When Dating comes at a cost called “distance”

The talk about dating and sustaining relationships at a distance continues to be a huge topic and the question continues to be “why is dating so difficult in 2019?”  I have friends in some of the largest and most active cities that tell me that they are having a difficult time meeting decent individuals.  I continue to be in awe by this because I assumed that being in a larger diverse city increased the dating pool.  I guess that is simply because I have been in smaller cities with lack of diversity for the last 12 years of my career and yes even when I lived in Europe and Asia, it was still very difficult to find someone who you were compatible with or simply to have a decent conversation over coffee.  

So, my frustrations lead me to online dating.  I felt online dating would increase my chances of meeting someone and that it would be really easy to do so.  Yes, I was wrong again.  The effort that you put into online dating is very similar to dating in person. As the fairytale says, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to get to your prince. Well I haven’t gotten my prince yet so that confirms that distance dating continues to be a struggle.  The requirements do not change when you are getting to know someone in your city, on an app or at a distance.  You must still put in the effort to determine if this person is even worth continuing to have a conversation with or even planning a visit.  My experiences with long distance dating and online dating have been pretty parallel.  

So, the theory is that distance never works right? I use to think that as well.  With media being our “entertainment” and quick access for “hook ups,” we don’t have to put in the work of taking the time to get to know people anymore. We simply swipe right or left nowadays if their physical appearance or profile doesn’t tell us everything we want to know. 

Now I am not saying that all of these things that I am about to mention below are exclusive to the success of maintaining a distance relationship but I am saying that here are some important things to consider when you are dating at a distance and trying to get to know someone’s potential.  So, let’s get to it.  

Ensure that you and the individual are like minded and have the same goals 

Have an honest and transparent conversation about your desires for the courtship.  Ensure that you are clear on what you need and ensure you understand the needs of the person you are dating as well. Be honest about whether you can accommodate those things. Discuss what dating at a distance looks like for you and understand what it looks like for them as well.  Ensure you are on the same page. 

Communication

If you are not communicating, you will fail.  Your ability to communicate over the phone, facetime, skype is important.  Getting to know someone’s mannerism maybe difficult at a distance but you have to do the best that you can to get to know one another consistently.  Ensure that you understand what the other needs to stay connected to you and you to them.  Be upfront, be transparent.  Communication break downs foster too much guessing. 

Visiting is Imperative

Flights, road trips and train rides will become a part of your monthly or bi-monthly expenses. In my experience and if affordable, you have to see someone to get to know them.  You need to feel the closeness to them and yes this may include sex depending on your agreement. You must spend time.  Discuss how that looks.  For example, when dating at a distance it’s important that we discuss what “spending time” will look like. Physical contact is important for me so discussing that is a part of my dating needs.  So, one way I do that is to switch off the visitation schedule.  For example, every other month the other party travels.  It keeps the energy up and does not drain any one person’s pockets.  

“What is your end game?”

So, there must be an end game folks. Now this is not something that you may determine early on in the relationship but you must have an end game.  If the relationship evolves into something more serious and it looks promising, what are the next steps in the relationship?  Now I know careers, family and other responsibilities can be a big decision when it comes to the end game, but it is important to establish an end game. 

As the relationship progresses you will need to reevaluate how you carry out some of the above things. Other factors can include if the individual has children, caring for their parents or even if they are on the road for their job frequently.  There are so many factors that can impact distance dating and relationships, but the big issue is communication.  You have to communicate, even if part of that communication is that the situation is not working.  Be honest with yourself and the person you are dating. 

Enjoy the process of getting to know the person. Keep it fun and light.  This prevents stress and worry about so many things in the “getting to know stages.” Trust me I have seen the good, bad and the ugly of distance dating.  Its trial and error and you have to put in the work to get the results.   HAPPY DATING!!!

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