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Reading through them, I noticed something odd: Many of Ok Cupid’s successful users first met when they were living across the country—or the world—from each other.I read stories of couples who chatted online for months before flying from California to Georgia, Michigan to Washington, Ohio to Peru, Cyprus to Lebanon to see each other for the first time.Inspired by this, Ok Cupid decided to poll users with the question, “What is the longest you’ve traveled to meet up with someone from a dating app?” About 6 percent of millennials, 9 percent of Gen Xers, and 12 percent of Baby Boomers said more than five hours.For the next few weeks, I called the Austin programmer often.I wondered what it would be like going on a first date with him, now that I sort of knew him.

On Reddit, I discover a community of around 50,000 in a group called /r/Long Distance.Lonely and alone on a Saturday night, I started scrolling through Ok Cupid and, out of boredom and curiosity, expanded my search options to include users anywhere in the world.I was drawn in by the profiles of some of these new, distant matches and messaged a few asking if they’d like to chat on the phone.Then one day I had my wisdom teeth pulled and my cheeks became grapefruits.Figuring this was not a great first-date look, I made no weekend plans.

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