Dating Games: Long-distance love

When he lives in one country and she in another, can the relationship really go anywhere?

long distance dating_521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
long distance dating_521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
My friend Dana and I were at lunch the other day when she asked for my advice about long-distance relationships.
She’s been dating a man for about a year now who is from the States, but currently lives in Tel Aviv. He travels back and forth for business quite often, and she has enjoyed visiting him as well. She says the chemistry is great and they’ve gotten very close emotionally, but are taking it slow because of the inconsistent and short periods of time they actually get to spend together.
She’s wondering if being in a long-distance relationship is a good idea, and if it can ultimately go anywhere.
Long-distance relationships are a tricky topic. On the one hand, you can really get to know someone via phone calls and e-mails, and you get the chance to miss each other in between visits. On the other hand, when you do finally see each other, it will always be great because it’s like a mini-vacation/ honeymoon each time and may not be a realistic view of how life would be together if you were in the same city.
In addition, oftentimes the idea of the person is so great that in your mind you build them up to epic proportions they can never live up to.
There are circumstances in which distance can work, such as: when you started out living in the same city and going on regular dates before one of you had to move; or when you start out long-distance, but one of you is already planning on moving to the other’s city in the near future.
Finally, if you meet someone and are soon talking about moving closer to each other and actually do so, then the relationship has a chance.
IF, HOWEVER, you are looking for something noncommittal, then a long-distance relationship without any strings attached is just what the doctor ordered – as long as you are both on the same page and one of you doesn’t begin to want more from the other.
A few years ago, I met Dan on a Jewish dating website. He was living in another state, but already had a moving date set just a few weeks away.
We spoke on the phone for hours every night. We had so much in common, were attracted to each other’s photos, felt chemistry on the phone and were both counting down the days until he arrived.
After he finally moved, we went out – and it was pure torture. There was no chemistry face to face, and the conversation totally floundered. Once the fantasy became reality it, well, sucked.
It was such a bummer to think of all the time we had both wasted on the phone – and to reflect that I might have written off other dates because of Dan!
“S” and I lived in different countries when we met, but since we both saw a future, we didn’t hesitate to figure out how to make it work. First, I moved to Israel, where we solidified our relationship. Then, a year later, he moved back to the States with me, where we settled down to officially start our lives together.
But the key here is that we both felt the same way and were willing to make any sacrifice to be together and see where the relationship could go. We discussed trying the long-distance thing, but neither of us wanted to deal with falling in love with someone we couldn’t see every day.
Even the three weeks it took for me to quit my job, pack my stuff and move my life to Israel were intolerable. Skype just doesn’t always cut it, and the time difference made it all the more difficult.
Internet video chat is a huge help nowadays, but it’s not the answer to having a real relationship.
Dana needs to talk with her beau about where they both want this relationship to go, and what each will contribute to making it work. Maybe their current situation is okay for now, but if one of them doesn’t eventually move, I just don’t see the point in continuing to let emotions grow even deeper.
I believe people continue a long-distance relationship without the promise of something more only when they aren’t looking for a bigger commitment, or when they are just bored and want to fill time.
But most people don’t enter into a relationship that needs such special attention without the hope that it will lead somewhere. As long as both people are equally committed and there is communication about something developing in the future, then this kind of relationship can be totally worth it.