I am speaking to someone online who lives in Australia. I live in Canada. However his border won’t open for another few months. I can’t even consider him until I meet him, so how long am I supposed to drag on this “getting to know you” phase? And how do we pace ourselves so it doesn’t get awkward waiting around for the borders to open?
*Name changed for anonymity
Firstly, it’s great to see that you’re giving your search for a partner a chance in the midst of what has been a crazy 12 months.
I think it’s important to first consider the fact that long-distance relationships in general often take much more work than your usual relationship. With distance comes time. The time apart could create feelings of being disconnected and out of sync. So when you factor in that you’re attempting to get to know someone without any (as of yet) real life interaction – the added bonus of a global pandemic sure doesn’t help.
The somewhat reassuring aspect here is that you’re not alone. Due to the national lockdown, many couples are now considered long distance. London – Birmingham – Manchester – Liverpool. Cities in the UK, that between them would sometimes take only an hour or two to reach and now any plans for meeting have been put on hold.
With that being said, I would treat this as you would if you were both in the same place experiencing lockdown together. Any long distance relationship should be met with open and honest communication. In this case, when you are both searching for a spouse – it means being transparent about your goals, your ideal timelines in regards to meeting each other, meeting families, engagement (if you wish to have a period of engagement) and marriage.
With that, the first and most important thing, would be to set an ideal time that you could both meet. Provided borders and lockdown is eased. With that date in mind (knowing this date may need to be amended due to the pandemic), you can both work towards that date with some mutual commitments when it comes to communication. Commit to the number of times per week you’ll FaceTime/call. You don’t need to spend every call asking questions – treat them as you would any other ‘halal date’. Watch a movie at the same time on zoom, cook something together or watch an Islamic lecture together.
If you treat each call as an interview – you’re both potentially going to run out of steam. I truly believe some conversations are better left for a real date.
Ultimately, during this period, you may well find your conversations already point to an answer for you, without either of you having to meet. If major red flags crop up before your date – you may decide to go your separate ways – and that’s ok. That’s exactly what the ‘getting to know you’ stage is for and it doesn’t always require a face to face date, for you to come to this decision.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed relationship expert/coach. Advice and responses are solely based off my own experiences and opinions. Please use your own judgement and seek professional help where needed.
If you are searching for Islamic guidance, this is not the place. Please contact an imam/ respected scholar etc who can can guide you appropriately inshAllah.