Small-Town Love?

In Dating, Marriage on January 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Small town charm is worth the wait. Photo courtesy of

Dear Yenta,

I am approaching a giant crossroads in my life: graduating from a
masters program and looking for somewhere to live. Right now I live
in a mid-sized town, but I would like to go smaller. I like the
intimacies of small towns; the way a fourth of July parade can provide
a week’s worth of entertainment. What I don’t like is the
loneliness. I’m worried that moving to a small town would reduce my
chances of meeting a man to zero. I’m at an age where this has
become more important: I’m ready to meet someone and settle down. So
here is my question for you, one I have been thinking of for some
time–do I move to a larger city with a larger dating pool or continue
biding my time in the company of trees and old folks in small towns?

-Scared of Skyscrapers

Dear SOS,

Didn’t you see Field Of Dreams? If you want baseball, build a field. “If you build it,” my dear, “they will come.”

Finding love may be less about location and more about vision. Cultivating love is a practice, and one that, with a solid amount of hope and drive, should yield results. While it seems like everyone around you has found “it,” make sure you know what love means and looks like for you. Their love isn’t your love, and your love is contingent upon working on your own demons until you know how to navigate your own heart.

If you move to a small town and build a life of passion, intrigue, and self-care chances are you will attract the love of your life. Wouldn’t it be sad if you moved to a big city looking for a life partner, abandoned your real dreams and wishes, and were left lonely and single? Or what if you did find this man, but bagged your dreams?

A friend in South Africa once stressed the difference between “alone” and “lonely.” Alone in a small town with vision and drive and a cultivated life won’t hurt for a while. Lonely, however, has much less to do with having or not having a lover, and much more to do with your relationship with yourself. Cure those blues by being your own lover in the days/months/years between partners.

If finding lasting love is part of your plan, stop looking. Forget finding the one and work on finding yourself. The stronger and more full of self-directed affection you become, the brighter your star. And the brighter your star, whether in a small city, big town, country bumpkin nowhere: this person will be able to find you even on the darkest night.

So do what you love, where you love it, and have faith. It will come, when you very least expect it.

Or…if my optimism doesn’t sway you, try a city with a towny feel. Think Flagstaff, AZ, Santa Fe, NM, Greensboro, NC, Boulder, CO or other places that have a flowing population but a sense of containment. One friend suggested you move to a suburb, where you can dip into the big city dating pool while resting on the edges.

Still, I think go where your heart takes you. In a town of 500 in the middle of nowhere on the coast of Ireland you might just find your bartender husband. (See Leap Year for inspiration.)

Have a question? Ask Yenta via attn: merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.

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