Coupled With D&S

Real, nonjudgmental advice about dating, sex, love, and life from a thirty-something couple that has seen it all over thirteen years.

Trust us. We live in Brooklyn. (Joking. Kind of.)

We’re All in Competition for the Same Six Manchildren

The Question

A 26 year-old straight Brooklyn woman wrote that, “I love that I’m surrounded by so many smart and ambitious women in New York, but unfortunately that means we’re all in competition for the same six manchildren. The dudes on OKCupid (and maybe NYC?) are flaky as hell, and I’m tired of having a few great dates where things click, and then nothing. Everyone I’ve really been in love with was somebody I met in person, and I kind of suspect that OKC just doesn’t lead to that kind of connection for me. But I’m hesitant to delete the account because I don’t meet people in person all that often, and at least when I date a series of flakes on here, I get to make out with people sometimes! I sort of suspect that the only way I’ll end up in a good long-term relationship is if I leave NYC, which I don’t really want to do anytime soon. I’d be very curious if you two think there’s something I could change about my approach or perspective!”

Sally Says

First, you’re kind of right about New York.

Second, you’re not really right: People still do meet and have real relationships here, and your individual experience can’t just be about statistics (which D will discuss below). How you experience it, however, will depend upon your perspective; your message sounds so down, and you have to be a positive person to attract positive people. Even someone going wholeheartedly into a date or two might back off if she or he senses a little too much negativity.

Third, you’re onto something when you talk about going offline. If that’s where you’ve found success in the past, then you should embrace it. Go out and do all the cool social and cultural stuff that brought you to the city in the first place, especially if that also includes going places where guys are, like bars.

Finally, go ahead and take it seriously. In New York, people worry about looking cool or overly needy, but people are interested to meet people who are unguarded. Go ahead and assume that the people you’re meeting could wind up being the people you spend the rest of your life with. That doesn’t mean to throw yourself head over heels for them or to be rash and desperate, but make sure you give guys a chance. You might get the same return and you might not, but you never know if you approach it as a silly make out to waste time.

David Says

Click to view the NYEDC’s ratio map of single women to men in NYC.

Have you tried checking out out dude-dense Jamaica, Queens? What about Jamaica the island nation?

But seriously, if the absolute most important thing to you is finding a permanent mate, you have better odds elsewhere. The city is 53% women to 47% men overall. The New York City Economic Development Corporation’s October report on the ratio of single men to women ages 20-34 in NYC includes a color-coded map. In much of Manhattan and northern Brooklyn (the wealthier and hipper places, for you non-New Yorkers), the ratio of women to men may be anywhere from 1.25:1 to 2:1.So, yes, you are competing for comparatively few men.

My non-statistical, cultural analysis of NYC is that men work really hard in their twenties and thirties, have a lot of sex, and then get married or commit in their mid to late 30s or later. Women do this too, of course, but they start to feel anxious about it well before men in general. Guys do honestly tell me that they feel like running as soon as they sense a women in her late 20s or early 30s is getting serious about them because she’ll probably push for marriage and kids soon. Every married man has dealt with this Judd Apatow-style anxiety, of course, but maybe the numbers in NYC let guys get away with cutting out, whether it’s after a single date or months together.

On the other hand, if you value living here, you should continue to stick out dating in NYC. We do know many New York couples within our age-range who met on OKCupid and now are fully committed. There are definitely guys on OKCupid and around the city looking for that. That said, you don’t have to stick out OKCupid, which does lend itself to flaky relationships with little investment because you don’t necessarily share social networks with your dates.

The Consensus

Look on the bright side of your own experiences. You’ve got a lot going for you that should keep you dating in New York or elsewhere. Your statement “Everyone I’ve really been in love with was somebody I met in person” seems to imply two important things: you’ve had the success of being in love several times already, and you’ve had success meeting people in person several times. Not everyone has had that by 26–certainly not more than once–so you’re ahead of the game there and likely to do it again. 26 is also pretty young, so there’s lots of LTR potential ahead of you.

Since you feel the most comfortable in person, we highly recommend that you put more time and energy into meeting people in offline than you do from OKC. It takes more effort and feels a little riskier, but you might have to become a joiner. And by joiner, we mean putting the time, energy, and embarrassment it takes to do more of the things you like to do that guys also like to do. No knitting circles.

In the long run, keep your OKCupid profile, but maybe take a break from it for now until it becomes exciting again. Perhaps disabling it temporarily will force you to focus on meeting guys socially, professionally, or through shared interests, where you’ve already excelled. Then, when you feel the need to make out a bit with a new face, or perhaps have a casual hookup, you can pop back on OKCupid for a while to satisfy those urges. And definitely don’t rule out more casual things completely. They can be successes in their own right, and there’s always a chance they can lead to something serious. We didn’t go into things looking for an LTR, but that’s what we ended up with. Most OKC dates won’t end that way, but they might.