A huge part of keeping relationships alive and well is making new memories, which can be hard if your love is long distance. You and your significant other might call each other as often as possible, but you likely didn't fall in love because of their ability to hold a phone conversation. It's the things you think of when the strain of long distance is almost too much to bear that made you fall in love, like the romantic dinner he planned for your birthday, or the time she went skating with you even though she has no coordination on the ice. Those memories are important, and distance doesn't mean you have to stop making them. Video chatting (via Skype/FaceTime/Tango)—a godsend for every couple trying to make long distance work—exists, and it's useful for so much more than quick conversations about how the day is going. Here are ten video chat date ideas that will keep your long distance relationship fun and flourishing.
1. Make dinner together
Pick out a recipe, set up your laptop or phone in the kitchen and get to work. It might seem silly, but it will make you feel like you're actually doing something together, and it's always super fun to see the end result. Plus, you'll get a taste of their cooking skills from afar, which can either give you something to look forward to when you reunite or give you a safe way to come up with restaurant recommendations.
2. Watch a TV show or movie together
You both rush to the TV Sunday nights for Game of Thrones, so why not enjoy the show together? It's so much better watching it in real time than talking about it a few days later and agreeing that the one scene with Khaleesi was crazy. This way, you experience the emotions of your favorite shows together, and you get to be reminded how cute your SO's laughing face is. Stream your shows on TV while you Skype each other, or use this handy plug in to stream the show on both your screens at the exact same time.
3. Play truth or dare
Silly as it seems, if you want to make memories, this is a great way. They surely won't forget that time you serenaded the pizza man on camera for a dare, and you can learn a lot about the other person by asking truths you've never thought of. There are handy lists of truth or dare ideas all over the internet for you two to try out if your creativity is running dry. The game can get as PG or risque as you want, so set your terms before the game begins.
4. Have dinner together
When my boyfriend and I celebrated our two-year anniversary from two different states, we Skyped and ate Chipotle burritos together to celebrate. It seems silly, but it made us feel more connected than a phone call or simple conversation ever could have. Dinner together can be what ever you want it to be: burritos in our respective bedrooms was fun, but making dinner a black tie affair complete with wine and candles is an awesome way to feel connected, too.
5. Take a silly quiz together
You know you're a Gryffindor, but what if your partner is a Slytherin? Talk about Romeo and Juliet! These types of silly internet quizzes are fun, easy, and great conversation starters that will keep the two of you laughing together. If you're both foodies, take some food quizzes; Wondering what Disney couple you two might be? There's a quiz for that, and you can take it together or separately to find out how your answers line up *crosses fingers for Eric and Ariel*.
6. Read together
This could be as simple as reading aloud to one another (which is actually a lot of fun for book nerds, okay?) or starting your own book club and setting aside time each week to discuss what you've read. This is a guaranteed way to branch away from the usual discussions about work and weather and into conversations about things you may not have talked about before.
7. Show each other your favorite hang out spots
He's been raving about the new coffee shop that just opened downtown, and you know he's always been curious about the local park that you can't quite describe with words. Set a little time aside to explore these places together with your partner via Skype. Ignore the weird looks—it'll be fun for you and that's what matters. The next time he tells you he's getting some work done at the coffee shop, you'll be able to picture exactly where he is, which will make you feel like you're a part of his life even if he's far away.
8. Plan a vacation (or even just a visit) together
Even for the most solid of couples, long distance can be draining without a light at the end of the tunnel. Planning your next vacation or visit can be exactly the light you need when you want nothing more than to see your SO smile in person or to feel their arms around you. If a visit or vacation is out of the question for a while, plan something wild that you've dreamed of doing together—whether it's zip lining in New Zealand or checking out the Northern Lights in Greenland, it's bound to make you both smile.
9. Craft together
The virtual date ideas are endless with this one, as long as you're willing to get creative. If those wine and paint events always looked like fun to you and you want to do it with bae, get inventive! Buy the paint and canvas separately, get a paint instructor streaming on TV (psst, Bob Ross, the ultimate painting coach, is on Netflix.) and let your creativity run wild. There's bound to be lots of laughs, and comparing your art at the end and seeing who has the best painting skills is always fun, too.
10. Play a game together
Words With Friends is awesome, but there's really nothing like watching your love's defeated face live when they realize you just played a triple word that ruined their chances of winning. There are tons of virtual games you can play with your SO in real time, and using Skype to get competitive only makes it more fun.
Long distance love is hard, but not impossible. Use your creativity and the gift of video chat to keep your relationship thriving—it'll be worth it in the end.