When you’re in a long distance relationship, you need to get creative to keep things going. After all, you can’t just head to your favorite bar or restaurant whenever you want.
Luckily, we live in a time where technology makes it a lot easier to connect and do things together virtually.
If you’re having trouble thinking of ideas for date night, here’s a list to give you some inspiration. It’s split up into two sections:
- One-nighters, which can take up an evening
- Longer activities, which you can do over the course of several days (and possibly more!)
Here are some ideas that can take up an evening or a single call.
1. Movie nights
Nothing like a classic, right? My wife is a movie buff, and she’s always surprised whenever I’ve never seen something considered to be classic. I occasionally manage to come up with films she’s never seen before, too.
Simply call each other, then queue up the movie, countdown together, and press play at the same time! Make sure to have your snacks and drinks ready.
There are also some browser extensions and websites that are compatible with certain streaming services. These include Netflix Party, Amazon Watch Party, Hulu Watch Party, and Metastream.
- It’s best if you wear headphones, so the movie background noise doesn’t interrupt your partner’s experience.
- Make sure your movies are the same length. Sometimes different file formats can result in different timings, and your movie might run a little faster than your partners. The safest bet is to use the same streaming service or Blu-Ray release.
- Don’t be afraid to call out and make comments!
2. Cooking or baking together
If neither of you are afraid to navigate a kitchen, try finding an interesting recipe to cook together. Then, for your date night, call each other up and try cooking it at the same time.
It’s a great way to feel like you’re doing a task together, and at the end of the night you have a delicious meal you can enjoy with your partner!
- This might be a little tricky if you’re in very different time zones. As an alternative, try having one person make lunch and the other person make dinner. Each person can find a recipe for the other to make.
- Manage your expectations—and your partner’s—for this one. Adjust according to your skill levels. Don’t feel like you need to dive head first into a 6-hour bake!
3. Have a candlelit dinner
You might already have meals together. However, every now and then, you should break out the fine china, get that fancy bottle of wine and get some takeout from that really nice place.
What helped us get in the right mindset was that we went all out. I pulled out the suit and collared shirt, and C had an evening dress on. We had the candles and tablecloths all set up, we had our favorite meals prepared, and we had glasses of wine. We toasted, and talked, and stared lovingly into each other’s eyes. (Well, as best we could.)
It might sound a little cheesy, but we were surprised at how much we enjoyed it. Keep it in mind whenever you want to celebrate anniversaries or any other special occasions.
4. Perform live for each other
Have any special talents? Or are you practicing something? Why not share it with your partner?
I play the piano, and C loves it whenever I play for her.
Seeing your partner create something, like music or art, can be a wonderful experience. It’s also a great feeling to perform for the one you love and see their reaction afterwards.
5. Stream live events
There are more and more online events that are being streamed live, most of them for free.
The streaming service Twitch has a music category, and often they stream live music events, virtual dance parties, or even just artists working in the lab. They can be great fun to experience and watch together.
If you’re both into sports or other competitive events, watching games live is a great way to spend an evening and cheer your favorite team (or stoke some rivalries!) Keep in mind that some sports may require a subscription, or are limited by regional licensing, depending on where you’re both at in the world.
6. Do online quizzes together
This is a casual, spur-of-the-moment kind of date. Whenever we’d be lying in bed together, C would find these random online quizzes and we’d take them.
It’s cheap, there’s no prep, and no stress…just consuming good ol’ Internet content.
We turned to Buzzfeed for our random quiz fix, but there are plenty out there to find.
7. Work through relationship question lists
Once you’re comfortable in your relationship together, you can consider working through some relationship question lists. These questions dive into your individual personalities, and how you both approach certain situations, and your personal beliefs on various topics.
If anything, these questions are great conversation starters, and can help you learn even more about your partner.
This list from the New York Times is a great start, with 36 questions to answer. My wife and I would alternate choosing questions. There are some huge question lists (~1000 questions) out there you can go through.
Tip: If you want to make it a little more interesting, turn it into a truth or dare.
8. Take each other on virtual tours of each other’s home cities
Sick of feeling like you’re restricted to a computer whenever you talk with them? Head out of your house and show them around town!
Try going to some touristy spots that you want to show off, or go to some trails or beaches in your area. Ask if they have any requests, and go and check it out. Take your time and interact with them as you take them on your tour.
