When it comes to dating, long-distance romances can be a complication. From halfway around the world to just a few hundred miles away, having a long-distance relationship can bring with it unique joys and unique challenges. Seeking advice is essential when you’re considering taking the leap of faith and getting together with someone whom you met online, or who lives far away.
The desire to meet up with someone special when there’s an arm’s length of distance between you is a common sentiment. Whether you’ve been flirting with someone for weeks or months, or have been talking over the phone for hours on end, many people find themselves curious and wanting more awkward-chuckles in person, more sweaty palms strolling side-by-side than they do while typing away through messages, more first (real) kisses, and even more fulfilling connections.
It is important to take care when considering a meeting with a long-distance romantic partner. Don’t let that spark inside you die out by being too hesitant; don’t let it flare up out of control by making rash decisions. Instead, take the necessary steps and all applicable safety precautions to ensure your happiness—and safety—even if it kicks those butterflies into overdrive.
The Long-Distance Dilemma: Step Away from Your Insecurities
You may have heard tales of people who have managed to pursue a long-distance relationship for years before coming face-to-face. Such stories are certainly inspiring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an easy sail for everyone. It takes tremendous self-awareness and strong communication to sustain a distance relationship without constant physical contact. Factors like safety, cost, and practicality all come into play.
Insecurity can prevent us from taking advantage of the beautiful opportunity that long-distance relationships offer us, in which we can get to know another person in deep and meaningful ways. If you’re feeling stuck and uncertain when debating the idea of finally meeting someone special, it might be helpful to look inwards rather than outwards.
What are some of the stories you’re telling yourself about why meeting this person isn’t going to work out? Letting go of these stories, no matter what evidence there is to support them, can be a way to create space for a real connection to happen when you meet.
Take Time to Grow Your Trust
Meeting for the first time after an extended period of talking can cause both parties to feel anxious, if not terrified. Many questions start to race through our minds: How will I know if this person is safe? What if my feelings are different in real life? How will I break the touch barrier without being awkward?
But, if your heart is asking you to take the risk, then make sure to give it as much calming attention as possible. Give yourself the necessary time to get to know one another better. Build trust before diving into a full “let’s meet up” plan. Spend time talking over video calls and send photos of each other so that you can feel more comfortable before jumping on the plane. Consider last-minute travel planning websites and research accommodations close by where you can stay to ensure safety and practicality.
Be Practical and Communicate Openly
Practical considerations—like who will pay for the flight and where to meet—are also important. Having this conversation with each other can help bring forth a plan that both parties are comfortable with.
Another important aspect to consider when meeting for the first time is that there’s not just one right way to do it. To ensure that no one feels put on the spot, talk openly about how you both prefer to meet up. Some people will enjoy a dinner date while others may want something more informal. Again, communication is key here.
The Unfamiliarity of Meeting Face-to-Face
One of the biggest anxieties of meeting a long-distance romantic partner is the fear of the unfamiliar. What we read online and the things we exchange during conversations don’t allow for an accurate picture of how a person looks, sounds, and carries themselves. There can be an immense amount of uncertainty involved in temporarily withdrawing your trust from what lies beyond your screens or phones and instead risks handing it to a complete stranger.
Remember that feeling a little unsure and vulnerable is part of the process. It doesn’t have to feel like a step back if you are willing to take the risk. Try to remember why you decided to take this step in the first place and that your safety should always come first.
When to Take the Leap
Only you can decide when you’re ready to take the leap and finally meet someone with whom you’ve enjoyed a long-distance romance. Whether it’s after a few weeks of chatting or some months of conversing, building a trusting bond is always important. Don’t let doubts, fears, and insecurities get in the way of your real-life connection, especially since it could even bring you closer than when you first started. The decision to meet your potential soul mate or simply a lovely new friend is entirely yours. So, if your heart is calling for it, listen deeply, reach out, and take the leap.
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