Q I recently had a few great phone conversations with a guy introduced to me by my parents (via family friends). This is the first guy in the last few years with whom I felt I really connected. The only problem is that he’s based on the East Coast, while I’m clear across the country on the West Coast. Given the geographical distance, should I even bother?
A Long-distance relationships can face a number of challenges. Spending time together (not easy to do when living on opposite coasts) can generally be helpful in getting to know a prospective partner well enough to assess mutual compatibility on a number of different levels. That said, as your experiences suggest, really connecting can be relatively rare. In my opinion, geographical distance need not necessarily be an insurmountable hurdle to exploring the potential of your connection further (unless there’s reason to believe eventual relocation would be absolutely impossible on the part of either of you should things get serious). In fact, our matchmaking service introduces people from different cities throughout the country all the time.
Should you decide to explore the potential of your connection with this guy, below are some general suggestions to keep in mind:
• Invest the time/energy/money required to meet in person prior to getting emotionally invested. Since far easier said than done, I generally advise people to meet sooner than later, as opposed to investing considerable time, energy (and heart) into voluminous email and/or telephone exchanges. While traveling to meet does require a certain level of time and money, meeting only after engaging exclusively via email/phone/IM’s/texts can be far costlier on many different levels in the long-run.
• With geographical distance, it can be difficult to get a sense of each other’s authentic everyday way of being from day-to-day (as opposed to the substantially more limited personality during periodic and relatively brief fun-intensive visits together). For this reason, I generally recommend both people be vigilant of advancing the relationship too quickly as a way of resolving the infrequency of contact; as well as spend time while together doing more typical or mundane day-to-day activities, i.e. errands, cooking, and/or simply co-existing with each other in private, as opposed to exclusively limiting together time to places like restaurants, lounges, theaters, concerts, and museums.
• Invest in regular contact via phone calls and visits as the relationship unfolds; and
• Address any potential “emotionally unavailable” issue head-on in the event the other person’s behavior gives reason to suspect he/she may be seeking out a long-distance relationship as a means of maintaining emotional distance.
Remaining mindful of the above suggestions will likely mitigate common pitfalls in long-distance relationships.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio, a monthly lifestyle show featuring conversations with published authors/experts on relationships, health and wellness.www.IntersectionsMatch.com.Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com