Distance and Dating, My Personal Policy

LDRToday I cancelled a date with a woman that lives 1 hour 45 minutes away from me. She is gorgeous and wealthy, and I was excited about the date when we set it. Later I got the vibe from her that this was going to be just another date because she didn’t have anything better to do. Why would she say no? She isn’t the one going to to invest 3.5 hours in a car ride….

Casual dates are fine when you are meeting someone in the neighborhood. But when a guy is spending 3.5 hours in the car so he can have the privilege of buying you lunch, that deserves a little extra attention than just another lunch date. Not that there is any obligation, but there does need to be a higher degree of interest than “nothing else better going on” to justify the date.

So I cancelled the date and wrote the following Distance and Dating Policy. What do you think? — I predict some women, like Soon To Be Catlady, will think I am a freak!

And yes, I am intending to cut and paste this to LDR potential dates before I go out with them.  In fact, I would like the women of the audience to read this as if a guy you are talking to on OKC sent this to you in an email. I would like advice on how to convey the concept more softly. I know it is harsh now and will chase women to the hills. 


Here is the example I frequently use: Suppose you live next door to, what on paper is, your ideal match. They are everything you thought you wanted in a partner, but when you kiss him it feels like just another kiss. By contrast, assume you meet someone 1,000 miles away, and when you kiss your head spins and your toes curl.

For me, there is no question I would rather have a fulfilling relationship with someone on the other side of the world than to settle for a convenient option that lives next door and doesn’t rock my world. I want my mind blown.

A toe curling kiss is special. I would be willing to suffer many inconveniences for that feeling. Therefore, the inconvenience of a long distance relationship is potentially worth suffering through with the right person. Distance alone is not a deal breaker. I will not limit myself with some arbitrary mileage limit like most people do. Particularly considering modern technologies such as airplanes, Skype, and other solutions…In fact, working jointly to find creative ways to cope could potentially be a bonding experience that adds to a partnership.

Conceptually, distance should not be a show-stopping barrier if you find the right person. In practice, there are some rules of thumb I am going to use as practical considerations.

Rule of Thumbs #1: SIX VISIT MINIMUM

I feel I could be in a fulfilling long term relationship even if we only got to see each other six times a year. Skin-on-skin six times a year is the minimum requirement I am going to set. If we don’t have the flexible time, money, or resources to bridge the distance gap at least six times a year, it isn’t going to work. Therefore, I am setting the “Six Times” rule as show-stopper in the interest of not wasting our time.

If you live within six hundred miles of me, or if we can afford an occasional $300 plane ticket, the six-time minimum rule should not be a problem.


The “getting to know each other” phase is the most awkward hurdle to overcome with longer distances. Have you ever thought about the fact that longer the distance, the more important the first date is?

In the perfect world of online dating, the first date is something very casual and low key, such as grabbing coffee or quick lunch. Well, I am not driving two hours to have a 20 minutes coffee break with a woman. So when long distances are involved ideal standards are going to be compromised. That is just the way it is.

With this in mind, here is my rule of thumb: Quality date time must be equal to or greater than travel time.


  • We meet at a restaurant that is one hour from my house. This gives me two hours of travel time, one hour there and one hour back. Therefore, I want the date to last at least two hours (assuming we like each other). Maybe we can grab an after dinner drink somewhere, go for a stroll, or visit an interesting store…Two hours is nothing on a date. But is is going to have to be more meaty than the standard “just coffee” considering the travel time.
  • Assume you live three hours from my house. That gives me a travel time of six hours. This means our date needs to last six hours (assuming we like each other). Now the pressure is really on! Because six hours is a football game or concert, or something much more significant that “just coffee”. There is no getting around it though, we will have to take a leap of faith and make significant plans with someone we have potentially never met in person.

The thought of skipping the casual coffee, or casual lunch step gives many women ulcers. My best advice is to take advantage of phone, skype, etc… and get to know the hell out of them (me) before you make any plans. If you keep an open mind it is not as bad as it sounds.


Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I want to emphasize that budgeting a certain amount of time for a date DOES NOT mean you are obligated to stay the whole time if it isn’t going well. But if it is going well, you need to be considerate of the fact that it took extra effort to see you.

These are litmus test / rules of thumb for me and not set in stone. For example, if you are meeting me halfway somewhere, that is a totally different scenario than me coming all the way to see you. Usually in this example, if you are willing to do put effort into meeting me then I am more than willing to do the same.

Believe me, I am really struggling with how to communicate these concepts in a constructive way that doesn’t deflate all interest in dating with practical issues. I know it is a buzz-killing topic to discuss…I am communicating these rules of thumb so that we can honestly assess whether meeting is worth the effort.


A litmus test question I think you should ask yourself is, where would I rank on your prospects list if I lived close to you? Am I just another guy on the radar? Or would I be at the top of the list if I lived closer?

If I would be at the top of the list, then it is worth us meeting. If I am just another guy and you have people you are more interested in, then the kind thing to do is be respectful of my time and let me look elsewhere.

If you don’t know enough about me to know how interested you are, then the next logical step is to learn more about each other via Skype or Facetime. ie, Let’s have a coffee cyberdate before we have a face-to-face meeting.


4 thoughts on “Distance and Dating, My Personal Policy

  1. Hmm, tough topic to broach but you don’t have anything unreasonable here. I’d like to think most women are on the same page as you, but I imagine that’s not as true as I would hope. I think it’s perfectly safe to say something like “I’m really looking forward to seeing you. Since it is a bit of a trip for me, I would like to spend a little extra time while I’m visiting. What did you have in mind for our date?” and then direct the conversation from that point. Hopefully this will give you an opening to share your expectations and to make plans collaboratively without having to explicitly share your list.

  2. For the record – I don’t think you’re a freak.. but, I personally wouldn’t go out of my way looking for people a lengthy distance away (especially online.. There’d have to be a FANTASTIC online connection first).. You don’t know that someone next door couldn’t amaze you.

  3. The long distance man has his place in the dating world. The first guy I dated after my marriage ended lived a one-and-a-half hour ferry ride and a two hour drive from my house. It was just about a safe distance for me… These days I wouldn’t entertain the thought of anyone who lived more than a half hour’s drive. It’s all about what feels comfortable at any given point in your life.

  4. This is a real issue for people who now have online dating but live in very rural areas.

    I think everything you’ve written is okay. I might shrink it down a little to be a little more bottom-lined for readers. A big wall of text in online dating is always a no-no (in my book).

    Incidentally man, I have a few new articles I’d love to get your feedback on, as a guy I know has gone through this recently:

    “Starting the Search for Romance, All Over Again”

    “Respecting Your Ex”

    It sounds like your journey back into the dating world is going strong. Hope all is well!

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