At Kelleher Matchmaking we have a growing number of clients who join our network saying, "You find me that needle in a haystack and don't worry about the distance; I will make it work from there." But when we make that long-distance match, many get apprehensive about the viability of a blossoming relationship. We asked our team of matchmakers to tackle this widely adopted notion that distance ultimately divides. Here’s what they have to say on the subject.
Q: Why should a client consider a long-distance match?
A: “So many of our Kelleher clients do have the time and resources to pursue a long distance relationship that I have to remind them that distance isn’t hard, but finding the right match is. If my client is resistant at all, I remind them of things they’ve shared with me - like all of the travel they enjoy or the adventures they claim to love. I also remind them of the privilege they have of casting a wide net in the search for love, something most people can’t afford. We have a wealth of exceptional clients nationwide, why would they want to limit themselves?” -Sherry Allen
Q: Explain the quality over quantity argument when it comes to long-distance dating.
A: “First and foremost, you must be open to finding the right match versus a convenient one. As matchmakers we’re striving to help you find long-term happiness, and if the right partner happens to be the one who lives in another city/state, it is crucial that you give it a chance. If the match is meant to be things will organically work out. After personally dating local men who I saw frequently but were not "the one," I decided that sharing life with someone less frequently who is "the one" is much more fulfilling. In between our every other weekend get-togethers, my partner and I make sure to text every day/night and talk on the phone a few times a week. Despite not being physically close in proximity we are always there to support one another emotionally. It has been seven months, and we are still going strong! I chose quality over quantity and couldn't be happier. I’m able to maintain my own life and independence and have a meaningful relationship, too.” -Jennifer Wolpert
Q: Is there a secret to making long-distance relationships work?
A: “For busy people like our Kelleher clients having that carved out quality time works well, they know when they make the time to be with their long distance partner they will savor every minute. I had a client tell me today he appreciates the “7-5 rule” where he and his partner each spend seven months at their primary residence and alternately live at their partner’s residence the other five months. I think the secret is creating a formula that works for both people and takes out the constant logistical guesswork and planning”. -Molly Davis
Q: How real can a long-distance relationship be?
A: “I’ll speak from my own experience as my ex-husband and I spent over three years doing the long-distance thing. While it was enjoyable, it didn’t give me a realistic picture of what normal life would be like with him. We enjoyed periodic adventures and traveled to fun weekend destinations like New Orleans, NYC, Sante Fe, etc. It was almost four years before our day-to-day compatibility was tested. I'm not saying it can't work, but I believe there has to come a time where you see the real picture of living with that person. It can take years before you get into the nitty-gritty of a real relationship and know someone well enough to make a serious commitment. Long-distance seems more reasonable for younger people with the financial means. If you're long-distance dating at age 60, do you want to spend years commuting for love or would you rather have someone you can spontaneously hang out with on a Tuesday night eating pizza and watching TV in your PJ's?” -Doreen Justice
Q: Is there an advantage to having physical distance in a relationship?
A: “Sometimes distance can work to your advantage. It’s true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. At Kelleher, we match so many people that live in different parts of the country, and they make it work. When a romantic relationship is the most important part of your life that’s missing, you do what it takes and make every minute the best when you’re with your partner. I believe people make long distance relationships work if the connection is worth it. I worked with a woman who lived in New Jersey while her match lived in Fargo, North Dakota. They traveled back and forth for two years before buying a place together. If a woman or man is willing to relocate, it is worth taking a chance to meet someone that does not live in your area. You never know what might happen if you stay open to possibility.” -Patty Russell
Q: What reflective questions should I consider before jumping into a long-distance relationship?
A: "In my opinion, there are three fundamental questions to consider:
#1) What are your long-term goals? Do you see yourself living on a beach and your long-distance match is in Chicago with no chance of relocating? Both of your long-term life visions must be in sync for the relationship to go the distance. I've had many clients get wrapped up in "The Bachelor" effect. When they're together on the weekends, it is all sunshine and roses. They hit the pause button on life and get wrapped up in each other which makes for a fantastic love story that is captivating and all-consuming until it is time to get off the island and face the reality of life. Some couples can work it out and make it last while it naturally fizzles for the rest because the long-term goals outweigh the romance.
#2) What type of connection do you need? I often talk to clients about what a relationship looks like to them and what they are seeking to get out of having a partner in their life. It is essential to ask yourself if you are okay not having a person available to you 24/7. For some, this works. I had a recently divorced client in her mid 40's with a thriving business and two young kids. I set her up with a single dad in a similar situation who was around her age. For them, the LDR worked because they would meet when neither had their kids and in-between visits they focused on other facets of their life. Both were just out of marriage, still handling the outcome of their divorces and this was the best case scenario for this period of their life.
#3) Where are you emotionally right now? Long-distance relationships can be complicated. They take trust, confidence and emotional maturity. These are critical factors to building any relationship, but for an LDR these components are stretched, challenged, and tested on a larger scale. When you start long-distance dating, the pace of the relationship can hasten, and expectations can build. There is an underlying level of pressure to make each second together magical and meaningful and an urgency to share enough with each other to make it to the next rendezvous. For some couples, this can really help to build a fantastic foundation. For others, this elevated level of emotion can put them in a tailspin. I like to remind clients to take a step back, go slow, and to remember the basics of dating. I had a client three months into a new LDR call me and say he wanted her to move in with him, but she was pushing back on the idea. He said it was terrific when they were together, she sent him cute texts, and they talked when they weren't together, and she appeared to be making him a priority in her life. I asked him how long he dated his ex-wife before they moved in - two years was his response. In his mind, that situation was different because they'd lived nearby and could see each other every day if they wanted. I quickly highlighted how easy it is to get swept up in the romance of a long-distance connection, but we still need to consider the basics - and in this case, it was premature, it had only been three months." -Kimberly Colgate
The most important thing to recognize about long-distance relationships is that they should have a shelf life. If you make a strong love connection, there must be light at the end of the tunnel where you and your partner find yourselves in the same place.
What’s your experience with long-distance love? If you’ve found ways to make it work and have tips to improve the experience we’d love to hear from you. Leave advice, comments, or questions for our Kelleher matchmaking team below.