The Guide to Dating in a Long Distance Relationship

Fact Checked by: Det. Nicholas Nalder

Whether you’re a world traveler or just living in a small town with the same five available people you’ve already met, meeting someone online and starting a long distance relationship may be worthwhile. In fact, there are plenty of other reasons you might want to start a long distance relationship as well, including setting yourself up for a job change to a new city, or finding someone in your parents’ hometown if you’re a frequent visitor.

It’s also a great option for solitary folks who want to chat with new people on their own terms. No matter the reason, there are both perks and pitfalls to long distance dating.

Man at the airport

Top Tips for Long Distance Relationship Dating

  • Communication is key. – Even for a casual relationship, good communication skills are a must. Whether text or video chat, if your face-to-face time is limited, why spend it in confusion? Make the most of the technology available and keep in touch. Keep those lines of communication clear.
  • It’s okay to ask questions. – When you’re in the same city, it’s easier to be certain your date is who they say they are. In the same city, you may have friends in common, or may run into your date at the grocery store. Being in different cities means you won’t have those casual connections to check someone’s cred. If something doesn’t add up, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more detail.
  • Agree ahead of time what kind of relationship you have time for. – If you’re looking for someone to grab drinks with after a long day of meetings during out of town travel, don’t lead someone on if they’re looking for their soul mate. Any relationship dynamic is on the table as long as you both agree.
  • Make time! – No matter the type of long distance relationship you’re looking for, you’re asking for someone to make time for you, so you should in the limited face-to-face time you have, make sure to make your date feel valued by keeping commitments.

How to Date in a Long Distance Relationship – Finding Singles in Other Cities

If your town is short on singles, you’re eventually planning on relocating for work, or your work brings you to other cities often, a long distance relationship may be the right arrangement for you. But how do you find singles to date in other cities?

For many online dating sites, it’s as simple as setting a city name or zip code and working from there. Be sure to be clear that you’re not a city native, and includes your plans for visiting that city, whether it’s “willing to travel for the right person” or “I’ll be in town for business on these dates; let’s grab drinks.” However, there are plenty of sites that make long distance dating much easier. Here are some of our favorites.

Pros of Dating Long Distance

  • Travel! – No matter how far away, if you hit it off, you and your date will eventually want to meet in person. Whether one of you wants to show off your city to your love, or you decide to meet in the middle for a nice vacation, there’s travel in your future.
  • Ability to schedule – If you and your date both leave busy lives, knowing that the long distance things means coordinating couples time may actually be a perk for you. Share a calendar to make sure you find some time for one another.
  • Keeping things fresh – It is very, very easy for in person relationships to become stale. That’s much harder in a long-term relationship, where you always have new things to learn about your far away partner. It can be exciting to wait for the next chance to see your date in person, so if that works for you, enjoy it!

Challenges of Long Distance Dating

  • Time zones. – YAWN! Depending on how far away your long distance date is, you may have time zones to contend with, especially if you’re dating someone abroad. If long distance means loooooong distance, your love may be in their chattiest moods when you’re in the deepest of sleep. Finding that window of time when you’re both awake and cheery may be a challenge.
  • Trust your instincts – It’s not a fun thing to address, but plenty of distance from your significant other means you may be less in tune with their day-to-day. That’s not a guarantee that your long distance love is seeing someone on the side, but it’s a possibility, so if your spidey senses tingle, be on the lookout.
  • Make sure your local friendships are solid. – Dating long distance means your significant other may not be immediately available if you’ve had a bad day or want to celebrate a win at work. It’s important to have a good social network anyway, but doubly so when the person you’re emotionally closest to is the most physically distant.
Photo of author

Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.