Should I Continue My Long-Distance Relationship When We Haven’t Even Met Yet?

Dear Evan,
I met “Peter” online in January 2011 and have been emailing since. I am Canadian and so is Peter but he works in Silicon Valley. After our 2nd email, I told Peter that I do not believe in long-distance relationships even though I like his profile and he told me that he chose to connect with a Canadian girl because ultimately he wants to be relocated back to home to Toronto, where I live. In the first 2 months, we emailed once every week and in the last couple of months, we emailed each other 3-4 times a week. With all the lessons I’ve learned from you about ‘men should chase women,’ I did not ask when he will visit Toronto/visit me. He would write to say he is planning a trip and then something at work came up and he had to postpone it.

He told me he is looking for a sustainable relationship like me. On your advice, I am not sitting at home waiting to hear from him. I still go out with other guys; I am enjoying dating. (Again, I have learned so much from you. I even go out with guys who are 5’ 7” tall. I never wanted to before, but I am keeping my options open because you are correct in that this short guy could provide me with the best relationship and ultimately be a good partner.)

 

My question to you, Evan, is should I continue writing to Peter or should I write him a ‘last’ email to say I enjoyed ‘knowing’ so much of him/his work/his family/interest in the last about 5 months but that I am not looking for a pen pal but a relationship, and then move on? I will be very sad if I really have to do that, but I am levelheaded enough and I feel if he is truly looking for a real relationship/girlfriend, he should at least make an effort to visit me. Do you think I am correct? I look forward to what you have to say. Thank you Evan. –Melody

Armed with those tools, you should be extremely confident that you’ll find a man who is attractive, kind, consistent, and wants to be with you forever.

Sigh.

My dear Melody, you’re a living contradiction.

You’re a fan of my work, you’re actively dating and enjoying it, and you’re embracing your feminine energy. Triple Yay for you! Armed with those tools, you should be extremely confident that you’ll find a man who is attractive, kind, consistent, and wants to be with you forever.

And then you tell me this story.

You don’t believe in long-distance relationships, but you’re in a long-distance relationship.

You’re not looking for a pen pal but you have a pen pal.

You want the real deal but know that the real deal makes an effort to see you.

And my favorite contradiction: you’d be very sad to let him go, although you’ve never actually MET him.

To be very clear, you can’t lose something that you don’t have.

You don’t have a boyfriend. You don’t have a long-distance relationship. You don’t even have a “guy you’re seeing”. You have a nice-enough sweet-talker who is keeping all his options open at your expense. He lives in another country, says he wants a relationship, says he wants to move, and yet has done nothing to further either of those two goals.

To be very clear, you can’t lose something that you don’t have.

Don’t get me wrong: he may care about you, inasmuch as you can genuinely care about someone by exchanging emails three times a week for six months. But really, honey: the guy doesn’t even pick up the phone, much less book a flight? He’s just not that into you.

As for how you deal with it, I don’t even think it’s a matter of cutting him off or writing him a final email. There’s no reason to burn bridges or get overly emotional about something that only existed in your mind.

But you can certainly let him know that you’re going to focus on your local love life, and if he ever decides to move to Toronto, he should totally look you up. Wish him the best and cut him loose emotionally. And then, if he ever writes to you, you can write back at your leisure without being so invested in the long-term outcome. Believe me, it’s fun to have a guy in every port; the problem is in expecting that he will be anything more than a long-distance fling.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Bluebell

    I met a very nice norwegian man on an online dating site. I’m from England. We would email each other every other day then webcam everyday. We would have video phone etc. The hard part is that this went on for one year but he would not make any effort to come see me even though he was vey well off. In the end we just drifted apart. He knew I wanted a relationship but his pleasure was just having a relationship online and I wanted more I guess.

