Long distance relationships are difficult. I know it’s certainly something I struggle with. Lack of physical contact is really hard to deal with and I’m certain that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Even though distance and lack of touch is a problem, I don’t think it is an insurmountable problem, nor do I think it is necessarily a relationship ending problem. Telephones and video chat do make it easier to communicate, but don’t solve the physical contact problem. So how do you touch from across the country? I don’t have a perfect solution, just a few ideas.
I’ve liked the idea of letters as long distance touch for a long time. I first heard the idea in one of my favorite science fiction novels, Shards of Honor (I highly recommend it if you enjoy science fiction). The main character, Cordelia, decides to send a paper letter to her lover on another planet even though it is more expensive than an electronic letter because they would both touch the letter. When the distance is interplanetary that really does seem like the closest thing possible to touching. Though it is hardly a pivotal scene from the book it has stuck with me. I love getting letters and usually do feel like it’s sharing a touch with the sender. But it’s not much as far as touch goes and I feel like it might be possible to do better.
Unfortunately, The Hug ShirtTM, which I’ve talked about before, and still think is a great idea for this sort of thing, is still unavailable for purchase. So I’ve been working on a less high tech solution. I have a hoodie that functions as a hug substitute for one of my best friends who lives in another state, and a fleece blanket that is a hug substitute for another friend. These things are certainly more comforting than a letter though they aren’t a perfect solution.
I’m not sure if there’s a better solution. Does anyone else have any ideas? I’d love to hear them.