Should I Stop Dating Until I Move to a New City?

Should I Stop Dating Until I Move to a New City?

If you (you being the one who wants to find the husband eventually…or soon enough to reproduce in your dwindling reproductive years!) are determined to move from, say, DC to, say, San Francisco, then is there a point in actively trying to date when your mind and body are dying to blow this taco stand and get to the new, errr, taco stand? (In my case, the move isn’t for dating purposes, but rather for fresh zing lifestyle and family purposes.)

Personally, I’ve chosen to not actively be chasing dating — it’s time-consuming enough to maintain work and a social life while actively chasing a new job across the country. I do attempt to remain open to guys that more passively float through, despite my motivation to leave. But as I’m deeper and deeper in the [never-ending] job/move search, I think my awareness of the floaters has significantly diminished! —Kendra

Dear Kendra,

I think you actually nailed it in your second paragraph.

You’re busy keeping your world afloat in DC and plot a move to the West Coast. So instead of being as proactive as I ask my clients to be (a half hour a day on, for example), you can simply remain open to the possibilities as they present themselves. Really, I have nothing to add to your plan.

Being successful in dating is in letting go of expectations and being your most relaxed self no matter where you are.

What I would like to add, however, is something that I think many of our readers will validate: you’re more likely than ever to find a boyfriend before you move, specifically because you’re planning to move.

In other words, by not caring and letting your guard down, you’re going to be happier, more carefree, more approachable and more authentic to men.

And when you’re at your best, that’s usually when the best guys come waltzing in to sweep you off your feet — right before you’re about to go away.

This is largely the same phenomenon that I call “away game”, where men who struggle with women in their own city do very well with women when they’re out of town or on vacation. Why? Same principle.

He’s not afraid. He’s not tense. He’s got nothing to lose. The stakes are so incredibly low that it actually allows him to be more of himself than if he was nervous on a date with a really attractive woman.

So since you already nailed what you should be doing — nothing, really, but living your life — I want to further explore what it means when you do find a guy before you’re about to leave town.

We just had a recent blog post about choosing a city over a man (the woman chose the man instead), so I don’t want to belabor the point, but I have a quick anecdote that may shed light on the “right” thing to do.

I have a friend who struggled in love, all the way up into her 40’s. She had a job in Los Angeles, but her first love was the Bay Area, where her brother lives. As she was making plans to move up north, she met a guy. The timing was inconvenient, naturally, but she knew how rare and special it was to find love. She stuck in LA and gave it a shot. A year later, they’ve moved in together and are building a life. San Francisco, if it’s in the cards, can wait. Maybe they’ll move there together. Maybe not. But she got the one thing that she’s waited her entire life to get — a devoted boyfriend who had long-term potential. She wasn’t going to waste that to get a breath of fresh, foggy air.

What does this mean for you, Kendra?

I think it’s just food for thought. Plot your move to SF. Stay open to possibilities. See what happens. And remember that love is the most precious commodity in life.

And for everyone else who is reading this and not planning on changing cities, your takeaway is that being successful in dating is in letting go of expectations and being your most relaxed self no matter where you are. Don’t wait to turn on your A-Game when you’re in Costa Rica or packing the van for Chicago. Let go of your fear, embrace your confidence, and people will come flocking to you wherever you are.

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  1. 1

    I love this question! I went through something similar recently – I stopped dating for the second half of last year bc I knew I’d be moving. Even in my new city now, I don’t think I’ll be here longer than another year or two, but I still date. At my age, I can’t afford not to, and there’s never going to be a perfect time to find someone, so I continue to look. However, last year, when I was not proactively looking, I did not meet anyone except one guy 2 weeks before the move who turned out to have some issues that would have kept us apart anyway had I stayed. I have always been prone to taking a lot of breaks in dating but made a deal with myself that all year I will continue to date no matter what the disappointment and no matter what my thoughts are about moving again. It’s never good to live your life on hold and you should make the most of wherever you are professionally, socially, and dating wise.  

  2. 2

    “And remember that love is the most precious commodity in life.”   You really nailed that one!

  3. 3

    First time I heard of the “away game” concept.

    I think it’s true, although it can happen in your own city, and much easier than one would think.

    Basically, if you hang out at a different social group and you start the very first interaction at your own pace.

    You can choose to be loud/obnoxious/fun/outgoing/bold/carefree and from then on…

    That becomes your image in that group.

    People expect you to not give a damn and just be who you are.

    You could do the same in one of your current social group but like Evan said, there’s something at risk.

    So we make it hard on ourselves.

    We tense up. We stop being spontaneous. We’ve been acting this certain way, in this particular group for too long.

    And we’re just not being best ourselves.

    When you really feel and act like have nothing to lose and everything to gain…

    You become your most attractive self.  

