My first exposure to long-distance relationships (LDRs) was during my freshman year of college. I lived in an all-girls dormitory, which meant that more than once, I had to awkwardly tip-toe past one of my many lovelorn neighbors as they cooed in the phone to their boyfriends who were attending a different university in a faraway land.
As I walked by, I felt sorry for these girls. The man they loved was hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles away. That’s tough. Additionally, this adolescent romance was probably going to end as soon as one of them locked eyes with a good-looking co-ed after one too many keg stands at the Kappa Sig house. That’s tougher.
Teen romances aside, I have always been an anti-long-distance-relationship kind of gal. They're just not ideal. You can't see that person whenever you want. I would imagine that jealousy would be more prevalent. And “sexting” is never as good as the real thing. Period.
Hear me out. The more you date, the more you are convinced that people suck. Not all of them. Just the ones you're dating.
Which is why it is slightly shocking that I now find myself in one of these dreaded arrangements. Before you say anything, let me defend myself by saying that I tried to avoid this at all costs. I have been in relationships before where the other person moved away, and while I cared about them, I saw it as a deal-breaker and wished them well on their way out. However, I have done my fair share of dating, and after some time, I started to wonder if maybe the dating part is actually more difficult than the long distance relationship part.
Hear me out. The more you date, the more you are convinced that people suck. Not all of them. Just the ones you're dating. So, when you find a guy (or gal) who doesn't suck (and is, in fact, all kinds of awesome), but he or she lives in another city, you begin to question your previously held beliefs about LDRs.
Which is what I did. And which is why I am now dating a guy who lives in Dallas. In terms of long distance, ours is really an insignificant amount of distance. I say this because I have a friend who dated a guy who lived in Asia for a year and a half. Asia. A year and a half. That’s love. Now, much like how all fairytales end, he showed up on her doorstep one day and proposed (AWW!). Point is, I could have it worse.
However, while mine is a minor case of long-distance-relationship-itis, it still kind of stinks not having my guy here all the time. We Skype. We call. We text. We email. We even tweet. As far as the gamut of communication goes, I think we’ve got it covered. And in this effort to find every way possible to stay in touch with my beau, I started to think about what else is available to people who are trying to make their long distance love last.
Like any good journalist, I did some in-depth research (Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, etc.) and found out that there are actually quite a few tools out there to sustain the LDR crowd. In the spirit of the season and keeping that love alive, I wanted to share my findings with my fellow long-distance lovers.
Created by Scottish designer Joanna Montgomery, Pillow Talk is a device designed for the LDR couple. Here’s how it works: Each person puts on a ring sensor when they go to sleep at night. Once one person falls asleep, their significant other's pillow starts to glow softly, thanks to a flat fabric panel that goes inside the pillowcase. Here's the kicker: Because the panel syncs up with your significant other's ring, when you put your head on the pillow, you can hear the other person's heart beat.
My immediate thought when I came across this was... bizarre. But after watching the promotional video, I actually found it to be quite sweet. That being said, I can't help but laugh imaging what my boyfriend's reaction would be upon me suggesting that we try this.
Still in invite-only beta release, Couple Fire is an online application that serves as a social network just for you and your sweetie. It has a couple's dashboard where you can post questions, quizzes, friendly reminders or just sweet messages. It also has an alerts function, to remind you about important dates like birthdays and anniversaries. The online app’s creator, Emily Marshall, says that it’s basically a private Facebook, just for couples.
First of all, I’d like to point out that the app’s original name was “SnuggleCloud.” I think we can all agree the name change was a move in the right direction. However, I feel like you can do most of this stuff over all of the existing social networks. Then again, I know I don’t feel comfortable writing lovey-dovey stuff on my guy’s Facebook wall. So, I suppose I can see the value of having a personal online space for you and your partner to be as mushy as your hearts desire.
Path is a unique photo sharing app, marketed as the “smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love.” Unlike other photo apps out there, Path gives you several sharing options. You can post both photos and videos, and you can choose whether to make them public, so all your Path friends can see, or private, meant to viewed only by those you choose.
There is also a neat comment feature so that your significant other can tell you how adorable you look in that sombrero and fake moustache that you wore for your friend’s fiesta-themed birthday party.
This is one of my favorite apps of the bunch. One of the worst aspects of the LDR is not getting to experience things with your guy or gal. Path allows you to capture those moments and share them virtually with the one you love. It may not be the same as them being there, but it’s probably the next best thing.
Developed for the iPad and iPhone, Find My Friends is an app that does exactly what it says: it locates your friends, families and, of course, your significant other. Once you download the app for free from the App Store, you simply send a request to your lover. After they accept it, you can both locate each other at any time.
Yes, this is basically a GPS tracker for people that you want to stalk. Which is why I was surprised when my guy told me to download it. No, we aren’t the crazy stalker types. In fact, it was more of a joke at first. But sometimes when I'm bored, I will actually find myself using it. There are two reasons for this: 1) I am amazed by the fact that I can track down someone's exact location; and 2) there is a part of me that honestly just likes seeing where he is. It's weirdly comforting. Besides, it’s not stalking if he’s your boyfriend... right?
As humorous and/or ridiculous as all of these things might seem, I'm not surprised they exist. Relationships are hard, and long-distance relationships are harder. So it makes sense that people would try to develop tools, apps and online networks that could make it all a bit easier. For now, I'm content with Skype and my weird stalker app. I'm also content with my boyfriend. He is pretty great, and definitely worth all that pesky long-distance nonsense.