Have you ever went out and mingled for a few and ran into to someone who was "oh so fine"? Of course you have! And the story goes: You all talked for a few, have a lot of things in common and come to find out, they don't even live in the city where you guys met. In fact, they live on the other coast, opposite of you. Now you are feeling all types of ways because a part of you wants to exchange numbers but then the other part of you question how it will even work if it progresses.
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Distance is one of those things that can show you who a person is quickly. I think people devalue the whole distance thing because of their own insecurities. And I am not saying that's a bad thing. Everyone has their comfort spot and anything over 200 miles may make them uncomfortable.
East, West, and The Middle...
I mean think about it, you go out every weekend and don't meet anyone of quality and finally you did that night. Me personally, every time I meet someone who is "on-point" my first comment is "You must not be from around here" (no shade to the local men but I was judging based off of my experiences). So off the top, I immediately adjust myself (meaning drawing back; not indulging) because I wasn't sure if the whole distant-dating thing was something I was interested in. With that being said, I do know of a lot of successful marriages that started off with some distance. So I know its possible but it still was never my thing.
Here are some things to consider if that's something you are interested in doing:
1. First off, don't refer to it as long-distance. Do you know that the word long (adj) means: "measuring a great distance from end to end." Lets be real, you can be in the same city with someone and it can feel "long-distance". I prefer to call it "distant-dating". Distant (adj) means: "not near at hand." For me its all about wording because how you word something shapes your views on the situation. If I am going to date someone in a different city I wouldn't want to refer to it as "long" anything. Just my thoughts...
2. Both parties need to be in a situation where they can afford to travel to and from and also have the time to do so. Lets be honest, if you aren't in a position to travel or don't have the time to do so then this will eventually get tough. Spending quality time is still a very important thing when dating. Getting to see that person in different scenarios is key to the future in that relationship. If you have a busy schedule and don't even have time as it is now, then unless something changes, you won't have time for this relationship either.
3. Each person needs to be self-sufficient in terms of coping without human interaction. So simply put, if you thrive off of constant interaction (which is fine) then this is definitely not for you. Some people, depending on their love language needs to be held, touch or face-to-face with their special someone constantly. If this is the case then distant-dating may be challenging for you. FaceTime will honestly have to be sufficient on those days where you just want to see that person or even get a hug. That is something you need to assess before getting involved with that person. That will indirectly cause all sorts of issues to arise in the relationship and will eventually make it sour.
4. Coming to an understanding of long-term (or short-term) expectations and seeing what the plan would be. Obviously people don't date to just date. And if they do then distant-dating would not be something they would be into. So if you are considering this then obviously marriage is somewhere in the long-term plan/expectation. But prior to that, come to an understanding of some sort about how this whole thing would play out. How often will you see each other? Who is able to travel first? All of this is necessary because if there isn't a plan, you will find yourself on the MTV hit show Catfish. No seriously, have a plan! It assures each person that you are committed on some level to doing this distant-dating adventure.
5. Creating a middle spot or neutral ground for future plans. This is key!!! If you live in California and the other person lives in New York, what will be the middle spot or neutral ground once its time to take the relationship to the next level? You have to discuss that! Now the timing on when to have this conversation is completely up to you and the other person but it does need to be acknowledged. Cali and New York are two completely different places in terms of culture. So if neither person is feeling either states then what will be the neutral ground? I promise you, this will save you so many arguments. Everyone wants to feel secured and certain (to some degree) that each person is FLEXIBLE. Jobs, living situation, etc. does play into that. Which is why you both will need to discuss this up front if this is going to work.
Last but definitely not least,
6. Being ALL IN. Distant-dating is a deeper investment than a local dating situation. Think about it: You have to make time for each other by setting virtual dates (more often than usual to make up for the lack of physical time); You have to travel to and from on a regular basis; You have to trust that person to a whole other level. So, the investment is definitely deeper. Which isn't a bad thing. Again, its analyzing if this sort of dating strategy is for you. But if you're not all in, it will definitely make the relationship tough. The other person will question your level of commitment all the time. And their actions (in many ways) will follow accordingly if they sense your lack of commitment. TRUST ME!
Distant-dating causes you to develop all kinds of ways to trust someone, communicate and even show love. You got to pull out that creative hat to ensure that the person knows you care and you're in this 100%. Most local relationships don't know that type of creativity because they are always in each others face. So analyze yourself!! While analyzing, keep in mind that this can be hard for:
- A person who finds it hard to trust their partner,
- Someone who haven't quite perfected this communication thing, or
- Someone who doesn't know how to show love outside of being physically present with that person.
I guess my point to this is don't discount the whole idea of distant-dating. Especially if you live in an area where good quality people are few and far between. You may want to explore the idea IF you can commit to the things I stated earlier.
As always, not an expert just an everyday participant.
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