6 Lessons From Dating Like a New Yorker

new york couple kissing

Originally from the West Coast, I had no idea what I was in for when I started dating in New York. I was used to the linear progression of old fashioned courtship, an even balance of single men to women, and the norm of dating one person at a time. However, there is a whole set of norms that exist in a fast-paced, densely populated, transient city such as New York.

“In New York, there is a 57% female to 43% male ratio.”

Dating here is like a pinball game – the ball moves quickly from one point to another just like how you can have a fleeting connection from one person to the next. Time is limited, business is the priority, deep meaningful connections are often too much work (and time consuming), and everyone is in a constant state of over-stimulation and distraction. New Yorkers work hard, and when it comes to play, they play hard in a world where anything and everything is possible. This creates an ideal environment for casual hook-ups, and a string of fleeting moments. In addition, the imbalanced ratio of single straight men and single straight women makes it a man’s playground of limitless options. For example, out of almost one million New York City singles on eHarmony, there is a 57% female to 43% male ratio and New York has the largest gap that sways towards more female versus men. This gap in market versus demand may result in men having an abundance mentality when it comes to the dating pool, and women having a scarcity mentality.

Dating in New York requires adjusting to a whole new set of norms. Here are some tips on how to date like a New Yorker.

Get used to the concept of the “rotation”

Back where I’m from, the norm is to date one person at a time. Feeling a connection with someone was a rare occurrence and if I did meet a potential romantic interest, there was a very clear beginning, middle and end. But in New York, dating multiple people at a time is the norm, rather than the exception. The reality is the person you are seeing is likely seeing a few other people at the same time. For some singles in New York, they perpetually date with no intention of ever committing to establishing a true connection with anyone. But there are also those who have a “rotation” not because they are players, but because they are trying out different people to determine which one (if any) is someone they want to invest in more significantly. Don’t hate the player, don’t hate the game… the rules are just different here.

Keep your cool

When you date in New York, you’ll experience a lot of beginnings, and not so many middles, meaning, you can go from having a great first few dates to never hearing from the person ever again. That’s because the ingredients that turn a spark into a flame require time, a desire for emotional investment, and connection on a repeated basis. The high frequency of business travel, the hectic work schedules, and the incredible volume of new people one meets on daily basis makes it challenging to foster the conditions for a more meaningful bond to develop. You may be used to courtship as a linear progression, but it’s just not the case here. So if you have a good connection with someone and don’t hear from them, don’t take it personally and don’t write them off just yet. Stay in touch. Keep your cool. Leave the door open to the possibility of getting to know someone in a more sporadic way than you’re used to.

Stop going to nightclubs to find potential boyfriends

If the guys you are meeting only seem to want to hook up with you, then you should look at where you are meeting these people and change it up. If you want a relationship, hitting a club for prospects is not going to produce the result you want. This is a city where there is most likely an event, a class or a meet up for pretty much anything you’re interested in. Go to events where you can meet like-minded people who share a common interest with you (no, a gin and tonic does not count). Sign up for a dating website (or three). New Yorkers are maximizers, and it’s common for singles to use several New York City dating sites at once.

See strangers as humans, not prospects

In a transient city like New York where your network is your greatest asset, there is openness, eagerness and even a necessity to meet new people. If you’re going to survive here, you must be open to meeting strangers, without a defensive mentality of “What does this person want from me?” every time someone new approaches. Instead of seeing strangers as potential threats or suitors – interact with them, human to human. You’ll be surprised at some of the great people you will meet along the way.

Don’t let this city harden you

The sheer volume of dating when living in New York means you’re going to meet some frogs along the way. This can result in women feeling jaded or apathetic, and becoming defensive and hardened as a coping strategy. Once you start closing your heart in fear of disappointment, you block out the opportunity to create loving and beautiful connections, essentially – you get in your own way. If you’re looking for a serious relationship and finding that too many of the guys you are attracting are just out to have casual fun, you need to take a hard look at who you are drawn to and where you are meeting them. Whenever you are experiencing the same outcome over and over, there is surely a pattern that starts with you.

