Staying Connected: Date Ideas for Long-Distance Couples

With Oberlin switching to remote options for the remainder of the semester, my girlfriend and I are going to be apart until the spring semester starts. We’ve been able to maintain our connection by talking over Zoom and FaceTime, but it’s frustrating knowing that you can’t be with the person you most want to be with. We still have exciting conversations, but spending multiple hours a day talking through a screen can become draining for both of us. So, to combat the challenges of distance, we came up with a Google Doc of Zoom and FaceTime date ideas that range from practical to downright ridiculous. I know some of these ideas may seem silly, but they’ve helped me continue to have a fun and fulfilling relationship despite the distance. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help you stay connected to your significant other online — no matter how far away they may be. 

Experience Nature, Virtually

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy nature with your partner all over the internet. Virtual campfires, for example, create a peaceful backdrop so you and your partner can experience the sights and sounds of nature from anywhere in the world. There are plenty of campfires with beautiful backgrounds available for free on YouTube, but personally, I would recommend anywhere in British Columbia. The lakes and trees are absolutely stunning, and if you sit by the fire for long enough, sometimes, you can hear the calls and responses of animals in the distance. 

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can also make s’mores. All you need is a bag of marshmallows, some toothpicks, and a small candle. Hold the marshmallow up to the candle using your toothpick, and presto — you’re toasting marshmallows with your partner! Add in some chocolate and graham crackers, and next thing you know, you’re enjoying some delicious s’mores and, hopefully, some new and exciting conversations over a warm, crackling fire. 

If campfires aren’t quite your style, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy nature on virtual dates. POV hikes are a great way to enjoy any world-renowned hiking trail you choose, which are also available for free on YouTube. Why pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to visit these locations when you can enjoy every sight and sound from the comfort of your own home?

Stay Healthy Together

If you’re staying home for the foreseeable future, it can be difficult to find motivation to exercise regularly. Doing so with your partner is a great way to stay healthy while spending quality time together. Even if you don’t have any gym equipment available, there are plenty of excellent bodyweight workouts available online for free. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, there are plenty of professionally guided yoga practices available online as well. All you have to do is screenshare the activity of your choice over Zoom to enjoy a professional-quality workout with your partner.

Physical health is important, but it is equally important to take care of your mental health during these unpredictable times. Guided meditation practices can help clear your mind of the daily stresses we all experience. This is an awesome way to recharge and take care of your mental health while connecting with your partner on a deeper level. 

Play Games (with Them, Not Their Emotions)

Enjoying online games with your partner is a wholesome and fun way to stay connected, especially if you and your partner enjoy some healthy competition. There are many options for enjoying this activity, both throughout the day and on virtual dates. Most phones have games embedded within messaging apps which allow you and your partner to play turn-based games over text. Many of the game modes are simple and require minimal time to play, such as Battleship, 8-ball pool, and mini golf, just to name a few. All these game modes are perfect for playing whenever you have free time throughout the day. I may lose to my girlfriend most of the time, but regardless, it’s an entertaining way to remind ourselves that we’re thinking about one another when we don’t have time to FaceTime or call each other. 

For more long-form games suited for virtual dates, or for those without iMessage, there are many multiplayer online board games you can play on computers. Classic board games like Monopoly, Sorry!, and Settlers of Catan, among many others, are all available to play for free. Whatever game you and your partner enjoy, it is most likely available online.

Keep the Reunion Day in Mind

We’re still not even done with the fall semester, and right now it feels like there is an eternity between the present moment and when I get to see my partner again. Reminding myself and my partner of when I get to see her again helps ease the feelings of loneliness. It provides both of us with hope. These are difficult times for everyone, so remember to bring optimism and joy to your partner whenever you interact. It’s not always easy, but maintaining a positive attitude and continuing to add variety to your virtual dating life will allow your relationship to continue to grow, even from a distance.