Monday, October 13, 2008

Smart Tips for Long-Distance Online Dating

If despite the risks (see previous post), you do decide to move forward with a long-distance romance that starts on-line, do it smartly!

Smart Tips For Testing Out a Long-Distance On-Line Romance

1. Get to a live, in-person meeting as soon as it is realistically possible. (Not 6 months later.)

2. Set up the first visit at one of your hometowns. You want to get as realistic a picture as possible right from the beginning.

3. Go for a 2-3 day stay if possible. Try a range of activities, see their home, meet their friends, go along on errands. All of this will help you get a better sense of the
real person.

4. The next visit, meet at the other person’s hometown.

5. If you can’t meet at least one a month, it’s probably not worthy trying- it will take too long to even see if you are compatible in real life. Remember, talk is cheap. Action is real.

6. You’ll definitely need to spend longer periods together to determine if you should even consider moving to the same location. Try a couple week long vacations, again in the hometowns.

7. Always, always, always address concerns and red flag issues as soon as they crop up. You can’t afford to wait and see in this type of situation.

8. If it ever doesn’t feel right in your gut, it’s time to cut it off and move on to more promising, and closer options.

Readers: What other advice do you have about making an online, long-distance romance successful?

Please share!


cathouse teri said...

Long-distance relationships are so tough, even if they are strong and well-established before being apart. The trouble with a new relationship that starts out long-distance is that it is very, very hard to really come to know what it will be like when you are together. You really canNOT get to know one another until you are in a situation where you are in each other's daily lives.

Your tips are excellent. And if it can happen, these tips are important. But people must keep in mind that even if you have maintained a strong and seemingly healthy bond from a distance, and even if that was developed over a long time, such as one, two or three years ~ when you do come together there will still be the hurdles that new couples must overcome.

My sister gave me some excellent advice after my divorce. She said that the best way to be assured that you are a couple that will "make it" is to really be involved for three years. And that is three years of really being together. Of living the daily stresses (including joyful stresses) of life. You must see one another at your best and your worst. And see how your union handles the tough things. Large and small.

Dr. Jenn said...

Thanks for your comments.

Excellent points. It DOES take time, even if you are together!

And your sister is right, research shows that people who date for at least two years have lower divorce rates than people who don't take the time.

You have to see someone over time to get a true sense of who they are! What are they like at christmas? Do they remember my birthday? How do they treat me when I'm sick? Can I stand a vacation with them, being together 24/7? And long distance just makes this too tough!

Perhaps long distance dating is best left to people who enjoy great challenges...or people who prefer intimacy that's well, not too intimate!