Love, without borders
We all know and have our own views on it, this era of inter-racial, inter-cultural, multi-sexuality, almost anything is possible dating. The time in which we live is perhaps the most liberal so far and love really does appear to be crossing unprecedented barriers. All this being said, the amount of people who believe that dating is only possible if partners live in the same neighbourhood is extremely telling. There are still some ways of thinking that take longer to shift.
Changing the mindset
When you ask someone to describe their perfect partner, you may hear reference to race, nationality, height, their physical build or sense of humour, but rarely will they specifically mention what country this person need reside in. Physical proximity is something that is generally taken for granted and if a love interest does end up happening to live further than the local restaurant, all sorts of questions around geographical practicality and long-term suitability will arise. Gone are the adages of love will find a way or that love will conquer all and in comes a steady decline into what an impossible situation we find ourselves in.
Although mostly aware of all the new and creative ways we have of meeting each other, there appears to be a mental block that dismisses the choice and flexibility we also have around travel. It’s easier than ever now to get from point a to point b in record time. Considering the lengths people go to commuting for work, taking weekend breaks or travelling to a party, it might be assumed that doing the same for love would be automatic. Frequently however, we are ruled by our comfort zones and need to be reminded of what can be found on the other side of them.
International dating and what it really means
Dating internationally means making a conscious choice and vocalising, if only to yourself, that you’re open to dating someone who is not on your doorstep. It means weighing up your search for love and deciding whether where you live matters more than possibly being with someone who could be a perfect match. It also means deciding whether what you’re looking for is serious enough to uproot someone who is willing to relocate for you. That is indeed a big call to make.
The fact is, life is changing all the time and will always be unpredictable to a certain extent. Whether the person you meet lives in the next city a few miles away or on the opposite side of the world, there will be a reason the two of you met and the connection could be worth exploring. It could end up being a whirlwind romance or a serious committed relationship. The question is, how willing are you to give up the possibility of either?
Another scenario to consider is that the love of your life may indeed live within a few miles of you, but what happens if they need to relocate for work one day, or they have ambitions to emigrate permanently in the next five years? What affect would this have on your decision to become involved in the first place?
Not making location a specific criterion for love, unless it’s absolutely one of your non-negotiables, can open the door to multiple opportunities. Some of them will be harder to navigate than others, but part of dating is making decisions that are sometimes temporary, sometimes not. Think twice, test the waters, remember you’re in control and can step back at any point you want.
The reality you need to consider
So you’ve met someone and they live 100 or 10,000 miles away, what impact is this really likely to have on your relationship? In all honesty, a very big one, if you’re the type who wants impromptu dinners after work and coffee meet-ups at lunchtime. Although there’s little that can replace physically being with someone, the tech age in which we live gives us lots of options for satisfaction in the between times. There’s Skype, FaceTime, email, text and plain old-fashioned speaking over the phone. We are more connected than ever and while this won’t replace physical intimacy, you can try at least to get creative with the many tools at your disposal.
Another reality is that sometimes we have commitments, bigger than ourselves, that prevent us having the freedom to travel when we like or entertain someone every other weekend in our own space. Children or intense work schedules can keep us grounded and with seemingly limited options. Even in cases like this, sit down and really assess the seeming impossibility of it. Make no assumptions
Long term dating
Whilst there are some people more than content to date from a distance for long lengths of time, others will want to close the location gap sooner. Being willing to date internationally doesn’t mean you need to make compromises that you’re extremely uncomfortable with and you should still always be crystal clear about your long term goals.
Be open early on about how you would prefer a relationship to progress geographically and check how aligned your future goals are with one another. If both or one of you is flexible, at least you can begin with some realistic, rather than imagined ideas of what possibilities lay ahead. The key is a flexible mind, with this most things are possible.
By Tori Ufondu