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Now that vaccines are being distributed to more people and COVID restrictions are being lifted, more singles are starting to date again in real life (IRL, for short). However, finding a relationship online is more successful when geography isn’t an issue, and the entire world is your digital oyster.
All relationships can be complicated, and long-distance relationships have their unique barriers to conquer. But if you find that you’re clicking with someone you met online and who doesn’t live in your area, keeping your mind open to going the distance may totally be worth it.
You can become one of the thousands of singles who have decided to embark on a happy and successful long-distance relationship from the comfort of your home and your handy keyboard. Just keep the advice in this article in mind.
In pre-Covid days, singles were limiting the proximity for their online dating searches to within 30 and 45 miles of their zip codes. Many singles were unwilling to date outside their neighborhood due to unbearable traffic congestion, as just one example. Having to drive way across town and possibly showing up late to a date put singles in a bad mood and, most importantly, lowered the chances of scoring a second date.
Most long-distance relationships that started online before the pandemic involved someone interested in traveling to a location for work or holiday. They changed their search parameters to the new city with the intent of having fun while away from home.
If a couple clicked, a weekend or monthly in-person relationship formed. Staying connected included daily habits of frequent phone calls and texts as well as an occasional FaceTime or video call.
Ambitious and adventurous singles on Tinder signed up for Tinder Plus and enabled the Passport feature to search for potential dates in the destination of their dreams. Whether they were planning a trip to Paris or had a desire to meet an Italian suitor, this feature allowed them to explore dating beyond their location and consider meeting someone from a specific town anywhere in the world.
For years, it was only the uninhibited singles who were willing to move for love from one part of the country to another or relocate to another continent to be with that special someone. Now, all types of singles are considering this.
During the height of the lockdown and socially distanced dating, popular dating apps and online dating sites became the go-to options for singles looking for love, companionship, and a deeper connection.
OkCupid saw an 83% increase of singles changing their search parameters to “Anywhere” since the start of the pandemic. Tinder even offered its Passport feature for free with the hope of helping singles connect without zip code restrictions.
One thing is for sure, online dating shifted during 2020 to singles dating with intent, and everyone was forced into forming a long-distance dating relationship online, even if they lived across town.
Virtual dates were more fun than showing up for an awkward masked date on a hike (when deep down you knew hiking wasn’t your favorite activity).
Hookups took a back seat, and Netflix and Chill dates turned into Netflix and Zoom dates, where virtual dating became the essential way for singles who were meeting online to move their relationships forward. Smiles and laughter from dating app matches were easily captured on video and helped pass the time while singles were working from home.
Dating apps quickly launched in-app video features, if they didn’t have them already, so singles could connect and have a digital date night without leaving their home.
It became rare to receive a message saying, “Sorry, you live too far away, so good luck with your search.” Instead, couples started forming long-distance relationships to ease the pain of isolation, and they began binge-watching shows together, playing online trivia games together, and taking virtual tours at museums together.
This forced change in dating behavior resulted in speeding up the process of Defining the Relationship (DTR) for long-distance couples who would dream about meeting eventually in one city or another.
Couples in long-distance relationships would send care packages to each other with romantic gifts of chocolate and wine, keeping the ecommerce sites and Postal Service very busy. Tech-savvy daters flocked to Teleparty, a Google Chrome extension, so they could watch shows together on Disney+, Hulu, HBO, and Netflix while physically apart.
Singles started dating with more of an open mind and were willing to cast a wider net, as their previous self-imposed limitations had to be readjusted.
Those who previously said they’d only date within their neighborhood are now willing to drive two, three, or even four hours for a date with someone they’ve connected with online, resulting in more matches, more connections, and more long-distance relationships. And more happiness, I might add.
So here we are as we are getting ready to embrace a new normal for online dating, where long-distance relationships will play a significant part in digital courtship. Travel is resuming with modifications, and many who were forced to work from home have found they can continue to work from anywhere, which now helps singles more easily move for love.
If you started a long-distance relationship online during the pandemic, perhaps you and your digital pen pal are planning on meeting in person. Today’s trend is to continue to use video and voice features if you’re actively using dating apps.
Because singles have been forging relationships and friendships through dating apps across the country, this trend of virtual dating to vet your dates will continue, and more long-distance relationships will be formed. Today’s priority for the majority of singles online is to find a meaningful connection with less emphasis on limiting the geographic possibilities. This is why dating online and being open to a long-distance relationship needs to be a part of every single person’s dating strategy.
Long-distance dating works when two people are on the same page, and there’s an end game — so open and honest communication is essential.
Dating long distance may feel like you’re living in a real-life romance novel, but remember that you’re in honeymoon mode. It will start to get frustrating living apart from that special someone. Eventually, you two will need to develop a plan to live closer to each other or live under the same roof. Or perhaps you’ll want to evenly split your time together between multiple households if work or family commitments prevent you from moving closer.
The easiest way to let someone viewing your dating profile know you’d be open to a long-distance relationship is to put it front and center.
This can be accomplished by simply mentioning it in your About section and adjusting your settings. For example, on Bumble, you can widen your search range to “Whole Country.” On Tinder, you can enable the app’s new and free Going Global mode, so your profile appears to users in other countries. Tinder’s Passport feature will also allow you to search in a specific city or country. Match allows you to increase the distance in a search to up to 500 miles, and OkCupid allows you to change your distance preferences to “Anywhere.”
To be more proactive with finding love online, I recommend posting that you’ve been working from home and are open to relocating for the right person to the top of your profile. That way, people who view your profile won’t instantly swipe left if they see you live in another state.
It’s also now common for profiles to state at the top, “I’m planning on moving to [insert city] in the next few months” or “ I have a job with a flexible schedule, so distance isn’t an issue for me.”
If you dread the thought of starting and maintaining a long-distance relationship, ask yourself if you’d rather go on a series of unfulfilling one-and-done dates in your neighborhood. Or would you rather be open to finding a great love wherever he or she may live?
As you consider a long-distance relationship, ask yourself and your potential partner: How far are we willing to travel, and how often do we need to see each other to keep the relationship progressing?
Determine if you’re the jealous type and need someone at your side all of the time, or if you can live without someone’s physical presence for a while.
Nurture your long-distance relationship and create new rituals together that will help you bond and grow as a couple. Good luck!