Loving gestures that work in a long distance relationship
February 15, 2005 4:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm in Boston, Mass., and she's in Boulder, Colorado, with my heart. How do I tell her I love her?

We talk a lot on the phone, and sometimes communicate over email. Sometimes I send her things through the mail (like for Valentine's day) and I think I'm going to order flowers; but I really want to make her feel special. It gets hard, after a while, to be romantic across a couple of thousand miles. Does anybody have any ideas? What can I do to brighten her day, make her feel as important as she is?
posted by koeselitz to Human Relations (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Save up the money you'd spend on sending gifts or flowers for a while and show up at her door unexpectedly for the weekend.
posted by tristeza at 4:54 PM on February 15, 2005

show up at her door unexpectedly for the weekend.

I really don't think this is a good idea. I wouldn't even do it if she was in the same city. (Unless of course you already think and breathe as one, in which case you should be living together already.) There are just too many ways it could go wrong.

Flowers are a good way to make her feel special. So is a personal letter, with as much mushiness as you can stand to produce. And I'm sure she'd love to see you... but let her be the judge of when's good for her.
posted by languagehat at 4:59 PM on February 15, 2005

Arrange to have some of her favorite food delivered to her apartment and call her just before it's to be delivered. Have a nice meal together and talk about your day.
posted by FlamingBore at 5:01 PM on February 15, 2005

Show her this thread, maybe?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:02 PM on February 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

I hope your cell phone plan has unlimited night and weekends. I used to call my long distance sweetie in the evenings before bedtime and then in the morning when we had to wake up.

Send things like mix CDs -- here's some songs that remind me of you -- type thing. Just make sure Dave Login's "Please Come to Boston" is on it. Or not, since it is about a couple a couple having the same problem.

[on preview: showing up unannounced is a bad idea. I did that once and the person I was visiting was out of town visiting her parents.

handwritten letters or blank cards are good too. it is way more personal than emails or IM.
posted by birdherder at 5:04 PM on February 15, 2005

Best answer: I asked for tips on keeping a long-distance relationship healthy, and had some great responses. Check that thread for some cool ideas.
posted by fionab at 5:05 PM on February 15, 2005

I'll reiterate what I said in that other thread: having an accomplice where your sweetheart lives makes doing little things for them by proxy a lot easier. I would have friends in Milwaukee bring my boyfriend flowers on his birthday to where he worked. My friend could make sure it was done really right, was cheaper than a flower delivery service, could be thanked in person in a nice way, and could report back to me when I'm sitting at home saying "did he like them? did he like them?" I loved getting little postcards in the mail from him, even if they basically didn't say anything but "I was in the supermarket and was thinking of you"
posted by jessamyn at 5:47 PM on February 15, 2005

I actually have done the fly/drive-out-to-her-place-and-profess-love thing. For the limited effect it could have had (because she was leaving for Europe), it was actually remarkably succesful. languagehat is also correct in saying that it can go remarkably wrong. It's a risk. I'm glad I did it, YMMV.

If you *do* decide you'd like to do that, make sure you do the following to not impose yourself as a guest:

(1) Make arrangements for another place to stay. A friend, a hotel -- don't even ask to stay at her place. If she suggests it, that's OK, but even then, you might want to consider keeping your own spot.

(2) Make arrangements to have other stuff to do while you're there. If you don't have friends, find an Internet cafe where you can hit reload on Metafilter all day, or a good library, or something. Be careful, even principled, about not absorbing all her time.

(3) Don't stay too long. More than a week is a bad idea. Though less than 3-4 days probably isn't worth it. Try to time it so that she's still lingering in your embrace when you leave. If you stay longer than that, it's probably trouble.

(4) Leave on a good note!
posted by weston at 5:50 PM on February 15, 2005

People have to be really into surprises before spontaneous visits can work. I hate surprises, but the dog ate my sense of humor, so YMMV. Weston's comment above is spot on.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:57 PM on February 15, 2005


The way you asked this question melted my heart, and I don't even know you. If you can make it look like you didn't ask this question just to show it to her, I like PST's suggestion.
posted by painquale at 6:13 PM on February 15, 2005

Many girls like flowers. Especially on Valentine's day. We just do.

Also, think about writing it down. Maybe you don't always tell each other that you love each other in so many words. If she's as into you as you are into her, and you can string some sentences together without embarrassing yourself or turning into a cliche (and your posting history suggests you can), she would probably appreciate the sentiment and effort you put into your own personal expression of how you feel.

But a bet a personal visit would be lovely, too.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:16 PM on February 15, 2005

I've been long distance with my guy (now fiancee!) for two years. Some things he's done for me:

- flowers. especially when I get them at work, totally unexpected.

- cards/letters. Lots of them. Once, he sent them in parts - one long letter and I got a page each day; one letter that he cut up; postcards that get put together into a bigger card.

- "homemade" stuff. Sculptures, out of wire and paint. He walked on a beach without me, collected shells, and wired them into a sculpture for me - with a note about how he thought of me on the beach. Cookies are good, too.

- mix tapes are a great idea.

- digital photos. (Actually I do this for him, because I've got the camera.) Pictures of our dog, of me, of what I'm doing - with narratives. One year I made them into a scrapbook. he made me a themed book - not of pictures, but of things we had done together.

