A Reader Asks:
I often hear from friends, family, and well-meaning neighbors that I should consider moving to a larger dating scene, such as Israel or New York. They believe that my opportunities for finding a match would be greater there. I have a great job, family, a support system, and a community I love where I’m currently living. Is the grass really that much greener on the other side? Am I selling myself short by not moving?
Dating Coach Rachel Burnham Responds:
I have many single friends living in the cities you mentioned. I asked a friend who recently moved from New York to Jerusalem which city she thought provided greater dating opportunities. “The best city is the one in which you find your husband,” she said.
We so badly want that quick fix. Which is the best city for dating? Who is the most networked with singles? What website is the best? Which outfit and look will do the trick? I wish it were only that easy.
It is true that New York and Jerusalem are the two largest Jewish dating destinations in the world. Obviously, cities with greater numbers of singles will potentially provide greater exposure, more options, and maybe even dates, but there is definitely no guarantee. You may be overwhelmed by the options and feel burnt out early on from over-dating. You may say “no” to potentially good dates just because the options are dizzying. You may be disappointed in your job, the social scene, or overall quality and pace of life. You may not feel like a unique individual in a large city where you can easily get swallowed up.
By the same token, you may also love the big city and feel like it is the best fit for you, your personality, and your social and dating needs.
I deeply support people who choose to stay in a comfortable hometown environment. You may flourish more as an individual in a small town where you feel supported and capable of contributing to your community.
That said, here are a few things to keep in mind if you make that choice:
You need to be more flexible about travel. You’re likely going to need to drive or fly from time to time to go to events or meet matchmakers.
You may have fewer dates. It isn’t about quantity, it is about quality. Don’t be disappointed if you will be dating less living out of town, just make sure to focus on quality.
Do your homework. If you are traveling for a date, make sure to do your research so that you don’t make a long trip, only to be disappointed by factors that could have been avoided.
Men are definitely less likely to travel to out-of-town communities when they have many options in their backyard. I would invite those men to consider that if they are looking for an “out-of-town” type of girl — more laid back, less focused on externals — she may just be there ... out of town! Those men may also want to consider that although they have many dates, they may not be finding the kinds of relationships they most value.
Whatever you choose, make sure you are not moving for dating purposes only. If you are miserable in other areas of your life, you will not present yourself well on a date. It is important to be positive, confident, and self-assured.
Whatever decision you make, it is true that we really only need one, the right one, and we never know where we will meet that “one.” No matter how long it takes, believe that Hashem has you taking the shortest distance to find that special person with whom you’ll build your longest relationship.
By Rachel Burnham