Seeing your partner’s home city can reveal a lot about them and paint a more vivid picture of their life in your mind. Plus, you can plan all the spots you want to visit in person whenever you visit them!
Tip: Make sure you have a full battery charge or have a recharging pack handy, just in case.
9. Start a music listening party
If you have a music streaming service like Spotify, you can start up a listening party with your partner and share some tunes with each other.
This is especially fun if you grew up in different countries and want to share popular songs during your childhood that they might not have heard before. It’s also nice to play songs that you both grew up with as kids.
If you don’t have a music streaming account, you can try sharing a YouTube queue and play music videos that way, too.
10. Have a YouTube sharing session
While you’re on YouTube, you can also queue up some fun videos to share with each other.
Again, there might be some regional restrictions to deal with, but for the most part you should be able to view videos together. (A VPN can help you get around most geoblocking.)
Some ideas of things to watch include:
- Upcoming movie trailers
- Compilation videos
- Other vloggers
- Famous commercials from your childhood or your country
- …and anything else you’re interested in!
There are plenty of sites and browser extensions that can set up a YouTube watch party between the two of you, like Metastream.
11. Take a bath together
Do you miss your partner’s body? Why not have a tasteful night in and take a bath at the same time?
Make sure you have some privacy, set up a stable dry surface for your device, fix yourself a little snack and a nice drink, and enjoy a soak with your SO. And who knows? It might lead to something more intimate between the two of you…
Unfortunately, C and I never thought to do this when we were living apart, but I wish I did!
12. Plan your next home visit or holiday
Give yourselves something to look forward to, and plan your next reunion, or your next holiday together.
If your partner hasn’t visited your home yet, you can make a list of all the places you want to show them or visit with them for the first time. If they’ve already visited, they can list out all the places they miss and want to visit again.
It can be fun to fantasize about where you’d go, what you’d do, and set out a whole itinerary. You could save it for later, and if the circumstances are right, maybe you can both make it a reality.
13. Exercise together
If you’re both fairly active, you can try and do a home workout together. Get your equipment ready, talk through the exercises you want to do, and have at it.
Tip: Try and keep the workouts in your home or in a private gym, if possible. It’s not good etiquette to have the camera on and recording while you’re in a gym.
14. Get intimate
Keep the passion alive and the fire burning between you both by engaging in some intimate play together.
Buy some toys, wear something sexy, and talk through your boundaries before having fun.
Tip: Use the correct device for the situation. If you’re on your bed, using a tablet or laptop will be much easier to manage than trying to juggle a phone in your hand. Alternatively, if you want more control of the camera and want to show more of yourself to your partner, a phone or webcam can offer you more control.
15. Change up your location
Instead of showing your room all the time, take the call in a different part of your neighborhood, or drive to a scenic location. Bring along a little picnic or some snacks, and show your partner what you’re seeing.
Try going to some scenic or romantic spots with them. Show off your city’s sunset or sunrise while you enjoy each other’s company.
16. Go stargazing
This is a neat idea that I found online. Make a date to head out in the evening, go to a place with little light pollution, and go stargazing at the same time. See if you can locate the same constellations or planets.
Knowing that you can see the same night sky can really help ease the distance between the two of you.
If you live in different areas of the world, it can still be a neat idea to head out in the evening and share some images of your city’s night lights.
17. Send each other care packages and open them with each other
There’s nothing like getting a care package from someone you love. Have a go at compiling your own little hand-picked care package for them, and then be there on video chat when they open it up and go through all the goodies.
If you come from different countries or cultures, it’s a great opportunity for you to share more about your home and heritage. Plus, they’ll have plenty more things to remember you by as they eat your snacks and use your gifts.
18. Walk your pets together
If you both have pets that need to be walked and you have similar schedules, try doing it together.
It’s a good opportunity to take your relationship outside of the confines of your room, and you’ll be able to share your city and your favorite walking routes with them.
Plus, you’ll get to see each other’s pets live on screen, and who doesn’t love seeing a cute pet?
19. Discover your Chinese astrological signs
Just for a bit of fun, you can try looking into your Chinese astrological signs.
You might already know what animal you are, but you can also find out what specific element your animal is, and what that means for you. You can also learn more about what each animal’s personality, and how your signs match up compatibility-wise.
20. Try some casual games
If you’re both in the mood, you can try some casual games.
