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Geography & Romance: Another Silver Lining
Sandy Sternbach
Founder & Managing Director, The Right Time Consultants
The views, information, or opinions expressed in these blog posts are solely those of the author's and do not necessarily represent those of Harvard Magazine, Harvard University and/or its employees. These blog posts do not appear in Harvard Magazine's print edition nor are considered Harvard Magazine editorial content.

The intersection of geography and love is certainly a fascinating subject and has been the theme for many a novel, film and real-life romantic relationship. Think Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, George and Amal Clooney, Oprah and Steadman, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her beloved Martin.
 
As the summer closes, most of us can reflect upon these months with gratitude for being able to genuinely spend quality, “real” time with family and friends, and to get physically close to those we care about. Birthday parties, family gatherings, weddings, picnics, out-of town guests, all things we used to take for granted had special significance this summer.
 
And for those single and actively eligible, it also has been a chance to integrate and assimilate the wisdom and understanding of themselves earned during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to act on their commitments to make this part of their life richer and more meaningful. Finding a special someone has never been as deeply felt by this highly accomplished and extraordinary demographic and where they now look appears to have a more generous silver lining.
 
In earlier years (pre-pandemic), when asked for their non-negotiables, most successful and dynamic individuals would place “living in close proximity” (geographically desirable) as one of the top criteria on their list. Combined with age, education, shared interests and being physically fit and financially solid, these criteria served as the core set of practical requirements in their search for a compatible life partner/spouse.
 
The pandemic appears to have had the most dramatic impact on the criteria of geography. Individuals now tend to be much more open to meeting someone who fits their overall criteria list but who may not be geographically around the corner.
 
There are several plausible and practical reasons for this ‘expanded geographic range.’  The first is that during the pandemic, most of us began to work from home or remotely via Zoom, FaceTime and video-conferencing.  Indeed, many who could work remotely left their area of residence and employment to shelter or nest in a place where they felt safer (Colorado, the Berkshires, Cape Cod, a family summer home, etc.). The second factor is that the resilience and mobility engendered by the pandemic has helped individuals realize that there are many more options for living their own lifestyle than they had previously imagined. The feasibility of living the life you love anywhere, despite a global pandemic, is one of the gifts many have received. This seems to be the trend for those in the age range from their 30’s well into their 70’s. An example of this can be best illustrated in the words of a client with a pandemic romance that continues to thrive:
 
“As you know, my encounter with my new partner was very serendipitous. Because of the pandemic, we communicated on FaceTime for two months before actually meeting. This period was actually very romantic, much like the letter-writing a couple might have had 50 years ago. We knew each other quite well by the time we met in person, which was quite thrilling and natural. As for me, I had no issue with geography—I am adventurous and flexible. Being open and honest with yourself about what you might find interesting is a good place to start rather than setting parameters about what you think you want, which is very limiting.
 
“You have to be willing to emotionally and mentally travel to the present and leave the past before you can move on to a future relationship. This can be a big, freeing leap and another geographic journey with many glorious opportunities ahead.”

For previous personals blog posts, click on the links below:

A Pandemic Silver Lining
Spring Is In The Air
Valentine's Day
Dating in the Age of COVID
Creating Holiday Joy, It's Up To You

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