Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I met this fabulous girl two days before she was scheduled to return to Canada, where she lives. We liked each other very much, and it's been about a month that we've been communicating, mostly through email.

I don't know where this is going to lead and if it's worth the effort. Any suggestions on how to deal with the situation? Thanks.

David


Dear David,

Assuming that you are dating with a goal of marriage, a long-distance courtship can work out beautifully. So your correspondence with your Canadian friend is definitely worth the effort.

However, it's hard to sustain a long-distance romance when you're not dating with the goal of finding a partner. If the relationship is a good one, you eventually will want the status quo to change, and both of you may be unwilling to make geographic and other changes without a long-term commitment.

However, it's hard to sustain a long-distance romance when you're not dating with the goal of finding a partner. If the relationship is a good one, you eventually will want the status quo to change, and both of you may be unwilling to make geographic and other changes without a long-term commitment.

We have some suggestions that make a long-distance courtship easier and increase its chance of success. If you hit it off well on your first couple of dates, emails and periodic telephone calls are a good way to build your friendship and to get to know each other better once you return home. However, there's no substitute for face-to-face contact. Optimally, we advise you to get together again after one-to-three months of long-distance courtship, to renew the attraction you felt when you first met, and to add a dimension that only being in each other's presence can provide.

This is where long-distance dating can get sticky. Often, you've invested so much time, effort and money into arrangements to meet, that you literally overdose on each other when you do get together. Everyone needs time between dates to let their emotional and intellectual processes work themselves through. Long-distance daters have to learn to juggle their desire to maximize their short time together, with their need for personal space. Years of experience has taught us that people who try to spend most of their waking minutes together, often ends up tense, unsettled and unhappy.

We recommend that for a Shabbat or weekend in the same city, you give yourselves a block of a few hours' time apart each day. If you both will be in the same vicinity for a week or more, consider one or two long dates (go on a daytime hike or spend an afternoon-into-evening together) as well as a couple of evening dates. But space your dates one-to-three days apart, and vary your activities together. During the down-time, visit family, see friends, make business contacts, shop, sightsee, read a book, work out at a gym -- there are plenty of productive things you can do to fill your time.

After the interlude, if the two of you agree that you'd like to keep your courtship going, you can continue your long-distance e-mails and phone calls, but focus on another time in the near future that will allow you to spend time together again.

You may have to make some modifications to suit your own needs, but we have seen this method of long-distance courtship lead to many now-happily married couples. In fact, Rosie had a bi-coastal courtship that resulted in a great marriage. So good luck!

Rosie & Sherry