Overcoming Dating Struggles in New York City - Humantold

Overcoming Dating Struggles in New York City

Kirk Pineda March 21, 2024

When dating in New York City, it’s common to experience being ghosted, left on read, involved in not-so-great connections, and being straight up rejected.

Let’s face it, if it isn’t crowded subways, traffic, or constant delays to and from work, there’s one thing that’s pretty difficult to do in the beautiful city of New York–and that’s find love. With such an abundance of people to choose from, it’s common to experience being ghosted, left on read, involved in not-so-great connections, and being straight up rejected. 

So how would one go about overcoming the very common dating struggles that happen in our beloved home? Here are a few tips to help overcome dating struggles in New York City, and some suggestions that can put your search for love into perspective.

Embrace the Pace

Like a B or Q train dashing from Prospect Park to 7th Ave, New York City moves incredibly fast. But that does not mean your dating life has to do the same! When we rush through connections, we miss out on the more subtle qualities of individuals that might be the right fit for us. Thinking about the next person or the next date can lead us to miss out on important details, like the way a person tells a story, exudes a certain fashion style, laughs at different jokes–all roads and avenues to explore with someone so you can both get to know each other better. If you keep riding the express train, you might miss out on some important stops. A lot of hidden gems in the city are not always close to a convenient station. Sometimes you have to explore, put in the extra effort, or take a slower route to experience something worthwhile. Going slower when it comes to dating is how genuine connections are formed. And because one of the factors that maintains good mental health are healthy and meaningful ties, having those authentic relationships with others are worth the wait.

Some practical approaches to slowing down and forming real bonds with others in the dating scene can be walking together in new parts of a park, exploring a museum, or having coffee or ice cream over some deep conversation. Take your time!

Diversity is Key

Have you ever explored Harlem, Greenpoint, Flatbush, Jackson Heights, or Flushing? While each of these neighborhoods have a major demographic history, places like these also offer different kinds of cuisine experiences as well. New York City has an abundance of personalities and cultures, and chances are you could be limiting yourself by only visiting neighborhoods you know. When we date inside strict preferences, we limit ourselves to new ways of thinking, living, and learning. And if we struggle to find someone inside our preferences, we might start to feel discouraged, or that there may not be someone that’s right for us.

After all, many folks know about Central Park, but what about Prospect Park, Brooklyn Promenade, or Highland Park? Have you ever seen off-Broadway or even off-off-Broadway shows? Even taking the bus or ferry to places where trains cannot reach may bring you experiences you could not have witnessed by only taking the train. 

While it could be easy or convenient to date people with familiar demographics, the people we encounter outside of our realm of familiarity can broaden our horizons and give us a deeper appreciation for the city we live in. Check in with your dating parameters and see if you could increase the distance by just another mile or two, or be open to meeting someone of a different faith, religion, socioeconomic status, and race. Maybe even line up new experiences in tandem with your new date! You just might come across someone who meets your wants and needs in a way you did not expect.

Communication is your best tool

Like a timely MTA transit alert, communication is key so that we can adapt and understand what’s going on in the world around us–or just knowing which bus we’re forced to take to get to work. But the same goes for dating! The two things that are absolutely necessary for love to grow are trust and safety. And the way we can build that trust and safety is by knowing and teaching others our boundaries through healthy communication.

To start, think about your wants and needs. The more of them you know, the better you can communicate to others how they can best align with you. And don’t be afraid to ask how you can better align with your potential partner!

