How Dating in L.A. Can Be a Long Distance Relationship

Will you be willing to cross the 405 for love?

Here’s a typical L.A. scenario: you’re chatting up a cute potential love interest and hitting things off, but then comes the dreaded question “Where in L.A. do you live?”. It’s just an unspoken rule that if said love interest doesn’t live within a 5-mile radius, this relationship is over. Dating in L.A. costs a huge amount of time and energy because of the insane commuting implied by each date.

Dating is a headache to begin with, add living in a city like L.A., with 503 square miles and 3.8 million people in, we are a population that likes to spread out.

Santa Monica, Venice, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Hermosa, Silver Lake, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, or Downtown… more than being a driving distance apart, each area is an attitude apart, too. From hipster to highfalutin, beach bum to buttoned-up, where a person resides can say a lot about their personality, profession… and tendency to be on time.

Truth is: Long distance relationships are hard work, and that sometimes means having to say bye to that hottie from Marina Del Rey. But it doesn’t have to be, here are some ways to keep that love alive from Echo Park to Venice.

Embrace your car

Dating is a headache to begin with, add living in a city like L.A., with 503 square miles and 3.8 million people in, we are a population that likes to spread out. And because of the lack of quality public transportation (“only hobos take the bus” is still a mantra you’ll hear often), we drive cars. When it comes to dating with a car, you have to factor in alcohol intake and tricky by-the-neighborhood parking logistics. As far as “where to park,” Angelenos know all the secret parking spots just like Stefon knows all the hot clubs in Manhattan. It’s a regional skill set, and we’re used to it. The benefit to car culture is if you pick your date up from her apartment, you then have to drop her off at the end of the night. A lot of conversational intimacy can be created in a car, as can plenty of romance. It’s up to you if you want said romance to be in the back seat or up in her apartment.

Beware of Dating “In the Industry”

If you’re dating in L.A., chances are high that you have dated or will date someone “in the industry”. This term gets thrown around a lot and mainly covers actors, agents, screenwriters, musicians etc, who flock here to try and make it big. It’s just something that comes with the territory of Los Angeles. This isn’t always a bad thing. Dates at industry events can be fun. BUT there is a high chance that work will always come before you do. So unless you can handle long periods on location and/or high flake potential, try to find someone else to date.

Car Culture by © Jonathan Michael Castillo

© Jonathan Michael Castillo

We Don’t Have The “Walk of Shame”

You’d think that because everyone drives here, the walk of shame is not really a thing for us Angelenos. But what about that guy you are seeing that lives in Los Feliz and has absolutely NO parking ever by his apartment? We call our walk of shame the Uber of Shame. It’s actually a lot more classy since the only person who comes into contact with you the next morning is your Uber driver who doesn’t judge, and just gives you a phone charger and water bottle while you avoid eye contact.

Set up healthy communication patterns early

When you’re trying to figure out how to make a long distance relationship in L.A. work, talk about how to stay in touch while you’re in different ends of the city. Discuss some of your communication basics as a couple–how you generally prefer to connect (phone, FaceTime, text), what times, and for how long. This can help set realistic expectations and avoid some miscommunications, frustration, and anxiety. It‘s important that you speak, listen, write, fight, and laugh with your partner about everything that’s meaningful to you. Use different channels for communication and surprise your partner from time to time with a postcard, a colorful photo, or an unexpected call.

Spend quality time together

Make sure the time with each other is well spent. Treat the distance as a friend, not an enemy. Be creative and play with the technical possibilities— discover new things to do in neighborhoods that equidistant from you two. If they live in Eagle Rock and you live in Venice, maybe hit up LACMA or go hiking in Franklin Canyon. Visit each other as often as you can, and spend time just the way you want. Split costs and plan activities you want to do together. This is crucial for you as a couple, and it refuels the batteries. Physical distance does not equal emotional distance, and there is so much to explore. It’s really what you make out of it.

The photos in this article are from the photo series Car culture by Jonathan Michael Castillo which the artist present as: “both a study and interpretation of individuals who participate in the driving culture of the greater Los Angeles region.”

More info:

Eden Dranger is writer and native Los Angelino. When not screenwriting or freelance writing, Eden can be found eating nachos and playing with her hair. During pre and post nacho eating, Eden is probably vintage shopping at L.A. flea markets or watching old movies. If none of the above applies, you might find her at home deciding which romper reflects her mood today.