20 Long-Distance Date Ideas to Feel Closer Than Ever to Your SO

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Despite the warnings from friends and family, you found yourself in a loving, long-distance relationship, juggling work schedules, time zones and bouts of loneliness. While your strong partnership seems to overcome the whole “distance” thing at first, you’re beginning to uncover the LDR ugly truths…take the no IRL dates, for one. What if we told you that dating is possible? In fact, it’s important to go on dates with your partner to maintain an emotional connection while you and your partner live separate lives.

Although there won’t be an “I’ll pick you up at five,” conversation, there are plenty of long-distance date ideas that’ll have you feeling sexy, creative and connected. From hosting a watch-party movie night because he must see The Godfather for the 45th time to reading Celeste Ng’s latest novel together, here are 20 totally unique long-distance date ideas to keep that spark alive.

4 Things No One Tells You About Long-Distance Relationships—Here’s the Ugly Truth

Long distance date ideas Virtual Cooking Class Together
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1. Attend a Virtual Cooking Class Together

You know what they say: “The way to your partner’s heart is through their stomach,” so what better way to get to the source then by cooking a meal together? Masterclass, Cozymeal, Sur La Table, and Mei Mei offer fun classes with in-depth tutorials, lengthy instructions and detailed shopping lists so you can properly prep ingredients for mushroom dumplings or tacos al pastor. Talk about a meal that’s *chef’s kiss*—and an air kiss to end the night.

2. Hop on a Video Call

FaceTime your partner for some much-needed, well, face time. While it doesn’t scream romance, a video call can spark a first date worthy of butterflies. Our tip is to break up phone and FaceTime calls with a once-a-week or biweekly designated “date” video call. Get dolled up in your new Jenni Kayne cardigan, test your new Uoma Beauty eyeshadow palette and prepare for a hotter hangout. Take it from this marriage date night trick, dressing up for the dinner—or, in this case, FaceTime—separately can feel exciting and flirty.

3. Take a Walk Together

Let’s face it: Couch phone calls can feel as dull as our winter skin when it’s all we know. The good news? There’s a cure for that. And no, we’re not talking about the miracle-working True Botanicals Chebula Cream, but rather…fresh air. Throw on your lululemon leggings and coordinate a timed walk with your SO before you walk out the door. Then, you’re ready to take the road less traveled, share new sights and describe hidden gems you explore along the way over the phone. It’s like they’re walking right beside you.

4. Play Online Games in Multi-Player Mode

Show off your competitive side with a little online gaming. Many smartphones offer virtual games through message extensions, such as GamePigeon. Simply pick from a slew of nostalgia-inducing options—like Mini Golf, Mancala and Sea Battle—and challenge your partner via text for a real fight. Or, if you and your partner are self-proclaimed professional gamers, whip out your snazzy shiny PS5 console or your Nintendo Switch for some Mario Party entertainment.

Long distance date ideas Cheeky FaceTime with Sex Toys
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5. Cheeky FaceTime with Sex Toys

Don’t be fooled, this is not your average FaceTime call, as previously mentioned. In fact, you may find that adding err…”friends” to help you both out when physical intimacy is missed is exhilarating. Studies show that masturbation can relieve stress and boost confidence, among other health benefits. So, send a flirty text before your video call with your SO, whip out your trusty toy and throw on your favorite lingerie for a risqué surprise. And whether you’ve already ranked your top ten vibrators or you’re not quite sure where to buy sex toys in the first place, using a toy during a spicy evening a la video can help keep that spark alive. Oh, yes please!

6. Create a Bucket List

Listen up! You don’t have to be living with each other to map out your future. Dedicate some together time to intentionally dream up wild adventures, must-see sights and purchases you’re obsessed with. What do you want your future house to look like? What’s one country you must visit before you die? Are you itching to create a vintage-inspired couple’s photoshoot you saw on Pinterest? The act of writing down your shared list of desires can be an eye-opening catalyst for excitement and anticipation—plus, it can even spark ideas for future dates for when you’re together IRL.

7. Send a Care Package

In LDRs, gone are the words, “I brought you some flowers!” Or so you thought. Sending a care package to your partner is a sweet way to say, “I miss you” and “I’m thinking of you.” Not to mention, it’s fairly simple thanks to delivery services that make it simple to ship sweet-smelling flowers or rich chocolates to your lover’s doorstep.

If you’re looking for a unique gift that feels handpicked for your love story, websites like Uncommon Goods and Knack give you the freedom of sifting through irreplaceable items with meaning behind them, like a sleek record player for your guitar-playing boyfriend or a spa gift box to pamper your girlfriend after a tough week at work. Nothing reads “I can’t stop thinking about you,” like a curated care package.

8. Snuggle Up for a Screen Sharing Movie Night

Break out the popcorn and grab a box of cookie dough bites for a (movie) night in. Many streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ make it easy to sync up your movie-of-choice with multiple computer screen and have live discussions with watch party features. And as it turns out, science suggests that watching movies with your partner can improve your relationship. Hit that ‘play’ button.

