Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I came home from seminary last year and decided to live at home with my parents in our out-of-town community. I went to top schools, I’m from a wonderful family, and I have always gotten compliments on my looks. That being said, even with my parents speaking to shadchanim and their contacts on a constant basis to look for suitable matches for me, I went out with only one guy the entire year. I know that Covid-19 has made travel difficult and dating more complicated, but my friends who live in the Tri-State area all seem to be dating steadily while I am not. This year, my family wants me to move to New York so that I can be more ‘accessible’ to boys and potential dates. I resent having to move to date! Do I have to uproot my life and leave my comfort zone just to get a date?

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Distance Dating

 

Dear Distance,

I used to strictly be a hydrangea girl. Now admittedly, my thumb never met a plant I couldn’t destroy, but I still loved hydrangeas. I always thought they were so pretty and all I ever wanted in any bouquet. Why mess up a beautiful arrangement with other flowers? I was still pretty flexible in my flower power I believed, because I liked hydrangeas in every color. I was basically just a focused florist, and didn’t care to add to my repertoire as my vase felt full. My aunt however, loves all flowers and understands how to curate different blooms to create brilliant bouquets. She recently sent me flowers without a single hydrangea in the mix and I was floored. So many choices, and so many flowers to admire and enjoy. I’m learning that a broader bouquet only enhances special moments- and even my black thumb is grateful.

Don’t Wait for Someone…

I hear your frustration. You are self-confident, high achieving, and have always met your goals. You love your family and your community and don’t understand why this has limited your dating pool. You are willing to travel for dates and can’t imagine how an ‘out of town’ location makes you less desirable to mothers of boys and shadchanim. Uprooting your life to live in a city not of your choosing can feel counter-productive and upsetting when the decision is made solely for dating prospects.

To Bring You Flowers…

Certainly, girls from out of the tri-state area date and get engaged all the time. Many boys happily travel long-distances to meet girls like yourself and navigate out-of-state or out-of-country dating without any issue. Many may argue however, that being visible and in-town makes dating easier simply because it erases travel barriers. This, I believe, can never be the sole reason you move to a new place, because even with all the effort you will put into your move, there is no absolute guarantee that you will be set up with more boys and more often. That being said, you are disregarding a huge reason for this change, that has nothing to do with a boys willingness to date you, but your ability to broaden your own circle and your own horizons.

Plant Your Own Garden…

Living in New York will definitely allow you to access more shadchanim, more singles events, and offer you more exposure to a greater group of people. This reason doesn’t resonate with you, so instead I urge you to look at this move as chance to spread your wings, to expand your circle of friends, your extracurricular activities, and your access to events and parties. Perhaps you can reframe your thinking to view this move as one that is in your personal best interest in all areas, not just to secure a date. You will be invited to simchas that are just an Uber away, you can spend time with the many friends you made in seminary, and you can volunteer for the multitude of tzedakah organizations that are based in the tri-state area. What if this move allowed you to better yourself? What is this move allowed you to be more social? What if this move was about your own personal happiness?

And Watch it Grow.

If after six months, with effort and time put into learning your new city, you still feel unhappy or displaced, then you can return home. A return that you can then make with confidence, knowing that your best self can be found right where you grew up. If, however, you feel encouraged and enriched by your new city, then this will only enhance who you are as a human being; a gift to your future zivug, but even more so, a gift that you are giving to yourself. So, make the move and smell the roses, the orchids, the lilies, the tulips (you get the point) and allow your own bouquet to flourish.

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