Gift ideas for a long-distance relationship

With Valentine’s Day coming up, it can be difficult looking for gifts for the person you love. And when that person lives far away, it opens up a whole other abundance of problems – what if it’s too big or too heavy to send? Are these classed as a prohibited item? What if this doesn’t fit them?

After nearly three years in a long-distance relationship and with plenty of Pinterest boards, previously sent and received presents and potential future ideas, I decided to share some of my ideas with you. So I have compiled a list of either presents that me and my boyfriend have sent each other, or ideas that I myself have come up with or like the sound of.

 

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I bought these Game of Thrones inspired keyrings for me and my boyfriend, however, Etsy is useful for long-distance relationship keyrings.

Matching keyrings

This idea is incredibly simple, but can be really sweet if done right. Perhaps you could find matching keyrings that hold some significance to the two of you, such as a quote that means something to your relationship, or with your names or cities on them. This makes what can sometimes be a bit of an ordinary gift into something more personal and meaningful.

A scrapbook

For a couple that spends a lot of time apart, a scrapbook is a perfect reminder of your time spent together and can feel a lot more satisfying than just flicking through pictures on your phone, as you can see the amount of effort that your significant other has put into it. And for the person making it, it can serve as an enjoyable project that can take your mind off the distance and allow you to reflect on some of your best memories.

However, if you and your significant other have not met yet, you don’t necessarily have to rule this out as a potential gift. Instead of filling the scrapbook with your pictures together, perhaps you could fill it with places that you want to go together, or hobbies that you share. You could also maybe combine individual pictures of the two of you, to see what it will be like when you do finally meet.

A book of things that you love about them 

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Can also be bought on Amazon.

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Can be bought on Knock Knock’s website, as well as Amazon.

If you wanted to make a more personal gift, then this idea would be great. You could either buy a blank notebook and fill it will things that you love about the other person, or if you wanted a little prompting you could buy a book that gives you topics and questions to answer about your significant other.

Both these ideas can be equally as fun and will show the other person their lovable qualities.

Matching pillowcases

Now this may sound cliche, but can actually be sweet when it’s done right. Rather than buying the terrifying “boyfriend pillow” that no doubt every person in a long-distance relationship has had suggested to them at some point, perhaps you could find two pillowcases that when put together, make a picture? That way you will each have one half of the picture and something that will remind you of the other person.

Both pillowcases seen here, and others, can be purchased from BOLDLOFT’s Etsy page.

 

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I bought these adorable prints from MissSDesigns on Etsy.

Matching pictures

Similarly to the last suggestion, matching drawings or pictures that when put together make a whole picture can also be a nice gift idea. Having something that can be completed when put together makes you look forward to when you and your significant other will be reunited, whilst also giving the two of you something to share.

A message in a bottle 

These can be purchased online from multiple sites, and are an affordable gift that is easily sendable through the post. You can write a heartfelt message for your significant other on a piece of paper, which is then sealed in beautifully crafted bottle ready for them to open whenever they need to read your words.

And if you’re feeling particularly creative, you could even make your own adjustments to this gift, by buying some decorative ribbon or glitter to make the bottle itself more attractive. Although what really matters is what’s written inside, of course.

Vouchers/coupons 

Rather than buying couples coupons from a shop or online that may include things that you and your significant other are unable to do due to distance, maybe you could make your own? Writing your own coupons makes it more personal, and also more fun. However, if you know that you and your significant other are going to be seeing each other soon, perhaps buying a regular couples coupon book would still be a good gift, as it gives you both things to look forward to.

A video

Whether it’s a slideshow of pictures or videos of the two of you, or a video message recorded for your significant other, although this gift effectively costs you nothing, it requires an immense amount of effort, and – like the scrapbook idea – serves as a mini-project to distract you from the distance. You could play a song in the background that has some meaning to your relationship, making it more personal.

And if you happen to be particularly talented, perhaps you could incorporate this into your video. You could sing and/or write a song for your significant other, draw an animation for them or play an instrument for them. Using your talents to show them how much you love them is incredibly special, as they will no doubt be supportive of your talents already and will see the amount of effort that you have put in.

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These can be bought on OpenWhenLetterShop’s Etsy shop

‘Open when’ envelopes

These are becoming increasingly popular online and are especially nice gifts to give in a long-distance relationship, as time zone differences may often mean that you are unable to always be there for your significant other. However, if they have access to your words when they are feeling upset or even when they want to celebrate something, then it can bring the two of you closer.

You can buy a selection of these envelopes to put your own letters in if you’re short of ideas, or write your own if you’re feeling more creative. It might be a nice idea to also put other things in the envelope with the letters, such as nice pictures or small gifts to cheer them up.

