With Valentine's Day around the corner, you may be thinking about what to do for the heart-centric holiday. Whether you are in a fairly new relationship or a long-term one, you and your significant other may be apart on February 14. This may be the norm — you're in a
long-distance relationship anyway — or one of you suddenly has a business or family obligation out of town. However, just because you're physically apart, it does not mean you cannot be emotionally together. After all, there are several Valentine's Day ideas for long-distance relationships, even if the distance is temporary.
"Valentine's Day is all about celebrating and appreciating your love," Tyler Turk, founder of
Crated With Love, a monthly date night subscription box, tells Bustle. "When you're physically apart, it may seem like you cannot enjoy the holiday, but there is always an opportunity to celebrate your love. And remember, you can always celebrate before or after the 14th. The great thing about love is that it doesn't only exist for one day!"
OK — Turk is exactly right in that February 14 is technically just February 14, and there are still 364 more days of the year to
celebrate your relationship and love with your significant other. But if you're looking for some Valentine's Day ideas, you'll find several below.
Have A Skype Or FaceTime Dinner Date
If you think about it, as advanced as technology is these days, there's no reason you still can't see your partner face-to-face on Valentine's Day — at least through a smartphone or computer screen. "Before your date, you can both choose the same dish to make for your romantic dinner," Turk says. "Then, hop on your favorite video streaming app and pick a flick you both have wanted to see.
On Valentine's Day, jump onto your go-to video chat program and spend the evening together virtually, making the same dinner and watching the same movie." Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, agrees, and with a bit of a twist. "You could do what you would usually do when you're together — for example, catching up on your Hulu or Netflix queue," he tells Bustle. "The thing is to remember it doesn't have to be a big ordeal. What's most important is that you're sharing that moment with the one you love the best way you can."
Send Them A Playlist Or USB Mix
Again, thanks to technology,
making your partner a playlist of all their favorite songs — or your favorite songs together as a couple — is another thoughtful way to tell them you're thinking about them. You can do this via Spotify, then email or Facebook message it to them, or put the songs onto a USB drive and mail it, either on its own with a love note or in the care package (see #3) or kiss package (#4) mentioned below.
You can also have them listen to it on their own or when both of you can be online together, such as when you're doing the above Skype dinner date — and this playlist can be your musical ambience.
Send Your Partner A Care Package
Everyone loves to get things in the mail, especially when those things are not bills or junk mail. So
sending your partner a care package is the perfect Valentine's Day gift and will likely surprise them, too. "While quality time with our partner is best, what really matters is that you find a way to demonstrate your care and attention — no thinking you're off the hook just because you're apart," Laurie-Anne King, relationship expert & relationship coach, tells Bustle. "Come up with creative ways to let your partner know that you're thinking of them. For instance, send a care package filled with things that remind you of your partner."
Send Them Kisses In The Mail
Similar to sending your significant other a care package, you can also send them
kisses — whether you're talking about a TON of Hershey ones or one of their gigantic ones, or lipstick ones on a piece of stationery.
For instance, some military spouses get creative when it comes to Valentine's Day and not being with their partners. Jeannie Michel of the Facebook group,
Military Mama Network, a community dedicated to supporting troops and their families with more than 12,000 members, does just that. "Sending kisses on paper and paper sprayed with your favorite perfume is a way that reminds [them] of you." Even without having a partner in the military, you can do the same thing.
Yep, that's right — make the love of your life a personalized book. These days, it's a LOT easier than it sounds. You may see pop-up ads on Facebook and other social media sites advertising such books, like
LoveBook or Shutterfly Photo Books.
Depending on which company you use, you then either gather together some photos of you and your partner and/or add some fun text to cartoon figures of you two, and you'll have a nice keepsake in no time. You can also make one for you, and then don't have your significant other open theirs until you are Skyping or talking on the phone on Valentine's Day. Then, you can go through it together, page by page.
Surprise Them All Day Long
Chances are, you know the ins and outs of your partner's day, so everywhere they go on Valentine's Day, you can have a new
surprise waiting for them. Of course, this will take some planning and talking to their coworkers or friends wherever they are, but they're all likely to want to help you pull it off.
