Q: I am in a long distance relationship for about 15 months and yet to meet him in person due to the nature of his job. Should I set a deadline and end this by certain date (most people advise so) or continue to wait for God’s timing? I had peace within whenever I prayed about this that he is the right man, and we both believed firmly that God connected us.
A: To the woman who’s dating a guy she hasn’t met,
I’m so glad you had the courage to ask this question. You were brave enough to admit that you’re dating a guy you haven’t yet met.
I can assure you, you aren’t the first person to do this. In fact, I once met a girl who was engaged to a guy she hadn’t met.
I can also assure you, you won’t be the last person to do it either.
These days, technology has really taken over the way we do life. It’s so easy to “meet someone” online, get to know them, and find yourself having romantic feelings for them. Social media can really make you “feel” like you know someone….even if you haven’t yet met. We call people our “friends” when we’ve only interacted with them a handful of times.
It’s no wonder there’s a temptation to make something more significant of our online relationships, before they’ve actually “earned” that level of significance.
When it comes to online dating, I have to be blunt here- I don’t think “dating” should be a part of it. What I mean by that is that I believe it’s perfectly okay to meet someone online through a dating website or app…but the meeting part and the dating part are two totally different things.
In order to “date” someone – you need to actually meet them….face-to-face, person-to-person. When I talk and advise about online dating, I always say that you need to bring your honesty, you need to bring your wisdom, and then eventually – you need to bring it to real life.
If you’ve been getting to know someone online for more than 3 months and you haven’t yet met face-to-face, I think it’s definitely time to start questioning what it is this relationship is really made of. I get long-distance. In fact, I did long distance. My husband and I were long-distance for the entire extent of our relationship before marriage. And as much as there is that temptation to keep everything behind a screen because it’s so convenient — we made it a priority to build our friendship in real life. We made it our goal to make our dating happen in real life. We made it our aim to live our engagement in real life.
We spent money on plane tickets. Energy on phone calls. Time on Skype conversations. And did everything and anything we could to carve out times on the weekends/holidays/vacations to spend time together and with one another’s friends and families.
For an online relationship to have any chance of growing, it has to be brought to real life.
I also think it’s important to come to terms with the misconception that not doing anything is “waiting on God”. Dear one, that’s not waiting on God….that’s sitting back and letting “whatever happens happen” rather than leading your life.
One thing I’m known for saying on this blog is that there is a huge difference between living a life of PASSIVITY, and waiting on God.
God calls us into action. God encourages us to engage in healthy relationships. God empowers us to make wise choices and live out healthy lives. That takes us to be willing to make things happen.
Like your friends have told you, I think it’s time to set some boundaries in this relationship. And then ask yourself, why is it that I’ve been okay with this type of relationship? I think it’s perfectly appropriate to set a deadline and decide that you’re going to make yourself a priority and stop settling for excuses. There’s no good reason why someone should be able to call you his “girlfriend” yet fail to make it a priority to get to know you – the real you- face-to-face. That’s a red flag if you ask me.
It’s time for you to set the rules of what you expect and deserve in a relationship. And it starts here. Praying that God gives you the wisdom and the courage to lead your life and relationships.
PS. Be safe. Just because you’ve talked to someone online for 15 months doesn’t mean you know them. Be sure to always meet someone for the first time in PUBLIC, never in PRIVATE. And bring a friend. Or two. Or three.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest book, Choosing Marriage, is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching over 4 million people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!
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