    1. 1.1
      Cory

      My name is Cory. I’m 24 and I’m gay. On February 16th 2014 I met a man online. His name was Kevin. He was in the Navy. We both were instantly attracted to one another. Extremely. I could hardly believe my luck. He was smart,handsome,caring,nuturing and sexy. I was in love. I to think at one time truly… He was as well. We talked for almost 3 years. He was always saying he would commit to me. If he didn’t I’d stop talking to him. We’d Skype and text and talk on the phone. He’s call me baby and I him as well. As far a LDR goes. It was my first and it felt so real. How ever… He was in GA and myself in Utah. We’d always make plans to visit each other but they never came true. He then was stationed in CA. San Diego. I was only 12 hours away. Finally I could drive or he could. I couldn’t believe it. .. Then one says Kevin’s texts got shorter.. The joy or enthusiasm i usually felt with each text was fading. His texts became longer apart. His attitude toward me became annoyance. We stopped texting and talking on the phone all together. My heart knew the end was coming. I paniced. I text more often. Offered more phone calls. One day he called me… He told me he was at the a bar a met a guy and they really hit it off. In my lonely bubble of emotion i asked”you slept with him?” he said no. A couple days went by and I sent a picture of myself and his response was” nice picture”. He then said he had to much going on in his life. He didn’t have time for me. He asked if we could be friends. I said no. … He blocked me on his phone. I never even met the man who shattered my heart…. Even though it was long distance and never real. In my heart it was. I will never forget the day I opened that profile… Not ever.

      1. 1.1.1
        Ken

        Cory, I am 64 and in the same situation. This was the first time in 24 years that I could date. He was wonderful and I was so in love with him.  Then he went to the Philippines for business, supposedly on the way home was arrested by customs because he didn’t have the proper export license. Well, he has been there 5 months.  He set me up in a business through legal zoom and had me open business bank accounts. It was always his clients would put money in the accounts and he could pay the fines and get home to me. The accounts got closed because the bank said there was a suspicion of fraud from others accessing the accounts. Now he is mad at me.  When he finally texted again, he needed a 60 dollar Costco card…never said why. He promised he would be home by Christmas and that is all I am giving him, until Christmas, then I need a real person. This was the first “boyfriend” of my life and first relationship.  Months ago he put 14k in my checking and had me send it to another person in the US which I did…I was in love and didn’t know about all the catfishing.  I found his pictures were of a Swedish model…very handsome Marco Djelevic Virriat (worth looking at).  Anyway now I rarely get texts, I am pretty sure it was just a scam, but then there are things that make me think he is real.  I still don’t know…this will either be the best Christmas ever or the saddest for me. We only texted (from all 3 of his numbers…one is his business phone) and talked a few times.  This has gone on for 6 months. I understand your pain.  He was good at saying how much he loved and appreciated me and all I had done for him and sticking by him in his troubles.  I am still in love with the person I thought he was and we shared the same faith. I will know in a couple of weeks.  I am glad you are still young enough to find someone else.  Me, I think it is time to just give up.

  2. 2
    UnderConstruction

    It could have been even worse: speaking almost every day online, working 10 minutes away and this for 6 months. The excuses for not meeting me were: I still have to deal with feelings for my-ex, I could get too involved emotionally and I am afraid, being afraid that he is not capable of exclusivity. However, we had discussed about serios relationship,being something similar to the one,etc. I played cool, no “chasing”, no questions, no pressure….because there wasn’t a relationship.
    However, I couldn’t stand we could/should/would and I told him that I am not feeling confortable in this situation, that continuing would be lack of respect towards myself, that I understand but i can’t tolerate the online environment.
    His answer: I am sorry that I can’t make you laughanymore. I understand the situation better than you believe. It would be a pitty to make you feel unconfortable.
    I had the final line and now, I am wondering if, for closure reasons, it’s worth writing him to say…hey, I do care and I would be open to discuss but only when/if you would be ready for real communication (as I didn’t literally put it like this)
    Evan, I do read the blog and it helps a lot.
    Thank you for open my eyes!
    I am sorry that you didn’t post this 2 weeks ago and I know….HE IS NOT INTO ME…or not enough 🙂

    1. 2.1
      Paul Lane

      Long distance relationships are dumb, along with texting and sexting relationships. They are nonthing more than string along tools of people who will not do what a real relation need in person contact to grow. Lazy people who are lonely use somine else to be their emotii al support, while they refuse to invest in the locals where they work, and only leave home to go to work. Ask yourselves would you date this person if they did this when they lived in the same town with you heck no. They are hiding out what do they really bring to the table other than needing you to , because they refuse to try living life where they chose to live.

