Ask Wendy

Can Dating Long Distance Work?

Reprinted from November 25, 2016
Map of Australia
Hey Wendy,

I am “dating” a guy who lives over five hours away. I was open to it because he eventually plans to move to the country and has friends in my area—he’s not a stranger to the area where I live.

In 12 weeks I have seen him three times.

I’m worried that I’m settling for the same old pattern of attracting men who are unavailable. Last month he disappeared for two weeks, and then he traveled five hours to see me perform in an aerial show.

Should I give it more time before deciding whether or not I have attracted an unavailable man, or is it blindingly obvious that, on a daily basis, “winning me over” is not a huge priority of his and therefore I should move on and not waste any more of my precious time?

Sonja T. - Sydney, Australia

Hey Sonja,

Here’s one thing I know about Australians that sets you apart from Americans: you guys think nothing about traveling a gazillion miles in a day. My Aussie friend tells me she drives 10 hours to go to parties, and that’s commonplace. So I’ll factor that in as I craft an answer for you.

An unfortunate aspect to dating long distance is you two can’t fully show each other who you are until you’re together (in the same place) for an extended period of time.

If you think this business of going for the ever-so-attractive yet unavailable guy is feeling familiar, I bet you’re right. I’m not saying you have to chuck this one, but why is he getting your precious exclusivity when he’s not around?

You can’t be at your best when you don’t have enough time, interest, and attention from your boyfriend. You need that connection! I bet that when he disappeared for two weeks, you were not your favorite version of yourself. Don’t commit to exclusivity with someone who is just not there.

Hang out with him, get to know him more, enjoy his company, make plans for his future move if you’d like; while dating other people. If the two of you aren’t exclusive, then hey, you get to do what you want, with whomever you want, whenever you want, and no one else gets a vote.

Some think dating more than one person at a time is bad, or wrong, or, god forbid, “slutty.” In reality, it’s none of those things, and it doesn’t mean you’re not serious about finding your one. It does mean you’re willing to hang out with different people so that you can figure out who’s right for you. And no, this doesn’t mean you have to sleep with all of them (although if you do, I won’t judge).

I think it’s smart to date more than one person at a time so you can compare and contrast how others interact with you, how they’ll treat you, and what aspects of yourself they draw out. Dating more than one person at a time will help you learn what you need in a partner. I think that it’s a mistake to pick from a pool of one.

Now, let’s talk about eventually, as in he eventually plans to move. Sounds good—even likely—but I wouldn’t put stock in it just yet. You wanna know when you can start getting excited about his move? When you see the moving truck pull up. In the meantime, date whom you want when you want. The world is yours.

Happy dating!

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