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Dating As A Digital Nomad Is Complicated

I'm in a "complicationship."

Dating sucks sometimes. Especially when you’re not in one place for long. I’m rarely in the same state or country for longer than three months. Which makes me feel like a free bird and at times like a caged dove. Either wild and free or always alone.

While being an avid traveler can be life-changing and enriching it can also be lonely. I sometimes feel like being in a relationship would distract me from my travel goals. I’d be missing bae more and enjoying travel less.

When I moved from California to Atlanta I was still dating someone who lived in California. Missing him made my transition even more difficult. Long conversations took our relationship from “miss you” to “love you.” Pretty soon I was planning trips to see him. This continued for a year, until he told me he’d found a girlfriend. Yep, a girlfriend and could I blame him? I’m the one who decided to move across the country. So I had to let him go right? I had to move on and date locally. Find a nice southern gentleman to “yes ma’am” me.

Eventually, I found one. He was kind, considerate and single. But I was leaving to work out of state for three months. So before it got too serious, I decided to “friend-zone” him.

While I was away I started receiving texts from my California Love and that’s how our “complicationship” began. He’d told his girlfriend about me. That we’d dated before he met her and that I’d moved away. He also told her that he still loved me and wanted to continue to see me when I was in town. She agreed to be in an open relationship with him and in a way, I guess I did too.

We’d talk and text frequently. Sometimes he’d tell me that our communication made her feel insecure or jealous. But what else did he expect? I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be sharing either, but at the time it seemed like the logical thing to do. As long as we were all being open and honest with each other, what was the problem?

The problem was, love is not logical and after a year in this complicationship, I had to cut ties. It was harder than I expected, but in the end I felt empowered. I also learned that although I’m liberal and open minded, open relationships are not for me.

I decided to update my online dating profiles and put myself back out there. After a few duds I met someone cool and right away he asked me out for coffee. During our date he let it slip that he had a girlfriend. I didn’t cause a scene or skip a beat. I continued on with our conversation and my chai latte. When he dropped me off I knew that would be the last time I’d see him.

He called to ask me out again and I asked about his girlfriend. He was honest about being in a relationship but said that they had an “understanding.” Here we go again, right!? Nope! I wasn’t getting caught up, so I politely declined. His response was, he thought I’d be cool with it because I travelled so much and wouldn’t want to be tied down.

He was right on two accounts, I did travel a lot and didn’t want to be tied down. But I also wasn’t looking for another complicationship. So I thanked him again for the coffee and that was that. Chatting with a friend I asked if I had “Open to Open Relationships” stamped on my forehead? After she assured me I didn’t, I asked if she’d ever be open to an open relationship.

Even after finding dating apps and online communities for digital nomads, I decided to delete my online dating profiles. My current thought process is, if I meet someone interesting in real life, I’ll see where it goes. Otherwise I’m just going to focus on work, family, friends and travel.

Originally published on Xtra Lush