Move to a city I'm not crazy about for better dating prospects?
May 10, 2015 4:26 AM   Subscribe

I love New York and I'm not thrilled about my prospective new city, but I'm wondering if it would be worth a move if it resulted in better dating prospects.

I'm a straight female living in NYC. Dating is really, really tough here. I've been single a long time. I want to get married and have kids.

I'm thinking of moving to a city on the west coast where my friends who live there tell me dating is easier. That part is really appealing. However, I've been to the city in question, I'm not actually very excited about it, and I'm beginning to realize I might be one of those NYC "lifers" - I really love New York, aside from the dating aspect, and this other city isn't anywhere near as appealing to me. But dating is important.

Have you moved from a city you loved to a city you weren't crazy about in the interest of better dating prospects? Is this a great idea or a terrible one?
posted by whitelily to Human Relations (43 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you really don't want to leave New York, don't leave it in the hopes of meeting a guy that may not even exist! What is it about dating in New York that's causing the problems?
posted by wondermouse at 4:55 AM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I have a friend (male) who moved from New York to St. Louis for this exact reason and has been happily married for 15 years and loves St. Louis. He also became Republican, for what it's worth.
posted by escabeche at 5:35 AM on May 10, 2015 [15 favorites]

Picking up your whole life and moving to a new place that you're not too fond of and getting a new job - basically starting a new life- just to find a husband - seems a bit much to me. If you are willing to go to that extreme, get a dog - they are a wonderful way to meet new people, plus they're pretty awesome and will be a great companion that will help you be less lonely until the right person does come along. Good luck!
posted by NoraCharles at 5:55 AM on May 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I know a few women who moved out of New York with dating frustration definitely a factor, although not the only one.

That aspect of the move worked for the ones for whom the major phenotypes of New York men -- financiers, lawyers, ambitious hipsters -- weren't doing it for them, and they were ready and willing to date the kinds of men who don't tend to live in New York.

It failed hard for those who just hadn't found the right New York-type guy. The odds moved dramatically against them, even in San Francisco.
posted by MattD at 6:01 AM on May 10, 2015 [17 favorites]

I think that it's hard to answer this question without knowing what you're finding hard about dating in New York, and what kind of guy you're hoping to meet. New York is SO BIG that I feel like there's big populations of every single subcategory of dude out there, you just have to figure out more creative ways of meeting them (i.e., stay off Tinder.) I mean, before you up and move out of your favorite city, you should probably try every single online dating service, from Match to eHarmony to ChristianMingle. You should actively seek out your types of dudes in the places where they're likely to congregate (like, check out every MeetUp even remotely related to the kind of thing that your ideal dude would likely be interested in.) Hell, you should probably even pay a professional matchmaker, because while I have no idea what the going rates are for those, I have to guess they're cheaper than the cost of a cross-country move.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 6:07 AM on May 10, 2015 [11 favorites]

What is it that you find appealing about New York?

I've lived in cities big and small and can vouch for the fact that it is easier to date in smaller cities. Often, it's the very things that make big cities appealing that get in the way of dating.

In small cities, people tend to hold activities at their homes a lot more and so you (general you) will eventually end up with an extended circle of friends that you see regularly (at backyard barbecues for instance). This network of friends will likely include single people. You are also more likely to run into the men you like on a regular basis be it through those networks or just going about your activities in town. In bigger cities, people tend to organize their life differently, based on their interests. You meet a lot more people in the everyday, but the chances of running into them regularly is lower. This also means those people you date also meet others regularly and have perhaps less of an incentive to commit. Also, I found large groups of friends who meet regularly are less of a thing in bigger cities.

