Whether you met someone while you were on vacation or either you or your partner had to move due to their job, sometimes you find yourself in a long-distance relationship. And, honestly, they're not always ideal — or easy. That being said, sending thoughtful gifts to your long-distance partner lets them know they're on your mind, and can even make it feel like you're not so far apart.
"One of the keys to a successful long-distance relationship is to maintain healthy levels of intimacy and closeness," behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva tells Bustle. "Some couples use video chats, audio files, and snail mail as ways to compensate for the lack of being able to physically be in the same room. Try adding creative elements to what you already do."
But while long-distance relationships may require more effort and communication than other relationships, the good thing is that with all the communicating that comes with being apart, long-distance relationships are sometimes stronger than relationships between two people who see each other all the time.
One of the ways to stay and feel connected when you're apart is to be cognizant about the gifts you give each other. While everyone can use a cashmere sweater this time of year, giving your partner a gift that will bring you closer is far better in the long run. Here are 11 gifts that you will do just that.
1. Long-Distance Lamps
These lamps are in-sync, so if you come home and want to say hi to your partner and feel connected, you just touch the lamp with your hand and your partner's lamp will emit the same glow no matter how faraway they are. It's just a simple way to let them know you're thinking about them without having to say (or text) a word.
2. Custom Coordinates Bracelet
3. Couple App
Although technically free (with a few in-app purchases, none of which exceed $1.99), the Couple app is the perfect gift for those who are tight on cash this year. It lets couples keep a private timeline of upcoming events, including when they'll finally be physically in each other's arms again, along with other adorable features that let you feel your partner's touch and sketch together in real time.
4. Wine And Chocolate
It might sound a little cliche, but as anyone who's been in a long-distance relationship will tell you, having "dates" via Skype or FaceTime is essential. You need that face-to-face time to feel connected.
That's where wine and chocolates come in. You can buy a wine gift set for your partner and yourself, then set up a date night. Cameron Hughes Wines has a great selection of wine gifts — and even champagne-infused candy if you want to get really fancy. Include a homemade playlist of all your favorite songs and you can have a really romantic and special evening that feels like you're right there with each other.
5. MyIntent Project Bracelets
We all have a word that's especially meaningful to us, whether it be "passion," "hope," "manifest" — and the MyIntent Project puts yours on a bracelet for you so you can keep it close.
Both you and your partner can decide on a word (or a couple words) that represent your relationship — or even come up with something you want to work on together — and have matching bracelets made.
6. Google Home Hub
Google Home Hub allows you to feel like you're in your partner's home and vice versa. You can share albums and access to YouTube so you can share your new favorite song with your partner. It's all right there and feels even more intimate than FaceTime or Skype, because its design makes you feel like your in each other's space — in a good way!
7. We-Vibe Sync
Well, if there was ever a product made to make couples in long-distance relationships feel closer, sexually speaking, it's We-Vibe Sync. While good old fashioned phone sex can definitely be fun, having your partner, whether they're across the country or across the globe, controlling your vibrator via an app, really is the best and helps you both learn even more about your sexual preferences.
8. Airline Gift Card
Because you're apart, an airline gift card makes for a perfect present for the holiday. Even if you can't foot the bill for the entire flight, at least a contribution will help. Sites like Flight Gift Card offer gift cards for over 300 different airlines. Or, if your partner has an airline they use most often because of points and such, you can get them an airline gift from there instead. Most sites have a minimum of $25.
How does a book of your love story bring you and your partner together? A walk down memory lane is always a fun way to remind you both how far you've come and what's in your future. LoveBook lets you create your whole story online, with drawings and everything, then you order the completed book — ideally for both your partner and yourself, so you both have a copy.
Enso brings a whole new meaning to holding someone's heart in your hand. With an app, Enso allows you to not just share your own heartbeat, but feel the heartbeat of your loved ones no matter where they are on the planet. It truly is the perfect gift for feeling connected to someone you love and to feel connected to yourself through guided meditation.
11. Phone Stand
Thanks to FaceTime, we can literally carry our partners anywhere. But sometimes we also want to cuddle up in bed and talk to them without holding the phone the whole time. That's where a phone stand becomes a fantastic gift for your faraway partner. You don't need to get them anything top expensive — you just need a stand so they can stop accidentally dropping their phone on their chest (or face) while they're laying in bed talking to you.
12. Body Pillow
One of the hardest parts of being apart from your S.O. is the lack of cuddling. But luckily, that can be alleviated by gifting yourself and your partner a body pillow. The Snuggle-Pedic sold on Amazon is a breathable cooling hypoallergenic pillow that conforms to the shape of your body so that you can get the sensation of snuggling up to someone while you sleep.
13. Lovebox Spinning Heart Messenger
Why send boring old text messages when you can send a message through the Lovebox Spinning Heart Messenger? The messenger, sold by UncommonGoods, lets you send a message to your distant loved one through an easy-to-use app. Once you send a message, the heart on the recipient's Lovebox starts spinning, alerting them that they have a message. Then, they can open the box and see the message written on the screen inside. Saying "I love you" just got so much more romantic.
14. Steamy Polaroids
Sending risqué pictures through texts is fun, but actual polaroids that your partner can keep with them can be even more fun. Taking steamy polaroids can be a great way to spice up your long-distance sex life, and give your partner a reminder of you to keep with them all the time. Amazon's Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera is just the tool you need to take your most artistic nudes yet.
15. YnM Weighted Blanket
Missing your S.O. is especially hard during the holiday season when the weather is cold. Although sleeping with a lot of warm blankets may help, sometimes you just miss the feeling of pressure from your partner's body. A weighted blanket can be a fix for both of you till the next time you see each other. The YnM Weighted Blanket comes at anywhere between 5 and 25 pounds. The extra weight creates the sensation of being held, which can help you sleep better if you and your partner are used to having each other at your sides.
16. Ambeur 2-Piece Spinner Luggage Set
If your long-distance relationship involves a lot of travel for one or both of you, a great gift to get your partner is a good-quality luggage set. This Nordstrom Ambeur 2-Piece Spinner Luggage Set is a little on the pricey side, but if your partner is going to be coming back and forth a lot, it's worth the investment. Plus, it's always a cute gesture to show your partner that you're excited about the time they'll come to visit.
17. Collage Photo Frame
If your partner is into home decor, they'll love this collage photo frame from Ikea. The entire piece comes with four different photo frames that you can fill with memorable photos of you and your loved one. The frame is super affordable and also makes for a great, sentimental gift.
18. Pangram Custom Phone Case
If you and your boo are always taking flights to see one another, this cute, customizable case will surely be the perfect gift. The case resembles a plane ticket, and you get to choose what airport or town to feature on it. Customize it to put your own hometown as a cute way of poking fun at how often your partner comes to see you.
As Silva says, when it comes to long-distance relationships, creativity is key. These gift ideas will definitely bring you closer and let your partner know you put a lot of thought into the gift, too.
Syeda Saad contributed to this article.
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