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Parallax - Advice            October 9, 2000

  What follows an out-of-town fling?

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I met this great woman at a wedding, and we had such a good time - talked, danced, even kissed a little on the last day. However, she lives in the middle of the country, and I live in Philly. After the wedding we began to e-mail each other. Now, we exchange e-mails every few days - sometimes every day. The problem? She's coming to the East Coast and wants to visit me, as Philly is just an hour away. Will I see her? I don't know what to do. I'm worried this could turn into something real, and long-distance relationships have never worked for me. I want to say, 'Don't bother,' but of course I can't. Or can I?

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Her view:

Dear Chicken,

Oh, how dreadful for you - a relationship in which you might really care about someone, and have to make an effort to be with. How do you get through your day?

I'm not sure I've heard something more ridiculous than the woes of a potentially caring relationship that will require some effort. Why don't you lighten up and see where things go? Perhaps it will become a short-distance relationship, if things are so great between you.

Of course, it is an effort on your part, and you'll need to decide at some point if it's worth it. But you don't have to decide that for some time, so why not let her have a date? I see no major effort here. You don't even know if you like her. Lots of people hook up at weddings, and it's just a wedding fling - this could be one of those. You'll never know unless you give it a sliver of a chance. I say, have two or three dates - then decide.

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His view:

Dear Chicken,

The way I see it, you can either say yes, let her visit, and see how things develop…or you can say no, and sit at home watching Olympic reruns.

I know reality is scary, and a real relationship is more so, but weren't you thinking of all that when you kissed? What about when you gave her your e-mail address or when you started writing every day? I think you have a real relationship already. The question is, what kind of relationship will it be?

If you started hitting on her at the wedding because you were looking for a fling, then this may be the perfect opportunity to consummate it. If your intentions were more complex - or if you didn't really have any intentions - then this is your chance to test the potential for a deeper relationship.

Yes, the long-distance issue becomes more relevant if you decide it's serious, but you should have thought of that before. At the very least, you need to figure out if your instincts were right. Give her an opening - a fair chance. Come on man, where's your sense of adventure?

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