Being apart from the person you love can make it difficult to feel connected and showing you care takes some extra effort. The good news is that you probably already know what you have to do to make them feel cared for - you just have to modify it so it works from afar.
You Do Care
A long-distance relationship - whether temporary or long-term - takes some extra work. By merely being in the relationship and trying to make it work, you are already demonstrating that you care for the other person. Otherwise, why would you be in a relationship that lacks many of the benefits of a traditional relationship such as touch and time together? Unfortunately, simply being in the relationship may not be enough for your partner to show you care. For this, you'll have to put in even more effort.
Good communication is paramount in any relationship when you're apart. Make communication a priority by scheduling specific times to connect via phone or online and don't miss these scheduled interactions. Making communication with your partner a priority, no matter how busy you are, demonstrates how much you care. On the other hand, frequently rescheduling or missing these "dates" will undoubtedly leave your partner to wonder if you even care.
Reminders of Your Care
Take advantage of opportunities to remind your partner how much you care. For example, if your partner has a huge presentation at work or school coming up that they're stressed about, sending a note (or even a small gift) the day before not only demonstrates you care but also that you've paid attention and understand the gravity of the presentation. Even a quick text of "you're going to do great!" or "just breathe - you got this!" are an excellent demonstration of your care; it doesn't have the be expensive or elaborate as long as it's thoughtful.
Take Something Off Their Hands
If you have the financial means to outsource some tasks the other person hates to do, taking the burden off them can be a fantastic reminder of how much you care. Here are some examples:
- Arrange for meal delivery when you know they will be too busy to cook.
- Order groceries and have them delivered so they don't have to shop for groceries.
- Buy a service that does the cleaning, walks the dog, washes the clothes, or details their vehicle.
- Secure the services of a personal assistant to help them through particularly hectic times.
Work Toward Togetherness
What's keeping you apart? If the miles are because of work obligations or something else within your control, you should have a plan in place to either eventually be closer geographically or, at the very least, to visit each other. They will know you care if you are willing to put in the work to be close to them and not make the time apart a permanent situation. Of course, if the distance isn't negotiable for some time because of some mandatory obligation (military deployment, family obligation) then the plans to be together eventually may not be urgent but should still be in the works.
The people close to your partner can probably reveal excellent opportunities for you to demonstrate how much you care. Asking your partner's sibling or friend, "What can I do this week to help my partner feel cared for?" may reveal myriad opportunities for you to be thoughtful and caring.
If your partner is leaving soon but will return, there are some things you can prepare beforehand to ensure they feel cared for:
- Create a photo book or fill a flash drive with photos of the two of you that they can take with them.
- Sneak brief love notes into various crevices of their luggage so they'll find them at regular intervals.
- Research their future location beforehand and provide them with suggestions for places to check out while they are there.
- Buy a small good luck token for them to keep with them.
- Gift them with something that will make communication easier, like a new smartphone, tablet, or even envelopes with prepaid postage.
- Pack them a care package for their trip, complete with their favorite snacks.
- Make plans now to decide when and how you will communicate during their absence.
- If they're driving, have their car inspected by a mechanic beforehand to ensure it's road-ready.
- Write love letters and place them in envelopes that are dated so opening the envelopes is spread evenly throughout their time away.
- Set up a display before they leave featuring their photo and some decorations promise to pray for (or think of) them daily.
- Fill a jar with candy - one piece for every day they will be gone - and tell them to eat a piece a day while away.
- Start making plans together now for their return so you both have something to look forward to.
- Host a going away party at one of their favorite places with some of their favorite people.
- Offer to help them pack - or do the packing for them.
- Buy a pair of relationship pillows or distance bracelets to stay connected.
- Sign them up for a subscription (digital or paper) of the local newspaper so they can stay up to date on what's happening at home.
Feeling Cared For
Not everyone responds to gestures in the same way. You might enjoy receiving texts throughout the day because it makes you feel cared for, but your partner may think it obtrusive and too distracting. A dozen red roses delivered to your workplace might delight you and make you feel cared for, but your partner might find it embarrassing and garish. Essentially, it's important to not simply assume what words or actions will help your partner feel cared for from afar, but to instead talk about it openly and then act upon what you learn from the conversation.
Listen and Learn
How does your partner react when you do a caring gesture? You should put more attention to their reaction than to the reaction of those around them. Suppose you arrange a solo evening out for your partner including a limo, dinner, and a show. Everyone else tells you how thoughtful your arrangement was, but your partner admits to you that it felt a little strange and uncomfortable having a night out on the town by themselves. It's more important to listen to your partner's thoughts than to bask in the accolades of other people.
Do You Care?
Showing your partner you care from afar shouldn't feel like a chore or annoying obligation. You should want to help your partner feel cared for - and if not, it may be time to reevaluate your arrangement.