Living in New York City, I attend numerous events, functions and get-togethers for Shabbat dinners with my friends. No matter where I am, if it involves singles (and it usually does), everyone is having the same conversation. In short, people are complaining that New York City is a horrible city to live if your goal is to find a long-term relationship or marriage. Everyone complains that no one wants to settle down or commit. It’s an outstanding city for going out, having fun, and dating, but not necessarily for any type of loyalty or commitment. So why are there so many single people complaining about the same thing, and yet no one is doing anything about it?
I personally want to get married, and I’ve done more than my fair share of dating. So, of course, I have to question why I am not in a committed relationship either. For a few years, I lived in South Jersey for my job as a relationship talk show host, worked evenings, and would ask my boss almost every day to let me broadcast from New York City. I was convinced I would never meet anyone in the suburbs of Philly. I’ve been back in New York full-time for around a year and a half, and have made up for lost time on the dating front. However, a year and a half later, I am still not in a committed relationship. It is partly because I have not been interested in the men interested in me (and vice versa), and partly because the NYC social scene pulls me in many different directions. I do some work in Philadelphia, so whenever I go down there, I do a JDate search to see if anyone new has joined the site. Recently, I went to a lock and key party in Philly and met five guys of interest that night, and went out with two of them. I met a few more online who were living in South Jersey, or in the suburbs of Philly. I was ready to see if the dating scene would be any different depending on their demographics.
My theory is that in New York, since there is always so much going on every night of the week, we are constantly stimulated with people to see and places to go, that even being able to book date two and three with person number one can be a process. Add in the fact that there may be someone more exciting to date who you just starting talking to online or met at a party the night after date number one with the other person. For a city population that already falls prey to ADD, it does not translate well into finding, developing, and holding on to a life partner. In the Philadelphia region, while there are still things going on at night, it is a city on a smaller scale with not as many options. It is still a fun city, but maybe a bit more intimate when it comes to meeting others. In my experience, after I went out with the guys I met in that area, they were quickly calling to set up another date, to see how my week was going, or just to say hello. They were putting more effort into developing a connection.
There was recently an article written that told women to leave NYC and head to the suburbs to find men. Is the author correct? Do you think we have a greater chance to meet people in the suburbs because suburbanites lead a so-called “simpler, less stimulated life,” and can – and want – to focus more on a relationship? I also have friends who live in places with far fewer singles, and even less Jewish singles, and they travel around the country to meet people they talk to on JDate. When they meet someone and feel some kind of chemistry, they put in the effort to see if it can work because they don’t take for granted that there will be ten other dates in the next three weeks.
There will always be some challenge no matter where we live. At least those in places like New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, and San Francisco have options. If you live in a large city and are fortunate to have many dating opportunities, don’t let the selection distract you. Take the time to go out and get to know someone if you think there could be potential. If you really feel the frustration of the constant dating, even though you continue to do it, take a deep breath and “let somebody love you before it’s too late!”