How I Survived Dating in New York

And how I landed the one.

Photo: Andrej Lišakov/Unsplash

The city that never sleeps, unfortunately that included the endless buzzing of the numerous dating apps I was using. I remember moving to New York and naively thinking that dating will be easy with the plethora of eligible smart and successful bachelors. Clearly I hadn’t educated myself on the workings of the “Sex and the City” lifestyle and all the nonsense it entailed. The reality is that in order to dodge advances from egocentric investment bankers in bars (you know, that glorious pre-COVID location for drinks), I had to take finding interesting men into my own hands. Of course that route didn’t come without its many, many, many, set-backs. Enter: dating app #1.

The League. In Manhattan we cannot deny that the exclusivity of a dating app is sure to draw us in. It seemed I had found my “wingapp”. A partner to help sift through the TLC coined “scrubs”. Unfortunately I found myself swiping through the endless homogenous faces and eventually going on very few dates. It was clear to me the few I went out with were seeking the next “exotic” woman to add as notch to their belt.

Tinder. Let’s just say that the decision to delete this app came sooner than the efforts to download it, add pictures, and swipe away. Unfortunately this app is comparable to the ex-boyfriend you find yourself turning back to thinking “this time will be different”. It will not be different, and quickly you will be reminded why you left in the first place.

Hinge. Promising, finally — an app with some effort to drive meaningful conversation. An out from the standard “hey, how’s it going” we find ourselves lazily sending to spark conversation. I must say I was impressed with the men I met on this site. There were more smart and interesting men than expected — so refreshing! Men that initiated thoughtful conversation with the purpose of actually getting to know each other. I was starting to believe good men were fictional characters, luckily this app snapped me back to reality.

Bumble. Insert sigh of relief. Yes, more my style. I did love that as a woman we initiate the conversation, but real talk that feeling of rejection sets in real quick as you send that less than polished line. Kudos to the men that have that down pact. Overall I cannot complain as I found my stunner of a husband here.

I would love to conclude and say download Bumble and your love life will be fulfilled, but let’s be real — dating sucks. I was definitely picky, but shouldn’t everyone be in choosing their life partner? Sure there are some great dates with meaningful conversations, but the reality is that most dates go nowhere. Yes it’s a numbers game, but I realized that there was something I could do to “filter” those numbers in my favor. I was exhausted after three years of dating in New York, it was worth a shot.

I reflected on my past dating experiences and gathered relevant notes. I had never gone into a date thinking “I hope I find my husband tonight”, mainly cause that’s creepy and the easiest way to detract any suitable partner (I definitely ran when I got that vibe from men). I did however go in thinking “I hope he’s attractive, smart, and interesting”. What I was missing in this thought process is another variable crucial for dating in Manhattan that we are both looking for a relationship.

Let’s talk about that, shall we? In New York, it’s so easy to be that needle falling in that big attractive haystack. Why stop dating now when there are five other interesting guys in the queue? What if you meet that amazing guy at Starbucks while picking up your coffee — wake up! I realized that person is a figment of my imagination. Instead of focusing on the guys I was going out with, I was thinking about the next amazing guy I would meet. That’s right, I let myself be a victim of dating ADD.

There was one more problem. I found myself going out with the attractive, smart, and interesting guy that had no intention of ever being in a serious relationship. I did something we as women commonly do, I didn’t ask him if he even wanted a relationship. The younger me would have avoided this question as a means of not appearing “desperate”; however, the older me values her time and would rather not waste it. As I myself got more serious about entering a real relationship, I did not waste time with men whose actions didn’t clearly show they want a relationship.

This was it, I gathered my notes and I was ready to change my dating approach. This is when things started to change. I had decided that every guy I “swiped right on”, I had to go out with. One date, a minimum of one drink. I rationalized that even if I was not interested, this was still an opportunity to have a conversation with another human being. Surely I could do that. I was pleasantly surprised, and honestly sometimes slightly horrified with the men I met. On dates, I asked men about their thoughts on relationships. I did caveat that I want a relationship with the right person. To me it was important to express this as I didn’t want them thinking that automatically meant I wanted them — men love to assume this. The playboys disappeared and I proceeded with the rest. I made sure I was only ever dating one man at a time. I did this to give this new guy a shot, and honestly for me to assess if I even liked the guy I seeing in that moment.

It took almost a year from the time I changed my approach to dating to find my now husband. I honestly do not believe I would have found him without the active intent to get to know him, distraction free, and finding out if he even wanted a relationship.

Sparking debates and listening intently

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