It’s hard making long distance relationships work as a digital nomad.
But it is possible.
Here are some tips for finding and keeping love if you work on the road.
It’s time for some NOMAD LOVE.
Making long distance relationships work as a digital nomad
Never make promises you can’t keep
As a digital nomad, you will form many strong connections that touch your heart.
It’s easy to get swept up in the moment and a whirlwind romance, only to come crashing down once you leave.
That’s why it’s important to never make promises you can’t keep.
Doing so just makes it hurt so much more.
Younger digital nomads, especially, may decide to just “wing it” and go with the flow.
A few broken hearts later, they may see things differently.
If you meet someone you like and decide to date, then it’s crucial that you discuss some of the ground rules that will define your relationship when you’re apart.
“Are you both 100% committed and exclusive, just currently at a distance?
“Or are you using your time apart as a bit of a break as well?
“Are you allowed to see other people?
“If so, are there rules about what you are allowed to do and how far you are allowed to take things?” writes Andy Sto.
“If you know what the rules are, you can act confidently while still maintaining good faith with your partner.”
Own your mistakes and disappointments
Making long distance relationships work as a digital nomad isn’t easy and it will inevitably be filled with some disappointments.
Even if you meet someone you are serious about, there’s a good chance that the time apart may dissolve the strong connection you had.
There’s also always the possibility one of you meets someone new or has a life change that makes the relationship fade as a priority.
If you make mistakes and let your partner down, or lead someone on, it’s important that you own them.
Be honest with yourself and those you meet about where you’re not holding up your side of the relationship.
Also, own your disappointments and be honest about the aspects of digital nomadic romance that aren’t working out for you.
Remember that there’s always hope.
All of us stumble in love and say things we regret, but if you think carefully before promising recklessly, you can avoid a lot of the heartbreak and disappointment that would otherwise emerge.
Standard Luggage has good advice on this.
“Each individual is different, and we all find happiness in our own way.
“The only thing you have to do is be open minded, and not afraid to take a chance.
“At the end of the day, you are a digital nomad, so taking risks might be your specialty.
“And when the opportunity for romance comes, take it with both hands and never let go. It is one of the most beautiful things in life.”
Make new connections selectively
Part of making long distance relationships work as a digital nomad is making new connections selectively.
Are you really interested in the person you’ve just met or are you just trying to get laid and have fun?
If the answer is the latter then be honest and mature with yourself about whether the emotional toll is worth it.
Do you really want to potentially lead someone on and hurt them? What about hurting yourself if you develop feelings for them and still have to leave?
“After all, you will leave at a certain point, and most of the relationships you begin will probably go through a life-changing transition of being hyper-focused while in town to long-distance once you depart,” writes Rohan Abeysinghe.
If you hook up or go out with every person you come across, you’re inevitably going to break a few hearts, including maybe your own.
If the other person wants what you do then it just might work.
But one of the worst things that digital nomads sometimes do is treat the world and its people as their buffet.
Even if you’re just passing through people’s lives, they may develop real feelings for you and be sad to see you go.
It’s important that you respect the sincerity and values of others as you navigate dating and relationships as a digital nomad.
On the other hand, if you’re confident you do want something serious and a relationship with this person, then commit yourself to it and set ground rules.
Communicate clearly and let them know what you’re looking for. If you’re both on the same page it can definitely work.
Assess what you’re really looking for
Part of forming connections selectively and being successful in digital nomad dating is assessing what you’re really looking for.
The best way to do this is to be fully honest even if it clashes with your immediate situation.
What I mean is that if you’re looking for a serious relationship but you’re currently swiping on Tinder to meet any partner with genitals and a face, then you’re going to be disappointed.
And you’ll probably disappoint them too.
If you’re just looking for fun, then be honest about that with yourself and those you meet.
And if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, then sit in that confusion and find an inner peace that will clarify your intentions.
If you don’t know what you want, that’s fine! The uncertainty can be a good time to find yourself and love yourself instead of meeting someone new…
Kristin Wilson writes about this:
“What’s the intended outcome of dating? To meet people, go out to dinner, find sexual partners, get married, have children?
“The answer is different for each of us. We should define what we want so we know when we have it or if we need to create space for it.”
If you don’t know what you really want, don’t jump right into things.
