Long distance relationships can get lonely, but by using one of these six tech-based assistants, you can make the days apart a little easier to endure.
By Kristian Porter, Northern Kentucky University
These days, more and more people are finding themselves in long distance relationships.
With so many online dating sites and the ability to be in contact with people from all over the world, it makes sense that people are finding connections. I met my boyfriend two years ago on Tumblr of all places.
It’s not just online couples who go through it, though. College is often the time when couples who previously spent nearly every day with each other find themselves at different schools, sometimes in different parts of the country.
Long distance relationships are a bitch, plain and simple. It takes hard work and good communication to maintain any relationship, but the effort required feels like its tripled when your significant other is miles away. But luckily, there is technology available that can make the distance just a little more bearable.
Here are six techy tools to help you get through the long weeks without your other half.
This app is designed specifically for couples (hence the name). Its primary purpose is to help couples stay in touch with mobile messaging that’s only shared between the two of you. You can send texts with lovey-dovey stickers or send cute filtered photos to each other, and no one else will ever see them. That doesn’t seem very different than regular messaging apps, but Couple offers so many more features.
Sometimes, in a long distance relationship, it can get hard to keep track of each other’s schedules, especially if you are in two completely different time zones. The Couple app allows you to share a calendar and to-do lists with your significant other, so you can stay up-to-date on each other’s work schedules, important holidays and travel plans. The app also allows you to play games and draw together using the LiveSketch feature. Everything happens in real-time no matter how far apart you are.
The feature most helpful for your long distance relationship, I think, is Thumbkiss. You place your thumb on the screen and if your partner places their thumb in the same place, your phone will vibrate. It’s a way to simulate the kind of physical contact that you really crave when they’re not around. It’s a little cheesy, but when you miss someone, even the smallest act can help you feel connected.
If you’re looking for more app options, Avocado is similar, but replaces Thumbkiss with a way to send a “hug” by holding the phone to your chest.
I’ve personally used this, not just for my relationship, but for friends who live far away. Rabbit allows you to stream videos, play games or do just about anything else on the internet together.
You can plan an actual movie date! With Rabbit, you can video chat while simultaneously streaming the same movie. You can use Netflix, Hulu, Youtube or any other streaming site and it’s not like you both pulled up the movie and tried to press play at the same time (which always fails and someone ends up annoyingly 2 seconds behind). The same movie is streamed to all parties, so everyone will be in the same place. No more, “3-2-1 Go!” It’s the closest thing that I’ve found to actually being with someone.
Rabbit isn’t just for movies, though. You can share documents, play games or just simply browse the internet together. My boyfriend and I often use it to scroll through Reddit threads together when we’re bored.
3. Touch Room
If you liked the idea of Couple’s Thumbkiss, but didn’t want all of the other features of the app, Touch Room is a great alternative. It has essentially the same premise. You both download the app then enter a Touch Room together. Your significant other can touch their phone screen and you will see dots light up in the places they are touching. If you both touch the same area, your phone will vibrate.
It’s another option to feel a connection if you’re missing your significant other’s touch.
4. Pillow Talk
One of the hardest things about long distance is getting used to sleeping next to someone, and then no longer having them around. Pillow Talk is a way to simulate that feeling. It comes with a wristband that each of you wear and a sensor that fits inside your pillow. Your pillow will glow to let you know that your partner is currently laying on their pillow. The wristband tracks your significant other’s heartbeat, and then replays it in real time into the sensor inside your pillow. Feeling their heartbeat beneath you helps it to feel like you are sleeping on your partner’s chest.
Unfortunately, this is only a Kickstarter right now, but they’re already producing them and are accepting preorders.
5. Patch of Sky
This one is especially relevant for those in extremely long distance relationships—opposite sides of the country or even opposite sides of the globe. Patch of Sky is a set of three lamps that you can hang or place anywhere that simulate the sky wherever your significant other is. It uses Facebook to find their location and the weather for that area and then generates a color based on that weather. The lamps are connected to the internet, so they update the color instantaneously.
It’s a nice reminder that, no matter where you are, you’re still always looking up at the same sky. It helps to bridge the distance a little.
This is a countdown app that you can use for anything, but it’s my personal favorite to use for counting down the days until you see your significant other again. Dreamdays is great because you can set a picture as the background of your countdown, and it’s always nice to see the numbers lower as you’re looking at your partner’s face.
It also sends notifications to your phone of how many days you have left till you see each other. It’s an effective motivational tool, especially on the really hard days where you struggle with missing them. It can be really helpful to wake up to a message that reads, “Only 20 more days,” to keep you focused on your relationship.