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open when

[How To] Open When…. Emails for a Long Distance Relationship

I love seeing lists of “Open When” letters to a significant other.  They really help connect two people together across the miles.  But what if writing out a letter is too much?  Say, your significant other is deployed and you are juggling a household of kiddies?  Or what if they can’t take too many personal affects with them (or not want the embarrassment of opening them)?

Here is a MODIFIED way of completing the “Open When” letters when you just can’t put a stamp on it!

open when

Email.  We use it every day.  Some of us have several accounts, even.  But what if you had an account devoted just for you and your significant other?  To share your thoughts, feelings, and well, open when emails?

Here’s how to do it:


  1.  Set up a new email account

    This email account doesn’t have to be a professional name – it can be a nickname between you and your sig other, or just an alphanumeric combination that only the two of you know about.  The key is that BOTH of you have access to this account.  For this post, I will be walking you through a few features Gmail has, but any free email service will likely do.

  2. Change your email settings

    If you are using Gmail, go into your settings (its the little cog at the top right corner of the page), and scroll down until you see “Snippets.”  Snippets are where you can see the content of the email before you open it.  You will want to turn this off.  Why?  Well, just like opening an envelope, you don’t want to peek inside before the time is right.

    Some other settings to consider:

    Conversation view – allows you to group together the conversations.  This is great if your significant other responds to a specific letter – you’ll know which one they are referring to when they say, “awwww…. I miss you!”

    Desktop notifications – a great feature if you would like to be contacted each time a new letter arrives.

    Forwarding mail – use this if you don’t think you will be checking this account often.  You can have emails forwarded directly to your primary email account (or both persons’).  That way, both of you are notified when there is a new letter.

  3. Create content for your open whens

    There are many resources out there that provides prompts for these types of emails.  Check out Jo My Gosh and LDR Magazine for some really great lists.  Decide if only one person curates it (the one left behind) or if both of you are responsible for notes.  If both, include in your subject line “[Name]__Open When” so you know who its addressed to.

    You can also develop content for specific days (Open When….Its our anniversary; Its St. Patricks Day; Its Your Birthday) and send those letters on specific days.

You can set up these “Open When” emails before or during a separation and connect with your spouse or significant other from virtually ANYWHERE.


Want more?

Try this out connecting kids and their deployed parents.  This works great with older children (tweens and teens) who are digitally savvy.  The deployed parent can set up these emails before they leave and then share the email account information with their kiddo(s).  A personal email from far away can go a long way to keeping the connection alive between a parent and child.  They can even use the account as a private forum to share stories.


You can also use this account to send pictures of important moments or throwbacks to times of togetherness.

Start now!

Even if your sig other is in the next room over, these open when prompts and email addresses can be very helpful to keep your relationship on the right track!

Do you have any suggestions for open when emails?  Have any good (or bad) stories to share!  I’d love to hear about them!  Leave a comment below!

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