Here are some of my ideas for “open when” envelopes:

  • Open when you’re feeling sad.
  • Open when you’re missing me.
  • Open when you need to celebrate.
  • Open when you need to laugh.
  • Open when you’re bored.
  • Open when you’re feeling happy.
  • Open when you’re mad at me.
  • Open when you just want to talk.

 

Your favourite book

Although not an expensive gift, it can still be nice to share your favourite things with your significant other. Since you’re apart and can’t participate in your favourite activities and hobbies together, a nice idea would be to share things you enjoy with them in any way that you can. Sending them a copy of your favourite book is a very personal thing and will help you to learn more about each other. Perhaps you could even underline or point out your favourite quotes, or even reading the book together, a chapter a day and then discussing it with each other.

Other possible ideas:

  1. Personalised jewellery
  2. A dual time-zone necklace.
  3. A promise ring.
  4. A personalised jigsaw.
  5. A heartbeat or sound wave necklace/bracelet.
  6. A custom notebook.
  7. Get flowers delivered to their house.
  8. Name a star after them.
  9. A pair of matching/personalised mugs.
  10. A jar of love-notes.
  11. A mix CD.
  12. A collage.
  13. Mini love-letters.
  14. A custom phone case.
  15. A care package.

 

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Why I’m leaving my insecurities in 2016

Normally, I’d be the first person to say that New Year’s resolutions are pointless. Why should another turn of the earth around the sun change who you are as a person, or how much you exercise, or whether or not you’re allowed to eat a bar of chocolate? This year’s no different from the last, so why the need to make any great change? You can start a resolution at any time of year, you don’t need to start being nice to people or eating better just because another year has passed.

And really, it doesn’t matter when you decide to make that positive change in your life, whether it’s a rainy September afternoon at home, or the turn of the New Year, surrounded by celebrations. But for me, 2017 just felt like the right time. It’s my last year at college, my first year at university and I learned a lot of things in 2016 that I wanted to carry with me into 2017. However, there’s one thing that I’ve decided to leave behind – insecurity.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been insecure, whether it’s about the way that I look, the way my voice sounds, my talents, my relationship or anything in between. And it’s caused so many problems not just within my friendships and relationships, but also just within myself. It’s exhausting to always worry about what other people think and whether or not people are being honest with you.

And it’s taken me up until now to realise that the majority of my insecurities stem purely from off-hand comments that somebody has made to me, some even going back to primary school. And while to them it may only have been a passing comment for them, I have carried them with me for years. “You look weird with your hair tied up”, “she has a great body but her face doesn’t suit it”, “your boyfriend’s probably cheating on you”, “your voice is boring”, “girls don’t have body hair”.

All of those comments adding up to a swirling mass of insecurity that lasted for years.But when I thought about it – what did any of those people really mean to me? The only people that had ever made these sorts of comments were friends of friends or people that I only had to see a few times a week because we went to the same school. Why should their insubstantial comments and snide remarks affect how I felt about myself, when in my mind they themselves were little more than names to attach to derogatory words?

I spent so long wishing that I could be other people, unable to see the things in them that so many other people seemed to see in me. They didn’t have weird hands, or messy hair. They didn’t have bushy eyebrows or ill-fitting clothes that didn’t suit them. People didn’t criticise them or make comments that made them feel insecure. Or so I thought.

But in reality, everybody gets criticsed and everybody has things said about them that are hurtful or embarrassing. However, it’s where you choose to go from there that’s important.

Because when you think about how well those people really know you, how much does a passing comment from them really mean?

Although its going to be hard, my new year’s resolution is to shed the insecurities that have held me back for so long. I’ll wear a cute dress every day if I want to, whether it suits me or not. I’ll wear my hair tied up if I want to. I’ll remember that my boyfriend loves me, and that our relationship is our own and not up for the debate of anyone else.

And I’ll do whatever the hell I want to do, without worrying about what others will think. Because despite the past, I love the person that I’ve become. I’ve learned to embrace my body and the way it looks, I’m comfortable in my abilities and happy with my relationship. So why should anyone else make me feel any different?

 

Anxiety in a Long Distance Relationship

The first thing anyone will ever tell you about long distance relationships is that they’re hard. And they’re not wrong, long distance is one of the biggest challenges a relationship can face, although it’s definitely becoming a lot easier with the technology available to us.With apps like Skype, Facebook and Snapchat, you can get in touch with your significant other as quickly and frequently as you’d like.

But – if you have anxiety, long distance probably just got a whole lot harder.

Before I started dating my boyfriend, I don’t think I really understood my anxiety, or even if I knew what it really was. But after the first seven months or so, it began to cause such a strain on our relationship, that I decided that in order for him to understand my anxiety, I had to first learn to understand it myself. So after two years of managing anxiety in a long distance relationship, here’s what I’ve learned.

