Oh, the holidays are here! And they would probably feel like great fun if you hadn’t just met someone amazing (The One? Maybe!), and now your made-in-September plans are pulling you apart as you make your (understandably separate, you really haven’t been together long enough to do the Meet the Parents routine yet) holiday treks to your own far-flung hometowns. But don’t despair; employ some of these very doable strategies that are sure to bring the two of you closer — even while you’re physically far away.
1. If it feels comfortable, talk together about how much contact feels right for each of you during your time apart.
Some people could run for days on a whispered endearment from a rushed airport goodbye while others of us — ahem, no one shall be named — need something close to constant reassurance. If you’re at the point in the relationship where it seems right, talk about what works best for you in terms of keeping in touch. While you want to make sure your special someone knows he or she is always on your mind, you don’t want anyone to feel suffocated. Maybe you could say something like, “I’d love it if we could check in once a day by text or phone, does that seem right for you?”
2. Make a plan for a special date when you’re both back home again.
It’ll be a lot easier to say goodbye if you have a plan for when you’ll get together next. Think of something special the two of you can do during the first few days you’re both back in town. Maybe make a reservation now for a special dinner at your favorite restaurant? Knowing you’ll have time together soon will give you something to look forward to, which will allow you to enjoy your time apart.
3. Use all your electronic options — wisely.
A quick text to say you landed safe, an email to know you’re thinking of your date, a phone call to say those three little words: all of these go a long way to keep the distance between you shorter. Just make sure that you use the right medium for the message. Text is best for straightforward factual info, email for longer messages, and phone calls for discussions with emotional content or anything that could be misinterpreted. You might want to schedule for a phone call during a shared downtime for the both of you. You want to have a chance to connect and hear each other’s voices, but you don’t want to interrupt holiday visiting.
Also, do remember that a little goes a long way. Just because a communication option is available doesn’t mean you should always use it. Remember, everyone needs space to visit with their friends and family. Absence can’t make the heart grow fonder if you’re always around.
4. Slip a thoughtful card in his or her suitcase to be discovered later.
Tired of electronic means of keeping in touch? Plan ahead and remind your date how much you care with something more old fashioned — purchase a beautiful card or write a simple handwritten note of just a few lines and tuck it into your sweetie’s luggage. Or how about a handmade card? You could also secrete into their bag any sort of very small reminder of the two of you — a photo in a favorite locale, a CD of your favorite songs, maybe even some chocolate.
5. Or send a real honest-to-goodness letter in the U.S. mail. With a stamp and everything!
If your separation is going to be five days or longer, consider writing a love letter and sending it by mail. Pick out some nice stationery and pour out your feelings… just like your grandparents once did!
6. Play a board game together online.
Sometimes you want to connect, but you don’t necessarily want to get on the phone when you’re staying at someone else’s house. And besides, you’d rather wait and tell your special someone all the gory details of your stay at Aunt Edna’s when you get home. Consider playing a board game together online. All the games you grew up playing — checkers, chess, backgammon, Scrabble, even Clue and Monopoly — are now available to play online. You don’t even need to be online at the same time; you just take your turn whenever you have a free moment. So why not fire up a game and enjoy a little healthy of competition between you and your sweetie while you’re apart over the holidays?
7. Make a “documentary” of your time apart.
Almost every digital camera these days — a good number of cell phones, even — have a camcorder feature. So why not make a “documentary” of your time apart that you can share together when you get home (or if you’re a tech-savvy type, go ahead and download it and send it as an attachment). Take footage of your favorite childhood haunts, friends and relatives, so you two can share some of your life together when you both get back home.