Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do you actually do long distance online dating? I'm living in the Midwest, which isn't quite the mecca of LDS YSAs that the west is... So, I started using everyone's favorite app for such folks and set my range to the entire country. Amazingly, I've actually had a few matches around the country. I've had some nice chats, but it never seems to really go anywhere. I'd love to go on same dates with these people, but a cross-country flight for a single date seems like a bit much.
I assume they also set their range pretty wide, so I would hope they're open to some long distance, but how do we actually get to that point? Messages back and forth for a couple weeks don't exactly a relationship make. And it's not like online dating is a new thing, so someone must have figured it out (maybe one of you...) , so what's the secret?
-Mutually looking, perhaps too far?
Dear never too far,
I have a friend in South Carolina (let's call her Carol) who married a guy she met on Mutual from across the pond. And while minnow and I didn't meet on a dating app, we did start talking when he was in Georgia and I was in Provo. For both Carol and me, we didn't plan out a trip to visit our significant other until we had been texting, calling, and Skyping each other for several months and were fairly firm in our relationship. So here's evidence you can start a lasting long-distance relationship (well, the relationship is lasting, not the distance) via an app!
There's a few tricks to it though - basically, you need to give up that dream of having an in-person date before your relationship becomes more established. Instead, focus on moving your relationship from messaging via the app to frequent video chatting. If jumping straight to Skype seems too daunting, I'd suggest starting with either Snapchat or Marco Polo, and from there move to Skype or Facetime. You could also suggest a cute long-distance date, where you watch a movie or show together via a site like rabb.it (which is what minnow and I used a lot), cook/order the same food in your respective homes, and eat together over Skype. Read a book together over Skype. Share your favorite childhood movie and watch it together (sans the cuddling). Pick a fun hobby or craft and either learn it together or try to teach the other via Skype. Ask them on a dinner date and send a pizza to their door. Save that coveted in-person date (and that expensive plane ticket) for when you've officially started dating. You can learn a ton about someone else, and your compatibility, when the only thing you can do together is talk, so it may not take that long until you've decided to become official.
One last word of advice: do not get engaged until you've visited each other at least once. I'd prefer more, but please for the love of all that is good do not get engaged to someone you haven't met in person. I know someone who did that and it is such a bad idea. Make sure the person is the same in real life as on the screen before pledging your life to them.
Go forth and start (long distance) dating!
-guppy of doom