You're thousands of miles away from the one you love and it's tearing you apart every time you get on Skype or FaceTime to fill that aching gap. For new long-distance couples, this can be the very definition of hell on earth. Your soulmate is supposed to be with you - mentally, physically, and spiritually - but circumstances dictate that you remain separate. Nobody who hasn't been through the experience can know what it's like. But there's some good news to give you solace: gifts for long-distance couples, when done right, can go a long way in alleviating the ache born of that gap.
Other long-distance relationship issues aside, we now know that gifts can transmit immense positive psychic energy when physical proximity is not possible or practical. But finding perfect gifts for your faraway lover or spouse isn't always that easy. You could browse the Internet for gift ideas, of course, but how do you make a gift extremely personal? That's why we've decided to draw you a roadmap to find the best long-distance gifts, with some suggestions strewn along the way.
Long-distance Gifts for Couples to Develop Greater Intimacy
To begin with, ask yourself what type of gift can evoke memories of the times when you were able to spend precious days with each other in between those long stretches of loneliness? What gift can you give that brings you mentally closer to fill the glaring physical void? Are there gifts that can get you both to have the same experiences at the same time? Or gifts that can bring some psychological consonance and closeness to a relationship where distance is the greatest challenge? How can you leverage technology to bring you mentally closer to each other?
That's what we're going to explore today in this article. If you look closer, you'll see that many of these gift ideas leverage the power of our senses to bring a feeling of proximity and invoke a sense of intimacy. It's a concept called senses gifting and has been around for a while, but few people realize the immense power that senses gifts can have on the giver as well as the receiver.
Visual Gifts to Invoke Positive Memories
The first type of gift - and probably the most obvious one - that works well for a long-distance couple is one that can give both of you a visual treat. We're talking about photos of each other that you send on private chat or email that can be saved as wallpapers or screensavers on your phone or your desktop. It can serve as a constant reminder to the other person whenever they use their phone or log in to their computer.
Visual gifts like these can bring up powerful memories of your time together but they have to be done just right. Look your best and snap your better side to give your girl or guy a more positive and appealing memory of you. You know that story of native Americans refusing to be photographed because they were afraid it would steal a piece of their souls? That's a myth at best but if it were true, wouldn't you rather have your lover in a distant land see the better side of your soul?
You can also take it up a notch and send a photo collage that will put a smile on distant lips. Use humor to spice it up. If there's a special look or glance that fires up her memory, use that. If a particular pose of yours stirs his loins, don't be too shy to send that one. Try to send stuff that you know they'll like, not just any random selfie that you took that morning with your hair looking like a badly built bird's nest. Plan it out and curate the best ones, and then use an app like Diptic or PiZap to put them together in the form of a montage. Be creative and have fun with it.
If you're a little more tech-savvy (or even if you're new to it), you can try creating a video montage of clips showing your time together or even while away. There are tons of video editing apps that let you do it right on your iPhone or Android device, such as Adobe Premiere Clip and Vidstitch, that are user-friendly and don't require any sort of expertise. Remember, you don't have to be ↓↓↓THIS GUY↓↓↓ to make great movies!
Long Distance Experiential Gifts
Technology is all around us. Use it! Why not consider amping up your gifting skills with the help of virtual reality or VR? Sites like AltspaceVR offer apps where you can create private rooms, spaces, and worlds, and even interact with each other with activities like painting or playing video games. There are also apps like RizortVR, vTime, and portals like Oculus Rooms and Mozilla Hubs where you can upload a 360 photo and explore that with your faraway spouse or lover or set up a private space for just the two of you.
Of course, you'll need the hardware to enter these virtual worlds so buy a pair of Oculus Rift or Oculus Go HMDs (head-mounted displays) and have the second one shipped to your partner. VR headsets are not that expensive nowadays and you can easily get one for a couple of hundred bucks per unit. It's a great investment and it gives you the opportunity to spend virtual time with each other. If money is not an object you can try some high-end devices like the Valve Index VR full kit or an HTC VIVE Pro. Most of them piggyback on third-party VR apps or offer their own.
