When people ask me how my dating life is going, I give an honest response, "I'm in a committed relationship with my career, but we are sleeping with other people."
At first, people chuckle, but then they offer up similar sentiments. It turns out that my views on dating in this city are not as isolated as I thought. In a town that demands either you're born here with a family wealthy enough to support you or that you possess a full-fledged devotion to simply surviving, adding effort into dating is a particular challenge. I've seen it done, and done well, so today (Valentine's Day) I have decided to sit down with my trusty laptop and put into words why I think my dating life in NYC is about as successful as the Mean Girls sequel.
To start with, I'm terrible at sacrifice. Sitting back and accepting anything less than exactly what I want isn't how I got my gay ass from Bumfuck, Texas to NYC. I didn't hope and daydream my way onto a flight - I worked for the life I wanted. I've had a motto that I've lived by since middle school - "You can have anything, if you give it everything." But the problem here is that relationships are all about sacrifice, something I don't have an ounce of practical experience with. I don't know how to sacrifice because every other aspect of my life has taught me the opposite. Meditation (a practice I've had for a few months now) is challenging me to rethink this part of my life, and it's no easy feat. Where can I find the balance between placing importance on other's needs and wants without losing my competitive edge? I'll let you know if I figure it out. (if that interests you check out 10% happier.)
Next up, dating is expensive. My jobs prior to Real Estate were never particularly cushy, and a proper dinner date in Manhattan is about $200 bucks. That's a big chunk down the drain if it goes poorly, or if it goes well, it's a panicked vision of another $200 bucks for a second date. How are you supposed to properly budget when there are so many "what-ifs" at play? This is becoming less of an issue as I evolve my career, but I've always been attracted to men about 5-10 years older than me, and at my age that gap typically places us in some pretty different financial brackets. This raises all kinds of "who pays" awkwardness that comes with being gay in a hetero-normative world. I may be a bottom, but expecting the top to pay for everything is a little fucked up, right? So then if things are going well, I do this whole avoidance thing because rent > boys.
Location plays a big role, too. If you live in different boroughs and have time restricting jobs, even coffee can be a hell of a commitment. For example, right now I'm living in Washington Heights (planning on moving to SoHo in may-ish, hit me up if you know any great deals) and it takes me, I kid you not, 1.5 hours to get to Brooklyn from my place. I also hit the gym at about 6am every day before going into my office so sleepovers are a no-go. I used to date a guy who lived in Jersey and it honestly felt like some sort of LDR situation.
I could list a handful of other contributing factors, but when it comes down to it, the real problem here is me. I'm a firm believer in karma, and it's hard to open your heart in a city like this. Inviting the opportunity for love is also inviting an opportunity for heartbreak, and when excuses for avoidance are so at the ready, I'm quick to grab them.
Things are starting to fall into place in other aspects of my life, so maybe this year I'll be a little more receptive to the opportunities around love. My clients and my career are definitely my top priority right now, but that doesn't mean I can't have other priorities in my life too, right?
Or maybe I'll get a cat...