A while back, I received a question from a single woman named *Sharon who asked, “Shana, I’m online dating and I don’t want to move. I love my community. I love living near my family and friends. So, can’t I just find someone in my community instead of expanding my search?”
Sharon isn’t the only one asking questions about long-distance dating. It’s a topic that often comes up with the women that I coach.
Before I go on, let me say that I get it. When I was single and in my late 30s, I lived in Colorado. I absolutely loved it and I didn’t want to move. So, when I tried online dating, and when a friend suggested I meet her neighbor who lived four hours away from me, I wasn’t open.
That said, here are 4 tips I shared with *Sharon that I hope help you too if you are asking if you should be open to dating long distance.
When you’re married, your husband is your first priority.
It’s awesome if you want to live near your loved ones. They are gifts. However, let’s say you do marry someone who lives in your community, but then you have to move and you don’t have a choice. Then, you’d have to say goodbye to living near family and friends.
I make this point because it’s important, even before marriage, to begin nurturing the conviction that your husband is first your priority, not your family and friends.
Remember that jobs can change
When my grandfather and father-in-law were employed, many people stayed at one job their entire lives. That’s no longer the case. Now, most people change jobs—and sometimes regularly. So, even if you do meet someone who lives near you, there’s a chance it wouldn’t stay that way.
For example, my husband and I have moved three times in the four years we have been married. Each move has been unexpected. But my husband comes first and we’re on this journey together as a team. That’s why it’s important to nurture the conviction that you will be flexible in a relationship, because marriage requires flexibility.
How badly do you really want to marry?
If you knew that you would meet a really wonderful man that lived two states away, that you could build a beautiful life together, that he would make you laugh, cherish you, and that you would experience blessings that you hadn’t experienced before, wouldn’t you want to be open?
I encourage you to ask yourself how much you want to marry. This can help you decide if you are open to date long distance. Several of the women I have coached in the last couple years would undoubtedly say yes because saying yes to long distance meant that they found their Mister and happily tied the knot.
One woman even lived in Australia and moved to south Texas when she said "I do."
Are you anticipating obstacles?
Sometimes singles think too far ahead in the dating process and as a result, they get in their own way.
What I mean is. . . they anticipate why a relationship can’t or wouldn’t work out without the facts—sometimes even before they have met someone. (I get it. I did this too. It’s can be a form of self-protection, but it’s not helpful in being open to new relational opportunities.)
They say, “I can’t date long distance because I don’t have the money for plane tickets.” Or, “I can’t date long distance because I can’t move away from my community.” Or, “I can’t date long distance because I don’t want to move.”
They start thinking about the obstacles that could be ahead of them, but there is a problem in this: they never know how those obstacles might be removed (or might not even exist!) as they step out in faith to pursue relationship.
For example, when my husband and I were seeing each other, I was living in Atlanta (which is ironic because I ended up moving out of Colorado as a single) and he lived in Colorado.
It just so happened that after we started communicating via email and on the phone that he began traveling to Atlanta for work. There is no way we could have anticipated this would happen.
And not only that, but after we married and moved to Chicago, we would have never known that a job change would lead us right back to Colorado but in an even better location--the mountains! You never know how things might unfold. Letting go of the need to control the outcome is a first step in finding your Mister.
Keep in mind that as it is with all of life, that you never know how things may work out. So, be open. Being open to possibilities while using discernment is a good thing. It could mean you experience the blessing of meeting someone special.
Granted, there are sometimes circumstances that can't change such as a court order that requires that you stay put until your child is grown. However, you still don't know how something could work out once you start date with the mantra that anything is possible.
I hope these 4 tips have helped.
One last thought.
I hear singles say they can’t date long distance because it’s impossible to get to know someone unless you are around them all the time, can pop over to their home without notice, and hang out every weekend.
This isn’t true. There are singles everywhere who date long distance, develop healthy and loving relationships and end up in happy marriages. It is possible to get to know someone who doesn’t live in your community. It worked for me and it worked for many singles that I know.
Alright. . . that’s it. Hope that has helped.
Remember that the dream you have to love and be loved is possible!
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