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7 Keys to Long-Distance Dating

March 1, 2015 | by Aleeza Ben Shalom

Yes it can work. Here’s how.

Could your soul mate be living across the state, country or world? Yes, it could happen. Long-distance dating can be a chore. You’ll need extra hours and funds for travel, and more patience in developing your relationship. Although long-distance dating is a challenge, not only can it be done -- it can be done well! Having the right mindset and understanding of the road ahead of you will prepare you for the journey.

1) Video dates. It’s superior to a phone date because it is more real, more personable and creates a greater bond. A person can’t multi-task easily while on camera and is therefore more likely to give their full attention. And as we all know, the eyes are the window to the soul...even through a video camera.

And just as you would get dressed up and look your best if you were meeting at a local restaurant, you should be doing the same for a video date. (You don’t have to worry about what shoes to wear!) Your setup is key. You should test out your camera to confirm it’s working beforehand. Make sure you have accounts with multiple providers to avoid the frustration of technological glitches. And make sure your camera is at a good angle so you look “normal.” (It sounds obvious but getting the right angle is often not so easy.) And don’t forget to check your lighting.

2) Be focused. If you do have a phone date, don’t be distracted. Arrange to be in quiet room (not walking on a busy street) and don’t multi-task. It is inconsiderate. If someone doesn’t feel like a priority in your life, they aren’t likely to stick around. Your consideration makes all the difference. Giving your full attention also says something about your values and shows the person on the other line you are invested in the relationship.

3) Treat virtual dates like in-person dates. Show respect, and act as you would if you were meeting in person. Don’t say, “I’ll call you later,” or, “We’ll find a time to talk.” Set a specific day and time for your virtual date. If your date is the one treating the relationship casually, try to communicate to them that you would prefer they set up a specific time to call you. It could be as simple as asking, “May I call you at 7 PM?” If after several attempts to schedule they don’t meet your needs, it’s time to evaluate whether to wait it out until they improve or, if it’s time, end the relationship and find someone more respectful of your time.

4) Be on time for your virtual date. If you’re running late, call instead of texting. Give them an estimate of when you’ll be ready and be sincere when you say you’re sorry that you’re not there yet. Being late once or twice is excusable, but being habitually late doesn’t feel good.

5) Don’t take other calls. While dating, taking another call is only for emergencies. You might think checking on the other call only takes a “second,” but in reality it’s half a minute of nothingness for your date. While people may be polite and say, “Sure, no problem, you can take it,” they don’t really mean it. They are being polite. What they want to hear when that call waiting beeps in is you saying, “I don’t pick up call waiting when I’m on with you.” Ahhh…doesn’t that feel great?

6) Don’t speak after 11 PM. 11 PM is the crazy hour. What does this mean? It means that people are usually not their best self after a long day. I had a client once tell me that the man she was dating refused to speak to her after 10 PM because she was more irritable at that time and they often ended up having disagreements. He found that when they spoke earlier in the day or evening their conversation and connection was fine. But if you work all day, then go to the gym, eat dinner, maybe visit with friends or go to a lecture and then go home, you’re likely not your best self for a phone chat by then. It’s better you skip speaking and catch up tomorrow than try to push through and force a conversation. The exception to this is if you’re speaking late at night because you live in different time zones. In that case, you’ll have to get creative to avoid the bewitching hour.

7) Relax! The stress and pressure of dating in general, and especially long distance, is a burden. As serious and focused as you are to find the right one, sometimes the best way to recognize that person is while you two are relaxing and laughing together. Help bring a smile to someone’s face and feel some good endorphins, and both of you are more likely to enjoy the moment.

I have found that long-distance dating takes at least twice as long as local dating. Clarity comes slower, as couples haven’t seen each other in person as often or as consistently. While there are many forms of communication these days, nothing compares to in-person dates to help a couple gain clarity and move a relationship ahead. If you find yourself in a long-distance relationship, make patience your new friend. Do not try to rush a relationship ahead; allow it to develop at its own pace. With patience and persistence you’ll have more clarity, less stress and healthier relationships.

Add your ideas in the comments below. May your long-distance relationship bring you much satisfaction!

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