I enjoy both ways of socializing. But it could be that you like the independence and anonymity life in New York allows but that those are the very characteristics that make dating so difficult.
posted by Milau at 6:10 AM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: My dating life improved ENORMOUSLY once I left New York in 2002 for a Midwestern college town, but I was also extremely ready to be done with New York.
posted by MsMolly at 6:17 AM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm also long time single in NYC and I know why you're asking this. Everyone's always saying "it's New York" when you complain about dating woes (& usually those are peple who met long term partners in NYC) so it's logical to be like...maybe I should leave? But the idea of leaving because I failed at dating is kind of super depressing. See if you have some other reason you want to move, any other reason, or just stay put and keep trying.
posted by zutalors! at 6:19 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Moving can be rough. I think that if you're going to be happier in all the other aspects of your life if you stay in NYC, that you should stay in NYC. Then if you meet someone you want to date, you will already be your happier self, and that will set the tone for your relationship.
posted by aniola at 7:32 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think you should move. Your personal happiness seems like an internal thing that you can probably achieve more or less anywhere with the right attitude, while externalities like enough single marriage-minded men are impossible to personally control.

You can always move back if it doesn't work out and you miss New York too much.
posted by quincunx at 8:09 AM on May 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

Dating is really, really tough here.

And you think this because...? The responses you get to this post will likely be more helpful to you if you dig into this.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:16 AM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Well, this article, does support the observation that it's harder for women to find dates in New York than say the Bay Area. I think you should figure out if you are just meh about your prospective city or if you think you would hate it. I think if you have enough friends in your prospective city, that would make it a lot easier. It may take awhile to build up a new social circle.
posted by gt2 at 8:28 AM on May 10, 2015

I think if dating is the only reason you're really making the move, that fact will sour any advantages you might gain from the actual move.

There's no city here on the west coast that has a lot of patience for Angry NYC Expats, so your dating pool would likely be diminished by that, if not entirely reduced to only other Angry NYC Expats.

If there were other factors to the move that would improve your life, like proximity to the friends you have there, lower cost of living, ability to have a house and yard if that kind of thing pleases you, then you are likely to be a well-rounded person who is happy in their life and therefore ready to be happy with someone else, that would be a good situation.

But you cannot be miserable in your life and still be made happy by a significant other. You're better off alone and happy in NYC than alone and unhappy elsewhere.

I do think it's worth having a long heart-to-heart with yourself, though, about what you get from New York that you really truly can't get somewhere else, and whether plain old fear of change is driving some of this "I can't be happy anywhere else" feeling. You clearly have friends in the new place, who think that you would like it there - presumably for similar reasons they like it there. And though cross-country moves are no financially trivial matter, it is actually pretty trivial in all other ways when you're single and not in a location-specific career. NYC will always be there (and if that turns out not to be true, wouldn't you rather be somewhere else when the aliens surface from the Hudson and eat everyone?).
posted by Lyn Never at 8:35 AM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

Do it! Maybe don't move to a city you're not crazy about, but definitely move to a new city. It sounds like you need to shake things up in your life, and a big change like this is perfect. You'll meet new people through work and create a new social circle- all things that will put you out there to meet someone. Take advantage of not being attached and go have an adventure.

New York isn't going anywhere. You can always come back.

(I am a straight lady in nyc and know exactly what you're talking about with the dating scene here. It's not you, it's the city.)
posted by KMoney at 8:38 AM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

I would stay in New York. My personal experience, having dated in NYC and SF (and LA, and Portland, Oregon) was that there were actually plenty of great guys to date in New York. There may be more single men in a place like SF, but if the culture isn't a fit for you—and it sounds like NYC is—then the odds of actually finding the right match for you may be better if you stay. (In SF, also, a Facebook study found that though there are many more men than women, the city is the worst out of 50 cities for actually forming a relationship). All you need is one person, right? Surely that's possible.
posted by three_red_balloons at 10:03 AM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Can you tell us what city you're thinking of? It might make a difference.

