There’s nothing quite as beautiful as starting over in a new city. Learning who you are and what you are capable of in uncharted territory is the purest form of self-growth. There may come a time in this journey when you wish to share it with a significant other, and you’re finally ready to try and meet someone.
Dating in an unfamiliar town can be as intimidating as it is exciting. The only thing that it is not… is easy. Here are some mistakes I’ve made that you can hopefully learn from when it comes to dating in a new city.
Don’t mix work and pleasure.
It can be very tempting to fall for the cute guy at your new job who seems to have taken a liking to you. This is the mistake I’ve made time and time again; believe me when I say, the outcome is always the same.
Your workplace can be a great place to meet people, especially if the staff is on the younger side and you have similar interests. That being said, in a new city, these might be the only people that you know for a while. I encourage you to go out and have fun with your coworkers, but don’t taint a good thing with a failed fling. Take my word for it when I tell you that the palpable awkward tension in the office is not worth it if things don’t work out between you and said cute guy. It’s hard to find stability when you move to a new city, so I don’t recommend risking a riff if your job is the only stable thing you have.
Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule. Hooking up with and dating a coworker ends up working out for some people. It’s just a little too likely that things will end up getting somewhat dicey and you may find yourself wishing that things would go back to the way they were. It’s up to you to decide if that is a chance you are willing to take. Just know that once you cross that line, it is impossible to uncross.
Don’t stay in the club scene.
Bar hopping is a beloved hobby of mine, and I’ve done the legwork to know that overcrowded clubs and dance floors aren’t usually where guys are looking for their next serious relationship. You can have a lot of fun with these guys, and there certainly may be some prince charmings in the mix. But, with that being said, you’re more likely to find long-term material if you switch up your environment.
If you live in a tourist town like I do, you will always be running into guys that are not local; therefore, the potential of a relationship outside of the night you meet is slim to none. Sprinkle in some alternative destinations when you go out. Bars can be a great place to meet people, but try a laidback dive bar instead of a bustling shoulder-to-shoulder dance club. Spend some time at coffee shops, dog parks, local festivals… scenes that allow conversation and mutual interests to be explored.
Don’t change up what it is that you like to do, but sometimes it is nice to step outside of your regular routine. Make more of an effort to get out of your comfort zone. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
Don’t keep searching for home.
If you’ve moved to a new city, chances are you moved for a reason. It can be easy to fall into old patterns and become attached to guys who remind you of the men you left behind. This will lead to your dating detriment, because you will project feelings onto these new people based on what you’ve experienced in the past.
I’ve let myself fall for someone who was so clearly not right for me because he had so many qualities of a past love interest from my hometown; I ignored what was wrong and revelled in the familiarity. It doesn’t take a genius to guess how that story ended. I was left high and dry and the void that I was seeking to fill was left emptier than ever.
Fall in love with people because of who they are, not who they remind you of. If you’re always chasing new versions of your past, you will only end up disappointed in the end. Embark on your new city experience with fresh perspective and an open mind. People have so much to offer and you’re bound to learn new things about what you want when you embrace the unfamiliar.
Don’t buckle under pressure.
There is an undeniable weight of pressure to excel when you move to a new city. Everyone back home wants to know what you’re up to, where you’re going, and who you’re dating. It can become tiresome to repeatedly report back that you’re not yet seeing anyone special.
The insurmountable questioning can feel overbearing at times. Don’t let this push you into mediocre relationships out of desperation. You might fake yourself into being happy with a man because, at least now, you have someone to show you around the city and you don’t always have to come home alone.
Remind yourself that dating these incompatible guys won’t supplement your experience; in fact, it will actually take away from it. Don’t worry about impressing your friends with how great you’re doing in every department, post-move. Focus on being truly, intensely, and genuinely happy with your life before you bring a partner into it.
Dating someone who isn’t actually fulfilling you is a waste of your time. Don’t take the opportunity to enjoy life in a new city for granted. There is so much to explore and you should be savoring every moment, even if you have to do it alone.
Don’t use a man as a security blanket.
Let’s say you’ve dodged all the bullets that we’ve already discussed. You met a wholesome man who you’re crazy about and everything seems to make sense. Once you’ve got this guy in your life, the key is to keep him there.
Don’t latch on to this relationship as your only saving grace in an unfamiliar town. Be sure to continue to put energy into friendships and other outlets. You don’t want to become uncharacteristically needy, solely because you have no one else to rely on.
Putting too much weight on a relationship, especially in the early stages, will put unnecessary strain on both you and him. Although your man might feel like the light at the end of a very long tunnel, don’t let him be the only light in your life.