LDRs are great, right? Yep. I met the love of my life long distance, so I’m obviously a fan!
But it’s also true that you don’t know anyone completely until you’ve met in person – and even then, it’s still early days for your relationship. As much as LDRs are wonderful, you should be mindful of maintaining safe boundaries with your partner until you’ve spent a significant amount of time together offline.
With that in mind, here are 7 ways to make safety your watchword when meeting for the first time.
1. Meet and hang out in a public place
Sometimes you won’t need to spend long with someone to know that it’s not going to work out. You might even get sketchy vibes from them as soon as you meet in person and just know in your gut that you don’t want to take things any further.
So meet somewhere public – like the airport – and spend your time hanging out together in public places before you say goodbye and go back to your separate living spaces.
This is not to say you can never be alone together during your visit. But I recommend you only do so after you’re comfortable with each other’s company. This is essentially a first date scenario, even if you’ve been talking for a long time from a distance.
2. Stay separately
When you’re going to meet your long distance partner for the first time, don’t stay at their place and don’t have them stay at your place. It may be tempting, cheap and convenient, but there are multiple reasons why booking an AirBNB or hotel is a better idea.
You want to be able to leave promptly if things go wrong. Aside from safety, it’s also wise to maintain a healthy amount of space in the early stages of a relationship. Even if things go well for your first meet, you’ll likely have a lot of feelings to process and it helps massively to have somewhere away from your S.O. to reflect at the end of the day.
3. Go with a friend, if you can
This may or may not be a practical option for you, but if you can make it work then having a friend go with you on your trip is a good idea. It also takes some of the pressure and expectation off of the situation, since you’re not only there to meet your S.O. and can spend time with your friend as well.
At the very least, make sure you let at least one (preferably more than one) trusted person know exactly where you’re going and who you’re meeting, and check in with them periodically throughout your trip.
4. Do your research on the area first
Don’t go to the middle of nowhere to meet your date, and especially don’t go without a plan. Research the country and/or area you’re going to and tick these things off your list before you go:
- Know where and how you can get a taxi, train, or other type of transport – don’t just assume you can get an Uber or Lyft where you’re going
- Bring enough emergency cash to cover transport etc. and don’t assume you can pay contactless or with cash everywhere you go (some places only accept one or the other)
- Figure out if you’ll have good phone reception (look up coverage for your network in the area) or if you need to pay roaming costs / set up roaming in the place you’re going to or if you need to use a temporary sim card
- Know how to ask for directions, if you’re in a different country (don’t assume everyone can speak English!)
5. Be prepared for an early departure
Hopefully, your visit goes well and you leave feeling amazing! But it’s smart to prepare for all possibilities, such as the two of you needing to part ways sooner than you’d originally planned.
I mentioned above that you should stay separately when you meet the first time. This is another reason why it’s a good idea. Imagine that you fall out with your long distance date on the second day, but your plane isn’t leaving until day 4. Assuming you can’t afford to change your ticket (and it can be pretty pricey to do so), if you’re staying in your own place, it’s going to be much easier to wait out the end of your trip there than trying to find a place to stay at the last moment.
6. Keep your valuables safe
Keep your valuables – especially your passport! – safe at all times.
Keep your phone charged and on you. Bring a powerbank and make sure you have an adaptor for the sockets if you’re going to another country.
7. Do it by the book
Get insurance. Get the right visa. Check the Covid-19 travel requirements properly – and then check them again.
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