I know for instance people talk about the bay area as being a good place to find a husband because of the demographic imbalance (so many more men in tech) but from my own observation, this doesn't hold true. I suspect anyone who loves NY and comes here would not only hate it, but hate it even more because it doesn't actually provide a great dating scene.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:07 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Agree, I think the city matters. I lived in a smaller city prior to New York and found it had its own dating problems:

- I felt like I ran out of people to date. I saw all the same faces over and over again on dating websites, I'd met all my friends' friends. When I did manage to meet someone new, it always turned out we had a connection in common, or I'd see them around town because everyone tended to go to the same places, so there was awkwardness there.
- The quality of the pool was not as great, or, perhaps more kindly, the predominant culture was not a good fit with my values, so men who were a part of that culture were simply not dateable for me. But I think a part of that culture had something to do with the city's size.

The city I was in was 300,000, so if you're thinking about, say, the Bay Area, these might not be problems, but if you're thinking about something smaller like Seattle or Portland, it might be something to think about.

I totally feel you though. Feel free to MeMail if you ever need to vent.
posted by unannihilated at 10:40 AM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I had a friend who was having difficulty dating in DC. She was happy there and had a lot of friends, and she had a good job (although she was bored and looking for new jobs). She left in large part because she wasn't meeting anyone and felt like she was in a rut. She moved to SF for a new job. This was less than a year ago. She's not married or anything yet, but she has been dating more and says the guys are different out there than in DC.

The thing about moving is that it's one major life decision that is pretty easy to reverse. You're not really risking too much and you're not really locking yourself in. Let's say you get a new job and move to SF. Then you realize you need to be in NYC to be happy. Then you just get a new job and move back to NYC. So, if you think you need a city with a different vibe, give it a shot.

What is it about NYC you love? I don't know which west coast city you're talking about, but you'll find a similar lifestyle in a lot of ways in SF. If you're talking about maybe Seattle or Portland, I think there are aspects of those cities that still offer big city amenities and an urban lifestyle. I think living in a city is different than visiting. But even then, sometimes it's nice to live in a city for just a year or two and then move back where you're from -- I've done it several times.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:42 AM on May 10, 2015

I hate to say it, but this is not a crazy consideration! If you like the other city, why not try it? New York will always be there.
posted by yarly at 1:32 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yes, I wish you would come back and clarify the city you are considering and your issues with NYC dating. I found SF worse for dating, for me, and I also liked it less than New York — so I moved back. But my reasons might not be your reasons.

I would caution tho, I didn't find moving back and forth totally without consequence: it is expensive, it is a pain in the ass, you can't just plop back in (it's taken a year for me to really feel *back*). But yea — with no details it is hard to give advice.
posted by dame at 1:37 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think it's kind of bananas how many people are saying it's easy to reverse. It'll cost you a few thousand at least to move and the psychological toll of "I couldn't hack dating in the place I live in, where friends and roots are" etc is huge. People saying this is easy don't know what it's like for NYC to be home. To feel like home.
posted by zutalors! at 1:38 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I lived in New York during my twenties. I feel your pain because I lived it myself, dating there is absolutely terrible. I'm an introvert and I don't really date casually, both of which I think aggravated my issues. Even when I found someone interesting that I enjoyed spending time with, he was usually not interested in a serious relationship or even being exclusive. I finished graduate school and left New York because I wanted to for many reasons (it's dirty, loud and too expensive being the most prominent), but wanting to find a partner was probably an element.

I moved to the PNW and began online dating. Dating in a smaller city is a HUGE improvement for someone like me. HOWEVER: The men are more my type because the city is more my type at this point in my life - dorky, bookwormish, outdoorsy, and liberal. I also found more men whose values were closer to mine - generally speaking, the men I found were kinder, more considerate and more into relationships rather than casual dating.

I vote move. As others have stated, you can always go back if you so desire.
posted by emmatrotsky at 4:28 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Since several people asked:

Issues with NYC: cannot for the life of me get an age-appropriate, decent-looking (I'm not talking male model) guy who can write reasonably complete sentences to write me or respond to me online. Meetups/volunteer activities/etc are always filled with single women, one couple, and one very creepy dude.

Prospective city: SF

The issue is that I am just not excited about SF based on the time I've spent there. I've never lived there so can't say for sure, but I would be making the move solely based on what my friends have said about dating there, not because I particularly want to live there.

posted by whitelily at 5:06 PM on May 10, 2015

I would be making the move solely based on what my friends have said about dating there, not because I particularly want to live there.