For instance, you can have their favorite cookies sent to their work and their favorite food(s) sent to their house for dinner or as an after-work snack. You can also have your care package and some of the above waiting at home for them, too. And if you know their neighbors, you can even have some things delivered to them to ensure that your partner won't get your gifts before or after February 14, but
on February 14.
Set Up A Scavenger Hunt For Them
Similar to the idea of surprising your partner all day long, you can also set up a scavenger hunt for them. However, it definitely helps if you know some of their friends so they can help plant gifts,
letters, etc., around town for you. For instance, maybe you two went to a certain park together, and you'll have a note waiting for them under the slide. You can also use Facebook voice recordings or MP4 ones dictating where your partner should start the scavenger hunt. Each physical clue can lead to the next, or you can voice-record them step-by-step and have your significant other follow along.
On Valentine's Day, Surprise Them IRL
Who doesn't love surprises? When it comes to Valentine's Day, one option is to surprise your significant other in person. "Make a surprise trip to where they are,"
Courtney Watson, LMFT and sex therapist, Doorway Therapeutic Services, tells Bustle. Of course, it helps to make sure they won't be tied up at some business conference or work event. But afterwards, they'd probably love to see you when they walk in the door of their home or usual after-work restaurant.
Write Each Other Notes In Advance, Then Open Them Throughout Valentine's Day
As nice as email, Facebook messages, or texts may be, there is nothing like getting a handwritten letter from your love interest. If you two are apart on Valentine's Day, with a little pre-planning, you can
be in each other's minds and hearts through good old-fashioned letters. "Before Valentine's Day, you can each write a series of 'Open When' letters that you open at different parts of the day," Turk says. "If you're at work during one of the times, just sneak away for a minute to read it — we've got to add some thrill! Then, at the end of the night, try to be online together (via video) and exchange the final letter (and open presents if you have them)."
If there's a movie that you and your partner are both dying to see, you can make plans to each go see it before or on Valentine's Day, and then set up a time to discuss it together. While it may not be as fun as actually
seeing the movie with your partner, it will still give you the chance to bond over a new film and chat the night away about your favorite (or least favorite) parts.
Answer Questions Over Video Chat
Whether you just started dating your partner or you've been together for years, there are always new things you can learn about each other. An easy way to do that is by answering psychologist Arthur Aron's
36 questions that lead to love, which are broken up into three sets and get more intimate as they progress. During your Valentine's Day video chat date, set some time aside to answer the questions. You may be surprised at what you learn!
Gift Your Partner A Journal
Pick a time frame — a couple weeks, a month, a year — to keep a journal, and write a thought or feeling you're having about your partner each day. For Valentine's Day, send them the journal in the mail to
remind them that they're always on your mind.
Plan An Experience For The Next Time You're Together
If you can't physically be with your partner on Valentine's Day, you can at least start
planning an experience for the next time you're together. You could get tickets to a show, find an interesting museum to go to, or simply find something you want to watch on Netflix the next time you spend a weekend together. This will give you something to look forward to, and make the days apart just a little bit easier.
Send Them A Jar Filled With All The Reasons You Love Them
Your partner knows you love them, but sometimes it's nice to send them a
sweet little reminder. And what better time to do that than on Valentine's Day? Cut out small pieces of paper and write something you love about your partner on each strip. Once you've written out all the reasons, stick them in a mason jar, top it off with some ribbon, and mail it to your partner. With that jar in their life, your partner will always have something to cheer them up on bad days.
Spice Things Up Over Video Chat
Even when you and your partner live in different places, it's still important to maintain the
intimate part of your relationship. Find a time in the evening when you know you'll be alone, and turn up the romance with your partner over video chat. You can send each other sexy texts during the day to get yourself in the mood before you can finally connect at night.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can still be "together" with your partner on Valentine's Day even if you're physically apart. And you can probably think of variations of the above, too, giving you more than enough ideas.