T’is a cautionary tale. It’s not a good idea to starting dating the first day you move to a city. Learn from my mistake. Dating should be low on your list of priorities when moving to a city on the other side of the country. There are more pressing things like securing a job, finding an apartment, meeting new friends, etc. I didn’t take dating too seriously after getting burned several times while using OkCupid in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, when I moved to New York, I decided to try again, this time with a different perspective.
Here I was, in a new city with little idea what was hip and cool. So, the plan was to go on these dates just to have fun. Either way, I’d be checking out nice restaurants and fun spots. It didn’t really matter if the dates were tepid. Win win.
After a while though, I began to experience dating withdrawal. Each date became increasingly disappointing. So much so that I was ready to delete my OkCupid profile. That was the day I got one final message, requesting a date. “Why not?” I said. I had nothing to lose and my expectations were lower than the Dow Jones in 2008. What was the worst that could happen? I’ll tell you what. Beside him turning out to be a serial killer, the worst thing could be that I fall unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
Dallas (not Houston), we have a problem. I got caught up. Struck by Cupid’s arrows. By the way, who thought it was a smart idea to give a mischievous, winged and naked baby a bow and arrow that makes people fall in love?
Within the first hour of meeting each other, sparks starting flying like it was an electrical fire. We had enough chemistry to form a covalent bond. This sounds wonderful, like something out of a Disney movie, right? We could have capped off the night by singing “Love Is An Open Door” in perfect harmony, but Frozen hadn’t blessed the world with its release yet.
The problem comes from the fact that at that moment I hadn’t made a single friend in New York. Like I said, I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship at the time, but it happened. When you’re in this situation, if you let it, they can occupy a lot of your time, like your job. If they’ve lived in that city for a while, they’ve got friends so they’re fine. They don’t need to make an effort to make friends. But you do.
Without realizing it, though, you spend such a significant chunk of your time with them that you ignore potential friendships. Remember the friends in high school who’d vanish the moment they got a girlfriend or boyfriend? You become like that, except you never even got to make those friends before you went ghost.
Eventually, you come to realize their world doesn’t revolve around you. It never did and it’s unfair to expect things to work out like that. It still stings like rejection, though. Specifically on those nights they want to hang out with friends. Just friends, they make it clear. Guys/Girls Night Out doesn’t include you. Ouch. You’re left home alone to watch Netflix. It hurts like hell the moment you’re finally caught up on episodes of Game of Thrones and Orange Is The New Black. Now what? And here you thought all your free time would be spent together, rolling in the grass while Elton John sang “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” on an endless loop.
Do yourself a favor. Don’t look at their Facebook or Instagram the morning after they go out with friends. There you’ll find bona fide evidence that part of their life doesn’t involve you. Spare yourself the pain. If you don’t, you could end up creating necessarily conflict, spawned by your jealousy.
You don’t just become jealous for their time, but also because of the fact that they have friends and you don’t. You end up acting up, doing things like delaying your responses to texts or saying snappy things just to make them feel bad. For having friends. It’s childish and can be avoided altogether when you have your own people to hang out with.
Making friends is infinitely easier when you don’t have a mate. Otherwise, they become your default setting. You automatically invite them to any and every event you plan to attend. They become your permanent +1. You have to reprogram your brain to spend time with others and remind yourself that there are other human beings to interact with. This ain’t I Am Legend. The ideal situation is when both individuals have their respective set of friends in that city before coming together.
Always going out together creates another issue that will need to be addressed. You will often be viewed as a collective unit. So, when you meet new people are they your friends or their friends? That makes it even harder to develop your own set of friends. This isn’t a problem if you already have your set group before committing to a relationship.
Just learn from me. Do not start dating right when you move into a city. Otherwise you’ll end up like me. We are still together, but I constantly have to remind myself to spend time with others. So, give it some time. Explore your new town. Make friends. Believe me: you’ll be glad you did.