Is it Wise to Travel to Meet Your Online Crush?
What if that hot guy online lives far away?
Dating online has its limitations, because some of the men you want to meet live hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away. But some of the best relationships have been the result of long-distance online dating.
There are plenty of things to consider when you talk to someone who lives in, say, Los Angeles, and you're firmly planted in Denver. Should you consider traveling to meet him? Should he fly to you? Where should he stay? Who pays what? There are tons of questions that must be answered to make sure the meetup goes smoothly.
To find out more, read on to see what our relationship experts say is the best thing to do when you meet an amazing guy online who lives far away.
Where to meet
Believe it or not, some experts say it’s actually a good idea to travel to meet an online crush, according to Toni Coleman, a marriage and family therapist.
The only thing is, the best thing is to meet in a neutral place somewhere between where each of you live.
“This way, you both invest the time ,energy and money to make this first meeting happen, and if it doesn’t go well,it is easier to make a quick and clean exit,” Coleman said.
Dr. Jane Greer, marriage and family therapist and SHRINK WRAP media commentator, thinks it’s better to make a guy travel to where you’re located, but it’s okay to meet halfway.
“Even though this is the modern age, it's better if an online partner can come to you. If that won't work out, consider meeting halfway. If you're going out of your way to get there, you're sending the message that you're doing a lot of the extending,” Greer said.
Who pays what
Don’t expect the guy to pay for everything, unless you do the traveling to meet him in his city and you bought your own airline ticket.
“For this first meeting, I suggest you split any meals or entertainment down the middle. Also both will be sharing the travel and lodging costs. This makes it easier and comfortable for both people and smooths the way if you’re not interested in him after you meet,” Coleman said.
Greer said that while she advises meeting halfway or having him come to you, “If you're flying to see him, he should absolutely pay.”
What to do if you don’t like them
“If you really don’t like them, it is best to make a quick and clean exit. No point in wasting anyone’s time or money or sending any mixed messages. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out,” Coleman said.
Greer said, “If you don't like him once you're there, be clear and say you're glad you met but this isn't what you were expecting. You can head home earlier if you're able to, but at that point, you'd pay for yourself including any penalty fees. Visiting an online crush comes with the risk that you won't connect well.”
Five rules to live by
Pella Weisman, a dating coach and marriage and family therapist, shared her top five rules to remember if you are going to meet a long-distance man from an online dating site:
- Make sure you already know them and feel comfortable with them. Talk to them on the phone a few times and also make sure you use FaceTime or Skype to see them live before you travel anywhere to meet them. You want to make sure that they are who they say they are and that you find them attractive and personable.
- Reserve a hotel room so that you've got a place to sleep if you don't want to sleep at their place right away, or if you end up not wanting to sleep with them at all. Yes, you could stay at their place, but that puts you both in a more awkward position.
- Book a flexible plane ticket. If you don't like them, you can either stay in their town if it's a fun place to visit, or head back home.
- Don't spend more than you can afford. Budget for this trip like you would for any other. Have an open conversation with your crush about who will pay for what. One way to divvy things up is to split the plane tickets, take turns treating for dinner, have your crush pay for entertainment, and you pay for the hotel.
- If you ever get a creepy feeling, or something is just not adding up, press the pause button. There's no rush, and your instincts are important to listen to. They can keep you out of trouble.
Dating requires taking risks, but these should be calculated risks that take into account your ability to handle the repercussions if things don't work out. If you're considering traveling to meet someone you've met online, make sure you've calculated the risks you are willing to take, and keep your emotional and physical safety in mind, Weisman said.
And remember, the love of your life might be just a few hundred miles away. It's worth a bit of trouble to find him.