My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost four years. It’s the longest relationship both one of us has ever been in, and honestly, we are still madly in love with each other.

My friends often wonder how we are managing, and my answer is always the same: “We just do it.” I often don’t tell them that we have our ups and downs, too. (What relationship doesn’t?)

But one of the things that keep us going is the promise of our next reunion. As soon as it approaches the time when we get to see each other soon, all of our problems seem to fall away. We are nothing but excited. I even begin a countdown: one month … two weeks … one week … three days … two hours …

After months—or maybe even years—of being apart, you want everything to be perfect when you see each other again. Here are some tips for having the best homecoming ever.

Dress up—but not too much.

We’ve all seen those movies where, as time goes by, the couple begins to get lazy and stops dressing to impress. Well, it’s time to blow that away. Yes, you can dress casual, and you can dress comfortable. But don’t dress like you just rolled out of bed and realized you didn’t set your alarm for the right time.

Chances are he has already seen you at your worst, and that’s totally acceptable. As Marilyn Monroe said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” But if you haven’t seen each for a long time and you show up in slouchy pajamas or joggers, then the only vibe you’re giving off is that you don’t really care about him.

My boyfriend would never dress up in slacks to meet me. If he did, I would most likely make him go back and change (or, if we were near a store, I would buy him a nicer pair of pants). I probably spend two hours getting ready to impress him (this time frame varies from person to person).

Your significant other is excited to see you. It’s only fair that you show him that same level of excitement, right?

Plan a date that allows you to spend maximum time together.

I’m all for the movies. I’m all for spending time with his family and friends. But when you haven’t seen him for that long, it’s OK for you to get him all to yourself.

I like to plan dates that allow me to spend as much time as I can with him. It sounds counter-intuitive, especially considering social media and technology these days, but when it gets close to when I’m going to see him again, I actually begin to withhold important information—just so I can tell him in person. I like seeing his reaction face to face.

A dinner and a walk in the park is the perfect way to get back into the groove of things.

Welcome him home alone.

This is absolutely necessary. A relationship is a bond. And sometimes you just need time to strengthen the bond. That can only be done when the two of you are alone.

Sure, you can bond while being with other people, but it’s not going to be that easy when people are bombarding you with questions about your life and other people are questioning him about his life. Especially when you have barely spent any time with him in the past couple of months.

Be you.

As simple as that sounds, I feel like many people get caught up in being the perfect girlfriend, especially when they haven’t seen their significant other for so long. In the end, you just have to remember that your significant other fell in love with you. Not the perfect you.

Chances are he has already seen what you look like without contacts, without makeup, with clothes that make you look like a slob—and he is OK with all of that. When I see my boyfriend, I try to dress cute. I try to hide my facial acne scars. I wear eyeliner and mascara that makes my eyes look bigger.

But I also know that once I see him, he won’t even notice any of that. He won’t notice what color my eye shadow is or what color lipstick I am wearing. All he will care about is that I am finally there, standing in front of him, hugging him.

So just be you.

Written by Sofieyah Liu
Sofieyah is a college student and blogger in Seattle, Washington, USA. She writes about her long-distance relationship on her website, sofieyah.com.

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