During the lockdown, many singles had to return to online dating. Zoom and skype dates became the new reality. As a professional matchmaker who runs a boutique matchmaking service for more than a decade already and specializes in introducing people who are interested in international dating, I could have written a book about online long-distance relationships and why they usually do not work out.

The first reason why the online relationship doesn’t work – singles do not bring it offline. So often people forget - online dating is just a tool to help you expand your pool of search, get acquainted with different people while staying in the comfortable safety of your apartment, but the next step is bringing your online acquaintance offline.

Many subscribers of our YouTube blog and our new male clients during the first consultation often tell me they were “seriously dating” this or that lady. They describe how they have met at a dating site, Tinder or even Facebook, were corresponding for weeks or even months but it didn’t work out and they broke up. Every time I repeat a similar answer as a mantra: “Unless you have met in person offline – she is not your girlfriend and you are not her boyfriend yet”.  Why? Because there is a strong chance you will see each other in person and your first date will be your last date. You will start talking and she won’t like your voice, or you will not like the way she holds her fork and knife. Or maybe she won’t like your smell and won’t understand your jokes. When we are texting with someone we have the luxury of taking time and answer once we are in the right mood or once we think of something smart and witty to say. You have texted her in the morning and she replies in the afternoon so you assume she was simply busy and it really might be the case. Or perhaps she was thinking about a smart comeback because she wanted to appear sharper than she is. But once you meet face to face and have lunch or dinner together you have to answer her questions at once and she actually sees your reaction.

The question is can you make the relationship work if two of you live in different cities or countries? The answer is – yes but there are several important rules to follow:

1.     You have met offline in real life and build your long-distance communication after the actual real meeting.

2.     You and your partner have discussed that you will be separated by a distance only temporary (you have discussed for how long) and both of you agree you are in an exclusive committed relationship till you are reunited on one territory.

3.     Both of you are ready to invest time and effort into your communication by arranging dates by skype, talking on phone and text, being constantly in touch, and on the same page about your status.
How does the healthy long-distance relationship works? Just like a usual one: you talk, laugh, flirt, share your dreams, have fun, make plans while waiting for the next meeting. On the one hand, it is more complicated than having real coffee or dinner dates, but it brings out your creativity and can add extra romance to your communication.
We have watched couples cooking dinners together by skype, planning movie nights while he watches a movie in San-Francisco, and she watches it in Kyiv. You will have to make extra effort to be really present in the life of your love interest while you are miles and sometimes oceans away. But once you reunite in real life – usually after all the foreplay and build up romance such couples cherish and appreciate their time together more.

One of our ex-clients who was in a long-distance relationship with her now-husband for almost a year has told me that the hardest thing for her was not to be able to cuddle with her then-boyfriend and not to hold hands. They were meeting every 2 months and had fantastic communication in between but she has really struggled without his physical touch. Now after almost 4 years of marriage still wherever they go – they hold hands. Once they are at home watching a movie or just reading on the sofa – they cuddle. She said all their friends constantly notice that they seem to be always touching. Our ex-client thinks the early stage of their long-distant relationship has taught them to appreciate every moment they spend together.

Some couples miss the letters they were writing to each other. One of our ex male clients told us that he and his now-wife were both busy professionals when they have just met, and both were not very good at texting. With the different time zones, it was hard to find an appropriate time to talk on skype or phone during the working week so they were exchanging emails and talked on the phone during the weekends. In those emails, they were discussing such intimate things like dreams, romantic fantasies, deepest fears. He felt so close to his then-girlfriend who was at another continent, he felt so at ease talking about things he felt shy to share in real life. He said that the more they got to know each other the more passionate their letters became. Of course, they were flying to see each other every 2 or 3 months. Now, after having 3 kids together and being happily married for almost 10 years they still treat each other with love letters. He said his wife sometimes writes him a little romantic note that he finds later in his papers in the office and then the whole day he smiles like crazy and can’t wait to return back home to her. He believes their long-distance relationship has taught them romance that many other couples he knows, unfortunately, do not have.

Online relationships can definitely work if you bring it offline and make an effort and learn to be creative and romantic.