How Far Would You Go For Love?

Ever feel like The One's out there, waiting… if you just knew where to look? Here, couples and daters who expanded their geographical searches for love discuss the challenges of dating from a distance.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

know firsthand that it pays to look for love beyond your immediate geographic area. Way back in 2003, I was contacted by a Seattle-based single man searching for his match online. I lived in Los Angeles at the time and was planning to return to North Carolina. He was undeterred (and awfully charming), so I thought, "What the heck?"

"I'm self-employed and travel a lot
You have to be willing to do the same to find a quality mate.
for work anyway, so I just need to live near a good airport," recalls Steve Peha, the man in question. "I felt like I'd met everyone I was going to meet in Seattle — my hometown — so why not search more broadly? I was completely willing to relocate for the right woman."

After two weeks of "courting" online and by telephone, we agreed to meet. Seventy-two hours later, we were engaged and making plans to move back to my hometown. In May, we celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary.

Now, your results may vary, but there's a lot to be said for expanding your quest for love beyond the confines of your current community. And you don't have to take my word for it — here's what others have to say…

Bigger pool, better chances
"I recommend that people be more open to meeting someone outside of their city and even state," says Rasheda Kamaria, a single woman living in Detroit who's expanded her search beyond the state of Michigan. "If you're really hoping to find The One, then be prepared to date outside your box. I've known people who'd travel thousands of miles for authentic Italian leather. You have to be willing to do the same to find a quality mate."

Knoxville-based life coach Rebecca Cagle agrees; she's also cast a wider net in an effort to find a man with similar values to date. "I think you have a better chance of finding a great match if you increase the number of people to choose from as well as get specific about what qualities you want," Cagle says.

The strategy also paid off for Frances Cooper, a federal government administrator in Capitol Heights, MD, who found love with a man living on the other side of the U.S. in the state of Washington. "Due to both of our work schedule demands, we talked on the phone and emailed for nine months before we actually met in person, which allowed us to really get to know and care for one another," Cooper recalls. He eventually relocated and the couple is now married. "When you know someone is the right person for you and you are both are 'on the same page in life,' distance does not matter," she asserts.

Time and distance issues
Of course, long-distance dating has its ups and downs, too. "Being far away grants you the opportunity to take things slower and get to know one another better as you build a greater sense of
We talk on Skype almost every day that we are not together.
patience that is very important to every relationship," explains V. McLeod, a relationship management expert in Miami. "[But] you can grow impatient when you feel a strong connection and you are not able to spend face time together."

That's what Cagle's experiencing now, since she and her boyfriend live several hours apart. "Spending time together can be a challenge — one or both of us [must] get on the road and drive," she says. "We can't just go out on a date without planning ahead with our schedules. But it's worth it. We talk on Skype almost every day that we are not together. We are looking forward to getting married [and] living in the same location."

Should you go for it?
So, is this "daters without borders" approach right for you? Dennis J. Kravetz, author of I Never Have Any Luck with Dating, suggests taking these four things into consideration:
  1. Does my job/career allow me to move to another area?
  2. Am I willing to leave the area I am in now (including my family, friends, etc.) to go somewhere else?
  3. Can I afford to be in a long-distance relationship?
  4. Can I tolerate the inconveniences that it brings just to get to Mr. or Ms. Right?
And there's one final consideration that's less logistical and more emotional to think about, says McLeod: "Long-distance romance requires stronger levels of trust, self-confidence and security. If you tend to be uncomfortable or insecure when you're not in regular physical proximity to your partner, it's probably not the best thing for you. The distance would present such a challenge for you that your relationship is not likely to survive or thrive."

Still reading? Then what are you waiting for? Get online and start looking further afield. "One of the greatest benefits of online dating," McLeod concludes, "is the freedom, ease and flexibility it gives to meet people who you might never meet if your focus is only those that are geographically convenient."

Margot Carmichael Lester is a freelance content producer whose work also appears on and in International Cinematographers Guild magazine.
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