You spend all afternoon making your partner this fabulous dinner for when he comes home from a stressful day at work. First, you pull up the recipe to their favorite dish, run to the grocery store to get all the ingredients, get home to realize you forgot an item and run all the way back. Then you get home and slave away in the kitchen trying your best to complete the recipe just the way he likes it. You set the table all nice, use the “good dishes” and finally, you hear him park his car.
Your partner opens the door, walks right past your meal, says thanks but no thanks and walks up to bed…
After a couple times of this, you probably are not likely to continue putting in all that effort. Why?
Because the strenuous effort was not appreciated. Feeling appreciated is an essential part of any relationship. I mean, isn’t that a big reason why we are in a relationship to begin with? To feel loved, appreciated and supported by another?
But that goes both ways. Your partner needs to feel appreciated too. And as always, this is a lot harder when in a long distance relationship. You can’t make dinners, they can’t see your facial expression when doing something for you, and it may be a few days sometimes before you can even say thank you.
So, how do you show that same amount of appreciation when there are lots of miles between you?
1. Snail Mail
Sending someone mail is an act. By that I mean you physically have to sit down, get a pen and paper and write what you want to say. It’s a little more thoughtful than just spewing out some words. Also, a letter is a thing. Your partner can hold it and save it for whenever they need to re-read it.
To make a letter more personal, try spraying their favorite fragrance of yours on the card. Color some pictures on the side. Buy a funny card and write a thoughtful message on the side telling him how much you appreciate them doing such and such a thing for you.
I was hanging laundry for my boyfriend once while he was at school. I was visiting for the weekend and was a little bored so I wanted to do him a favor. While I was hanging up some shirts I noticed a box on the floor with letters and cards inside. I looked a little closer and there was every letter his family and I had ever sent him.
Believe me, snail mail may be slow… but it goes a long way.
2. Taking time out to actually TELL him
Here’s a good example: whenever I am talking to other girls about their relationships and there’s one girl complaining about how her boyfriend never calls her and the other is in tears because she’s not sure if her boyfriend is cheating on her or not, I thank my boyfriend.
He honestly didn’t even do anything that required thanking but after hearing some of the things other girls go through, I always make it a point to thank him. Why? Because I am showing appreciation. I appreciate him without him even having to buy me flowers or do anything really. Take the time to tell them how much you appreciate them.
3. Do something nice back in return
Here’s a no-brainer. If someone does something nice for someone else, then maybe that person should do something nice for them too. It kind of follows the golden rule or treating others how you would want to be treated. If your boyfriend changed the oil on your car, wouldn’t it be nice if you maybe washed his laundry or made some food for when he came back inside? I think so. This is a little harder in long distance relationships, but don’t fret!
There are a variety of ways to return the favor:
- order him or her a pizza
- follow tip number one and send a card
- do something nice for their family
- send a small present
- travel to surprise them with a visit
- make a care package
- plan something for when you see them next that they would like to do, such as tickets somewhere or plans to go to a certain restaurant, etc.
There is really no right or wrong answer.
I think appreciation works a lot like karma. If nice things are done for other people and they feel appreciated and loved, they will try their best to make you feel the same. It’s a cycle and a vital one at that. In a long distance relationship, it’s not much different. There just needs to be a little creativity and a little effort in how it’s done.