Sweet surprises for a partner in a temporary LDR
September 4, 2018 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Last year I spent nine months living abroad, apart from my partner. Before I left, I stashed fifty little numbered notes around his apartment, hidden in jars of spices and pockets of his coats and the murky bottom of the vegetable drawer, all of which put together made up a longer letter. Now that I'm about to leave town once more (only for three months this time), I'm wracking my brain for other sweet, small things to do/give/hide/scheme while we're apart.

I've seen one or two other AskMe questions about sweet surprises to leave for a partner you're geographically separated from--tiny love notes tucked into hiding places around the house and the like--but I haven't been able to dredge them up in search results, and anyway perhaps you all have new, magical ideas now that it's 2018. So: what are some sweet surprises you've left for your partner to find after you've left? Or tender things you've done for your faraway partner while in an LDR?

If it helps to know, we're in the same place right now. We don't live together, but I have plenty of opportunities to sneakily stash things in his apartment. I know most of the folks in his building, so I could potentially enlist their help with these sorts of schemes while I'm gone, too. We're in the Bay Area now, but I'll be nine hours ahead in Europe this fall, which is a refreshing change from fifteen hours ahead when I was in Asia last year.

I'm tempted to put together a long, meandering treasure hunt that can take place over a few weeks or months that takes him by bike to familiar places we've enjoyed together, but with little things--like gift cards, a free drink, etc--somehow waiting for him there, but I may be too busy before I take off to organize something with so many moving parts. (And a complicating factor for something like this is that he prefers scrappy, immigrant-owned restaurants in East Oakland or the Richmond over, say, Blue Bottle, so it's not like I can just get him gift cards to a few places, since most won't even have such things.) Still, if you've done things like this for sweethearts, I'd love to hear about it and glean ideas for my own schemes.
posted by tapir-whorf to Human Relations (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It's probably too close to what you've already done, but when my partner was away working for the summer, I collected romantic quotes from obscure or classic musicals and wrote them on notes that I stuffed into all his pockets before he packed. So maybe you could do something similar that ties into one of his interests (as opposed to just general love notes).
posted by Neely O'Hara at 3:20 PM on September 4, 2018

Do you have time to get a puzzle made, maybe of a picture of the two of you, then hide the pieces individually around the house/with neighbors/etc?
posted by PaulaSchultz at 3:29 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Any chance you two have pet names for each other that you could find pictures of? For my birthday this past year, my wife put up pictures of each of our pet names (because both are animals) all over our place, all with party hats or the like. Maybe you could put up pictures of your 'avatar' traveling and having adventures?

If he reads paper books and you can grab the one he's currently reading, you can also slip little "choose your own adventure" notes in for him to have him flip around for a bit before finding the treat you snuck in as the 'good ending.'

Oh! And I would be remiss if I failed to mention the time my wife spent an entire afternoon affixing googly eyes to everything in our home - I was being surprised by googly eyes for weeks afterwards and it was pretty darned fun.
posted by DingoMutt at 6:25 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Almost forgot! This one is from my aunt, who once did something similar for my mom: figure out the number of days you're going to be gone, and come up with a one-line memory, inside joke, etc. for each one. Type them up, cut them out as individual slips of paper, roll them up and stick them in a cute jar so he can pull one out and enjoy a happy thought for every day you're gone.
posted by DingoMutt at 6:27 PM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is a small one, but right before I leave for trips, I’ve been known to draw a big heart on the bathroom mirror with just the tiniest bit of soap on my fingertip. You shouldn’t even see the design when you do it. It will be invisible when the mirror is dry, but appears when the bathroom steams up from a shower and the mirror gets fogged. (you can totally test this before you go - do a design before you shower, after your shower you see if it works, then just wipe the mirror dry to remove the soap.)
posted by jenquat at 11:00 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hide a tiny gift and set up a trail of clues leading to it. The first few clues might be pretty easy, the last few might take a while to figure out - even days.
posted by bunderful at 5:53 AM on September 5, 2018

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