How To Make Valentine’s Day Special In A Long-Distance Relationship, According To Women Who've Been There

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When you're in a long-distance relationship, physically being together on special holidays isn't always possible. And when it's a holiday like Valentine's Day, which is literally about celebrating love, the distance between you and your partner can feel even greater. But there are ways to make Valentine's Day special — and even set traditions with your partner — when you're in a long-distance relationship.

You might feel even more pressure to do something extraordinary to make up for the fact that you can't physically be together on Valentine's Day. But Feb. 14 doesn't have to be about making grand gestures of love, regardless of your proximity to your partner. As Shan Boodram, sex and relationship expert and TENGA ambassador, tells Bustle, "Its true purpose is to serve as an ode to the love you already share." Even spending time together via FaceTime or taking advantage of same-day food and wine delivery can be a meaningful touch.

If you're spending Valentine's Day apart from your partner this year and need some inspiration for how to feel closer, here's how nine women get creative with their long-distance partner for the holiday. And as you'll see, many will be taking advantage of technology on Valentine's Day this year.

1. Jillian, 24

"I’m based in Hoboken, NJ and my boyfriend is based in the Metro Detroit area. We unfortunately can’t fly to each other this Valentine’s Day, so we’re planning to do a dinner date over FaceTime with our favorite delivery food and wine. We both really value handwritten notes, so we’ll also send each other a letter to open specifically on Valentine’s Day. I’m also planning to make a playlist to send to him on the day of. We're actually fortunate enough to be seeing each other the weekend after Valentine’s Day, so that will be our official celebration."

2. Shay, 23

"I'm in a long-distance relationship and have been for three years. Every Valentine's Day, we both pick up our favorite meal (double chicken bowls from Chipotle) and FaceTime each other for dinner. We'll also pick a movie and watch at the same time. It's non-traditional, but it works for us."

3. Maria, 27

"My boyfriend and I have been together for four years, and [for] nearly two of those years we did long-distance. Valentine’s Day also happens to fall around our anniversary. Since we traveled so often to visit each other at our respective cities (San Diego and San Francisco), we wanted to choose a separate meeting place that took us away from the 'norm' of our long distance. In years past, we’ve met in Julian, CA. Although close to San Diego, it had a small town feel where we could wine taste, eat apple pie, and escape from the big cities. Now that we live together, we still choose to make Valentine’s Day a special trip as a tradition."

4. Sahra, 24

"I’m currently in a two-plus year long-distance relationship. He’s in London, while I’m in Los Angeles. This upcoming Valentine’s Day will be our third spent together. We make an effort to try to align our trips to be with each other on the holiday. For example, the first year he came to L.A. and this year I’m going to London and landing at noon on Valentine’s Day. Last year we weren’t able to make it work, so instead we sent cards to each other. There are some really great services where you can write the card online and they’ll print it out locally for delivery. We also set up a FaceTime date and got to spend some quality time together, which we don’t always make the time to do."

5. Karley, 22

"I spent four Valentine’s Days in a long-distance relationship, and learned there are many ways to get creative and still celebrate the day. My favorite idea is to have flowers or a bottle of wine delivered to each other. You can even order each other delivery from a favorite restaurant, and then have an 'impromptu' dinner and movie night. FaceTime is a magical thing that will make this happen. Even though you aren't physically together, you can still share these moments. [...] I also always hang out with my girlfriends during the day. The most important thing is you are spending time with people you love."

6. Kelley, 37

"My husband is in the Army and we’ve spent lots of Valentine’s Days separated. So we both tried to do something for the other person. He's sent me flowers while he was deployed or something from where he was at the time. I would send hand written notes or cards. One year I had professional boudoir-type pictures done and sent them to him and he appreciated that."

7. Nikki, 32

“My fiancé and I find it impossible to connect with our [wild] travel schedules, and it’s rare we are ever in the same place. While we won’t be in the same place this Valentine’s Day, I suspect I'll receive beautiful roses from him, as I have for years past. It’s a beautiful acknowledgement that he cares and is thinking about me on a romantic day that we can’t share together. In the past, I've sent him bottles of wine to his hotel rooms while he's traveling. You don't have to follow any traditional guidelines but it's all about making sure the other person is acknowledged in whatever way best suits them."

8. Lolo, 30

"Gifts can really help and it doesn't have to be much. My fiancé and I decided to spend as little as possible, but make it really sentimental. One of the best gifts I ever received from him was one of his shirts. Wearing it to bed and having his scent with me made me reminisce the amazing times we had spent together. I also made a selection of my favorite photos of us two (taken prior to us living apart or during our visit) printed and sent them to him with handwritten messages on the back of each one."

9. Alexandra, 31

"Celebrating a long-distance Valentine's Day takes thoughtful preparation in advance. After dating my then-boyfriend, now-husband for four long years of long-distance between China and the U.S., I've been through it plenty. To shorten the distance between you, coordinate something to connect your Valentine's Days. Perhaps that means having a chocolate cake delivered, and then eating 'together' while video chatting. It's even better if you're able to coordinate activities, like both doing the same workout followed by a DIY at-home spa day. Make sure to end the date by reminiscing on the happy memories together in the past and focusing on your future goals together."

As long you find a way to show your partner that you care and you're thinking about them, a long-distance Valentine's Day can be really special.

Expert:

Shan Boodram, sex and relationship expert and TENGA ambassador