I'm in the enviable situation of having enough online work that I can move pretty much wherever I want, as long as cost of living isn't ridiculously high. I'm grateful for the freedom, but also freaking out about the freedom. Also, I want to be in a relationship, and that's definitely a big -- but confusing! -- influence on my decision about where to live. Help me decide?
posted by anonymous to human relations (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A bit of background: I'm 31, and moved to my current city -- medium-sized; Midwest -- 6 years ago for grad school. In many ways, I've been very happy here. There's a strong sense of community here, and I've found a solid group of friends, and also have a wide circle of acquaintances. There's plenty to do/see/get involved with. But over the past year, I've been feeling... unsatisfied, mainly because I can't find anyone to date. I started dating a popular "man about town" type very soon after I moved here, and we were together for 4 years. Our breakup was hard, but we're on amicable terms -- we see each other around ALL THE TIME, so we sort of have to be. Since the breakup, I've managed a few drunken hookups with friends, but nothing that led anywhere -- I wonder whether people still think of me as "[ex-boyfriend]'s girlfriend" even after two years? Also, it's also just not a very date-y town -- everyone knows each other so well that dating becomes weirdly high-stakes. There's also definitely some kind of gender gap here -- many awesome, talented women and a smaller proportion of equivalent men. My friends have had a hard time dating here as well, and there's a general sense that we all might have to leave town to find boyfriends.
I've tried online dating, but my top matches are people I already know; and as for strangers, being a part of a community is important to me, and so it makes sense (I guess?) that I'd be drawn to people who are a part of the community.
So, for the past year, I've been thinking seriously about moving, and come up with three options:
(1) Stay here. This is where my friends are! I love my friends. And it's stupid to go off and try to start over in some brand new city & try to find people as lovely as the ones I know now, especially when so many people in my age cohort are starting to focus on having families, etc. It's... fine here. Who needs a boyfriend, anyway?
(2) Move to a similar city that's not too far away. This city has an equally strong creative community, lots of fun people, a few friends who could act as a sort of "anchor" as I find my way in a new place. The idea of being somewhere new sounds unbelievably exciting right now! Just -- the energy from exploring and seeking out new things. And also: new people to possibly date.
(3) Move to a small town I love. I spent 6 months in this small town right before I moved for grad school, and I adore it here. It's gorgeous, strange, fascinating, and oddly stimulating. It tends to draw a particular creative/outcast type, so it's not your typical small town. It's a special place.
I can talk myself into any of the three. #1 has friends, connections, stability, history. #2 has potential. #3 has my heart. But I can also talk my way out of any of the three: #1 is all used up; #2 is just an attempt to recreate the past in a new place; #3 is a TINY TINY TOWN! with no boyfriends!
Do I sound desperate? I hope not; I've really sort of ignored the issue for the past 2 years, figuring that if I lived my best life, did what I loved, etc., the love stuff would take care of itself. And while I've had some wonderful experiences and solidified some friendships, nothing even resembling a relationship happened. So what can I do/where should I go? Your advice is appreciated.