My partner and I have been dating for almost five years. For almost four of those years we have been in a long distance relationship.
We started dating when we were 16. We were juniors in high school and we had our whole future ahead of us.
Senior year rolled around and we decided where our futures lay and we decided to stick it out.
He chose Cal Maritime in Vallejo where he would study marine engineering and I chose SF State where I would study journalism.
After a year at Maritime he returned home to Sacramento only furthering our distance apart.
Although Sacramento is only about 90 miles away, our school schedules, 30 hour work weeks, and with my extra curriculars, the distance seemed to grow farther and farther apart.
I am not alone in having a long distance relationship in college. According to the Journal of Communication by Crystal Jiang and Jeffrey Hancock, 75 percent of college students have been in long distance relationships at one point in their college years.
And for some couples, there is this gnawing feeling that they need to keep their relationship interesting during their times apart.
There’s often a lack of intimacy between partners in a long distance relationship.
And there’s often an assumption that intimacy needs to be physical.
Sex can be intimate but intimacy does not in turn have to be sexual let alone physical.
To be intimate is to be close to your partner and in my long distance relationship I have discovered some simple ways to foster intimacy even miles apart.
One of the easiest way to encourage intimacy is to video chat often. Whether it is Facetime or Skype, video chatting helps you not only speak to your partner but also see them and interact.
There have been countless times where my partner and I have Facetimed and watch “Grey’s Anatomy” or watched a movie on Netflix.
Even if you can’t video chat, calling each other regularly also helps intimacy remain strong and grow.
Aside from Facetiming, I also send my partner photos of myself. You can send the world’s greatest nudes or send your partner a picture of yourself just because you look nice.
It sounds funny, but nudes are not only awesome to send to your partner but also super fun to make. They’re little surprises for your partner that can also help tease your partner before a visit.
On the nonsexual side of things, sending photos of even your food or going out with friends is also a way to have your partner join you on your days activities.
Another way to be intimate with your partner in a long distant relationship is to send them surprise letters and packages.
I used to send love notes with photos of us to my partner in our first year away from each other and he still has each letter to this day.
I’ll also send small, inexpensive gifts and trinkets to my partner and wait for them to tell me they received it in the mail.
These are only a few ways to help foster intimacy when you and your partner cannot physically be together as frequent as you would want.
Each couple is different and has different routines that help keep their connection strong and these are some of mine.
As a quick reminder, you got this. Long distance can be really hard but just communicate and make time for each other. You’ll get through it.