Do long-distance relationships work?

Long Distance Relationship

One of the things most of us quickly notice when joining an online dating site is that we are attracted to people who live quite some distance away from us. This is hardly surprising, if you think about it: the “pool” of people in the whole country is obviously much bigger than the people who live in your local area. Obviously, the more people to choose from, the more likely it is that you’ll see someone who interests you.

If all you want to do is to build a friendship with someone online, and only very seldom (if ever) meet in person, then that is proably fine – assuming that is all they want to do too!

It also will become pretty apparent to you that the search engine in every Dating website does want you to look at people outside the area you specify. Same reason… they have lots more people for you to consider around the country than they do in your home town, no matter where you live. They also have to keep you thinking there are lots of people to choose from or you might leave the site (a problem for them if you are paying a monthly subscription).

Long distance temptations are thrown onto your screen relentlessly by the dating applications. So don’t kid yourself that distance doesn’t matter: it does. There is all the difference in the world between living under 20 minutes away and even a relatively brief 90 minutes away. If you live close to each other, then popping round or meeting somewhere locally on a weekday evening is very much a possibility. Few of us would like to spend 3 hours in the car after work on a round-trip, and for what? Maybe 2 hours together, maybe 3 hours? And the expense of travel will add up too.

Yes, you may be thinking that would only be at the very start of a relationship, and that later on you would be staying overnight. In fact, being a distance apart pretty much forces the decision on whether one of you is going to stay overnight at some point. That may suit you just fine. Or it may not. Likewise the idea of “let’s go away somewhere for the weekend” is likely to arise quite quickly – something which may force a decision which the other person might not wish to make at that stage.

As things develop, of course, you may get more involved and may be frustrated that you can’t exactly just pop over if something goes wrong with the other person – or you both just decide it would be nice to do something unplanned or spontaneous. Eventually the decision could be “who is going to move?” and leave all their friends and family miles away. After you have been going out for a while at least one of you will quite likely start to get frustrated that they never seem to have any time for themeselves and have to spend every weekend as a couple (and so “nothing gets done in the house”). And so on… the complexities just keep adding up.

Many people think “I’d move for the right person”, which can be marvellous if it all works out right. But it is taking quite a chance on things, and when and at what stage would you decide? So… generally speaking (the voice of experience here…) I don’t think that long distance relationships ever really come to anything, though it can be good fun for a while.

The real decision to make is: how wide (geographically) is my “catchment area”! In other words, get out a map and draw the boundary of how far away you would like to be traveling to see someone on a few days each week. Think about the practicalities of getting to and from different places (it probably won’t be a smooth circle, particularly when you factor in the method of transport and actual journey).

It also depends, of course, on what you are after just at the moment. What you might want if you have just broken up from a long-term relationship could be very different to your perspective if you have been single for a while.

Maybe try seeing someone nearby and (then) someone a distance away and you will figure the distance thing out for yourself. The 2-3 hour distance didn’t really work for me even though I really liked the weekends together. For me, I ended up thinking “under 20 minutes drive” but of course (!) that stretched to just over half an hour.

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