Not Going The Distance

Her message read – ‘Newry actually. Its a little over an hours drive away.’ And so it began, my brief encounter with long distance courting.

Having established a great connection on a well – known dating site,
myself and my online romantic interest decided to approach long
distance dating with an open mind, determined not to allow such an
unsexy impediment as geography dampen our hopes.

After all, a vast stretch of the M1 was all that
separated Newry from Dublin, and vice versa. How hard could it be?

Truth be told, I don’t know. I bailed before things got too serious. Why?

Well, as my feelings began to develop, I could no longer ignore my gut which was telling me that a relationship with this girl could
never work. That being a student with little income, the cost of week in week out travel expenses, not to mention hotel accommodation for overnight stays (we both lived with the parents), would leave me tight for cash. That meeting once every two to three weeks was not enough to make a relationship work. That life would get in the way.

However, the catalyst for my decision to bow out was not related to
finance or accommodation, but the uncertainty involved in dating
someone whose social life was completely separate to my own.

Needless to say, trust became an issue – for me at least.

While anyone can of course ‘cheat’, whether there partner be one hundred kilometres or one mile away, the likelihood in my view of one or both partners being unfaithful increases when they are hundreds of miles apart. After all, can someone’s virtual presence in the form of a Messenger chat head really compete with an attractive stranger in a bar?

The girl I was dating was also the type of person who went hard or went home on a night out, and would often be too hungover to contact me for a day or two after such an excursion. During those hours of radio silence, I found myself wondering whether she had in fact met someone the night before. Perhaps someone much more local?

Needless to say, these worries raised a red flag – if after a handful of dates I was feeling this insecure, how would I deal with the distance between us if I actually fell for her?

When I put our courtship to a halt, some friends accused me of
not wanting to be happy. Of being scared of a relationship. Of being
guilty of paranoia.

Others agreed that putting a stop to our romance before things got too serious was for the best. That such relationships require the undertaking of too many sacrifices (missing social activities with friends for example, in order to have the money to travel), not to mention their tendency to fuel insecurities.

While long distance relationships may work for some, it is my view that even with the best will in the world, and all the finances under the sun, they should only serve as a short – term ‘solution’. That is, until one party can move closer to the other.

However, if you are the type of person to get jealous easily (Hi) and have limited funds like many a student, I think you should forget altogether about entering into a long distance relationship.

As for my Newry lass, sure it was a shame that our romance had to end – however when it comes to long distance relationships, I firmly believe that despite what the 1980s band Roxette may advocate, it
should be a case of listen to your head, not your heart.

Christine Allen

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