Monday, September 20, 2010
Long Distance Relationships Keep the Post Office in Business
As I start to broaden my dating horizons a bit more (because honestly, he ain't beating my door down or standing right outside of it waiting with a handful of flowers and a box of chocolates...aww...that would be nice. Back to reality.), I've been comtemplating the prospects of different dating variables that I hadn't previously considered. All of the online dating outlets allow you to set your parameters at whatever level you'd prefer. Currently, all of mine are set to send me matches only within a fifty mile radius of my home zip code. The funny part about that is that all of the actual City of Atlanta zip codes are included in my radius. I had no idea how snobby true Atlantans are! When they saw my location, even after several email exchanges, they'd tell me that I lived entirely too far away and weren't interested in a "long distance relationship." I live 35 miles from the center of downtown Atlanta. "Inside the perimeter" and "outside the perimeter" are two totally different worlds. But, I do the same thing when Chattanooga residents pop up on my list. Something about being in another state makes it feel too far away. Silly, I know.
So that got me thinking...even though I don't consider downtown Atlanta to be "long distance" myself, am I limiting myself just as these Atlantans are doing by not increasing my range? Could my Mr. Right be online dating too and just happen to live 51 miles away? And could I possibly make a go at a real long distance relationship?
I will admit, I don't have a whole lot of relationship experience in general and absolutely none in terms of long distance. It would probably be completely foreign to me to not only adjust to a significant other, but also to one miles and miles away with whom I'd have very limited face-to-face contact. Although, with my online dating track record, that might work in my favor. Lately, men seem to really like me until they meet me in person. Or at least they lose some kind of interest after the first real meeting. Perhaps a continued phone/email/text/IM relationship would improve my chances of success with a real one. (Don't ask me what I'm doing to promote this 'Meet her once, hit the road' mentality in my men. It's not an attempt to muster sympathy; it's the honest to goodness truth. If you have any rationale for this, please, please! tell me.)
How flexible are people nowadays to move for the one they love? At what stage do you say "Okay, I'm moving to your town to be with you" and it's acceptable and your parents don't think you've lost your ever-lovin' mind? What if both people absolutely love the respective city that they're living in and don't want to move?
From a female perspective, I would imagine that any significant distance between me and the object of my affection would be one of the biggest challenges that I could face from an emotional standpoint. I think women need, not only emotional reassurance of a return of interest, but also physical reassurance. How a man interacts with a woman in person can really effect how we perceive him. Girls know what I mean here. If he touches your back while you're walking through a door (especially one that he's opened for you!) or walks close enough so that your arms brush can really speak volumes about his level of interest and solidify the intent behind the words that he's said to you. And I honestly don't mean this in the x-rated form that it can so easily come across as. Words are great, but without action, we can get confused. I think trusting would be a big issue for me too. Again, although you can say your words of devotion all day long, those long periods of alone-time can make the mind do wild things and come up with some pretty elaborate reasons why you haven't heard from him for two days, three days, a week, good God, he hates me and he's run off with his secretary. You may start to think he's found someone else and then start doing some looking yourself to gratify that need for a physical connection.
But, in all honesty, I think if both people are as devoted to the success of the relationship as the other, act and talk just like they would if they lived five minutes down the road from each other, and have a clear indicator of when the long distance will no longer be a hindrance, it can work. I think there is even a bit of a potential for that whole "absense makes the heart grow fonder" thing, if both are missing each other at the same intensity.
What do you think, Singletons? Have you had success or failure with long distance relationship attempts? Think I should broaden my radius? What do you consider "long distance?"