When I first met the Rugby Boy, a boyfriend was the farthest thing from my mind. I was three weeks away from the UK Dating Awards, plus working three days a week for Time Out. I barely had a minute to myself, and was averaging about 5 hours sleep a night. To top it all off, as soon as the Awards were over, I was planning six weeks on the opposite side of the world. Six weeks to recuperate, and ‘date Down Under’ as part of my 30 Dates Around the World challenge …
It’s cliche, but true. Things happen when you least expect them. I went on a blind date with the Rugby Boy expecting absolutely nothing. Three and a half months on, and I’m no longer single, for the first time in three years. But what is interesting about the last couple of months, is that rather than hinder our budding relationship, me leaving the country for six and a half weeks actually made things a lot more stronger.
Studies have shown that six weeks is dangerous territory where long distance love is concerned. Apparently, if you don’t meet up with someone you’ve met online before the six week mark, but communicate regularly enough to build a connection, no matter how great he or she is in real life, they will never live up to your excited estimations. It’s advice I give all the time – meet up quickly. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to building up expectations. The more excited we get about someone, the more we overshare, and the more emotionally close we become … without actually knowing the person. And so normally I would advise against getting to know someone really well over email or text message. But that is BEFORE you know you fancy them. If you’ve already got past the hurdle of a face to face connection, then it can actually be easier to get to know someone when you are further away.
The thing about the distance, was that the Rugby Boy and I were suddenly forced to change the way we communicated with one another. Not only did the time distance allow us to become an automatic part of each other’s mornings and evenings, but because Whatsapp is the easiest, and cheapest, way to communicate long-distance, no matter where you are, our conversations moved to text messages. It’s always easier to say something in a text than it is face to face. And so as the weeks went by, the longer I was away, the more we found ourselves getting to know each other. Arguably far quicker than if we had been in the same country.
Rather than bond before we worked out there was a spark, only to be disappointed by reality, we used the long distance over-share to our advantage. We bonded at the best moment – after we knew there was a spark. By the time I returned to the UK, I knew more about the Rugby Boy than before I’d gone away, and we’d already developed the foundations of a relationship – in-jokes, nicknames, plans for the future.
The lesson? Never make assumptions … Sometimes circumstances can seem like obstacles, but actually become positives.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx