about long-distance Valentine's date ideas. TBH, I learned a lot in general about how much work it takes to keep a long-distance relationship afloat.

To keep our minds off the fact that we weren't together, we would send small, thoughtful gifts to each other every few weeks — nothing grand, just enough to let the other person know we were thinking of them. My favorite gift was actually a personalized mug I received from him for Valentine's Day. Printed on the mug was the comments section of an Instagram post, where I usually put way too many hashtags. Instead of things like #blogger or #selfie though, the mug said #HappyValentinesDay, #HugsAndKisses, #InstaLove, and, my favorite, #MyValentineGaveMeThisCuzImAnInstagramAddict.

That Valentine's Day, we were both too busy to do what we had always done, which was have a dinner date via FaceTime. Although I missed our time together that night, I realized that spending Valentine's Day staring at a screen probably wasn't the best idea. We'd already exchanged gifts and we knew how we felt about each other so there was no point in staying cooped up inside, quietly dreading our situation. Instead, I decided that we should plan solo dates for each other to go on that upcoming weekend — a spa day for me and a baseball game for him. We each covered the expenses of the other person's day out and had tons to catch up on when we got finally got on FaceTime at the end of the day.

If you're in a long-distance relationship this year, I recommend taking a break from the FaceTime date like I did. Let's be honest — it's no different than how you usually spend your nights with your partner and isn't Valentine's Day supposed to be special? Here are three long-distance date ideas you can try to make the most of this Valentine's Day.

Plan A Solo Date For Your Partner

Treat your partner to a day or night out on their own doing what they love. Maybe that means sending them backstage passes to see their favorite band live or something more low-key like pre-ordering their go-to Starbucks drink for them to pick up before an afternoon of reading at the coffee shop.

Go See The Same Movie At The Same Time

OK, so I know this still involves staring at a screen but at least it gets you out of the house. You can even coordinate your snacks via text before you get to the theater. Once the movie's over, you'll have something to talk about when you call them on the way home.

Make Them A Valentine's Day Playlist For Whatever Activity They'll Be Doing That Day

This is perfect if you know your partner's daily routine. For example, if your partner goes running every morning, you can make them a special Valentine's Day playlist to get their heart rate up. Similarly, if you know they'll be spending most of their day studying for midterms, create a playlist of your favorite mellow songs to help them concentrate. It's a thoughtful gesture that allows you to feel like you're together even though you may be thousands of miles apart.

The truth is that long-distance relationships are really, really tough but no relationship is perfect. As long as you're both willing to make the most of your situation, you can still have a romantic Valentine's Day this year.

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