We have strong values and beliefs and seek companions with the same. This drastically narrows the dating options, leaving us to wonder, is their any chance of finding a match?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Location, Location

I still need to complete my series on online dating, but first I wanted to further discuss the topic addressed by Francine on Geographical Impairment. I think it is something to which most LDS singles can relate. I have asked my self those same questions for years and at times have felt that I needed to stay in the "Mormon Centers" of the world or I would never find anyone. Other times I have believed that upping the quantity doesn't necessarily up the quality, and that you can find love anywhere.

Many years ago when I was studying at BYU and living in Provo, Utah (Mormon center of the world for those of you unfamiliar with our church), I remember nearing my graduation and feeling very panicked about the future. Was I worried about trying to find a job with my generic B.A.? No, I was worried about leaving Provo and never finding anyone to marry. I couldn't leave Provo as a single! So I stayed, dated a guy, and a year later I still left Provo in a state of singleness.

As I already mentioned I have gone back and forth on deciding where I need to live, and what are the most important factors. I have lived on 4 continents, in 5 countries, and in 7 cities. Some have been Mormon centers, and others have been cities with very small LDS communities. Each place has provided diversity, new experiences, and a new dating pool, however one thing has always been the same: I remain single.

What I have concluded from my history of moving around, and feeling the pressure to live somewhere with a lot of singles, is that you can meet someone anywhere. For every story of two people meeting and falling in love at BYU, there is a story of someone going to a ward in the middle of nowhere thinking he/she will be the only single, only to be introduced to another single and then finding true love.

Therefore, I think it's about identifying your needs for happiness and contentment, and finding a place that satisfies those needs. For the past 2 years I was living outside of North America in an area with less of a Mormon culture, and less members. The dating pool was smaller, but people networked and we still managed to date. When I came to the age of YSA expiration, I decided that I wanted to be near my family, and that I also wanted to live in a city with other LDS people in my age bracket. I knew that I needed a network of people in my situation so that I could survive attending a family ward without a family. Living here has proven to be what I need at this point in my life and although I have struggled with finding a good job and good friends, I am happy being with my family and I have had more dating opportunities than I did even back in the Provo days.

Francine, not sure if any of that was useful, but those are my thoughts.


  1. I've found that being in a place with too many choices actually impedes progress, because people are less likely to make a decision.

    In places where you have limited options, you look at them a little more closely and appreciate them more. The important thing, though, is that you do have built in or created opportunities to occasionally meet new people. Not everyday or every week, but maybe once every month or every few months - otherwise, you better get used to making do with the few options you have or being single for a lot longer.

    After leaving BYU-Hawaii, I lived and worked in China for 5 years. I decided to stay longer than I had planned because 1) I loved it there, had a great job etc. and 2 ) even though you could sometimes count all the single LDS men you knew in the whole *country* with your two hands, I loved the caliber of the men I met there, plus there was a high turnover rate, meaning I got to meet new people every new semester.

    I got pulled aside once by a very concerned YSA leader, who encouraged me to leave so that I could be meeting more men. I understood his concern, but I was right where I needed to be and I knew it.

    I know quite a few women who followed promptings all the way to China and eventually met their spouses there. That's how it worked out for them. If it can happen in China, it can happen anywhere. (I promise, I'm not trying to talk you into moving to China!)

    My husband wasn't in China when I met him. We had initially met at BYUH (a much smaller dating center), and shared a mutual interest, but never had the time/circumstance to develop any kind of friendship. The reason we got together years later, was because when we reconnected over the internet (thank you, Facebook!), he was looking to live abroad to learn a second language and well, I lived in China! He moved there to be with me under the pretense of learning the language.

    Wouldn't you like somebody to move halfway across the world just to be with you? If you do, you have to be willing to do that yourself. I had moved to China initially for another guy. That relationship didn't work out - I was too immature at the time - but I was given another opportunity.

    Turns out, my location wasn't that significant in the end, except for the fact that it gave me lots of opportunities for growth and enough going on that I had an active social life with the YSA. The most important thing was that I was given the opportunity to re-meet somebody I wasn't ready for when we first met.

    It happens differently for everyone. I think my story is fantastic, but in the end, you'll find that how and where you met really doesn't matter in the long run, it's what you do with each other after you've met. The key before then, is that you are happy and fulfilled and that you are open to and seeking out relationship opportunities wherever you may be.

    (Wow, that was long. *blush*)

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Fei. It's true that it happens differently for everyone, so I think it's most important that you find meaning in your life wherever you are, whether that be through a fantastic job, great social network, proximity to family, distance to family, your ideal climate, etc. There is no right or wrong answer on where to live, but the answer is definitely not for all to live in Utah.

  3. It isn't? Well, there go my relocation plans out the window.

    Kidding. Obviously. Although I'd sell my sister for some Cafe Rio...