Welcome to the 11th day of #LoveBlog! Today’s prompt is Distance. You can find the rest of this month’s prompts at the original post. I received the game Relationship Reveal in exchange for my honest review. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
Once upon a time, I was a single summer intern in Columbus, Ohio. Dan was a single civil engineer in Findlay, Ohio. Thanks to the joys of OKCupid, we met. We dated. And then I moved to New York, completely uninterested in a long-distance relationship.
Life (and love!) had other plans.
Eventually Dan asked me to be his girlfriend, and we spent the next 9 months in a long-distance relationship. First I lived in New York. Then I lived in Toronto. Eventually, I moved back to Columbus, where I stayed until a month before our wedding. Only then did I move to Findlay.
Dan and I celebrate our third wedding anniversary next month. I love our marriage. I love living with him.
But I’m glad we started our relationship long-distance.
Being in a long-distance relationship (or medium-distance relationship) meant than Dan and I talked all the time. We couldn’t just veg out and watch a movie or go to the zoo. While we did play online games together, most of our skype dates involved hours of conversation.
Dan and I learned so much about each other in a short period of time. There’s a reason I fell in love with him so quickly!
A few months into our relationship, I found an article with a list of questions that build intimacy. The experiment related to strangers asking each other questions, but I enjoyed discussing them with Dan. I can’t find the article I read then, but these 36 questions are the same.
Relationship Reveal Review
The card game Relationship Reveal fosters similar communication. In fact, it creates almost infinite possibilities of play between two people, or even just as a personal exploratory exercise.
Sandra Fischer designed Relationship Reveal for couples who want to improve their relationships and for singles who want to learn what kind of relationship they need. The cards and guidebook explore different aspects of relationships and include exercises to bolster things such as trust, listening, and intimacy.
Dan and I have played Relationship Reveal a few times now. Each time, we’ve played a different exercise, which is basically a game. The shortest game is sort of like Taboo. You tell a story from your life to illustrate one of the relationship Skills. The other person tries to figure out the Skill!
Since my love language is Words of Affirmation, I really liked the exercise in which we both expressed our own Skills, each other’s Skills, and the Skills we do well as a couple. I like hearing Dan say nice things about me, even if those compliments are facilitated by a card game.
I would have loved Relationship Reveal while Dan and I were long-distance. Yes, I would have needed to send him one of the two decks of cards to play, but we would have made it work.
Since Dan and I met via online dating, I asked Sandra what she thinks of online dating. Dan and I chimed in with our own answers!
What are the benefits of online dating?
Sandra: Online dating expands the possibilities and opportunities to meet new people and find a partner you enjoy spending time with. You don’t have to wait for chance, fate, or a friend to set you up. If you are shy or prefer to meet people in less threatening situations, online dating is a great way to find others who have similar interests, get to know someone before meeting face-to-face, and build your confidence. Through profiles, you are able to get to know something about a person before making a connection, which helps bring forward the most likely candidates for a match and makes the experience of dating more fun. You and your potential matches may find it easier to be honest and more forthcoming in profile writing when there is thought put into the process and you are not yet face-to-face with a person.
Brita: Everyone should have a list of deal-breakers in a partner. For example, I was never willing date someone with cats or dogs because I’m highly allergic to them! Obviously owning a pet doesn’t make you a bad partner, but it does mean you’re incompatible with someone like me. These deal-breakers, whether they’re big or small, don’t always come up right away if you just meet someone randomly. But with online dating, you can weed out potential suitors who exhibit deal-breakers. Then you don’t waste your time!
Dan: You have a wider potential audience and the ability to screen potential dates in a better environment than in person for people who may not feel comfortable approaching strangers. Also, you’re probably screwing around on the Internet anyway if you’re single and interested in online dating.
What’s the downside of online dating?
