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Emily Straubel

Emily is a sex and dating crusader. She founded The Red Lipstick Project as a place to talk openly about dating and sex and to connect with other intelligent women who want to find relationships that are as passionate and ambitious as they are. Emily also works with these women as a certified Holistic Health Coach to focus on their health and mindfulness as they go through breakups, job changes and other transitions to feel and look amazing in their own unique bodies. To share your story or experiences with dating in Portland email her at

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The Sex Files with Emily Straubel
Posted: January 5, 2015

How far is too far? (Are you geographically undesirable?)

Geographically Undesirable | Red Lipstick Project | Sex Blog

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.

He was geographically undesirable.

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:

(Quality of Place x Distance) (Awesomeness x Communication) = 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.

Quality of Place x Distance

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.

Awesomeness x Communication

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.

Intuition trumps all math

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.

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