Long distance relationships have theirs ups and downs and we shouldn’t allow our fantasies to blur reality when using online dating.
What advice would you have about dating online and long distance relationships?
The development of any relationship is challenging – but long distance does add some unique aspects to consideration. Although I am sure not all-inclusive, here are some thoughts that I believe one should consider as they entertain long distance relationships.
- The initial interaction in a long distance relationship is obviously not in the presence of the other person – so you are missing the non-verbal communication input. I do not recall what percentage this plays in communication, but it is much more than the verbal portion. One needs to keep this in mind as they entertain the interaction going on.
- Do not allow fantasies of what you WANT the relationship to be to cloud what it really is OR is not.
- In the same consideration, do not allow your expectations to develop beyond the realities that are actually taking place.
- It is important to move to verbal communication (phone) as soon as both are comfortable. This is an added part of the puzzle, but once again – it but just A step in the process of getting to know another person.
- When mutually agreed, you should schedule a trip to meet each other. In most cases this should be the man traveling to meet the woman – but the other way could work too. SAFETY is a big item and you should meet in a public place and I would even suggest that it be in the presence of a close friend or two. Yes, you are an adult – but safety in today’s world must be taken seriously.
- Each of you should travel to the other’s world so that you can see each other relating to friends and family. Pay attention to behavior in these interactions – with you as well as with others. There will often be little signals when something is not right – and do not dismiss them to hastily. Remember – little things while dating often become BIG annoyances in a marriage.
- If the relationship begins to turn into a serious consideration, seek books and questionnaires that you can purchase to read and take. You can even do this separately and discuss them in your phone calls, etc. The answers to the questionnaires can surface issues and/or beliefs that are important that you know about each other. These will be wonderful opportunities for you to grow together – OR – learn why this is not the relationship that is healthy for you. What are the Relationship stages?
- Do NOT spend long times in deep, intimate prayer times. This likely seems strange coming from a Pastor. My reasoning is that doing this type of intimate praying prior to confirming that this is the mate for you will send ‘false’ signals into your spirit. Do pray, and together, but not the deep intimate prayer that should be done with your ‘soul mate’.
- Before finalizing the relationship in marriage, be sure to seek out a good Christian counselor experienced in pre-marital counseling. You should plan on spending at least 5 sessions with this counselor in pre-marital topics and testing.
Is it worth the risk?
Do long distance relationships grow into beautiful stories of love and happy ever after? Yes – some do, but most do not. Is it worth the risk? Only you can make this choice but I would speak favorably of the consideration. I just encourage you to not ‘assume’ that because someone is responding to you and likes many of the same things you do (or so it appears) that they are the ‘soulmate’ for you. Only time and a healthy process will reveal this.
God’s Spirit is the best guide through this process. Each of you should be genuinely seeking Him – separately and together.
Don’t fall in love with falling in love.
Allow me to provide some further counsel from my experience and in relating to many Christian singles. If you find yourself or the other person moving quickly into ‘I love you’ or the topic of marriage comes up in the first couple of months of dating – you are moving too fast!!! I earnestly believe that no one can know all that they need to know about another to make this choice at such an early stage. What is really being said (in my belief) is that they are falling in love with falling in love. This is a fantasy world and often leads to unnecessary pain for those involved. Enjoy the process and being with one who is enjoyable to you. Allow the ‘process’ to progress at a healthy pace.
I know that this is not easy process to do, but I join God in wanting the very best for you – and the road of less pain and disappointment. May God guide you and speak to you as you journey through your days of building relationships.
1 comment on “Long distance relationship: Expectations vs reality.” Add yours →
Thanks Dr. Jim for your good advice.
I live in Japan and there’re very small amount of Christians here, so I’m looking for my partner in long distance.
Actually long distance relationship is very hard.
As you said I felt in love with falling in love before.
I believe God provides me in right time right suitable person for me.
So I’ll not hurry.