Dating someone who lives in a different city, state, or country comes with many logistical challenges. Over time, the distance can cause a strain on the relationship — unless couples work hard to overcome the obstacles in their path to being together in the end.

Long-distance dating experts Nate and Lolo — who are now married — have been separated by thousands of miles and still managed to make their relationship work. Today, Nate and Lolo blog about their dating experiences and offer tips on Lasting the Distance, a free resource for people who are trying to maintain long-distance connections.

We asked Nate to weigh in on how long-distance couples can feel closer to each other — even if they’re physically distant. He told us that clear and consistent communication can reinforce a heartfelt connection while in a long-distance relationship. He also recommended ways to stay in touch by planning virtual dates.

Courtesy of Lasting the Distance, here are some fun and engaging virtual date ideas for couples who are in long-distance relationships. 

1. Watch TV Shows or Movies at the Same Time

Nate told us that some of his favorite date nights when apart from then-girlfriend Lolo involved watching television shows or movies simultaneously. They coordinated quite a few virtual watch parties while Nate lived in Australia and Lolo lived in Canada.

“It was an opportunity to have a nice relaxing time ‘together,'” Nate explained. “Initially, we would watch something on a streaming service, then through Skype we would countdown from three to press play and hopefully be watching the same parts at the same time. Now there are platforms like Kast and Netflix Party that do all the syncing for you!”

Photo of Lolo and Nate
Lolo and Nate met in 2010 as international students in Southern California.

Watching local shows and favorite movies with a romantic partner is a good way to learn more about each other’s likes and culture. You may find common ground while binge-watching a reality show, or you may discover a new passion for superhero movies, rom-coms, or thrillers.

Maybe you could take turns choosing what to watch every week, or maybe you’re both following a particular show and can make a ritual of watching together. Whatever it is, the important part is making the time to share that experience.

Nate’s pro tip: Start by watching each other’s all-time favorite movies.

2. Eat Together

Food brings people together, and that shouldn’t change just because you’re in different locations or even living in different time zones. Long-distance couples can still share a meal together. Nate recommends trying one of of two options:

  1. Cook and prepare the same meal
    • This is a rewarding option if you have enough time to cook and eat.
  2. Order takeout
    • You can order food from similar restaurants in your area.
    • Have some fun by ordering each other’s food without telling what it will be!

Couples in long-distance relationships can arrange times to eat a meal together — even if one person is having lunch while the other has a late dinner.

Nate’s pro tip: If you have the time, cook a dish that represents the local flavors in your area (or your partner’s area). A national favorite or local delicacy can bring extra space to a dinner date.

3. Plan Goal-Orientated Dates

A great date night almost always involves spending quality time together. But it doesn’t have to be a traditional dinner-and-a-movie routine. A long-distance couple’s quality time can mean sightseeing, exercising, wedding planning, or even visiting friends or family members. Couples can and should make plans to be productive on dates, especially when it comes to visiting each other.

Being in a long-distance relationship means couples have to be deliberate about the whens, wheres, and hows of every date.

“We would allocate date night time to planning visits and closing the distance,” Nate said. “Being able to work on it at the same time meant we could discuss different topics, which made the process much easier.”

Photo from Lasting the Distance
Couples need a plan to make the most of their time together and apart.

Planning your future visits can be a great way to establish a collaborative spirit that will help later down the line when couples have other big issues they need to tackle together. It strengthens your relationship when you can work on and achieve a goal together.

If you’re working on a long-distance plan with a partner, you can gain insight from the Closing the Distance Calculator. This free online tool helps couples set goals, create budgets, and determine the optimal time to reunite.

Nate’s pro tip: Make it a competition and see who can find the cheapest flight or the best activity to do during a visit.

4. Order Subscription Boxes

Food and beverage subscription boxes are a fun way to bring a little excitement to long-distance date nights. Whether you like candy, jerky, tea, coffee, or wine, you can schedule a date night to try each item in the box along with your partner.

“What’s cool is that most options allow you to purchase a one-off box or subscribe to a monthly or quarterly delivery,” Nate told us. Lasting the Distance has highlighted some special relationship gifts for long-distance couples who are celebrating a holiday or milestone.

Screenshot of Universal Yums
Universal Yums is a unique subscription box to try international flavors.

Subscription boxes can be a nice investment in a relationship because they give you and your partner something to look forward to — and the contents could fuel date nights for months or years to come!

Of course, you don’t have to go with a food subscription box to have a good time. With a little searching, you can find a subscription box for just about anything you could want — including books, socks, and dog toys — so it can also be a creative way to share your likes and interests with someone else.

Nate’s pro tip: Most people enjoy indulging in candy and snacks, so start with Universal Yums, which offers snacks from across the world.

Lasting the Distance Gives Couples Encouragement & Support

Nate and Lolo met as college students in 2010, and then they spent many months apart with Lolo in Canada and Nate in Australia. As a long-distance couple, they gained valuable communication skills and strengthened their relationship by keeping in close contact and making time for virtual dates and visits. You can read more about their backstory here.

Today, Nate and Lolo run the Lasting the Distance blog to inspire others to follow their example and successfully navigate the challenges of long-distance relationships. The blog’s practical tips, specific recommendations, and online tools can guide couples to make the most of their time together.

Nate provided some great date ideas for couples in long-distance relationships. No matter where they live, couples can plan mealtimes, video calls, and movie nights to propel relationships forward and make some wonderful memories.

“Date nights are vitally important to helping long-distance couples not only have fun and enjoy each other’s company, but to also connect on another level,” Nate said.