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Long-Distance Lovin’

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Long-Distance Lovin' by Andrea Syrtash

Making connections online has never been easier, but where do you begin your search? Andrea Syrtash explains why she thinks that true love has a limitless radius.

I’m a wandering Jew, an eternal optimist, and a firm believer that you won’t necessarily meet your beshert in your own area code. For me, some of the best relationships started on a fun trip away from home.

Thanks to this attitude, I met a great guy at a concert, had a fabulous geeky email affair, and eventually moved across the country to get to know him better. You see, I think the months of phone calls before I relocated to San Francisco gave me an accurate picture of him. Because of the distance, sex didn’t get in the way of our trying to get to know each other on an emotional and intellectual level. By the time we lived in the same city, we had already spent weekends together and seen some quirky habits. While we didn’t work out as a couple after five years, I don’t think it had to do with the way our relationship began.

My sister, on the other hand, has always believed that you don’t start a long distance relationship from far away. She feels that there has to be substantial face time before distance can divide a couple. As a result, she’s not interested in going beyond 20 miles in her JDate query. Period.
I’m a wandering Jew, an eternal optimist, and a firm believer that you won’t necessarily meet your beshert in your own area code.

Her loss.

Now that airlines have weekly specials and cell phone plans include cross-country calls, long-distance lovin’ isn’t as unrealistic as it used to be. So, for all you intrepid dreamers out there, here are some tips, from a seasoned pro, to making your geographically inconvenient relationship live up to its full potential:

Get DSL
It’s the 21st Century, computers get twice as fast every 18 months, and many who are dating someone far away still won’t splurge on DSL. If you’re in a long-distance relationship, a good internet connection can both keep the flame alive and save you money. “When you’re separated by a long distance, email is really the only way to communicate,” says Teri Burns of Syracuse, NY. “There isn’t that awkwardness when you don’t have anything to say, and it always gives you something to look forward to.” A cheap webcam can also be attached to your computer to maximize your long-distance connection.

Sign up for a credit card with air miles
Air mileage will be your best currency when you fall for someone far away. Don’t spend them, though, unless you’ve discussed it with your long-distance date. “I came all the way from England to see a girl from Alabama,” says Paul Smith of West Yorkshire, England. “Unfortunately, by the time I arrived, she had met someone else and didn’t want anything to do with me once I got there!” Assuming your interest is mutual, try to keep up momentum by visiting each other one or two weekends a month – or as much as your schedule and your bank account can handle.
Try to keep up momentum by visiting each other one or two weekends a month – or as much as your schedule and your bank account can handle.

Don’t hibernate when you’re together
“The tendency is to spend many hours cooped up together when you reunite with your partner,” says Jennifer Levine of Montreal. “But it’s just as important to see your partner in his world – with his friends, his family, his interests – so you can make an informed decision about your compatibility”. If you have a three day weekend planned, use the first night to spend time alone. This way, you won’t feel like your friends and family are catching up with your date before you’ve had a chance.

Try to live in the moment – even though you’re trying to figure out the future.
My friend Brian has a habit of inviting guests over to his place for impromptu parties. But now that he has a long-distance love, he can’t be as spontaneous – about anything. “My girlfriend and I are going to meet at my parents’ house in Florida this winter, but it’s difficult to figure things out so far down the road,” he says. Long distance relationships can turn even the most “Carpe diem!” person into a future-obsessed planner. Since there are no guarantees about your future, it’s best to be honest and have a good time during the sometimes arduous process.

Don’t be scared to have important discussions about the future.
As much as you should stay present, it’s equally important to find time to discuss where things may be headed. Such questions are natural in any adult relationship, so don’t be scared of them when they pop up. “It’s smart to figure out how viable it would be for one of you to eventually move,” says Rachel Keller of New York City. “If you don’t, the question will weigh heavily on you and can seriously affect your relationship.”

Long-distance relationships epitomize all of the good and challenging aspects of any healthy partnership. You and your partner have to compromise; you have to communicate, you have to stay connected; and you have to care enough to do whatever it takes to make your relationship shine at its full potential.

Sites like JDate make the world a smaller place, and I think it’s a shame to only look at guys within twenty miles. Who knows? There may be a person across the country or in the next town over just waiting to meet you too.

Andrea Syrtash is a writer for Hundreds of Heads Books, a series of advice guides, and a dating coach in New York City. Excerpts in this article are taken from “How to Survive Dating,” available on Amazon.com and in major bookstores everywhere.

To contact the author, you can write to her at datecoachandrea@gmail.com.

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