I’m a Nomad, But No, I Won’t Consider a Long-Distance Relationship (+ Caveat)

I’ve spent the past six years largely single. I’ve been on too many first dates to count. I’ve had a couple brief romantic attachments. I even thought I was falling in love once or twice — that there was serious long-term potential — ready to go all-in. I’ve been over-the-moon in rose-colored bliss, and I’ve been left crestfallen and heartbroken.

I’m not “looking,” but I’m open minded about meeting and moving forward with a good guy who has the qualities I like and who feels the same way.

But one thing I won’t do is embark on a long distance relationship. Just. Won’t. Do.

It doesn’t mean I’m any less interested in finding a partner. It’s not trust-related, even though fidelity can be a huge concern in long-distance love. It is this: My time is far too valuable to invest in someone I haven’t met, that I don’t know if I have chemistry with, that I don’t know — and the hours of my life it would take to do so are better spent engaging with people I actually am meeting, with whom I feel attraction, having deep and meaningful conversations in which we peel away all our layers and get to know one another.

“But Julie!” you think. “You travel around full-time! If you ever expect to date anyone, won’t there be periods where you are away from one another?”

Yes, my friends. And that’s the caveat.

I will not embark on a long distance relationship at the forefront. I will not invest virtually and romantically in someone I haven’t met; time and experience have taught me that’s just not an effective use of my time. Nor will I agree to embarking on something where only long distance is the future: for example, someone tied to a single place indefinitely by profession or family. I will only embark on a relationship where two people have the capability and the means to see one another regularly, wherever in the world that may be — with an ultimate goal of (physically) being with each other, in person, long-term.

I look back on the summer of 2017 when I was falling in love with a man who lived an ocean away. We spent a whirlwind week together, we kept in close, daily (if not hourly) contact through chats, voice messages and Skype, and we made plans to be together long-term in Europe. I put my house on the vacation rental market, setting all this in motion, in order to move across the world indefinitely and be with him.

And then he dumped me out of the blue. 

Technology makes it easier than ever before to get introduced and be connected long-distance, and friendships can be initiated online from afar. But they cannot be sustained or built from afar, not in the long-term. In addition to things like shared interests, goals, and mutual attraction, to me, a satisfying relationship requires two bodies in the same room. Looking into each other’s eyes not through a screen. Physical touch, and doing the things that couples do. 

If I meet someone on nomad life that I feel strongly about, firstly, he needs to be available and mobile enough (and of course, interested enough) to come along with me, to meet me places, to meet in the middle, and for me to visit him. Regardless of what may or may not happen long-term, in the short-term (as in, weeks or months following) — in a world where attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and out-of-sight-out-of-mind is real — relationships need momentum to sustain them.

I’m not saying all long-distance relationships will fail, or that you shouldn’t pursue one if both you and your partner desire it. We all have different needs, different goals, and different obligations.

And you know what else? We are fluid, changing creatures. I never say never. Maybe someone, somewhere, someday will change my mind… but in the meantime, this is my unapologetic outlook. ❤️✌️

If you liked this post, I encourage you to read these other entries for more hot takes on dating, standards, and distance:

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