One game that C and I used to play when we were together was The Alphabet Game. We’d name a topic, and then we’d take turns naming things for that topic that started with each letter of the alphabet.
For example, for the topic of “movies”, she’d say “Aliens”, then I’d say “Black Dynamite”, she’d follow with “Cape Fear”, and so on, all the way through to Z.
You can also try doing virtual puzzles together. The Ravensburger website has a few puzzles to do together with multiple players. Tabletop Simulator also has a puzzle mode where you can upload your own photos.
Buying and building Lego sets together can also be a fun activity (although it can be an expensive hobby!)
There are plenty of virtual card games online, too. Some suggestions include Rummy, Golf, or Pinochle. Do a search for the online version of these games and you’ll get some good suggestions.
I have a list of online games to play here if you’re looking for ideas.
Finally, you can also play several board games virtually. There are plenty of digital options available for new and classic board games alike. You can both buy the game and play online, or you can use Steam’s Remote Play Together feature for supported games.
These activities are great to do over several days, or even weeks. If you and your partner really get into them, you may find that you’ll share a hobby you can carry on long after your long distance status has ended.
1. Enjoy a TV series together
These days it feels like there’s no end to the amount of TV shows to watch. We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to online entertainment.
So why not enjoy them with your partner? Just like with movies, find a series that you’re both interested in watching, queue it up, and hit play at the same time. You can see and hear each other’s reactions at all the twists and turns, or laugh together at the jokes.
C and I went through a lot of TV shows together, as well. Just remember to mix this up with other activities too, otherwise the relationship can feel a bit “samey” after a while.
2. Read to each other
When C realized that I had never read Harry Potter, she immediately bought the books and insisted we read them together.
It was great! We took turns reading each chapter out loud to each other, with the other following along. I loved reading out loud and doing all the individual voices.
After we finished a book, we’d rent the movie for that book and watch it together. It really helped bring that world to life for me.
We enjoyed it so much that we moved on to other books too, like The Count of Monte Cristo.
As long as you find a book that you’ll both enjoy, why not spend some time reading it together? It’s a great opportunity to bond and finish something as a pair.
And if you’re the type of couple that would rather finish a book in your own time and discuss it afterwards, why not do that? Form your own little private book club, and discuss what you’re reading every week or two weeks.
3. Online games and game streaming
For the gamers out there (or those who want to get into it), there are thousands upon thousands of games with online multiplayer.
If your partner enjoys gaming and you want to join them, you could start off with some basic games, like online board games or card games. Then, once you have a feel for it, you can move on to games with more basic concepts, like farm simulator games, or hunter/gatherer type games.
I’ve compiled a list of games that you and your partner can play while you’re apart, ranked from pure beginner to experienced gamer.
Alternatively, if you prefer to just watch, have your partner stream their gameplay live so you can watch what they’re doing? There’ll be a slight delay, but it’s still a great way for you to see them enjoy whatever they’re playing at the moment. I found that story-based games were better at holding my wife’s attention.
4. Take an online class
If you’re both interested in learning something together, like a new language or improving your cooking skills, try an online class.
More and more classes these days are going virtual, thanks to the uptick in video conferencing options.
In the end, you’ll both come away with new skills. Plus, you know you’ll always have a study partner to practice with!
5. Start an online project together
If you’re both feeling inspired, you could look into content creation or other online projects.
For instance, you could:
- Make a website, a blog, or an online journal together
- Run a YouTube channel or a podcast about something you’re both passionate about
- Start an online business
- Do online volunteering
There are plenty of things you can do online and share with the world. If you’re both motivated, why not give it a go?
6. Raise plants together
This is definitely a longer-term activity! You can both choose a plant that you’d like to try growing, and then raise them independently.
Over time, you can show off your plants to each other and give updates on how they’re doing. Give them fun names! It’s particularly special when you visit each other and see the plant in person.
7. Discover new hobbies as a couple
As you progress in your long distance relationship, you might discover things you can do together. For instance, you can both get into:
- Learning to play an instrument
- Miniature painting
- Rubiks cube solving
- Knitting and sewing
- …and so on!
Don’t feel like you need to confine yourself to “indoor” hobbies, either. For example, you can take your partner with you on photography sessions, and then share your work with them afterwards.
Talk with them and see if they’d be interested in trying something with you. You can share your progress, encourage each other, give each other ideas and tips, and improve the bond of your relationship.