Long before my husband and I were married and knocked up (ok, 2 years before…), we lived airplanes and time zones apart - I was in Austin, he was in Pittsburgh, and then Edinburgh - missing one another in a heart sick way that might be unique to the long distance relationship (LDR).

In totally thrilling love, and with various deadlines and decisions looming, we sat together at our desks a lot, sometimes watched the other sleep, and occasionally delivered wake up calls. But honestly, as nothing ever is, it wasn’t enough to communicate just through phones and screens.

Economy and Love never really seem perfectly matched, so. Here are some lavish suggestions (you/your person certainly deserve it!) and also some ideas which are basically free,  to remind one another about how much you miss one another. Think too of all the money you're saving not being able to go out to dinner together in person.


  • When you plan to spend a meal together it’s best to cook and eat and especially to drink together. Even if you don’t want matching food, making matching drinks (like these spicy & smoky Palomas...) feels celebratory.  $
  • Inquire about the meal your darling desires most, and order dinner to be delivered to her… after you ensure the delivery won’t take 3 hours, and you make sure she’ll be home when it comes. I think it's sweet to include dessert, and absolutely tip in advance. $$-$$$
  • When you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about the distance or the heart ache of it all, write an email to your beloved enumerating some things you love about him. $0
  • Send flowers on Mondays, or exam days, or the days she returns home from travel - especially when she returns from visiting you. $$
  • At dusk text an image of your sky. $0
  • As long as it’s not too hot outside, send your love an entire case of her favorite chocolate bars (especially if they are milk chocolate Ritter Sports with hazelnuts). If that's overkill, try a couple of fancy bars - or, withholding judgment, some she can't get where she's living. $-$$
  • Mail a post card-sized drawing of fireworks (not just because they are very easy to draw). $
  • Share a DropBox folder, where you might frequently deposit new songs and images and PDFs of poems for one another. $0
  • After he’s undertaken a long trip, or when he's really lonely, send him off for a massage. $$$
  • Every now and then doll yourself up completely, just for a Skype date. What I mean is, wear your brightest lipstick and give yourself an artful pedicure. Wear your favorite fragrance. Spend extra time on the hair. Light lamps or candles. $0
  • When things are really rough for her at work, or after you’ve left her for a long spell (along with a mess in her bedroom/bathroom/kitchen) find a trustworthy cleaning service in her town, and send her a gift certificate for a thorough clean. Maybe she’ll save it for the day before you return. $$$
  • If she needs to build another bookcase, but needs to borrow a power drill to do it, find a friend or friend-of-a-friend who can help her out. Facebook can (sometimes) be a LDR’s best friend. $0
  • When he falls ill in a new and foreign place, find him a doctor to call (ok this is where to look for the UK). It’s generally also a good idea to send noodle soup. $0-$
  • Give the gift of a subscription - there are a billion of these - to a coffee service, a magazine, a razor club, or even a year of Amazon Prime.  $-$$$
  • If all else fails, book a hotel at the last minute and meet in the middle. Pro tip - if you book through hotels.com every 10th night is free... $$$-$$$$$

Thank heavens for credit cards and a little ingenuity. And - SVP - let us know in comments how you make it work!

xo, Barbara

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