Can I still date her if I’ll be away for a few months?

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philboswaggins asks:

So I recently went on the first date with an amazing woman and it went fantastic. The issue, however, is that I have potentially gotten an offer to work (and live) at a children’s camp for a couple of months, (Aug 1st, middle of Oct) which is something I’ve wanted for a long time.

Since we’ve only been on one date (with another one scheduled in a few days, on pride, and another one for a soccer game!) we’re obviously not in any form of commitment, but I really like this lady and would love to keep seeing her. The early stages of dating might get hard though, since the camp is on an island 4 hours away from our home city, and I’ll only have one day free per week. Long distance relationships are absolutely doable, but I’m very scared I won’t see her very much, since my family will also want to see me during my free days and there’s just not time to also see her. I might be able to see her two times a month if I’m lucky, and even then, there’ll just be a couple of hours.

Should I give her up for now and hope she’s not seeing someone else when I get back, or do you guys think we can still make it work? It’s quite a lot of time, after all.

We’re both women, by the way, I’m 18, she’s 19.


Demetrius says:

I’m hesitant to say that anyone “should” give up or not give up someone when the barrier to being together is distance, but I am very comfortable with answering the question of whether or not you can. Can you date someone long distance after meeting for one date? Sure. Would I do it? Probably not, but every once in a while you meet someone so amazing, things feel so..right…that you figure that it’s worth it to take the risk. I can’t tell you if you should take this risk, but I think you can try. Worst case scenario things don’t work out or you get hurt, but you’re 18 years old so even if you do get hurt, Silver Lining, it’ll be formative!

So yes, you can do it and yes, you can make it work. When I say “you can make it work” what I mean is “you both”. Long distance relationships can only work if you both buy into what it will be. Not what your relationship will be after the distance, what it will be during your period apart. If you go into it with a mindset of “This is going to suck in the interim, but once it’s done it’ll be great”, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You have to commit to what the long distance period is actually going to be like, and your partner has to be onboard. So before I say you should try to do a long-distance dating situation for a few months, you first need to make sure you’re both willing to do it. If she’s on the same page as you in terms of attraction, interest in seeing you, and willingness to try to date despite the distance, I say go for it.

In order to make it work as smoothly as possible, obviously getting on the same page helps, but there is one major thing you can do. That thing is setting expectations. You seem to have a pretty clear idea of when you’ll be away and when you’ll be back in your home city, so you also should have a handle on when you can actually see your new lady, and also how often you can communicate while not together via phone, chat, etc.. You’ve already done most of the hard work of figuring out when you might be able to see her, which seems to be at best twice a month, so you need to share that information with her, and see if she’s down. You need to tell her how long you’ll be away, whether or not it’s temporary, potentially permanent, or actually permanent, how often you can potentially see her and when, how often you’d like to stay in contact, and so on. Wondering how to do it? I got you:

"Hey, I know we just met but I like you and I have to be away for a few months for this great job opportunity, but if you're open to it maybe we can still see each other while I'm away. I'll be away from August 1st to about mid-October, but I plan on coming back to the city 1-2 times per month, so we could keep in contact between then and try to hang out when I'm in town. Does that sound like something you'd be into?"

That’s pretty much everything you need to say, but feel free to add more relevant details I may not be aware of. Clearly lay out when you’ll be away, when you’ll be back in town, how frequently you’ll be in town, how often you’d like to talk between those visits, and ask if she’d be cool with continuing to date you given all of that information. If she’s down with all those things, I think you should a chance and give it a shot. If she agrees, you get to figure out if you really are a good fit for each other or if this is just an infatuation. If she doesn’t agree, it sucks but you can move on without wondering “what if…?”.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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