couple separating at the entrance to a subway station

Having a significant other who lives in a different NYC borough is tough. Here’s how to make it easier.

As a resident of New York City’s northernmost borough with a boyfriend who resides more than an hour away, I have come to appreciate, bemoan, and ponder the predicament of cross-borough dating in NYC. When you and your love interest live at opposite ends of this gargantuan metropolis, it makes for a unique, bizarre form of long-distance relationship. Committing to daily commutes just to grab drunken noodles can get a bit overwhelming — because, really, are mediocre Thai food and your boyfriend’s company always worth a two-hour trip? Maybe not. Here are some tips for how to keep the flames of love alive, even when the object of them lives a borough or two away.

Meet for Dinner in the Middle

When you want to hang out for a quick “Hi-you’re-still-alive-and-work-hasn’t-killed-you-yet?” meal, try to find dinner spots that are convenient for both of you. Compromising and trying places near both of your work buildings and homes ensures that one person is not always schlepping further. This is what a modern relationship looks like, people: sharing the burden of who gets to take the godawful F train.

Use Your Commute as a Time to Relax

Although this is easier said than done — especially when a troupe of breakdancers starts cartwheeling close to your cranium — try to view your commute as downtime, rather than a chore. I always have a book or a podcast ready, so when I hear the dreaded “We are being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher,” I can keep reading rather than spin into a Hulk-like rage.

Carve Out Space in Each Other’s Homes

Facing a commute that often takes longer than a trip to Philadelphia (think about that and feel free to cry), NYC dwellers stuff their purses and bags like suitcases for an international flight. I always carry staples such as bandages, socks and a 12-month supply of ChapStick. With that stuff flying around, it’s essential to have a place to store things at your significant other’s. (Although the floor often works fine, too.)

Send Letters

Okay, okay, I know you’re not in an actual long-distance relationship, like NYC to Utah or Hong Kong, but sending a physical letter is a nice New York dating habit. Receiving a handwritten letter can be a great boost if your schedules are jammed and neither of you can make the commute for several days at a time. And if you’re too modern for the good ol’ pen and paper, an especially thoughtful text can do the trick.

Don’t Talk Smack About Their Apartment/Neighborhood

You both know that your neighborhood and go-to coffee spot are indisputably superior, but that doesn’t mean you need to say it. Every neighborhood has its quirks, and if your love interest lives somewhere lame, try to be nice about it. If you constantly rant about how awful their local restaurant scene is, they may realize they think the same about you.

Switch Off Weekends Exploring Each Other’s Boroughs

Yay for staycations! Take the time to check out the restaurants, bars and cultural offerings of both of your neighborhoods, even if one seems inherently better than the other (see above). It will be fun to get to know each of your respective boroughs, and it might push you to explore things that neither of you would have thought of on your own. I’ve personally rediscovered some great Bronx bars and the New York Botanical Garden — clear signs of an interborough relationship in full bloom.

Plan Together

Ah, how jealous we are of couples who live in the same neighborhood, who can simply meet up for dinner on a whim. What a dream! Living in different boroughs requires coordination, foresight, and a bit more planning than the average relationship. Making dinner dates and other plans — and sticking to them — means that you’ll both have time to get your stuff together and download those podcasts for the long subway ride.

And If All Else Fails, Use Dating Apps

If all the journeying gets to be too much, and your psyche/Uber tab just can’t handle long-distance dating in NYC, lightly beg your significant other to move neighborhoods. And if that fails, maybe it’s time to move on? You can filter results on most online dating sites by distance, so hunker down on a Tuesday night, when everyone is in their respective homes, and start swiping. Maybe your next beau or belle will live right next door.

Hey, why not like StreetEasy on Facebook and follow @streeteasy on Instagram?