Strictly speaking, experiential gift ideas means you gift an experience rather than just "stuff" or material things. This involves gifting an experience that the other person hasn't yet had. For instance, if you love whitewater rafting but your spouse in another country has never done it before, why not gift them a kayaking experience that you booked online near their location? It doesn't have to be a strenuous physical activity or a dangerous sport; for example, you can buy him a ticket (with popcorn and soda delivered right to his seat!) to a movie you love but he hasn't seen before. A lot of multiplex movie theaters today offer such dine-in seating that he'll absolutely love.
Such an experience will not only give both of you something to talk about but also deepens the relationship by helping the giftee understand and appreciate a point of view that's important to the gifter and different to their own preferences. It's a powerful gifting idea that you should definitely try at some point. However, be careful not to gift them an experience that you clearly know they won't enjoy - like a skydiving session for a person with vertigo or acrophobia. Duh.
Touch-friendly Gifts for Long-distance Couples
Our tactile sense is one of the most powerful of the five. When triggered in the right way, it can be quite satisfying. In fact, the lack of touch is one of the very things that makes a long-distance relationship so hard to bear. Did you know that the sense of touch can tell your brain to release endorphins, a class of "happy hormones"; or that touch is the first sense to develop in a human fetus, at about eight weeks?
That means when you were a little bitty embryo in your mama's womb looking like something Sigourney Weaver would have shot at...
...is when you developed the first of your five senses. Not the most flattering analogy, I'll admit, but it was fun, right?
Gifts for long-distance couples that involve the sense of touch in some way can be a fantastic emotional trigger for most people. Try something like a touch lamp
or a weighted blanket. If you don't know what these are, a touch lamp or friendship lamp is a set of two lamps where if you touch one lamp, the other automatically changes to a preselected color. And the lamps can be thousands of miles apart, linked to separate Wi-Fi connections. One for you and one for your better half. And it's quite affordable as well.
A weighted blanket is basically what it sounds like. Little discs or pellets are sewn into layers of fabric to make the blanket settle around you and give you the feeling you're being hugged. It's a great experience but it's only sensible if your wife, husband, or lover lives in a cold climate or sleeps in an air-conditioned environment. Studies have shown that weighted blankets can increase the level of serotonin, another "happy hormone" that can make you feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed. You can see why it would make an appealing long-distance relationship gift idea.
Olfactory Memory Joggers for Overseas Lovers
If you have a nose for it, you can try some olfactory teasers to give your loved one a lingering smell that reminds her of you. Roses? Boriiiiing! Try something more personal, like hyacinths to remind her of the flowers you used at your wedding? It doesn't matter what kind of flower it is as long as it is linked to some shared memory.
Perfumes are another great idea. Is there a particular fragrance he loves on you? Why not send him a bottle of that so he can get a whiff of you whenever he feels lonely? You can also send perfumed items like scented aromatherapy oils. Just make sure it's a smell that will invoke a powerful memory of when you were physically together.
Why is this a great gift idea for long-distance couples?
The sense of smell can trigger emotions and memories far better than any sense. The geek's explanation for that is the fact that it is the only one that skips the brain's 'relay station', the thalamus, and goes straight to the olfactory bulb; in turn, this is connected to the hippocampus and the amygdala. In layman's terms, our sense of smell is akin to the sense organ of the very first single-celled organisms that populated the earth's bio-broth, technically known as the Primordial Soup, from which all living things are thought to have originated.
That's why certain smells are so intoxicating and heady. Find that smell and gift it. It works.
Aurally Stimulating Gifts for Long-distance Couples
If our eyes are the windows to our souls, then our ears are a direct route to our hearts. Studies have shown that our sense of hearing is a far better vehicle for emotion than sight. We're better at detecting emotion when we only have access to sound rather than just sight alone or even sight with sound. It also implies that sound can be a better emotional trigger than sight.
In the context of LDR gifting
, you can use sound to your advantage by choosing a gift related to sound. It can be as simple as sharing a playlist or as elaborate as organizing a limousine trip to where her favorite band is playing live. It can be the sound of your voice on his voicemail or a carefully curated collection of soothing sounds for him to go to sleep to. If you guys have been living near the ocean and she had to move to a place with no access to a beach, why not a recording of ocean sounds with your soothing voice laid on top?
When considering gifts for long-distance couples, be sure that it's something that will trigger a memory of you in some way. That's what makes it truly powerful. You certainly don't want to treat her to front seat tickets at a Justin Bieber concert only to have it end with her leaving you for Biebs!