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15 Creative Ideas For Your Long Distance Relationship
by Lisa Rehak

Here are 15 creative and fun ideas for couples in long distance relationships. The list is split based on whether you can do them immediately (right now!), need to wait to talk to your partner (e.g. on the phone or instant messenger) or if you have to wait until you see your partner - which, hopefully, isn't too far away.

To do right now:

1. Send messages (voice or email) that aren't "from" you: For example, pretend to be 'Victoria' (not your real name): "I just walked by your apartment, and can't help but notice what a great body you got!". You aren't trying to trick your partner... the goal is that they know its you - just you trying to spice it up!

2. Create a shared online calendar (Google has a great one) that tracks your next meet-up, and also tracks what other important things are going on in each others lives.

3. Send them a do-it-yourself puzzle. Make an image by combining together pictures, text, etc (can easily be done in PowerPoint, if you don't have more advanced software). Print it, glue it to some foam board, cut into puzzle shapes and mail it off!

4. Message in Bottle: You can either create or order a message in a bottle to be sent to your partner. Though more expensive then a regular letter, its not that much more for such a cool idea.

5. Call a radio station in your partner's town and request a song. Hopefully a song they enjoy.

6. Send postcards. Always be on the look out for funny/cute/interesting postcards. Then send them to your partner with a quick story of what you were doing when you found it. Don't tell your partner its coming - let them enjoy the surprise!

7. Take photos of day to day stuff that your partner wouldn't necessarily get a chance to see. Your office chair, mundane things that are always there on your commute, favourite restaurant platter, and other things that have just become familiar to you - can also become familiar to your partner.

To do when you next talk to them:

8. Play word games. Sometimes (even in the best relationships!) phone or instant messaging conversations can get a little stagnant. So word-play it up a little! Word association, mad libs (write your own, or find some online), or the "I start a sentence and you finish it" game, etc. If both partners are open minded it's a fun thing to do and it can lead to a lot of other discussions about how and why your minds' work the way they do.

9. Read the same book, like your own personal book club. You can even schedule to do it at the same time... that way as you are reading you can imagine your partner doing the same thing. Don't get competitive if one of you reads faster though!

10. Think of 10 things that you DON'T know about your partner - and then ask your partner about them. They can be a mix of fun information (e.g. favourite childhood toy), emotional (best/worst moment of their lives), weird stuff (e.g. oddest place they have done toilet actions), future dreams (e.g. what kind of location they imagine themselves living in 10 years) or anything else you can think of. You can probably come up with more than 10.

11. Tell your partner how your truly appreciate them. You could list off all the reasons, or simply state it in a truly genuine fashion. But make sure they feel it.

To do when you next see them:

12. Leave surprise 'notes' in places that they will not find immediately. Could be a book/notepad 100 pages beyond where they currently are, in their travel case, somewhere in their car, etc. The notes can be really simple ('Love you', 'Thinking of you', whatever). I guarantee that when you partner finds the message it will put a smile on their face for the rest of the day.

13. Steal clothes from the other person each time you see each other. Then you can cuddle, smell or just see that piece of clothing to give you a friendly reminder of your partner.

14. Pick a star that will be "your star". Then you can both look up at the same time and see the same star. Even if you are continents apart from your partner the connection felt when you do this is amazing.

15. Practice your art skills with each other. Decide on something to paint/draw/sketch. It can be of a specific object, a place you both want to go, an emotion, anything! Then each of you can work on your own piece separately, sharing the artwork next time you see each other.

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-- September Direct Answers
     from Wayne and Tamara

Direct Answers appears in newspapers on six continents.

-- Direct Answers by Wayne and Tamara

From Roberta:

"I am so confused I feel like I am going crazy.

My husband and I are in our mid-40s. For the past two years our marriage has been rocky. The last year has been horrible. He was promoted, which meant a move, and we've been traveling back and forth for the past year until our house sells.

We have three adult children who've moved out. Now it's just the two of us. We live in a condo overlooking the water, and I've tried to get our relationship back on track to no avail! There are no physical relations, except maybe once a month if I start it.

He makes time for everything else in life but me. I confronted him again yesterday, and he invited me out for a drink. As soon as I got there, he tried picking a fight. I smoothed it over--we were having a good time--then out of the blue he started telling me how selfish I am.

I am back in school and he's been great about that, but he always tells me how great he is and how everything we have is because of him. Instead of us trying to get to know each other, it's like he wants nothing to do with me. All he talks about is his career and our kids.

The reason I'm so confused is he holds my hand when we're out, and kisses me good morning or goodnight. But nothing else."

Wayne & Tamara's Answer:

"Roberta, just because you go to your job every day doesn't mean you love it. Many people function on rote and routine. Holding your hand in a restaurant and kissing you in the morning and at night could be no more than habit.

Because he is angry you have to be careful, both physically and financially. He's on a precipice, approaching unknown territory. You can't say you know how he is going to react because you don't know why this is happening.

A possible explanation is he is thinking of a future without you. Maybe he's thinking you don't match up to his peers, or the 20-something he has his eye on. He's not even 50. Married so young, with kids grown and gone, he could be thinking, "I could have the life I was meant to have."

If there's no way to step up the dialog with him, you still need someone to talk to. A sounding board. A wise friend. A counselor. An attorney.

If he won't show you his cards, perhaps you shouldn't show him yours."

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801
or email:

Read an interview with Wayne and Tamara at: