You won’t have a full picture until you meet in person, so proceed cautiously.
Adapted from a recent online discussion.
DEAR CAROLYN: Do you think it’s possible to fall into a relationship without actually seeing the person? I’m in a phone relationship — long distance — but I have never had a conversational connection like I have with him. I am afraid, however, that the physical attraction won’t be there if and when we meet. Is it possible for personality to overcome other obstacles?
DEAR LONG-DISTANCE: Possible in general, sure, but that’s irrelevant. All that matters is whether it’s possible in your case, and you won’t know that till you’re both in the same room.
Most Read Life Stories
- Does exercise protect cognitive health? You might not like the answer
- Is West Seattle ‘too far’ to go for a date? Our dating columnist answers your questions here
- I initially opted for a cruise credit after Royal Caribbean canceled my cruise. But can I get a refund instead?
- Considering taking a gap year? Here's what those who've done so want you to know
- Time is ripe for a spring favorite: rhubarb with homemade shortcakes | Cooking with Sadie
I suggest assuming it won’t happen and being pleasantly surprised when it does, vs. hoping it will happen and being crushed when it doesn’t.
I also suggest due diligence and other precautions before you actually meet, always always, including to: verify independently that he is who he says he is; choose a public place to meet; use your own transportation to get there; tell friends where you’ll be and whom you’re meeting (if a couple of them can be dining elsewhere in the same restaurant, even better); and don’t disclose your home address.
RE: LONG DISTANCE ROMANCE: True story: Met a guy on the phone, we did regular business together, I was falling in love before we ever laid eyes on one another. After a year, we met, and he looked remarkably like my first husband! And, I might add, not my “dream” coloring/height/build.
But he is my dream man and we’ve been together 33 years, married 25. So yes, it can happen, if you’re open to looking beyond what you might dismiss if you’d met in person originally.
RE: LONG-DISTANCE: DEAR ANONYMOUS: “I am afraid, however, that the physical attraction won’t be there if and when we meet”: It would be more sensible to be afraid that he is not in-person like he is on the phone. You don’t really know him at all.
— Anonymous 2
RE: LONG DISTANCE: DEAR ANONYMOUS 2: I have been through this. As I fell for someone I only knew through words and a voice over the phone, I tended to fill in the rest with my imagination without realizing I was doing it. I created a complete person in my mind out of partial data, and when I finally met him I had difficulty seeing him as he was because I was already “in love” with a fantasy.
Without face-to-face contact, you don’t have information about even the most basic things, like how they smell or their body language, and you can’t observe how they treat others, how they react when traffic’s bad, and it’s more difficult to know if you are being lied to about anything.
Learning these things after I had already developed feelings for the person, and we both felt that we were already in a relationship, was a special hell I vowed to never put myself through again.
If I were in this position now I would enjoy talking to the person but I would make a point of keeping a certain distance, knowing that I didn’t have the full picture.
— Anonymous 3
DEAR ANONYMOUS 3: Well-said, thank you.