  4. 4

    Interesting topic, I had always thought it wasn’t fair to others to date, if you’re going to be moving, because there are so many people who dislike long-distance relationships.   I had a potential relationship going, until the guy got sent to Australia for work, for two years and he didn’t want a long-distance thing.   So since then, I’m alot more wary of guys who are moving INTO my area, or AWAY from my area, because I didn’t want to get involved only to find out that they couldn’t really handle long distance relationships anyways and get myself hurt.

    It’s definitely food for thought, but boy am I glad my guy is local! 😉

  5. 5

    I have a vice-versa situation with move and cornered at this point. I am in long-distance relationship (not so long, though, only 1.5 hours to drive between our cities) and my boyfriend made it clear a while ago that he’s not planning anything else for us, he enjoys it as is.
    Few month ago i lost my job and started to search for a new one. Ironically, I’ve found one good position in the city where my boyfriend lives. Which makes me quite tense, because, by all means, i wouldn’t want to move closer to a man who doesn’t want me around for good, just for weekends.   Actually, this situation scares me to the core and i am not sure which way would be the right one.

  6. 6

    Living in the present sorts the OP’s  dilemma out!

    @Dagaz –   I dont know that “boyfriend” or “long distance relationship” are the correct labels to describe a man who is not willing to progress the relationship. By all means keep seeing him, but date other guys too and move to where it suits you.

    Live your life by your own rules, not his! Never give exclusivity to a man who wont commit. Keep your options open.

  7. 7

    @ Dagaz,

    Jewel is correct.   Never get exclusive with a man who doesn’t want to be exclusive with YOU.   That’s been my rule of thumb ever since I divorced.   At first it felt uncomfortable but now it’s as natural as breathing.   I talked to a few other guys just before my boyfriend and I made it official; I wanted to keep my options open just in case he did the typical disappearing act or fade.

    Never live by anyone’s rules but your own.   If YOU want to move to that city, independent of him, do so.   If not, then don’t go.   In fact if I were you, I would not tell him that you’re considering moving to his city, especially since he wants nothing more from you.   You don’t owe him anything.   He will sense that, if you give him that much power, and use it against you.   That’s just how human nature is.

  8. 8

    @Jewel: well, it’s kinda my fault, at the beginning (2 years ago) i told him i don’t want anything “serious”, he agreed. But later i fell in love with him, unexpectidly, hm. We are exclusive and emotionally are very close and warm, but no commitment. I cannot see few men at the same time, it’s just not me.

  9. 9
    Karl R

    Dagaz said: (#5)
    “i wouldn’t want to move closer to a man who doesn’t want me around for good, just for weekends.”

    Break up with him, then move to his city for the job.

    If you’re not seeing your ex, then it doesn’t matter whether he lives 1.5 hours or 1.5 minutes away.

    Dagaz said: (#5)
    “We are exclusive and emotionally are very close and warm, but no commitment.”

    You’re in a situation which doesn’t work for you. (Since it works for him, you can safely assume that he’s not going to change it.)

    You’ve already stated the solution to your own problem. You just are avoiding that solution, because you wish there was a solution that would allow you to have a committed relationship with your long-distance booty call. There isn’t, and you know it.

    Do what you need to do to get the relationship you want … with someone else.

  10. 10

    @ Dagaz,

    What Jewel and Karl R are saying, is spot on.   He’s not wanting to make a real relationship work.   End of story.   And it’s not “your fault.”  You were honest with him, and then things changed.   If he can’t give you what you want, then it’s time to move on.   I have a friend doing the same thing with her long-distance boyfriend of five years.   He can’t/won’t commit to her, keeps dragging this along, and she keeps letting him.   She’s sad and yet she won’t just up and dump this guy.

    He’s probably not going to change his position, it sounds like, so it’s time to find another pond to fish in.  

  11. 11


    You can’t blame yourself for his lack of commitment simply because your point of view and desires have changed over the years. A change of heart after 2 years is hardly flakey. 2 years is a serious amount of time and not only do people change but long term relationships are all about commitment. Whether he likes it or not he is in an LTR with you!  

    If a man won’t commit to you after 2 whole years he most likely never will.   Tell him what you want without blame or expectation. If he offers it to you take it. If he doesn’t take off!  

    I can’t believe a man would expect you to give him so much time when he hasn’t given you a commitment…Actually I can believe it because you offer it up willingly! Of course he’s accepting it!  

