Between distance, unending responsibilities, and having only a limited number of hours in the day, couples don’t always get the chance to spend the quality time they want together. Even couples living under the same roof find it difficult to maintain intimacy, particularly when one partner has to travel often for work or family obligations. But in this age of technology, there is help.

Apps present a new way to keep couples connected while embracing the tech-heavy nature of today’s everyday life, whether they are in long-distance relationships or live in the same home. Here are three of those apps.

1. Avocado

With the Avocado app, couples find a new way to communicate and share thoughts and media with one another in a private, more intimate setting than traditional social media, emails, or texting. Avocado enables couples to chat, share photos, generate lists, create media for each other, and set up a calendar for important dates, outings, and other reminders.

Couples can create and organize lists together, such as groceries, gifts, and movies they want to see. The app provides couples with a fresh way of expressing themselves and sharing different parts of their relationship conveniently, no matter how far apart they might be.

2. Couple

The Couple app creates and manages a shared timeline for both partners to access anytime, anywhere, via the Web or mobile devices. The app also provides opportunities for couples to find restaurants nearby and use other location features to schedule dates and otherwise get a chance to see each other.

Create to-do lists and use a shared calendar to keep organized and on top of what the other is planning and thinking. Features like Thumbkiss and Live Sketch, which enables couples to draw together, facilitate personal interactions that stretch any distance.

3. The Boyfriend Log

Long-distance and close-distance relationships go through their ups and downs, and it can be hard to discern which pole the relationships gravitates to more than the other. The Boyfriend Log app allows a partner to keep a detailed record of how the relationship is going day to day and presents that information in a way that clearly represents whether or not the user is in a healthy, positive relationship.

With color-coded days on a calendar marking the good days, bad days, and all those in between, the visual representation may be just the affirmation a user needs to make a decision about the future of his or her relationship.

When Long Distances Come Into Play

Even though it’s considered more difficult, long distance relationships are common. Studies show that not only does long distance not necessarily make a relationship more likely to fail, but it can actually bring partners emotionally closer together than if they were living in the same area.

In 2013, researchers at Queen’s University in Ontario and the University of Utah conducted a study of more than 700 people in long-distance relationships and 425 people in geographically close relationships. Participants completed multiple questionnaires that assessed the quality of their relationships based on factors like an assessment of various forms of intimacy, a commitment scale, a communication scale, and measurements of sexual satisfaction. The study showed that those in long-distance relationships were no less satisfied and that being in such a relationship does not preclude negative outcomes.

A 2013 “Journal of Communication” article reported that, in addition to long-distance relationships not meaning a failed endeavor, partners in these relationships often form stronger bonds than close-distance couples. This stems from the more constant and deeper communication had to keep the relationship going. Whether that communication was face-to-face or over the phone, texts, emails, instant messenger, apps, or video chat, the long-distance couples appeared to feel more intimate toward each other than couples who lived close by.

The research connected this deeper intimacy with two factors: long-distance couples disclosed more of themselves, and they idealized their partners’ behaviors. Because they had media hurdles to overcome to stay connected, long-distance couple made more of an effort to establish this intimate style of communication and tended to feel more emotionally connected as a result.

All this research points to the conclusion that with or without couple apps, long-distance relationships can work. Couple apps do, however, help to facilitate the strong communication and deep bond required to make this type of relationship function, should a couple want to approach that aspect of relationship-building technology.

Whether they sleep thousands of miles apart or in the same bed, couples have an array of technology at their fingertips that can help keep their partner close and their relationship enlivened with frequent and varied modes of communication. Communication is key to any relationship, and as smartphones and apps continue to evolve into more essential communication modalities, video and dedicated couple apps stand a chance to keep relationships alive the world over.


Photo: Shena Pamela/Flickr