Finding fun activities to do with your partner can be a big win for communication and combatting the Big Sad. Looking for new long-distance activities can be pretty bleak sometimes, so let my list of fun stuff give you some fresh ideas to try out. (5/6. Link to intro and other parts here.)
There are plenty of fun ways to connect over the internet. Be it gaming, watching Netflix, finding fun apps, etc. Here is a list of digital things that Jas and I have used.
Jas and I used to play FarmVille all the time. So much so that when I opened a new tab on my Chrome browser in the presence of a school project partner, he asked why FarmVille was one of my most visited websites. I told him I played with my grandma.
For us, FarmVille was one of the better online games to play because we could visit each other’s farms and help each other, send each other veggies to make recipes, and work in cooperation to meet weekly goals. We also competed to get to higher levels faster, but Jas got way ahead of me because I’d been too busy in my final semester of school. Afterwards, I (characteristically) quit playing since I’ll never be able to catch up to her level. Even though we don’t play too much anymore, the nice balance of competition and cooperation kept things interesting for more than two years.
This version of Sims is free and an app on your phone that reduces the battery by 70% in 10 minutes. Despite its lack of customization and battery-saving capabilities, Jas and I love playing Sims on Skype together and competing to see who can win competitions first. We also create Sims for people we’re friends with and play gods to our Sims worlds. So, if you’re friends with us, there’s a good chance you’re a character in our Sims apps. (Harri and Dasha, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry but I don’t know how to un-roommate you. Also Harri, you took Dasha’s last name. Idk why the game thinks you’re a couple I never clicked the romance button. Please forgive me.)
Jas and I get on and off obsessed with playing Monopoly together on a website called Pogo. Here, you can play on the same board with real people. Since Jas and I both have competitive issues, we secretly team up against the other players instead of trying to out-do one another by buying properties for each other and selling them at extremely unfair prices, just so one of us could build houses and knock the other players out of the game.
Despite how often we use social media and other digital tools to have communicate and have fun throughout the day, Jas and I actually prefer offline activities when we’re talking on Skype (apart from watching Netflix together, our obvious go-to). Here’s a few that we enjoy most.
When Jas and I both get engrossed in books, we really enjoy skyping each other in silence to just read our books in each other’s presence, especially before we go to sleep. Being together in person lets you enjoy each other’s company without necessarily having to have a conversation, and reading in silence together is one of those things you can do even during your times apart.
Alternatively, Jas and I also read the same book together at times. Jas and I both own our own copy of Overshare by Rose and Rosie. Lately, I read handful of pages out loud to Jas on Skype while she listens or follows along with her own book. This can be fun, especially with Rose and Rosie’s book, because we take breaks to laugh and talk about how we might relate to a specific story. It’s basically the best book club of all time.
On that same thread of reading, there are other daily activities you can do together on Skype while you spend some time in each other’s presence. Often times Jas and I skype while working. This isn’t always the best because we can both get pretty easily distracted and we just end up talking instead of working.
I’m also someone who uses a planner every day of my life and keep an evening routine of writing a to-do list for the next day. I’ve been trying to get Jas into the habit of this too to help with her anxiety and life-orderliness in general, so lately we’ve been trying to sit down together to write our weekly schedules.
Eating is the number one daily activity that we enjoy doing together. As a Taurus, I’m always eating, so this is probably the activity we do together the most. Especially when I lived on my own, we’d skype a lot while I cooked myself a meal and then ate together at least three times a week.
A new thing Jas and I will be trying soon is practicing therapy tips together. Jas recently attended a few courses on low moods as part of her (shitty) Suffolk Well-Being treatment plan, and while the three classes certainly didn’t cure her like they seem to think, it did give her some advice that she has yet to put to the test. A lot of her therapy tips are mindfulness activities or worksheets that she’s explained to me after the class, which I’ve written down for us to complete together when we both have time. You or your partner can look for similar tips online, and they can be beneficial for everyone, not just those with a mental illness.
Cheap In-Person Date Ideas
This section was recommended to me by @flowercrownxjen. Since a lot of LDR couples spend a good chunk of money on simply being with one another, it’s likely that y’all have tight budgets when you do get to spend time together. Here are some of our favorite cheap date ideas.
Our personal biggest spending weakness comes to food. Every time we’re out, even when we aren’t on a meal date, it always ends up a meal date and we splurge on food—whether that’s at a sit-down restaurant, a café, or cheap Mickie Ds, we definitely spend the most date money on food. How did we save money? This year I was in the UK, Jas had a tastecard, which allowed us to access many deals at most chain restaurants around the country—most of which deals were a buy one get one free on main dishes and desserts. So for us, getting discounts and using coupons is a big way we like to eat cheap.
We also love taking walks when the weather permits. City strolls or nature walks, we enjoy both. We also often bring our cameras, taking pictures of the scenery and of each other for keepsakes. And if it’s a long nature walk, we might even pack a picnic or at least a few snacks. One of the best things about LDRs is that you are likely pretty unfamiliar with your partner’s city (or vice versa). So for Jas’ simple walks to parks and a nearby river, those were especially fun adventures for me! (It also may or may not be possible that Jas and I are still engrossed in Pokemon Go and walk to all the pokestops on our walks and keep walking until we hatch an egg or two.)
Don’t overlook the simple and cheap options to do nearby just because you have already done them. Let your partner in on those small adventures you used to have as a kid! See if anything nearby is free, particularly museums which can often be free, even in the States. It’s likely that it may only be free (or discounted) to county or state residents, but you can split the admission fee on your partner’s ticket. And if you or your partner are students, be sure to look for discounts that you can take advantage of.
Jas and I also love to go grocery shopping together. I feel like this can be especially fun for international couples. I stayed in the UK for four months recently and I still feel like I found something new every time I went into a grocery store.
Staying in is obviously the cheapest way to enjoy each other’s company. And while Jas and I have spent consecutive weeks in bed watching Netflix or crappy reality TV (a high recommendation from us both), we also enjoy the Staying In dates, which coincidentally also includes food.
Although Jas and I are no chefs, we do really enjoy cooking meals together. It’s a really easy way to spend time together without spending too much money (depending on what you’re making). Alternatively, the more-skilled chef (me) might also make some dinners or breakfasts for the less-skilled chef (Jas) to enjoy in bed.
One of my favorite Dates In was our afternoon tea in bed featuring (you guessed it) Netflix. The most money I spent was on the clotted cream and scone mix, but other than that, it’s likely you have the ingredients already to make finger sandwiches and tea/coffee. The scones with clotted cream really put it over the top with some Mr. Kipling cake slices. A perfect date in bed.
The biggest thing here is to get creative! Your limits are not just talking to each other on Skype. Try to make your normal, everyday activities and hobbies a part of your relationship quality time as much as you can. It might not always work out in the way that you hope, but it’s worth a shot! You and your partner might end up finding some things you love doing together so long as you open your mind to unconventional “date ideas” and value your time together, even if you’re just watching each other brush your teeth before bed.
If you have any questions you can always message me on Twitter @koalatygirl or send an anonymous question to my Curious Cat. Let me know what you found helpful in this post and what else you have questions about! Up next: LDR post focusing on looking onward to your future.
Read next: Looking Forward to Breaking the Distance.