  3. 3
    Jennifer

    I have seen so many people get caught up with pen pals but some of those people I think liked having pen pal instead of dealing with someone face to face.

    1. 3.1
      Paul Lane

      People have become so lazy they can’t take the time for a real relationship, they now sext each other rather than have real sex these days. Even to the point that tbey use bluetooth devices on thier computers cellphones and tablet that connect to thier gentils so they can have sex that way. The world is going mad with this mess. China and Japan birth rate have fallen by nearly 40 percent. I lost my ex because I would not do sexting I told her early I would just come and see her, but she just made excuses, ever when she came back to town last month. She just wanted to use me I think, but later on I wonder as to whether people who bave diseases need sex too, how would they get what they needed through sexting if you are a woman, and because most women do not like porn. The new Beta male who is okay with not see her even though she is not working right now as a traveling CNA, still will not go see this guy and he will not go see her, living like that is shameful no real connection never seeing each other than two years ago one at church, non3 of this mess is of GOD. We have lost our way!

  4. 4
    Christie

    I have discovered in the time I was doing online dating that some people only want online relationships – even those on dating sites that claim they want a real relationship. There are lots of reasons for this – including the obvious, THEY ARE ALREADY MARRIED. 🙂 I didn’t clue into that fact until I was having mixed messages come from someone I was corresponding with online and two of my male single friends said, “duh!” to me. Other guys are just playing around (and I’ve heard from guys that girls do it too)…Personally, I’m way too busy to waste my time with a ‘psuedo’ relationship. And I think the writer ought to ask herself, just how much respect could this guy have for her anyway if she has broken all her rules for him (no long distance, no pen pals), and she hasn’t even met him yet? It screams ‘pushover’ and lack of self-esteem to not good guys looking to target vulnerable women. As Evan would say, “dump him!” 😀

    1. 4.1
      Paul Lane

      I agree scammers love LDR so they can use you, emtionally, for money, because they are lonely, have a disease like AIDS or HIV and because they are married!

  5. 5
    Darren Miller

    my last message come out messy for some reason.
    Hey Sigh Good on you, keeping your options open, it is always the best way. I say that because, in my opinion, you need to know what you want before you settle down.
    To be truthful with you, from my personal experience, long distance relationships are hard work on both sides. If you decide you have the willpower to carry on, there are a few steps I used that you can follow. You both need to be on the same page. If you think you are in a committed relationship with your future partner and not seeing anyone else, but your partner thinks it is an open relationship with no commitment, it just won’t work. The second step is you want to be overly caring with both of you sending gifts to each other to create a bond.

    The third way to help your long distance relationship is to take part in shared actives. Pick a day of the week where you share each others interests. For example, if you both like cooking you can both cook together over Skype.

    The fourth step is to make a plan with designated times for physical connection, when you will meet each other and enjoy each others touch and smell. It doesn’t matter whether it is every month or six months.  The final step is to agree if either person feels the long distance relationship is coming to an end. Personally, I have had a couple of LDRs but in the past I was really lazy and selfish to travel so my down side was my step 4, which in the end lead me to move on.

  6. 6
    Steve

    People will always bring up exceptions to the rule, but the rule is the rule for a reason.  If you haven’t even met, you don’t have a relationship.

    1. 6.1
      Ann

      For Steve,I am agree with you…

    2. 6.2
      Paul Lane

      Narcissistic people love this mess, they love th3 supply they get, from lazy people unwilling to date in person, I still think people with AIDs or HIV may use this mess to, I bet they never t3ll them they are infected, so it ends up being a string along relationship, from a guy 2ith kitt

  7. 7
    Flower White

    Evan was much too kind and gentle with her. He sounds like a a fraud.

