A Jewish Matchmaker’s Guide to Love and Long-distance Relationships
As a Jewish matchmaker, one of the first questions I ask a potential client is, “are you willing to relocate?” This question is not just about whether someone is willing to move for love, it also determines whether or not he/she is open to a long-distance relationship, at least in the beginning before the relocation occurs.
From my experience, getting to know someone and maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship is doable, but it needs to be approached in a conscious and conscientious way.
First, you must come to terms with the fact that when you are not together, you will be doing things either alone or with friends, and that’s okay. Don’t dwell on the fact that you can’t share everything with your partner right now. Remember this is a temporary situation and you’ll get plenty of time together in the future.
Make communication a priority. Don’t fit your partner into your schedule; build your schedule around your partner. Talk as much as you can by telephone and video call, send messages over the course of the day, and use snail-mail to surprise your partner with heartfelt letters and gifts. When daily stressors shake you up, it’s easy to turn to nearby friends and family and leave your distant partner out of the loop, but he/she needs to feel included in your life, so get their opinion on both the big and small issues that affect you.
Don’t fill your time exclusively with dinner dates, theatre shows, and other outings during your visits together. A crucial aspect of longevity in a long-distance relationship is relating to one another during the ‘down times’– when you’re just hanging out, doing nothing. If every visit is an event, then you’ll both be “on” all the time and your day-to-day personalities won’t get a chance to interact.
Set a date for when the two of you plan to finally be together. It may be 5 months, it may be 5 years, but without a goal-date to guide you, the stress that arise can easily overwhelm even the most dedicated partner. When you have a goal-date to work toward, it is a light at the end of a tunnel that gives you the strength and patience to work through your issues.
Finally, be honest. Do not deceive your partner simply because he/she is not there to verify what you say or do. If you can’t be honest about your activities or faithfulness, walk away and save yourselves a lot of wasted time.
Long distance relationships can be very rewarding and can lead to wonderful, strong marriages, and the lessons in endurance, communication, flexibility, and compromise that you learn during this period will prove to be an unbreakable foundation when you are finally together.