If you and your boo are in a long-distance relationship, you know that it takes extra creativity to keep the sparks flying and your connection strong. Daily phone calls and texts help, but when you’re not physically together on the reg, you can’t just grab drinks or go for a walk—y’know, things that “normal” couples can do easily.

When you’re separated by distance—be it by time zones or social distance in quarantine—it’s especially important that you and your partner are purposeful about creating romance, even if it’s in small, unconventional ways. I mean, typical dinner dates get old anyway, so use your LDR as an excuse to schedule something fun and memorable to do “together.”

Here are 15 cute and clever “date night” activities (all of which can be done virtually) that will help strengthen your bond with bae from afar—and maybe even help you appreciate your next IRL reunion even more.

1. Arrange a virtual fancy date night.

Make it an all-out black tie date night at home—because sometimes, being all dressed up with nowhere to go is a fun way to remind each other how good you look. If you’ve been in quarantine, use it as an excuse to put on some makeup, slip into your fave dress, and get your S.O. on video chat in their finest outfit. Don’t forget to set the mood with a jazzy playlist, lots of lit candles, and a bottle of champagne.

2. Start a recipe exchange.

Create a shared Google Doc and continuously compile it with both of your favorite recipes. As a date night, choose a recipe to try making “together” in your respective kitchens, and the partner whose recipe it is can offer tips as you go. Food is love—even if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor at the same table right now.

3. Send sexy texts.

Fan the flame from afar with some saucy banter via text, leaving no detail unsaid about how badly you want to rip their clothes off RN. If you’re thinking of including seductive photos, just remember the internet is permanent, mmmk?

4. Play online games.

If you like a little friendly competition, there are tons of two-player online games that you can play with your partner wherever you’re located. Cardzmania is a platform that offers tons of online card games, from Gin Rummy to Klondike. Or, you can do a puzzle together virtually, chatting over Zoom as you choose what piece goes where. If your LDR is happening across two different time zones, Words With Friends lets you play your turn whenever you want and keep the game going on your own time.

5. Mail a care package.

Send bae a customized care package to show you’re thinking of them from wayoverhere. Ideas: Surprise them with a boozy delivery from Winc or Drizly, then order the same bottles for yourself and “meet” for a drink at 7 p.m. over Skype.

Or, get really creative and curate a themed vacation-in-a-box. For instance, if you’ve been dying to go to Hawaii together, mail a package containing a lei, sunglasses, a drink umbrella, and a recipe for Mai Tais—then hop on FaceTime decked out in the same themed garb, enjoy your virtual “vacay” together, and use it as a springboard to start planning your next real couples getaway.

6. Start a two-person book club.

Choose a book that you’ll both enjoy and read it at the same time. Then, pick a date to finish it by, and schedule a virtual book club discussion (cheese and wine optional, but highly encouraged). It’s similar to watching a show together but requires more dedication and provokes in-depth conversations throughout.

7. Create a shared photo album.

Set up a collaborative photo album on your phone or Dropbox, then go through the pics while you’re on the phone together. You can curate old snapshots from fun times you’ve had together, or walk down memory lane by including old photos from both of your childhoods and high school glory days.

8. Send a coupon book.

To really up the ante on your next reunion, create a personalized coupon book for your partner that’s filled with favors and activities they can “cash in” on next time you’re together in person. (If you’re not super crafty, use a website like LoveCoups.) The coupons can be a mix of sexy (“Good for one full body massage”) and simple (“Good for one home cooked meal, doing the dishes included”).

9. Curate playlists for each other.

This is 2020’s version of making mixtapes, which was the most romantic move you could make in the ’90s. Services like Apple Music and Spotify let you create playlists and share them. Run the gamut with your partner’s favorite ballads, songs that make you miss them, that one inside joke song, and some new tunes you know they’ll like—then have a virtual listening session to see their reactions.

10. Exchange scents.

The olfactory sense is strongly connected to memory. Exchange mini bottles of your perfume and cologne through the mail so you can remember what each other smells like. (Then go ahead, spray it all over everything in your house until you’re together again.) The scents will trigger memories, which you can sweetly share with each other.

11. Motivate each other to sweat.

If you can’t be IRL gym buddies, holding each other accountable for your fitness goals is the next best thing, so sign up for the same virtual yoga or barre class. Or, download an app like Runkeeper or My Fitness Pal to track and share your respective running routes with photos.

12. Binge watch the same TV show.

It’s Netflix and chill, but from afar. First, download Netflix Party, a new Chrome extension that allows two parties to synchronize their Netflix accounts to watch something simultaneously. Pick a show neither of you have seen and watch each episode so you can send text commentary in real time. Then afterwards, decide whether you collectively think Carole Baskin really did feed her husband to the tigers.

13. Go house hunting.

If you’re planning for a future together, now is a great time to start looking for your dream home. Amid COVID-19, real estate businesses and sellers are offering safe alternatives to open houses with virtual tours of their homes—which you can do with your partner from literally anywhere.

If you’re still in the beginning stages of your search (or maybe you just want to imagine what it would be like to live in a $1.6 million dollar mansion on the beach!), send each other links to homes you love on Zillow and discuss because why not?

14. Learn something new.

Socially distancing from your boo is a great excuse to pick up some skills and become experts in something new together. Sign up for an online class together like: learning French, cross-stitching, baking, you name it.

15. Stargaze “together”.

We’re all under the same sky and seeing the same stars, which is high-key pretty romantic when you think about it. Sit out on your deck, get your partner on the phone, and see if you can point out the constellations together. Looking at the same stars from afar will make you feel closer.

Originally Published: www.cosmopolitan.com

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