  12. 12
    David T

    Keep in mind, being fired, moving, new responsibilities at work (new job), change in social activities are all major life stressors already.   No need to take action that might force a breakup before you have dealt with the others, especially since you will be at your best to have the conversation and handle a worst case outcome after the others are handled.
    (Stupid scale doesn’t list breakups except when it involves a spouse. Maybe it is like death of a close friend. )
    One crisis at a time if you can swing it, though sometimes when forced to handle multiple, I have risen to the occasion. In this case, I don’t think you have to force the decision until YOU are ready, unless you just can’t shake those heebie-jeebies by being busy.
    Crisis 1) You have to take care of yourself.   Take the job.   It is a good one.   Move. I don’t think you had any doubt about this, but when you said how scared you are, it made me wonder.
    Crisis 2) You are in a new city, probably with few friends besides Mr. Non-com. Be as social as you can. Use meetups. Settle into a new worship community if that is part of your life. Develop nascent friendships you might have from mutual acquaintances between you and your bf, especially the ones you like that he is not particularly close to (like his friend’s gf/wife that you met at a party).   You will be crazy busy setting up your new place, putting your Best Foot Forward in your new job, trying to build new friendships,   so weekend dates   with your bf and an occasional work week lunch might be plenty for the first month or so as you come to
    . . . Crisis 3)   This one is highly speculative and should be revisited as time passes in your new life chapter.   After those first months are behind and you are settled, now you know if you want to see him more than on weekends.   Since you are in a new town, and he is by far still your closest human connection, you probably do, but who knows.   When you get to that point that you know, try seeing him more for a little while.   If he doesn’t play, have the difficult conversation. Tell him what you need. If it is what you suspect (you wouldn’t be scared to the core if it wasn’t) he will need to make a choice, otherwise you will be unhappy. Maybe, faced with the reality of your needs, he will step up.
    Maybe he won’t and you will have to part ways.   That will make you mega unhappier for a short time, but it beats being vaguely dissatisfied for year after year until you become angry and bitter and the relationship self-destructs anyway.

  13. 13

    argh I am so bad for going off topic…

    Onto the topic at hand! I get hit on and “picked up” far more often when I am ina relationship. It’s gotta be because I am relaxed and not looking for anything. I’m sure my vibe shifts. Same idea as potential mates showing up when someone is about to move or isn’t looking for love for whatever reason.

    I’ll bet someone shows up in this girls life just as she’s about to move or just when she’s settling into the new place. It does seem to happen that way.  

  14. 14
    David T

    @dagaz 5 & 8
    David T #12 was directed towards you, if you did not pick up on that. (My life needs a CTRL-Z).

  15. 15

    Thank you, guys 🙂
    David T, you’ve just won my heart, literally. I wish i would have you among my friends. Thank you! 🙂

  16. 16

    I think men are attracted to women who are “about to move” because they can have a fling and then the woman will disappear.     It’s perfect!  

  17. 17

    Almita, haha!   True, I have seen instances of that, not often, but I have seen that, or I’ve seen instances of the guy dating the woman and then deciding that “he couldn’t handle a long distance relationship after all”, conveniently after the couple had become intimate.

    That’s why I had stopped going out with guys who were “just moving to” my area or whatnot.   It turns out that it can actually be code for “I’m married and want to come someplace where I can have an affair and wifey won’t know.”   Happened to me once or twice, something told me to check these guys out and sure enough, bingo, married.   I of course called them out and told them that if they continued to contact me, I’d let their wifey know, and help her in the ensuing divorce cases, LOL

    The joys of dating, eh? 😉

  18. 18

    @Heather sometimes I get messages from men who will be “in the area for business for a month or two” and want to get together. Why would I want to subject myself to that? I wonder how often that works…

  19. 19

    @ Julia:

    Oh my, yes I have seen that too, and again, I do believe it’s code for: “I am married and want a fling.”   Now sure, maybe not in ALL cases, some guys may just genuinely want to have some fun in a non-serious relationship, and if that’s the case, fair enough. But I just got some really bad vibes from the guys that would contact me, and then suddenly they’d stop talking to me or “something would come up” and then boom.   I believe that it was probably the wifey catching on or something like that.  

    Like Evan says, believe the negatives, and my negative vibes were screaming, Do Not Trust This Guy!!!!!  

    My peace of mind and karma are worth far more than a nice dinner out.   I’d rather eat cereal at home with a good conscience, than lobster with a man I strongly suspect is an adulterer.   I won’t be part of breaking up a marriage.

  20. 20

    I think no matter where you are in life, it’s important to keep your options open. You just never know what another human on this planet may bring you. Just because you’re on a strong hunt for love and are moving to another city, doesn’t mean you might not be able to have a nice connection with another person and maybe even make a friend out of it. Plus, I believe that dating is a skill and sometimes ya need a little practice. Why not go on the date and see where it can take you. Of course, let the person know your situation and don’t lie. But, then again, maybe fate has a way of taking over and that person actually lives in the city you’re moving to. Crazier things have happened 🙂

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