I Met a Guy Who Lives in Another Country. Is it Worth Giving it a Shot?

Brian Rzepczynski Brian Rzepczynski • 9/25/14

Reader Question:

Not too long ago I met a guy in a culinary festival. The guy is from the U.S. and was part of a study for a semester program in PR.

The thing is we met the last five days of his exchange program and in the little time we spent together, I felt like we connected really well. I ended up liking him very much to the point where I can’t stop thinking of him.

We have maintained a good communication via phone and occasionally Facebook, but sometimes I feel lost and insecure about hoping for something that there might never be a chance for.

Is it worth giving it a shot?

-Ivan (Puerto Rico)

Brian Rzepczynski’s Answer:

Dear Ivan:

Well I have good news and bad news for you!

The good news is long-distance relationships can and do work.

The bad news is most research indicates this positive prognosis applies, for the most part, to those couples already established in long-term relationships.

Long-distance relationships can be very difficult for all the obvious reasons.

They tend to fare better with long-term partners because they already have a foundation established in their relationship to sustain the stresses involved with the painful separations that come with their lifestyles of distance.

All sorts of tips and tricks exist to help these couples maintain their spark when apart, but these are traditionally most beneficial when they already have a mature connection.

Short-term encounters and vacation romances, such as yours, are initially built on infatuation, lust and chemistry and haven’t had an opportunity to mature and evolve.

Without ever having been able to truly date and establish an enduring emotional connection that can only come from getting to know the other person and dealing with the inevitable power struggles and conflicts of daily life that face-to-face relationships allow, men in your situation are at a significant disadvantage.

All these men have is the fantasy of the glory of what they shared during their brief moments together before they had to part ways, and this is not a holistic representation of their partnering based on the stage of relationship they’re in.

It’s a “honeymoon phase.”

Advances in technology with the use of Skype and webcams definitely helps with the communication barriers that exist, but they also unfortunately fuel the fantasy and keep these men trapped in visions of what “could be” without being grounded in the reality they don’t genuinely know this love interest completely, let alone in his own home environment.

Physical presence is needed for a relationship to get off the ground and sustain, especially in the beginning.

We can convince ourselves we “truly know him” and “can beat the odds,” but that’s the fantasy and desire for companionship talking, and it’s a huge mental trap to beware.

That being said, it is ultimately your choice.

When we finally meet “a good one” in dating, it can be hard to let go if the conditions aren’t right for it, despite the fact the guy might be.

And there certainly are relationships in your similar type of situation that have worked out.

It really comes down to your needs and values and what you want out of a partner, relationship and lifestyle.

It might be helpful to make a pros and cons list of trying a long-distance partnership on for size.

It might also be helpful to ask yourself such questions as:

  • “What are the qualities and characteristics I’m looking for out of a relationship?”
  • “Will this arrangement align with the conditions I’m seeking?”
  • “Do I REALLY know this guy enough to make this sacrifice?”
  • “Can I truly cope with long periods of time apart without suffering distressing emotional symptoms?”
  • “Can I be without his physical touch and intimacy?”
  • “Have we established enough trust and connection to sustain physical distance?”
  • “Do I REALLY want this type of relationship?”
  • “Am I being driven by some other underlying force (loneliness, insecurity, desperation, etc.)?”

I wish you all the best with your decision, my friend.

Bask in the afterglow of the wonderful experience you had with this guy, but please do your due diligence by conducting this self-analysis before emotionally investing yourself prematurely for your own protection.

All the best,

Dr. Brian


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