Therein lies the rub — you're not guaranteed to have a better dating life in SF, and it could very well get worse, based on my personal experiences and what others have said in this thread. The mentalities in both cities aren't too different; people in SF proper are just as hesitant to settle down as those in NYC, if not more so.

And what if you move to SF and just run into more of the same? Then what? Do you think you could ultimately be happy living in SF in the medium term, at least, however your dating life there turns out? I think that's something you've gotta figure out for yourself before you take such a big step.
posted by un petit cadeau at 5:14 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Try different meetups/volunteer activities/etc. There are men in NYC.
posted by aniola at 5:30 PM on May 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Moving is a big deal, even if you have friends in the target city. It takes a couple of years to settle in; if you didn't like it and went back, maybe another six months to a year to get back to where you were. Plus there are the costs, yes.

What meetup-type things are you doing? Some activities (e.g. running; rowing; volleyball) tend to be more co-ed, or might lean more towards your desired demographic than others (e.g. anything arty; yoga classes, although that's changing).

I've yet to get that into online dating - working up to it, have done the damn quizzes :/ - but unless NYC is unique in this way too, meeting people in person is pretty easy. Just takes the right setting (concert; party; event; bar), and (just) enough alcohol. Meeting people old-school can skew young sometimes, though. I think probably running groups and that kind of thing would be a more useful way to spend time if you want to meet someone who could potentially be ready for a family this particular decade.

But I'd stay in NYC if I were you.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:43 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also, rock climbing.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:46 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

For instance, try something of interest to you in the science/tech/transportation/engineering/math -based fields. One example would be active transportation advocacy. PARKing Day is fun! Get involved here. Another example might be the board game Go.

You are living in the most populous and most densely populated city in the United States. Move if you want to move, but you don't need to move to find men. You just need to figure out where your interests overlap interests that skew male in NYC society.

Here's why I think that your focus in these meetup/volunteer activities/etc. should be somewhat less on the dating and somewhat more on the activities themselves:
If the situation or problem is such that it can be remedied, then there is no need to worry about it. In other words, if there is a solution or a way out of the difficulty, you do not need to be overwhelmed by it. The appropriate action is to seek its solution. Then it is clearly more sensible to spend your energy focussing on the solution rather than worrying about the problem. Alternatively, if there is no solution, no possibility of resolution, then there is also no point in being worried about it, because you cannot do anything about it anyway. In that case, the sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be for you. - Dalai Lama
posted by aniola at 5:51 PM on May 10, 2015

Best answer: So I really disliked living in SF in the end, despite many lovely parts. And since coming back, I've had some interesting conversations with other refugees/returnees. I am going to tell you why we left — not because I want to start a fight with people or argue that it is terrible for everyone — but so that you can compare it to what you know about yourself and what you like in New York. Again, this is not to say there is nothing likable in SF.

* I didn't like the men as much. I found them to be almost uniformly less informed, less mature, less actually-feminist, and less, um, okay with racial diversity overall. But I'm mixed-race and mouthy and political and not very nurturing, so if you are more of those things, you may not mind. I felt like men wanted to be coddled and had less respect for my ambition than men here.

* I also didn't have as much in common with the men in general: It was harder to meet men who liked art, museums, and novels and much easier to meet men who liked board games, snowboarding, and Burning Man. Obviously there is nothing wrong with those things, but they weren't what I wanted.

* The caveat to the above is I did meet my current bf in SF, at work of all things, and brought him back to NYC with me. So there are needles in the haystack, but I'm not sure I wouldn't have found someone I liked here. I mean, I had dated men in NYC before, but I want full disclosure here.

* The city is much more car-centric than New York. There are buses and uber and muni, but it is not really comprehensive without uber or other car-type things. Here, anywhere you want to go a train will take you there. It may take a little while, you may have to take three, but you will get there and it will be relatively easy; it will cost $2.75; and it will run all night. In SF I had a lot more situations where a car was really the only efficient way to get somewhere, especially to a lot of enjoyable things, and that is not my jam. But I REALLY hate cars.

