Dating As an Out-Of-Towner

Dear Evan,

Six months ago, I relocated to a new city, more than 500 miles away from my hometown. The problem I an encountering is that men don’t seem to trust me because I’m from “out of town”. Although I have been here for over six months, I have a steady job, nice apartment, and now even a pet, I have a feeling that some of the guys I have been on a date with feel I may be transient or something. I have no family or friends from my hometown here with me, and since I don’t get along well with my mom anyway, that’s fine with me. The problem is that on holidays, none of the new “friends” I have met ever invite me to spend the day with their families, and I am sitting home alone. On Christmas, that was a very hard thing. Also, because I moved to the south from the NYC area, I think that there may be a certain prejudice against me down here. I don’t speak Brooklynese (NYC slang), and I have always spoke proper English, with the right pronunciations and I don’t feel it differs much from what is spoken down here, except that I don’t have that obvious southern twang.

I am attractive, friendly and in okay shape (not skinny but not fat either, just a few extra pounds that are hidden fairly well by the way I dress). I also get along very well with people, and I am told I have a good sense of humor. So what I want to know is whether the fact that I am from “out of town” is working against me and making guys hesitant to form relationships with me, because they think I am shady or something, as in “why would a grown woman just up and leave her family like that and move to a strange place?”

I find myself justifying over and over again to people down here that I HAD to make this move in order to make a better life for myself. It is only the comments like “what are you running from?” that make me feel like a complete reject. Will people start to trust me more with time? It’s not like I’m living out of my car or in a hotel or something. I have put down real roots here, have gotten the state license plates on my car, state drivers license, permanent job, long term apartment lease, long term fitness club membership, even a pet that I consider my “family” here. What else can I do? Or do you think it could be something else that is holding these guys back? Please help!

Diane

Dear Diane,

I really empathize with your pain. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 24 without knowing anybody, but moving to a city without any support at age 34? I wouldn’t have the guts. It sounds to me like you’re making a brave go of it.

It also sounds to me that you’ve told yourself a story and you’re finding as much evidence as possible to support it. Your thesis is: I’m from out of town, therefore I’m a pariah. Now, is it possible that this is a function of your being a Yankee in the South? Sure. I went to school in the South and know that there’s it can be an insular culture with a tremendous amount of Southern pride. But that doesn’t make it any different than being black or Jewish or Irish Catholic. Groups try to stick together out of familiarity more than xenophobia, which is why there’s bound to be friction when you’re trying to break into one of those groups.

Another factor that may be at play is your age. I don’t know how old you are, but the older you get, the more people get set in their ways. As you go from your thirties into your forties, people settle into their routines, stick with their jobs, watch their friends get married and often don’t actively seek new friends. So even if you do become good friends with someone at work, you’re way down on the close friends list behind other, older work friends, grad school friends, college friends, high school friends, etc. There’s no replacing fifteen years of common experience.

So is it wrong for you to want to feel closer and more connected? No. It’s just unrealistic. … And I think you’re carrying that slightly misguided point of view to your dating relationships. Could your New York background be holding you back with every single guy you meet? Possibly, but unlikely. Chances are, you’ve met (and are attracted to) a few non-Southerners who migrated as well. Do you think they, too, have a problem with you being from the North?

As I’ve already stated – what you’re doing is a really gutsy thing. But if you want to be successful in both your male and female friendships, stop placing the blame on a factor which you can’t control, and start being a more positive, powerful, action-oriented woman. Be the one who throws the parties, who throws spa weekends, who doesn’t have a shred of doubt on each and every date that she’s going to get a second one.

If you do that, I predict, magically, that no one will think twice about the fact that you hail from the EmpireState.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    SWF41

    She’s in the south and she’s not being invited over for holidays? We love taking strangers into the bosom of our families on holidays!

    I think there’s something else going on, and it probably has to do with the “I speak proper English” superiority complex she has.

    Believe it or not, there are a lot of us down south who also use proper English. It also tends to put our backs up a little when someone from up north throws all of us into the ‘uneducated’ category when they hear a little twang.

    I’d suggest she lose a little of that ‘tude, and see what happens.

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