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Hi Christie,
What do you think about starting something with someone who is long distance? I’m a single mom in Kansas City, and he lives in Michigan and plans to move to New York in June. On paper, he is exactly the type of person I am looking for, spirituality wise, everything.

I didn’t see anything in your blogs about this kind of situation. What are your thoughts? Is it a good idea to get involved with someone who lives far away, or not?

Thanks,
Michelle

 

Dear Michelle,

Oh, yes – the Long Distance Relationship (LDR). LDRs are tough. On the one hand, part of dating and getting to know someone means spending time together, which is pretty difficult to do when you live thousands of miles apart. If you get the relationship off the ground, keeping it going is a real challenge! On the other hand, meeting someone great doesn’t happen very often, does it? And if we’re willing to relocate for school or for a job, why not love? It is my opinion that if you meet someone special and they live far away, you should give the relationship a chance. However, do so while keeping the following in mind:

  • “Good on paper” doesn’t always mean good. Meeting someone online is difficult enough without distance to consider. It’s important to spend some time, in person, getting to know him before you get emotionally or physically involved.  Talk on the phone for a while, then set up a visit to see how things go. Stay in separate rooms during the first few trips. Even if you met in person and know there’s potential, when you live far away it takes time to get to know the real, everyday him. After all, the real, everyday him is somewhat different than the one you see during visits, when you’re out having fun.
  • Move slowly. Because they see each other so infrequently, long distance daters often move too quickly – they spend too much time together during visits, sleep together quickly, share too much. Do the opposite – force yourself to take your time. Don’t spend every moment together during the first few trips.
  • How’s he treating you? Long distance makes things tough, but you should still expect regular contact, phone calls, and visits. He should treat you no differently than if you lived in the same place. I had a client whose long distance guy never visited her because he couldn’t afford to.  This is fine if she wants a phone pal, but this is not a relationship.
  • Beware of EU men. As I discuss in It’s Not Him, It’s YOU, Emotionally Unavailable (EU) people often seek out LDRs to give them the emotional distance they require. Once you get to know each other, the only distance between you should be geographical. You should expect regular phone calls and, eventually, a discussion about where the relationship is headed. Which brings me to my last point:
  • Eventually, you have to live in the same city. If you’re planning on getting serious as a couple, one of you is going to have to move eventually. Relocating is no easy feat. As a single mom, are you prepared to relocate your son to a new home, a new school? If his father lives in Kansas as well, how does he feel about you taking his son back East? Do you feel there’s a chance your date is interested in moving to KC? These are things to consider. However, don’t talk about them too soon – you need to wait until things start to get “serious” before you broach this topic.

Long Distance Relationships can work, if both people are committed to putting in the effort and are committed to living in the same place eventually. Just make sure you take your time. Most importantly, make sure that, no matter what the arrangement, you feel comfortable with things.