Within the first few weeks of living in LA (the California one, not Lewiston/Auburn) I made an epic mistake. All of my friends warned me of my folly, but my internal map was still skewed from living in Maine and I didn’t listen to their warnings. I fell for a guy who lived in Santa Monica. He was the one. The only problem was, I lived downtown. When you are stuck on the I-10 at 5:15 p.m., those are the longest 12 miles of your life.
I saw him three times. And I knew we would never have a future.
So I have to wonder why it is that I find it so simple and fulfilling to date a man who lives four states away? Is it because I’m supah mature now (unlikely), or his charm makes the long drive worth the trouble? Is it my recent obsession with Audible and listening to books on tape that make a longer drive mostly enjoyable?
How far is too far? And what makes a relationship geographically undesirable?
I did the math and this is the basic formula for deciding your geographic desirability:
Of course, there are other factors that will likely influence your decision: sexual compatibility, schedule flexibility and financial freedom. I believe the real success is a balance of logistics and relationship.
Let’s face it, if you love nightlife, you’re more likely to travel five hours to NYC than the two hours to Bangor. Similarly, if you live in Portland’s West End, you might be more likely to accept a date at Blue Spoon with an Eastender than to travel to SoPo, even though it’s technically closer. Everyone has their own idea of what is most desirable. Maybe it’s peace and quiet that need, and dating someone on Vinalhaven is better than dating someone in Boston. Either way, quality of place has a pretty significant influence on your decision, especially when you’re just getting to know each other and the potential for love is still growing.
Obviously, the biggest factor is how amazing this person is. If they are emotionally/sexually intelligent, with a great sense of humor and a bombshell body, that could be all you need. But even the most attractive and wonderful person isn’t worth a long distance romance if they never pick up the phone or text you back. The frustration and insecurity that comes from bad communication can ruin even the hottest romance. So for the love of gawd – text people back.
Our intuition about relationships comes to the surface when we are faced with inconvenient relationships. And this is a good thing (most of the time). So many people get into relationships that are easy and comfortable and stay in those relationships long after they flatline. When you have to drive four hours to see a person, your true feelings about the long-term potential for love take priority over your loneliness – or sex drive. (You might be horny, but it’s not worth driving to NH.) On the other hand, if you have a gut feeling that this is the person you’re supposed to be with, that intuition trumps all logistical, financial and geographical complications.