Dating Maze #320: Long Distance Romance
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Dating Maze #320: Long Distance Romance
Dating Advice 320

Dating Maze #320: Long Distance Romance

How to stop a long distance courtship from unraveling.

by

Dear Rosie & Sherry, 

I've known the woman I’m dating since we were kids, so our situation is a bit different. After going back and forth for many years, we finally decided to give “romance” a shot. The only problem is that we live in different states. We see each other every month and frequently speak on the phone. We've been doing this for about six months, and lately, she says she is having a hard time with it.  

She has been compensating by relying more and more on her friends for companionship and emotional support. In the process, I feel as if she is pulling away from me. I know this is normal with long distance relationships, but when has the line been crossed? I suspect that she may be distancing herself because she is finding the arrangement too hard, and is beginning to think the whole thing is not worth it.  

She reassures me that she has no intention of breaking up, and in six months we plan on moving to the same city. But for now, her conversations lack interest and she is getting used to life without me. I love her very much and I know she feels the same way, but the distance is getting to her. What can I do to resolve this? 

Mike 

Dear Mike, 

LDD – Long distance dating – can be difficult, and we can understand why this woman feels frustrated because you only see each other once a month. It's important for her to continue the momentum of your courtship through face-to-face contact, and that's the biggest handicap of LDD. You're right that she could be distancing herself because it's hard to be apart a month at a time. If that's the case, we have some suggestions to make it easier for her to cope. 

In our experience, long distance relationships have a better chance of succeeding when the couple dates with an ultimate goal of being together in an enduring relationship as soon as is practical. They do this by seeing each other at regular intervals and talking on the phone a few times a week, which you are doing.  

In addition, they use face-to-face meetings and “phone dates” to build emotional intimacy. This is the sense of friendship, closeness, trust and sharing that makes the difference between a relationship that's “just fun” and one that is moving forward to something stronger.  

One way that two people can do this is by sharing what's going on in their daily lives; talking about their values, goals and challenges; describing uplifting or enjoyable experiences; and discussing their thoughts and feelings about events that occur in their lives. The more you two stay connected on a daily basis, the more your lives will be enmeshed. 

You can also do small things to show that you are tuned into each other’s interests or tastes. Some ideas are e-mailing an article you read about a subject that's important to the other person, bringing the other person a treat s/he likes, or planning a date that you believe the other will really appreciate or enjoy.  

We have found that when long distance daters are primarily focused on having fun without a long-term goal in mind, they are more likely to grow frustrated, pull away, and break up.  

With this in mind, how can you and this young woman relate to each other on a deeper level? By giving each of your in-person and telephone dates a purpose – something new you want to share and learn about each other.  

In addition, it is important for both of you to live a full life while you are apart – school, work, spirituality, involvement in the community, and time with friends and family. It's good that she enjoys being with friends, but she should be doing so because it's important for everyone, single or married, to have friendships, and not because they are a substitute for you.  

We'd like to suggest one other possibility to explain what you and this woman are experiencing. You attribute her apparent lack of interest to the fact that she is having a hard time being together only once a month. It's possible that even though she reassures you that she doesn't want to break up, she is having some doubt about whether you are right for each other in the long term. (Or it could be that she is preoccupied with something else in her life and is putting her emotional energy into that.) If that's the case, then living in the same city won't solve your problems. 

To find out what’s really going on, we suggest that you talk about what each of you is feeling the next time you have an actual (non-telephone) date. Explore the possibility of building a deeper relationship through the suggestions we made earlier. They will make a difference, because if you want things to move forward, a deeper level of emotional intimacy is a necessity. 

We wish you success in navigating the dating maze. 

Rosie & Sherry

Published: October 31, 2010

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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) Anonymous, November 19, 2010 2:42 AM

LDD perfect

Just met a guy two weeks ago out of town. Went out of town shopping and was at the bookstore when we struck up a conversation over books in the Jewish section. Reading what the pair of you wrote was very helpful and encouraging. You stressed the importance and special phone dates are. This is perfect for my busy lifestyle. Being single for a while, I wouldn't have wanted someone there all the time. I hadn't thought of talking on the phone the few times we have so far as "phone dates" I really like the way you put that together.

(5) Chana, November 6, 2010 6:37 PM

Skype Video

Why didn't you suggest that the long distance couple use Skype to make the contact seem more real? Seeing one's intended m face- to- face helps make the relationship feel more real.

(4) Anonymous, November 5, 2010 8:23 PM

good, not good enough

Rosie and sherry: been trying to find a wife for quite some time. had a number of criteria which out of frustration is widdled down to breathing and being able to communicate. either i was too jewish or not jewish enough. as for LD, it seems anything more then 20 miles is beyond reach. i guess when they call to see you, they want you there within 5 mins. it's been mushugah trying to find someone. even if i ask, "can we at least keep a kosher house" i'm left with resistance. i get far more requests for relationships from the non-jewish women. except for faith they are often the more desirable match. i've held off so far but i'm not sure i can wait any longer. the frustration is boiling over!!

(3) Anonymous, November 2, 2010 11:58 PM

successful long distance relationship

In the past I never had much faith in long distance relationships. However, that has now changed for me. I re-connected with a man I had known 30 years prior. At that time we stopped seeing each other because of the distance and because our lives were going in different directions. (But I always felt that there had been something special about him). Unfortunately we are once again separated by great distance. The difference now is our level of commitment to each other. We have kept this relationship going strong for the past 3 years. We figure we have about another 1 1/2 - 2 years to go as we are waiting for all of our children to graduate from college. We only get to see each other about once every 3 months for an average of about 5-7 days each time. It is not easy by any means but I think the key is that we are both totally committed to the relationship and know that as soon as we can be together permanently, that we want to spend the rest of our lives together. I am deeply in love with this man and know that he feels the same about me. He is worth waiting for. The situation is frustrating at times and I miss him terribly when we are apart but I do keep busy with friends, family and work. I stress again that it is not easy, but if two people are both equally serious and committed about the relationship, it can work. I wish Mike luck.

(2) barb, November 2, 2010 4:01 PM

Get with technology

Why not get a computer, webcam and service like skype. You can talk to each other each day while seeing one another. You can even set up "dates" with each other and play an interactive on-line game such as scrabble while chatting. This will help pass the separation time while being able to enjoy each other's company. It puts a positive focus on the relationship and helps to keep things fresh. Six months will pass much faster!

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