You’ll hurt yourself and others.
Stick to friendship until you find out where your heart is really leading you.
Don’t sleep around with other people
If you’re focused on making long distance relationships work as a digital nomad then it’s important to have a value system.
The stereotype of digital nomads is obviously that it would be much harder for them to have long-term relationships that last or lead to marriage.
The reality is that it’s possible if you are willing to commit and can build trust with your partner.
One of the key parts of that is learning to be exclusive and really sticking to it.
If you’re dating someone in Poland and you are now in Colombia working, keep your pants zipped up and your dress on.
There are a lot of cute guys and girls out there, but if love is worth more to you than temporary sex, then act like it!
Digital nomads meet more potential partners than most people.
That’s great, because of the expanded opportunities to fall in love. The downside is that it also leaves a lot more temptation to sleep around even when you already met someone you like.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
And even if you try, you’re likely to get a pretty bad stomach ache sooner or later.
Let love unfold in its own time
When you’re a digital nomad, you’re used to being on the move and getting fast results.
You may make close friends in only a day or two at a youth hostel, or form a new personal or professional connection in a matter of days.
This can lead to being too impatient.
So if you meet someone you like and want to make things work with them, it’s important to let love move at its own speed.
It can help to have more trust here and believe that if you have a strong connection with someone it will lead to something serious in its time.
Don’t try to cram all the romance and promises in at the last moment before you jump on a bus to the next place.
Don’t tell her you love him or her just to try to “lock it down” before spending a month elsewhere.
Let love move at its own pace and always stay optimistic.
Looking at examples of successful digital nomads, we can see that there is plenty of reason for optimism out there if you just stay strong and are in it for the long haul.
Megan and Mike Jerrard are a nomad couple who’ve made it work.
Megan’s advice is excellent here on remaining optimistic and letting love unfold:
“I firmly believe that you can make anything work if you want to. It’s that simple.
“That’s the big secret.
“If you truly want something to work, and you put everything you have into it, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.”
Open your heart to real love
This advice goes for everyone, but especially for digital nomads.
Being a digital nomad, it can be easy to become a little bit cynical.
Seeing love come and go, and going through transitory relationships can cause you to lose faith that anything will ever work out.
But you’ll never know if you don’t try.
So while I highly recommend staying selective and knowing what you want, I also recommend leaving space in your heart for real love to emerge.
You just never know when you’ll meet that person who lights your heart on fire.
The love story of digital nomad couple Sam and Jared provides a good example of this:
“While Sam and Jared aren’t sure how long they will be travelling for or how many countries they will visit, one thing is certain: they are excited and ready for this next chapter in their lives, and for the new adventures and experiences they will have.”
Validate and reassure your partner
If you’re a digital nomad in a long distance relationship, it’s important to make sure your partner is doing OK.
For one thing, they may miss you.
For another, they may want reassurance that you miss them and still want to be with them.
Do your best to provide that reassurance when possible and to validate the connection that you have.
The key to making long distance relationships work as a digital nomad is to have your whole heart behind it.
When you really care about it working your relationship has a much better chance of succeeding.
Never take your partner for granted in a long distance relationship.
Even though you may be busy meeting new friends, tapping away on that laptop and enjoying serene ocean views, remember that a sweet special person is still waiting on you.
Explain and communicate on a regular basis
If you want to know the key to making long distance relationships work as a digital nomad it’s communication.
Staying in touch by phone, messaging and video calls is the single best way you have to make this thing work.
At the same time, it’s very important that you don’t overdo it.
Many digital nomads have busted a relationship by texting and calling too much.
This has the effect of making the other person feel potentially stifled.
Give them a chance to miss you!
“While you need to communicate enough for both of you, it is good to keep a limit on things so that messages and calls feel welcome, rather than like a burdensome obligation.”
Is it possible to find love as a digital nomad?
Yes, it’s definitely possible!
Not only that, being a digital nomad gives you immense opportunities to learn about the world and about yourself.
This can make you very well-equipped to be an incredible partner once you find the right person.
Never give up on yourself or the chance of love.
This is an exciting time to be a digital nomad, and romance is fully within reach for those who want to find it.
Plus, maybe one day in the right situation you just might want to settle down.
But even if you don’t, long distance love can be a beautiful thing.