Sandra: While it may not make for a different outcome, there is a lot to be said for having some sense of the person you are going to spend time with from information gained from others with personal knowledge, even your mother. Profiles can be misleading or false and without the face-to-face connection, you may miss critical communication clues that keep you safe. Profile information makes it easy to judge the content and choose flashy versus deeper heart and soul, allowing people to miss potentially deep connections. While searching through profiles, you may look for the perfect match and miss opportunities to find a partner that allows you to learn and grow.
Brita: Dick pics. In all seriousness, the male-to-female ratio in online dating is hard on everyone. Men bombard women with messages. Women don’t have enough time to respond to everyone. Men get discouraged by the lack of responses, so they send out form letters to a larger number of women. Women waste time sifting through terrible messages in order to respond to the good ones. Tinder is past my time, but I assume the swiping mechanism evens the playing field?
Dan: The biggest downside is you never know if you’re actually talking to a human. And, if it is a human, you have no idea if the human on the other end of the keyboard actually matches the profile. Assuming that there’s an actual person that matches the profile, you have no idea if they’re still active on the dating website. And as a guy, more likely than not, most of the messages you send will get just as much response as all the junk mail that you receive in your mailbox. The quality of the messages you send don’t necessarily reflect your response rate.
Which online dating website do you recommend and why?
Sandra: Each site is unique, targeting specific audiences, which makes it difficult to recommend one as a favorite. It is important for each person to understand what their goals are and to find the site that most closely aligns with their desired outcome and the community they want to look for a mate in.
Brita: Dan and I met on OKCupid, so…
Dan: I would agree with Brita’s sentiments. To further explain our point, I believe that most paid dating websites have a poor incentive system. Because paying for time on the website encourages the operator to keep you single and looking on their website. Under traditional paid dating websites, you finding a successful relationship means no money for them.
What should you include in an online dating profile?
Sandra: Honesty and authenticity. Take time to do some self-exploration and identify what is really important to you and what you want from your life in the short- and long-term. Do not put down you want a long-term relationship if you only want to casually date. I would not reveal too much, but include enough to give people a sense of who you are. Discovery is exciting, so leave room to do that with potential partners. Be respectful of yourself and use language that is positive and uplifting. Be respectful of others and refrain from denigrating the beliefs other than yours, especially political or religious. Use humor and have fun. The beginning of any relationship should be fun and exciting and your profile should reflect the best of you without overselling.
Brita: At least one photo that’s a flattering close-up of your face, plus at least one photo that shows your whole body. Avoid photos that are out-of-date. As far as the text goes, actually fill out the sections. No, it’s not clever to say, “I don’t know what to write about myself.” Be honest about your deal-breakers in your profile. Show a little personality! Do you really enjoy long walks on the beach, or do you prefer building sand castles with epic moats and defense walls?
Dan: Your dating profile is a lot like a real estate listing. Don’t be lazy; you need to sell yourself. Start off with a great picture. Because it’s online dating, and even if it’s not Tinder, if you have a crappy profile picture, you will get skipped. Most people don’t take the time to read the profile for a picture they don’t find attractive. Next, list all your best qualities, but not in an obnoxious way where it seems like you’re too full of yourself. Don’t use all caps because nobody likes being shouted at. And seriously, grab your grammatically perfect friend, and have them read your profile. Good grammar is sexy.
A big thank you to Sandra (and to Dan!) for answering all these questions. You can buy Relationship Reveal on Amazon.
Meet Your #LoveBlog Hosts!
Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.
Elyse blogs about marriage, Vancouver-living, books, and everything in between. She’s a legal assistant by day and an avid reader and blogaholic by night. She’s obsessed with Mexican food, the Toronto Blue Jays, and true crime shows.
Enter the #LoveBlog2017 Giveaway!
I am so excited to include a giveaway for this year’s #LoveBlog! It started 02/01/2017 and runs through the end of the month. US residents only. I love my international readers, but international giveaways are more difficult to manage legally.
I will verify the winning entry myself before emailing the winner during the first week of March. If the winner doesn’t respond, I’ll start the process over again.
How do you stay close with your long-distance loved ones?