Online dating is a fabulous tool for identifying a pool of single men (and women) in your geographical area. It eliminates the guesswork of figuring out if the cutie at the bar might be there on a date, and it allows you to filter by factors that are important to you: age, appearance, religion, political beliefs, etc. While most people stick to dating people nearby, there are benefits to reaching out and getting to know long-distance matches as well.
1. There’s less pressure. If the chances of the two of you meeting in real life are slim, you are free to be yourself and let go of pretense. You don’t need to maintain a certain level of mystery or intrigue because you have little to lose by laying it all out on the table. At the worst, they decide they don’t want to email or text with you anymore and at the best, you find someone who you can be yourself with.
2. They offer a different perspective. Like that one friend you met at camp a decade ago that doesn’t know anyone in your life at the moment, they can provide an outsider’s perspective to whatever is going on. A refreshing take on that coworker drama or a friend’s wedding frenzy can make you feel less alone in your thoughts.
3. You learn new things. This is especially relevant when the other person lives a life very different than yours. If they’re a traveling circus performer and you work a 9-5 desk job, or if you live in a downtown high rise condo while they feed chickens on their farm every morning, you get to experience their way of life vicariously. Think of it as a virtual vacation from your own day when you listen to them talk about theirs.
4. You can move on easily. If you get tired of texting all day or find the other person to be less interesting than you originally thought, it’s easy to disconnect them from your life if you never run the risk of seeing them again.
There are also plenty of drawbacks to these relationships as well, the biggest one being that if you find someone you truly connect with, it’s difficult to meet them in person. You have to decide who is going to travel where, and you have to be safe. You also need to be prepared for them to be different in real life than at a distance, just like when you meet someone nearby.
But for all the emphasis on meeting someone in your town to spend date nights with, the long-distance pen pal is often overlooked as an intimate and pressure-free way to connect with someone.
Have you ever maintained a relationship with someone you’d never met? How did it turn out?
photo credit: splorp