  8. 8
    nathan

    After six months, there really should be some movement. Phone calls. Plans to see each other. Something.
    When I first did online dating, I had a few women write me for weeks on end. They lived in town, so it wasn’t about distance with them. I loved the discussions, and didn’t have the experience under my belt yet to see that these e-mails probably weren’t going to lead anywhere else. Once I experienced a couple of disappearances after repeatedly asking for a date and getting more discussion in response, I changed my approach to the whole thing and would ask for a date after a few e-mails. Short and sweet.
    Certainly, if there is distance involved, you have to handle it differently. But I just don’t get the sense this guy is trying too hard. Which points to the whole thing being a little diversion for him from whatever is going on in his real life.
     

  9. 9
    Real Men Secrets

    I think (and I had 2 “Long-Distance” relationships) that before you meet the guy/girl you are not really in a relationship, and you can meet with anyone you want in this time (I didn’t think this way in the past but now I do).

    + You will always find that the person is totally diffrent then what you though he is, so don’t raise up your expectations too much!

  10. 10
    Steve

    Good example of where to apply Evan’s classic rule  Don’t go by what they way, look at what they do.

  11. 11
    Selena

    I don’t know why this necessarily has to be an either/or situation.  You’re not thinking of this guy as a boyfriend, you’re dating other men. For all you know he could be dating other women locally as well. To me this sounds like an email friendship – as long as you’re both enjoying it why the need to break it off? If you become serious with someone, sure, but as long as you’re not serious with anyone does it matter?

    And who knows? He might show up one day in Toronto when you are available and you can go from there.

    1. 11.1
      Karsyn

      I agree with you, Selena

  12. 12
    myhonestanswer

    Love it Evan, this is just my kind of advice!

  13. 13
    Gem

    It just seems like a terrible waste of time. She’s developing a “friendship” with a stranger and even though it appears to be a pen-pal situation, feelings may develop if he plays her the right way. That’s when she’s in trouble.
    I’m personally waiting for him to describe some ordeal he’s suddenly going through that requires him to ask for money.

  14. 14
    Fawn

    In my humble opinion – she has already developed feelings for him, hence the letter to Evan.   If you want more than a pen pal then  I would drop him.  This guy sounds like a colossal waste of time.

  15. 15
    Selena

    @#13

    Gem, that is an unhappy thought. Ugh.

  16. 16
    Nilufar

    A lot of these guys are into online relationships with women who live far away because…….. THEY’RE MARRIED AND THEY JUST WANNA HAVE FUN or get an ego boost. I caught my husband flirting online with women in South America. When I confronted him, he said, “The fun isn’t getting a woman. The fun is in the pursuit!!!!!”

  17. 17
    lux aeterna

    I think it’s strange that he has made no plans to see her. Surely he could combine it with seeing family and friends? Most people go home once in a while to catch up with their loved ones. He has no excuse really…

    I have my own little long distance situation at the moment that I’m uncertain how to feel about. A few months ago I went to Australia and by chance met a guy I connected with really well and fancy the pants off LOL. He told me he has a girlfriend who he never sees as she always has other plans, and that it’s ruined his confidence, but he’s in love with her and won’t give her up despite all his friends telling him to. She is now in Europe somewhere and he is coming over to see her. However… he said he’d like to experience London so I invited him to come and stay with me. Since we met we’ve chatted on Skype maybe 2 hrs a week on average and developed a close friendship, baring our souls. Of course I have an agenda… but I don’t know how he sees our ‘friendship’. He tells me I’m gorgeous and clever etc, so I’m pretty sure he finds me attractive.

    He’s arriving in a few weeks time and I’m both excited about seeing him and dreading this potential nightmare. My male friends mostly say a guy would never go and stay with an attractive woman unless there was something in the air, but I really just don’t know. What are your opinions on this, guys? He has said he’s open to the possibility of moving on from his girlfriend and let a new person in if it feels right. Was that a hint directed at me? Would you go and stay with a woman for a week before going to see your girlfriend? Is that normal? I would find it strange if my partner did that. He tells me he wants to cook for me and teach me piano. Quite sweet coupl’y things to do I think.

