You’re flirting on IM and email; the phone calls are long and romantic — this guy seems too good to be true! But there’s an obvious catch: he lives far away. The solution: visit him. Seems simple enough, but hot stuff, it’s not! Sure, romance means always taking a chance, but before you run off to visit your long-distance lover, don’t get swept away in the fantasy of it all. As someone who has been burned by such a seemingly sexy endeavor, I implore you to check yourself before you emotionally wreck yourself. Sure, on one hand, he could be your dream man and a trip like this could be the beginning of a beautiful long-distance relationship. But on the other hand, it could end with you running home to cry to your gal pals about the vacation time and money you just wasted on a big mistake. So, before you, my friend, start booking travel arrangements, here are some ways to ensure you’ll be getting what you came for when visiting that out-of-town beau.
- Pick Up: If the dude drops off the face of the planet before you’re supposed to arrive, consider yourself warned. Getting closer to him won’t make him easier to reach. There should be easy, frequent communication right up until the trip.
- Pencil Him In: Part of visiting someone is managing your expectations about the amount of time you’ll be spending with them. Just because you’re around doesn’t mean they’ll drop everything to be with you. Make sure you know when you’re going to hang. Have a relatively firm date plan. Even if you’re staying with him, get a sense of his schedule.
- Reason To Believe: Sure, you’re going to see your man. But what are you going to do when he’s at work? Or what if he bails? Come up with another reason for traveling. Why is the area known for being awesome? Find out, and have a back-up plan so you don’t ever sit around waiting or moping.
- Real Talk: It’s easy to hide behind email, IM, and texts. But what’s this guy like off-the-cuff, and for reals? When he doesn’t have time to come up with something witty, what does he say? Talk on the phone or, better yet, Skype before you make the trek to try face-to-face time.
- Photo Op: He may have been the hottest guy at your high school, or says he’s been mistaken for Javier Bardem, but you should have a 99 percent accurate idea of what he looks like now. Don’t fear looking shallow for making this request. Before you invest time and money, he shouldn’t be afraid to toss in a few casual shots of himself (and vice versa).
- Just Do It: What are the sexual expectations for the trip? Have you had sex before? Think of all the men you’ve gotten with in the past. Sometimes the first time you have sex with someone is awkward — or totally not. Regardless, it can say it all, so prepare yourself. But then again, anything worth having takes a certain amount of risk.
- Google Him: Do your research on both his full name and his internet alias. Is he popping up on weird message boards that turn you off? Is his handle a known player? Find out.
- Indicators: Does he offer to pick you up from the airport? Is he going to host you and is it on the sofa or in the bed? These key levels of interest in your vacay and willingness to accommodate you indicate his level of commitment to your trip and having a good time.