* The city is much smaller than New York — not by land, it's larger than Manhattan — but it's more houses and less places I want to hang out. A lot of places feel like Queens or outer Brooklyn, and I am just more of a Bushwick girl.

* Oakland is actually really suburban. It feels like outer Queens in terms of density.

* This matters because the biggest reason I would tell someone who was't super into it not to move to SF just now: tech & NIMBYISM & class warfare. I work in tech and I like people who work in tech but I also like having friends who don't. I really struggled with finding people who did other things or who were able to be fundamentally critical about the gaping wounds of current tech culture. Housing is also incredibly hard to find and incredibly expensive and no one is actually willing to do anything about it. People won't build, won't re-examine rent-control, won't do anything but complain, pretty much. And so if you lose your cheap place, you are fucked. And you can't buy anything unless you have an iron heart and a million in cash or want to live far out of the city and have a car. For me, that was just no way to build a life. In NY, I don't always like the way places change (ask me about Williamsburg), but I always feel able to have a space to belong.

* Related: I found it hard to enjoy being middle class in SF (and I made plenty of money). But it felt like there were fewer cheap activities and less economic diversity and, well, for me it just felt bad.

* Work culture–wise I found SF really unhospitable, as well. In NY, your boss accepts you come into your job because, you know, you want money. And that you have opinions and you express them. And that all normal people want to leave at noon on the Friday before a three-day weekend and the idea of a vacation with your team is punishment, not a treat. All the places I worked seemed to embody a lot more team-player fascism, where you didn't disagree and you acted like being at work was a dream come true and I am, um, more New York in outlook.

* Finally I hate events with costumes and there are a lot.

Overall, these are things about what we prioritize in our living environments and how hard we want to look to find things. It is possible I could have found more of what I wanted in SF if I had just tried harder, but I have it here without having to do so and in the end that was worth the worse weather and the less-amazing produce and the less-amazing landscape.

Either way, good luck! I am not sure how old you are but if I could change anything from my past it would be the amount of time I spent worrying about meeting men. I have dated plenty of awesome dudes and the worrying really did nothing for me. Also I notice you mention them writing to you. Are you writing to guys you like? Do that.
posted by dame at 6:01 PM on May 10, 2015 [21 favorites]

Issues with NYC: cannot for the life of me get an age-appropriate, decent-looking (I'm not talking male model) guy who can write reasonably complete sentences to write me or respond to me online.

Yeah, so this sounds like dating in general, for most people. There's a lot of noise to filter through to find the signal. I don't know how a change of location is going to help you. I would +1 dame's observations about the Bay Area in general. It's not the man-topia of your dreams.

Here's a question to ask yourself: is there anything very specific to NYC, and not true of SF, that is keeping you from finding a partner? I suspect the answer to that question is no. Dating just sucks -- that's the sad truth.

I would also +1 dame's suggestion to do things that YOU enjoy. Not only because it sounds better than agonizing over your dating pool's poor English skills, but also because that's a great way to meet people who share common interests. Also it's one of those weird paradoxes of life that one appears the most attractive to others when one is doing something that one enjoys -- competence, happiness, confidence -- these are attractive qualities. Romance often emerges when one is not actively searching for it (as unsatisfying as that is for a plan of action to snag a partner).

Good luck, and don't move! It sounds like you like where you are, geographically speaking.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:50 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I, like you, had an incredibly difficult time dating and finding men willing to commit in NYC. What I started doing - what's kind of a gateway drug - is dating transplants. Start looking on OKCupid for guys currently in NYC who came from elsewhere. Date them, and find out what you like.

I would leave. I found the transplant and then left, but I'm very happy, married, and looking to buy a house and settle permanently.
posted by corb at 6:55 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So, full disclosure: I actually tried changing my OKCupid profile to say SF for two weeks because I wanted to see for myself if what my friends were saying about dating was true. I didn't intend to mislead anyone; to be honest, I'm completely unaccustomed to have someone I'd be interested in message me, so it never occurred to me to think about what I'd do if it actually happened.

