One thing that will almost certainly change as I move to the Northeast in the coming month is the way I date. Though I’ve touched on it in this blog loosely, I don’t think I’ve fully explored what I’ve been doing. I’ve dated a lot in the last year, but not in the way most would normally think: I’ve done a lot of Skype dates and dated girls in other states.
The whys behind that could fill an entire blog post (and have). More important, I think, are the lessons I will have taken away from this year of untraditional (yet amazingly rewarding, especially once things move beyond Skype) dating. The big ones are as follows:
- Controlling my physicality. The main thing you learn from dating via Skype is how great it is to just talk to a person you’re romantically interested in. The talk can get flirty, and there is definitely possibility for tension (in my case, every girl I met was from JDate or other Jewish sites, so there is no question we both like each other before getting started), but it’s just that — talk. I’ve never been one for physicality in general other than light touches on a first date (I believe in getting to know people at slower rates, but that’s just me), and with a screen between you it’s almost like the orthodox style of dating — just a chat to learn about each other and where you’re headed.
- Texting. While texting can vary in other relationships, it helps to hold interest in a long-distance, online-created relationship. Sometimes it can be as simple as just observing something about my day and asking how the other person is, but overall I like checking in when it’s our only method of daily contact.
- Understanding my options. When my first online relationship began, I was definitely skeptical. We’d chatted for a few months on JDate while I continued to look locally, but once we brought Skype in, it was different. Crazy as it sounds, you get to feel good about the fact that you’re sort of seeing someone and it boosts your confidence. This can be true of any relationship, but in the case of living in a small town without many Jews, and thus fewer options, this can be a great game-changer for your confidence.
In short, all of these lessons can be learned by not doing the long distance/Skype deal, and it’s certainly not an ideal situation. But for those of us in places outside New York, LA, etc., Skype dating can offer you real opportunities beyond those same few girls you always see online. I became regularly fixed on the “currently online” page, and was constantly surprised how many people were interested in someone in another place — the same way I was pleasantly surprised when a cute girl from California first messaged me last year. It definitely seems weird at first, but if you’re willing to see where it can take you, you never know what possibilities may come.