    I guess I’ll know once he’s here. I also wonder about how much I should let him know I don’t see this as a neutral friendship but as a dating scenario. I will be a nervous freak when he arrives so I need a plan of action to either seduce him or protect myself from being a mug. Should I flirt with him or stay stone cold and just observe his actions? I’m confused… any advice will be greatly appreciated. We’re both around 40 and at least I’m too old for games, nonsense and time wasting. I would normally shy away from a vague situation like this but he’s got a hold on me… aaargh.

    1. 17.1
      Tina

      Umm… he HAS A GIRLFRIEND; what part of that do you not understand?  I wonder what will happen if you become his girlfriend, and he finds something annoying about you.  If he’s willing to leave his girlfriend for someone else, he would be willing to leave you for another woman.  I wouldn’t be flattered.  I would look at him as having bad character and back away.  There are other fish in the sea in a world with billions of people; you don’t need to try to go after someone who is currently in a relationship.  Do you not have the self-esteem to find someone who is actually available to date you? If you don’t, you may want to work on that.  It will be good for you.  Are you afraid of actually getting into a relationship with someone who is actually available to date you?  Why?  It sounds like there is a need for some personal soul searching.  If he really wanted to break up with his girlfriend, he would have and he would have done so without you even in the picture.  The last thing you want to be is a back-burner chick, or a rebound chick.  It sounds like you are selling yourself short by going after someone who is off the market.  You can do better.   Why women go after men who are not available is beyond me.  With so many people in the world, there is no need to attempt to destroy what two people have built to have a relationship.  It causes drama in the relationship of a couple, and it makes the other woman pursuing look like a desperate and clueless third wheel.  I’m not trying to be harsh, but tell you the truth.  I think the bigger question here is why do you feel like you have to break up someone’s relationship to have your own.  It sounds like you either believe you do not believe you have enough to offer someone who is available, or that you are entitled to whatever you want at the cost of destroying what another person has(his girlfriend).  People typically only steal out of greed or considerable lack.  Though the latter is a better place to be character-wise, if you feel you lack, then that needs to be addressed before you get in a relationship with anyone.    

  18. 18
    David T

    He is clearly interested in you, though what he is interested in exactly is unknowable.   Be wary.
    You blew through your personal boundaries rather quickly. Even if there is not a good foundation between the for a relationship, that interaction is very seductive; especially if the rest of your lives were lacking in emotional intimacy. Learn if that foundation exists.  Remain calm and present in the moment. Be yourself and not in your head (e.g. avoid ‘should I do this?/will he like that?’) if you want to learn if there is anything substantive to be had.
    Would he consider moving if it works out?  Would you? You are both commonwealth so that allows one to find a job and move w/o being forced to marry. Be careful with your hearts until you know if one is capable of leaving their former life behind completely. That is a tall order and itself will put pressure on a new relationship.

  19. 19
    Cecilia

    @ lux aeterna
    “We’re both around 40 and at least I’m too old for games, nonsense and timewasting
    ” REALLY?!
    At the risk of being brutal seems like you don’t think you are too old for that at all… and even if it were to become “something” how would you ever trust a guy like that????????

  20. 20
    Gem

    lux,

    What could possibly be attractive about a man going behind his girlfriend’s back to start up with another woman? And staying in said woman’s home on his way to see his girlfriend? Eww…
     
    He’s covering his bases by telling you he’s not *really* 100% percent available and that he has a girlfriend-appearing so open and honest. But do you really think he’s been honest with her about you?

    He’s going take what you’re willing to give. You’ll be in bed in no time flat once he arrives and then after he’s had you, you won’t be so interesting, and back to girlfriend he will go. I don’t care how cute he is, he’s lacking integrity and frankly, playing this game, so are you.

    How trusting would you be if you DID wind up with him? Don’t lie to yourself and think, “But with me he’d be different!”

    If he’s doing this with her, he’d do it to you, babe.

    My advice for your plan of action is to cancel this whole thing.

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