The difference was CRAZY. A ton of guys wrote me, guys my age who I actually would want to talk to. I know OKCupid may have promoted my profile more after the location change, so that could be part of it, but still - these kinds of guys completely ignore me on OKC in NYC even if I write to them first. More potential prospects wrote me from SF in two weeks than in all the years I've lived in NYC. Hence this question.

I've changed my profile back because, like I said, was not intending to mislead anyone. Moving to SF is pretty tempting, but I think this thread has convinced me that it's still probably not worth moving somewhere I don't think I'll like (for one thing, I don't know if those guys would actually be good matches for me, and if any of them actually want to settle down, etc.)

Thanks for all the advice.
posted by whitelily at 7:02 PM on May 10, 2015 [5 favorites]

You know, if you've had the same username on OKCupid for years, it might be worth starting fresh with a whole new account on there and writing an entirely new profile with all new pictures and answering a bunch of their questions all over again, if you haven't tried that already. I mean, at the very least, you should be getting some responses from guys who can manage to type well-constructed sentences.
posted by wondermouse at 7:28 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You know, if you've had the same username on OKCupid for years, it might be worth starting fresh with a whole new account on there and writing an entirely new profile with all new pictures and answering a bunch of their questions all over again, if you haven't tried that already.

I think unless you're significantly updating your photographs this is a huge waste of time. I did it (I'm your age/gender/location), including completely revamped text based on Metafilter feedback, and the difference it made was 0%. Men still never messaged me, and they still never answered my messages. I even did the thing you did and changed my location to SF (because I was thinking of moving there also, in part because of the dating situation) and had the same experience you did. You said in another question that you are pretty but just photograph poorly, so I think it is worth investing some time in improving your photographs. Seems like an easy fix. Personally I just stopped using OKCupid after several attempts with (what I thought were) increasingly prettier pictures that still didn't make the cut. Not only did it depress me, but I also realized I didn't want a partner that put THAT much emphasis on looks.
posted by unannihilated at 7:39 AM on May 11, 2015

Response by poster: Here's a question to ask yourself: is there anything very specific to NYC, and not true of SF, that is keeping you from finding a partner? I suspect the answer to that question is no. Dating just sucks -- that's the sad truth.

I don't know for sure, but I can say that women overall in NYC are gorgeous and very well-put together. I've been to many cities and the women in other places do not look like the ones in NYC on average, not to mention the level of makeup/hair/manicures/etc. I feel it's a lot harder to attract a man's attention even if you're pretty when there are just so many other pretty (and prettier) women to pick from.

Maybe that's not it, hard to say for sure. It isn't something I can prove.
posted by whitelily at 7:57 AM on May 11, 2015

I was actually going to chime in with a bit of - arguably self-serving, but this is something I've observed anecdotally - advice that runs contrary to what corb said. Try to date people who are from NYC, and not transplants. I explain my reasoning for this in this comment, in response to a similar question from last year.

The comment expands on this idea a little, but to summarize: transplants to NYC are a self-selecting group in a way that people who grew up here are not. It's been my observation, as a 30-year-old engaged guy in Brooklyn with a number of both native and transplant friends, that the natives are generally more likely to be interested in committed relationships, and generally less likely to exhibit some of the behaviors that people talk about when they complain about New York dating.

This is, of course, a major generalization (I know transplants in relationships, too), and probably self-serving (I'm a native), but I think the theory behind it is sound.