There must be more.

[I am sort of confused by the question, though - does she know she has your heart and you just want to remind her? Or you haven't told her? because in the first instance, I'm all about the random visits. In the second, not as much. It would definitely melt my heart, but I can understand why it wouldn't with some people.]
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:06 PM on February 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've made my long-distance girlfriend webpages on the last two Valentine's Days.

Once, went she went on a two-week trip with her family, I made her cards for every day she was gone, in numbered envelopes — while some days were traditional greeting cards/love notes, day 7 (for instance) would be a CD, or day 9 a color photocopied cut out of my hand, or day 3 a paper doll, or day 12 would be filled with 'secret decoder' templates that you could overlay on all the previous cards to reveal secret messages. This would be fun to do mailing one card every couple days — with a little planning, this could be the kind of project that could go on for months, regular reminders of your love that she could look forward to in the mail. Think home-made and think interactive.

We talk on the phone constantly. We haven't done it, but I have been musing on the idea of a "shared experience" — like we both sit down to watch the same movie at eight p.m. and then phone eachother to talk about it afterwards (as if we'd just seen it together). We share music a lot (send mp3s online). But mix CDs would be perfect, too.

Be as spontaneous as the distance will allow. Call in the middle of the day and read her a poem.
posted by rafter at 7:25 PM on February 15, 2005 [2 favorites]

On a card-worthy day (birthday, anniversary, etc.), send her not one card, but, say, fifty. Extra points if you arrange for them to be postmarked from points all over the country.

Send her a recording of you reading her a favorite book or story.

Start a blog/livejournal/whatever and write about your day. Especially if you don't talk on the phone every day, it'll help her feel part of your life to know what you've been doing. Encourage her to do likewise.
posted by bac at 8:17 PM on February 15, 2005

Send flowers? Send a card? Start a blog?!

Get off the damn internet. Drive to Colorado. Either it works, or it doesn't -- but you spend the rest of your life knowing that you gave it a shot. Licking a stamp does not constitute "giving it a shot."

Yes, I've done it. It wasn't a disaster, but it didn't go as I'd hoped. And I'm damn proud of having done it.
posted by cribcage at 8:45 PM on February 15, 2005

Mix tape.
posted by ColdChef at 9:17 PM on February 15, 2005

What bac said "send her not one card, but, say, fifty". Ask your mefite friends, or browse through the user pages for mefites with interesting zip codes, ask them to send her a card saying "Koeselitz loves you" on a special day or week.
posted by Cranberry at 9:37 PM on February 15, 2005

Although cards and flowers and mix cds and other gifts are nice and sure to please her, NOTHING can compare with time spent together. You should visit - it doesn't have to be a surprise. If your relationship is anything more than long-distance unrequited (or secret on your part) love, she would likely be excited to have you come.
posted by mai at 10:51 PM on February 15, 2005

The surprise visit has much less potential for going wrong if you get help from a friend of hers who lives in the same place she does. Have the friend make some sort of plans with your gal to ensure that she'll be around--eg, "Hey, Koeselitz's girlfriend, it's Sue. I just won a spa day for two on Saturday--want to come with me? Meet me at the coffee shop over on Main Street at 10AM." Then you show up instead of Sue.
posted by yankeefog at 1:00 AM on February 16, 2005

Send her a recording of you reading her a favorite book or story.

I feel like I'm an expert in the long distance relationship thing because Dave and I met on the internet, chatted long distance for 6 months, dated long distance for 6 months (by that I mean flew out for long weekends) lived together for 4 years, and now we are very happily married.

It started with an exchange of books. Both of us sent books but also surprises. His was a card and a rose. Mine was some snacks like trail mix.

In addition to hours IM'ing, emailing, and talking on the phone, we also sent mix tapes as well as tapes of ourselves just talking: talking, singing, telling jokes, and reading short stories.

One item I valued was a T-shirt he bought me, but first wore for a few days. It smelled heavenly and I wore it a lot. I sent him a pillowcase. Earlier I sent him a silk scarf sprayed with the perfume I wore.

The point is we made an effort to impact all the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Run with it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:05 AM on February 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

With a surprise visit, it's not the logistics I'd be worried about. Let's say she's there when you show up, and she's got the weekend free. She still might get annoyed at you for assuming she'd be free. That is a little presumptuous. She could also feel like you're invading her privacy -- checking up on her, or trying to catch her being unfaithful, or even stalking her.

Or she might love it. I'm just saying, you have to know someone really well before you can pull a surprise visit and be sure you'll be welcome.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:32 AM on February 16, 2005

Nebulawindphone has a good point. I suggested collaborating with a friend because I did something similar and it worked out well--but the gal I was surprising had been going out with me for more than a year, and I knew from our phone conversations that she missed me as much as I missed her.

I was assuming that koeselitz is in a similar situation, but looking closely at his question, I see that he never explicitly states this. So, do remember that my advice is predicated on your having a really good reason to believe that it would be a welcome surprise.
posted by yankeefog at 8:20 AM on February 19, 2005

thank you honey, <3
posted by Viomeda at 10:48 PM on February 28, 2005 [2 favorites]

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