Long-distance date ideas: woman using smartphone while in a cafe
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9. Have Your Own Version of a Coffee Date

Who knew that such a simple cup of Joe could feel so cozy and intimate? Head out to your local coffee shop and order that double espresso from your favorite barista before calling your partner. In similar environments, it’ll feel as if you’re seated at the same café. If aromatic bean talk isn’t cutting it, liven things up a bit by people watching. From what they’re wearing to what they’re drinking, describe everything you see. Even take it one step further and make up a back story that’ll have you both engrossed.

10. Learn a Language

What better way to prep for your romantic trip to Sardinia, Italy, than by learning the mother tongue? Learning a language can be an incredible bonding moment and incredibly manageable with programs like Rosetta Stone and Duolingo. Team up and tackle fun challenges, correct pronunciation and practice conversational phrases. Go out of your way to learn phrases that’ll surprise them, like l’amour, te amo and namorado.

11. Spice Up the Kitchen with a Recipe Swap

Team up with your SO and prepare your favorite meals together. Pick out your favorite dish—bonus points if it’s romantic—and send the recipe to your partner to cook. Have them do the same with their favorite recipe and enjoy in their favorite spoils. We guarantee you’ll think of them every time you eat that dish. So, what’ll we be eating? Butternut squash risotto or egg roll bowl?

12. Whip Out Conversation Cards

Jim had a smelly egg sandwich in the work kitchen. Your sister, Abby, FaceTimed to ask (for the fifth time) if her outfit looked OK and Tigger the cat had an accident on the rug. Like a scene out of Groundhog Day, coming up with talking points for phone calls can feel like extra work. Conversational cards like Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin, My Girl Wellness’s It’s Personal and We’re Not Really Strangers Couples Edition decks encourage mindful questions that may strengthen your relationship, reveal deep desires and share tender moments.

Long distance date ideas Book Club
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13. Book Club

Turn a new page in your long-distance relationship when you form a one-on-one book club. Start a couples TBR list and work your way through titles you both love and hate (hey, that’s compromise). If tackling Frank Herbert’s Dune seems a little daunting while juggling your 9-to-5’s, there are plenty of quick read’s you can finish in the span of a weekend. Take picking pressure off with a fun quiz or sign up for Book of the Month to get you started.

14. Truth or Dare

Bring out your inner child and play a game of Truth or Dare that’s sure to be wildly entertaining and revealing. The rules are: There are no rules. Have fun.

15. Virtual Wine Tasting

Grab your fancy electric corkscrew, let your vino breathe and sip, sip, enjoy. There’s nothing quite like a wine tasting with your SO, but distance muddles your Tuscan fantasy. Enjoy a sparkling Riesling from Maker, smooth red wine and chocolate pairing from In Good Taste or listen to certified sommelier’s talk about stand out bottles and producers when you sign up for Culture With Us class.

16. Take the Love Language Test Together

Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, argues that the key to loving your partner well is by speaking their love language. Does Paul need quality time on the couch bingeing all three seasons of Succession before the new season or does he light up when you do the dishes without asking? Taking the quiz together and sharing your results can be eye-opening, to say the least.

Long-distance date ideas: Man doing his home workout following an online fitness class
Hispanolistic/Getty Images

17. Stream a Workout Class

Love birds, it’s time to break a sweat. There’s no better way to show your love than by pumping your body with feel-good endorphins and sharing in an activity that increases longevity. Peruse through some of the best workout apps and streaming services to find the one that works with your needs and encourage each other through painfully satisfying exercises. You may find that their pep talks were surprisingly seductive.

18. Send a Letter Via Snail Mail

Not your average date, but arguably more affective at pulling the heart strings. Sending a handwritten love letter through good ‘ole ground shipping is a sweet gesture. The time it takes to write, the thought that goes into curating your message and the keepsake to have forever shows your partner how much they mean to you.

19. Plan Your Next Trip

No, we’re not talking your bucket list destination (See: No. 6). Rather, hop on the phone, whip out your calendars and book some tickets to see each other. Logistics aren’t necessarily sexy, but trust this writer—who’s currently in a LDR—when she says a date locked in on the calendar builds excitement and anticipation. Our best tip? Factor in the distance when making decisions—taking turns is great, but choosing to meet in the middle can mean a beach weekend in Miami or a romantic cabin getaway in Indiana. (Two birds…one stone.)

21. Take a Masterclass Course

Learn the basics of realistic painting with Devon Rodriguez, put yourself in the athlete’s mindset with Wayne Gretzky or delve into writing with Judy Blume. Whatever you and your partner decide, taking a Masterclass course is a shared activity you both will enjoy.

Long distance date ideas Cue Up a Music Videos
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20. Cue Up a Few Music Videos

When all options are exhausted, turn to music. A guaranteed way to garner belly laughs and eyerolls is by sharing your screen and queuing up some music videos. If you’re feeling daring, you can turn it into an impromptu karaoke sesh with your off-key partner. Not to mention, you’re learning so much about their peculiar music tastes. (Maybe too much.)

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Associate Fashion Commerce Editor

Stephanie is a natural savant in the fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships beats. She graduated with a bachelor of arts at the University of San Diego, where she majored...