As for moving to SF to improve your dating/relationship prospects: I don't know, but I'm skeptical of your reasoning. I've liked SF the times I've visited, but never lived there. I will say, though, that moving across the country because you think dating will be easier seems a tad misguided to me. There are, literally, millions of people in New York. They are not all financiers, or ambitious hipsters, or looking to "trade up" all the time. If dating is the main reason you want to move (and it sounds like it is), I think you should adjust your dating strategies first.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:21 AM on May 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

Data point as another NYC lady: Agree with whitelily's assessment about how it IS different here.
Data point as an NYC transplant: Agree with breakin' the law's assessment about the personality and mindset of people who move here.
posted by unannihilated at 8:29 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been to many cities and the women in other places do not look like the ones in NYC on average, not to mention the level of makeup/hair/manicures/etc. I feel it's a lot harder to attract a man's attention even if you're pretty when there are just so many other pretty (and prettier) women to pick from.

It's possible that OKC isn't the right venue for you, but the city has such a wide variety of men and women. It's easy to think everyone is more beautiful, polished, or more outwardly interesting than you are if you spend most of your time in the trendier/wealthier areas of Manhattan or Brooklyn, but I never got that sense while living in Queens, for what it's worth.

It could still be that NY isn't the place for you if you want to meet a guy who wants to start a family as soon as possible, and maybe SF isn't either. I guess my last suggestion would be to make a list of what it is you like most about NY and see if there's a smaller, less competitive/harried city that might offer some of the same things you like about NY while also offering a completely different dating pool.
posted by wondermouse at 9:54 AM on May 11, 2015

Oh, whitelily, there are plenty of put-together folks, but that's not the bar you have to pass if you don't want to. I bite my nails and only get a manicure when I am job-hunting. I don't wear makeup. I am chubby. I have still dated nice men. I know women who are terrible at performing femininity who have love.

This is the other thing that makes me maybe wonder if you are young. When I was in my twenties in New York, I would go out to bars and things with my friends and they would pretty much always get hit on and I pretty much never would. And I was like "omg, wtf is wroooooong with me." And the answer is nothing; I am just not the target market for those guys. So if someone doesn't like you then you are not the right person for them. But that doesn't mean anything about your worth. I know this is all the stuff people say and it sounds so hollow and lame, but it is unfortunately true. You'll find someone, and really you only need one. Till then having fun being you — even if it is not so put together — is really the best way to enjoy the time you have.

For the record, I have had the most success with social sports (like Zog), friends of friends, and at work. (I don't really recommend the latter, but it happens. In both cases we did not work together long.)
posted by dame at 9:57 AM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: @dame: I'm actually not young, and I'm very put together. My point is that it's never enough in this city :-( But thank you (and everyone else!) for all your kind words and advice.
posted by whitelily at 10:01 AM on May 11, 2015

Are you aware that there's a group of mefites who pretty much will analyze OKCupid profiles for anyone? Head over to Chat and people will probably take a look. If you want to memail me I will also look at it and give outsider insight.
posted by corb at 10:03 AM on May 11, 2015

Why don't you like San Francisco? As far as lifestyle and day-to-day living, I don't think it's wildly different than New York. Obviously, NYC is NYC and it's in a class of its own. But SF is still a huge, walkable city with a lot to do and see. What was it about your time there that you didn't enjoy? Is it possible you were visiting friends living in a neighborhood that didn't have what you want, but other parts of the city would have what you want? I don't think you will be happy if you move thinking "I don't want to move but I have to so I can date men." You'll just be unhappy and frustrated if you don't meet someone right away, and living life being miserable won't help you meet prospective mates either. I feel like not wanting to move is a bigger issue than the whole idea of moving to date.

Maybe you can vow to stay one year knowing if you really don't like it, you can go back to NYC. Knowing there's an end date can make a bad living situation much, much easier to deal with. And if it ends up that you're happy, you can just stay instead. Even if you do move back to NYC, that year away may give you some new perspective or help you appreciate things more.

You also don't have to move to SF. There are a lot of great cities that have a lifestyle like NYC but a different vibe. I think in Chicago people are friendlier and less pretentious than the other major cities.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:58 AM on May 11, 2015

FWIW, dating sucks for men too in NYC. Nevertheless, IMHO, dating is a numbers game and the numbers are greater in NYC. I vote you stay in NYC. Moving is difficult.
posted by teg4rvn at 12:29 PM on May 11, 2015

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