Embrace your feminine energy

There appears to be an abundance of highly successful, go-getting, independent women in New York, who although on paper look like the perfect catch, can’t seem to find a suitable life partner. Often, these women operate with their masculine energy in their corporate life, and due to repetition and habit, do not hone in to their feminine energy in their personal lives. Many of my male friends have confided that femininity is something they find attractive, and there is a lack of that in many women in New York. Remember, being “hard”, stubborn, stuck in your ways, not opening your heart and masking your human vulnerability will not open the doors to create a deep intimate bond with anyone. You may think that being hard is an indicator of strength, but this is an illusion. It takes incredible courage to be vulnerable and authentic. Peel back those layers of defense mechanisms and walls built from years of disappointment, pain or feeling rejected. When it comes to relationships, leave your masculine in the boardroom and try to soften up. Choose empathy over defensiveness, and embrace your feminine energy.

 

Dating in New York will become frustrating fast if you expect a linear progression of courtship off the bat. Be prepared to adjust your expectations, and understand that dating here is merely a series of fleeting moments, some (ok, many) more fleeting than others. Chalk up each experience as a notch on your journey of exploration, and savor this stage of carefree singledom while you’re in it. When you’re armed with an open mind, an abundance mentality and accept that the cultural norms when dating in New York are neither good nor bad, just different, you’ll have fun… lots and lots of fun.

Now that you are armed to date like a New Yorker, are you ready to meet some new people? In partnership with eHarmony, I’m offering a special promotion for my readers for 75% off a membership. Click here for more details.

7 Comments

  • Reply February 18, 2015

    Chary

    Amy, this right here.
    Ugh, captured how I feel completely.

    I was in complete shock myself when I began to open myself to date, and I must say it is very much like what you’ve mentioned. The weird part is I have grown accustomed to the dating-culture here. “Don’t let the City harden you” – I have to learn this somehow.

    As of now, I have held off dating and really focus on my career. But I will say, from my various experiences thus far, you could say I have been a tad jaded.

    Thank you for such a remarkable piece (:

    – C

    • Amy C
      Reply February 18, 2015

      Amy C

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I never thought I would experience such a culture shock when moving to New York!

  • Reply February 19, 2015

    Charles

    This sounds horrible!!!! People are open about their ‘rotation’ with their other partners?

    • Amy C
      Reply February 19, 2015

      Amy C

      Charles, it’s been a culture shock for sure! There are people who date multiple people at once (not in committed relationships), but date in a casual way to try to find the right match. There’s also a large community of people in open relationships as it’s not taboo in New York.

      • Reply March 6, 2015

        Jake T

        Really??!! Open relationships also occur among the straight folks in the dating scene. I’m more aware of the existence open relationships among the folks in the homosexual community. I just learned something that’s solidly new to me Amy

  • Reply March 5, 2015

    Jo

    I realize that this is the dating world I have to live in but it really does stink though. I honestly don’t see the “fun” in juggle dating. I get why people do it but how are people supposed to even try to learn from one another if they keep pressing shuffle on the dating playlist? Online dating has made it easier for the commitment phobes to stay that way and the ones who were not sure what they wanted to keep pressing “next”.

    I’m 32 and I feel like I’m in between generations of the old school of dating and new. I’m having a hard time juggle dating and staying positive in all this. And I feel that only people of a certain attraction level benefit and enjoy this kind of fleeting dating more than your average person.

  • Reply March 5, 2015

    kathy

    It is worse in Vancouver, Canada. We don’t have the ethic and racial diversity. And the Asian/white relationships are one sided in the favor of white men.

    There is Royal Society study that show that men become promiscuous if there are more women than men. The rotation or inability to commit is from having too many women wherever you live — or have lived throughout history.

    Still — I wish I lived in New York!

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