This won’t apply to all types of long distance relationships, or even all types of anxiety – this is just what I’ve experienced.tumblr_nvcsasU6gO1ugddz5o1_1280

Understanding and explaining your anxiety

It’s important that your significant other understands how your anxiety works. It will help them know what to do and how to react when it flares up. A lot of people don’t fully understand what anxiety really is, even if they think they do. However, you can’t explain your anxiety well enough, if you don’t understand it yourself. Try to look at your anxiety from a different perspective, see if you can notice any patterns in your behaviour, or any triggers (be aware that there may be multiple). If you can understand how your anxiety works, then it will only make explaining it to your significant other easier. Everyone experiences anxiety differently, so make sure that your significant other understands how anxiety effects you as an individual – what your limitations are, and how severely it effects you. You don’t have to have this conversation straight away, but it’s in important step in communication.

(Maybe) lower your expectations

As much as they want to, your significant other may not always be able to be there for you. Time zones are an unfortunate factor in many long distance relationships, and can often mean that your significant other is unable to respond when you might need it most. Though that doesn’t mean that you have to deal with your anxiety alone. Family and friends can be just as helpful, you just need to figure out what makes you feel better and make sure that the people closest to you understand that as well so they can provide that for you.

Trust them

The most important factor in a long distance relationship is trust. Being unable to see your significant other for prolonged periods of time can put some pretty worried thoughts in your head – but if there’s one thing that you should always remember, it’s that they love you. Long distance relationships are hard, and if that person didn’t love you and wasn’t committed to you, then I guarantee that they wouldn’t be in the relationship in the first place. They want to do the best that they can for you, even despite the barriers between you when you’re apart.

Your friends and family are there to give advice – but it’s not fact

Going to friends and family for advice – especially when you’re anxious – is great. It can be incredibly helpful just to be able to talk it out with someone, especially if your significant other is struggling to help with your anxiety as much as they’d like to. But you have to remember that your friends and family are different people. They only see as much of your relationship as you let them, and so their advice might be a little bit misguided, especially if you only discuss your relationship when it’s a problem or a worry. While they might give great advice and make good points, they won’t always be right.

Be understanding

As much as you wish it didn’t, your anxiety will effect your significant other as well. They’ll probably feel like there’s a lot of pressure on them and that there’s not much they can do, so it might be a good idea to check in on them every once in a while. Even if you just occasionally send them a quick message about it and see if there’s anything either of you can do to make dealing with your anxiety easier for the both of you.

Every relationship is different

Comparing your relationship to others can be harmful. It can make your anxiety so much worse and make you worry unnecessarily. Every relationship is different, just like every person is different, as so comparing your relationship to someone else’s is pointless. Especially when you’re in a long distance relationship. Your relationship is going to be drastically different to those around you, and that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Another thing that’s important to remember is that no relationship is perfect. You may hear other people talking about their relationships and start wondering why yours isn’t more like that – but that won’t be the whole story. You only know as much about that relationship as they’re telling you, so everything might not be as it seems. And besides, there is no such thing as an “ideal” relationship. What may seem ideal to you can’t be said of everyone.

People show love in different ways (especially in an LDR)

Don’t be worried if your partner’s ways of showing affection are different than what you’re used to, or what you expected. Everybody has different ways of expressing their love, and when we don’t understand this, we tend to assume it isn’t there at all. But that’s not true. You just have to get used to the different ways in which your partner shows that they love you, even if they may not be immediately obvious.

Reason with yourself

If you haven’t heard from your partner for a few hours, or are beginning to worry about them, take a moment to just think to yourself. It’s so easy to start concocting impossible stories in your head, but you have to try to be realistic. Especially if you’re living in a different time-zone to your significant other. Consider the time and what it is that they might be doing. They could be at work, or spending time with family, or even just having a nap because they’re overtired. When you can’t see your significant other as often as you’d like, any time spent not talking becomes immediately noticeable, though it doesn’t always have to mean something bad.

Keep them updated

Your partner loves and cares about you, and if there’s something going on in your life, then they’ll want to know about it. Even just giving them semi-regular updates on your anxiety and how you’re coping with it will hugely benefit your relationship. It helps you stay in-tune with each other and makes sure that they know what to expect.

 

I still struggle with my anxiety on a day-to-day basis, although I like to think that I’m better at handling it now than I was before. Two years into my relationship I still get anxious thinking about these things, but I’ve found that it helps to be able to put my anxiety into perspective and understand how it effects me. You can’t find an immediate solution to your anxiety, but you can take small steps to understand and cope with it, and in many ways that’s just as important.