Here are some things to consider, from most common wants and needs to more specific ones (none are mutually exclusive; you can have both):

  • Communication Style And Frequency: Are you big on texting, phone calls, video calls, or in-person conversations? Do you like it often or not so much?
  • Libido And Sexual Compatibility: How much or how little do you want fun and intimacy in the bedroom?
  • Hobbies And Interests: Do you want to do hobbies together, or do you prefer to be encouraged to pursue your own interests?
  • Financial Attitudes And Goals: How do you approach spending, saving, and reaching long-term goals?
  • Conflict Resolution Style: do you prefer to manage conflict immediately, or do you need time to reflect before coming to a compromise? Can you find a middle ground?
  • Life Ambition And Career Goals: do you want you and your partner to have intersecting goals, or do you want to be able to maintain, or have a mixture of some or both?
  • Personal Space And Alone Time: How much time do you need on your own to avoid feelings of suffocation or neglect?
  • Family And Relationship Dynamics: Do you want you and your partner’s families and friends to get along, or could you be open to being simply acquainted?
  • Views On Personal Growth and Self-Improvement: Do you want to be challenged to grow, and/or would you prefer to be supported as you are?
  • Handling Of Stress And Personal Challenges: Do you prefer to handle stress on your own, or would you want someone to lean on as you handle it?
  • Expectations On Household Responsibilities: Do you want to clean together, or assign certain chores to one another?
  • Attitudes Towards Health And Fitness: Depending on how you approach your health and wellness can affect your daily routines for self-care.
  • Preferences for Routine Versus Spontaneity: Having a balanced approach to routine and spontaneity can impact how well you and your partner enjoy your time together.

This can be a lot to consider, and sometimes your wants and needs will shift over time with new experiences and new people. Just be sure to share how you like things done, remember your preferences can change, and to always communicate when it does.

Self-Care isn't Selfish

If you had a long commute from Bay Ridge to Wakefield, or from Hell’s Kitchen to Bushwick, wouldn’t you take a book, listen to music, or check out a podcast to make the journey less taxing? For dating, it’s best to do the same thing. Dating takes time, energy, and resources, and it’s common to forget about taking care of ourselves. If we go date after date without making time for ourselves, it will make it hard for us to show up as our best. It will also be difficult to build those important genuine relationships that can nourish us over the long run. So take care of your own personal needs when you have the time! Self-care isn’t selfish.

Sometimes we really do need a good bike ride along the Hudson River Greenway, a long trip on the Soundview Ferry, to blast music and sing at the top of our lungs, be with friends for a weekend, or to binge watch an anime or TV show to decompress. Whatever feels right, self-care isn’t selfish. We can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking the time to recuperate from dating is how we can teach ourselves that we are capable of taking care of ourselves. 

If dating ever becomes too overwhelming, it’s also a viable strategy to take a break from dating! Whether it’s a week off the apps or a yearlong hiatus, what matters most is fostering a healthy relationship with yourself. Don’t lose sight of your own well-being in the search for love and companionship. A healthy you is the best you to bring into a relationship, and it’s best to come back when you feel ready enough.

Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors

Sometimes dating efforts just don’t work out. Rejection can be challenging, and can equally be as hard when we have to reject someone else. But kindness is still important, even if outcomes aren’t panning out the way we hoped. Practice kindness towards yourself and others. It’s the cornerstone of building resilience in a tough dating landscape like New York City. Whether it works out or not, it is always best to stay true to yourself, and to avoid being caught up in relationships that don’t meet our needs. After all, the way we treat ourselves while looking for love and companionship is what matters most. When we do right by ourselves, we can show up to do right by others. In the end, it’s the journey within that prepares us for the journey we’ll soon have with another.

Stay true, stay open, and most importantly, stay you. Sending you all the strength and love in your NYC dating adventures!

Related Blogs

The Rising Cost Of Living: Why Has Self-Care Become A Luxury? 

Aubrey Dillane, MHC-LP April 11, 2024 Read More

Thriving in the City: Managing Noise and Busyness in NYC

Brianna Campbell, MHC-LP April 4, 2024 Read More

Navigating Drinking Culture in New York City

Lizzie O’Leary, MHC-LP, MSEd March 28, 2024 Read More

Beating Burnout: How to Identify and Address Symptoms

Alexandra Kadish LMHC March 14, 2024 Read More

Join Our Community: