No matter what milestone you’re commemorating — an anniversary, a birthday, or a promotion — you expect to be hand-in-hand with your partner, clinking glasses of bubbly, and unwrapping whatever perfect present you made for the other person. Most importantly, you expect togetherness. Unfortunately, for those in long-distance relationships, being face-to-face isn’t always possible — not even for the big stuff. But you can still swing a totally special celebration with the right perspective, and a little (or a lot) of patience. Maria Sullivan, a relationship expert and the vice president of Dating.com, gave us her pointers for how you and your partner can honor your most momentous life events, even from miles away.

Woman talking on cell phone

1. Ignore other couples. When you’re missing your boo, especially around the time of an important milestone, seeing even just the smallest PDA can feel like a punch to the gut. “Being apart from your best friend [and] significant other can take an emotional toll,” Sullivan says. “But instead of focusing on the amount of wine you can consume to forget you’re ‘alone,’ focus on building relationships with people. Making an impact on someone else’s day can be rewarding and leave you feeling fulfilled instead of sorry for yourself.”

2. Get creative with your gifts. “While you can always wait to exchange gifts when you reunite, a great way to remind your partner that you are thinking of them while long distance is to plan ahead and send gifts or organize surprises,” Sullivan says. Although you might not be able to see the smile on their face as they open up your present, long-distance relationships actually allow for some super-special gifts that don’t necessarily have as much impact for same-city couples. Sullivan suggests the lamps, pillows, or other devices that light up when each respective partner interacts with them. Some other ideas include matching underwear in a picked-by-you pattern, forever flowers (yes, they last a full year), or a prepped meal basket to make in unison.

3. Spend time “together.” Technology saves the day on a big day. In order to have unadulterated time together, Sullivan suggests connecting beforehand to sort out your schedules and allot a whole hour to spend talking to the other person — no rushed phone calls allowed that day! “Personally, (I think) video chatting is the best way to connect long distance,” Sullivan says. In addition to the phone or video call, Sullivan also says the sentimentality of sweet texts leading up to the conversation can go a long way. “Sending a few ‘I’m thinking of you’ messages and pictures will make the time pass and give your partner all the feels,” she says.

4. Schedule an in-person celebration. In the end, you love your honey every day of the year, so rescheduling a day in which to celebrate your relationship isn’t a lot to ask. (Bonus: Think about how much easier it’ll be to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant. “There’s always the opportunity to have [another celebration] when you see each other next,” Sullivan says. “Knowing that this option exists can keep the excitement going even after it passes. Looking forward to this time will make spending time apart more bearable.” Now, go get your planner!

How do you show your miles-away sweetie you love ’em? Let us know @BritandCo.

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