Keeping up the momentum

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it also hides faults of someone you might not get along with.

Cartoon 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Cartoon 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
My friend Brian “met” a great girl on JDate last week and for once he actually liked her enough to talk on the phone for more than 10 minutes.
The conversation had already lasted 90 minutes when they realized she lived in an apartment building nearby in Ramat Aviv. Even though it was 11 p.m., he asked her if she would meet him at a bar in their neighborhood to continue the conversation. She agreed and downstairs they both went (although I’m sure they both hurriedly put on some fresh deodorant, popped in a piece of gum, possibly changed into an unwrinkled shirt, and without a doubt she touched up her makeup and brushed her hair).
At the bar the conversation ended up lasting another three hours until finally the bar was closing.
He asked her if she wanted to come up to his place but was glad she declined the invitation. When they started making plans to see each other again they found that they wouldn’t be able to meet up for nearly a month – she was going to the North for 10 days to be with her family for the holidays and before she got back he was going on a vacation to the US for two weeks. So how does this pair keep up the momentum that they so quickly gained when they won’t be able to see each other and won’t even be able to talk on the phone for part of the time?
It was so great to finally hear Brian say that he really liked a girl, that she was really cool and that he was really excited to see her again. So I was bummed to hear that it would be a month before they could continue to develop their romance. So many things had to happen (and not happen) during the hiatus.
First – and by far most importantly – neither of them can meet anyone else who tickles their fancy during that time. It’s only a month, but you never know. It’s not like they’re going to cancel their JDate accounts after one date or go live in a monastery for the next 30 days. And hey, you never know, one of them could actually meet their beshert (intended, or soul mate) in that time! Just because their first (unofficial) date was a success doesn’t mean they’re destined for each other. But if they like each other they should try not to engage in aimless flirtations.
Second, they have to keep in touch to a point: talk on the phone for a bit before he leaves for his trip and exchange a few e-mails when he’s able to check into an Internet café. In four weeks they should average about six back-and-forth exchanges – communicating roughly every four or five days.
But third – and equally as important as No. 2 – they shouldn’t build up too much of a rapport while separated because then they run the risk of building up unreachable expectations. There’s a fine line between keeping in touch, keeping the flame alive and keeping the momentum going and actually starting a serious relationship via the phone and Internet before spending enough time together in person. I’ve been there, done that.
Back in my single days, I met a guy on JDate who was in the process of moving to town. We spent hours talking on the phone and had tons in common.
We liked each other’s photos and made plans for after he got settled in his new place. The excitement built up over those weeks, but then BAM! There was absolutely no chemistry in person. It was awful and awkward.
We both thought the transition was going to be seamless, but even if there had been chemistry, the fact of the matter was that we shared things with each other on the phone that we wouldn’t have had we been dating in person. So our first date, which should have felt like date No. 20+, instead was uncomfortable. I strongly advise not spending too much time on the phone before you’re in a relationship.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it also can shine an amber light on the faults of someone you might otherwise not get along with. Having a month of phone calls and e-mails after meeting each other only once means that you will only get the person on his or her best behavior. You also won’t get to see facial expressions on the phone, or hear vocal inflections in an e-mail. That means when you see each other again in person you may not know each other as well as you think you do.
It’s hard not to build someone up in your mind after a romantic night together, but as long as Brian and his new crush go into this month apart and into their reunion with realistic expectations then I think they will do just fine picking up where they left off.
By giving yourself a reality check and reminding yourself that you will eventually see the cracks in the foundation that we all have, you can go into a date being able to see the forest for the trees.