Do you need to move to find love?

Sometimes people move to improve their chances of dating and finding a partner. Moving is expensive, stressful, and totally worthwhile for some people – but for others it won’t help much with dating. Let’s discuss moving out, moving up, moving to another city, and moving to another country.

In my culture, living with your parents indicates that you’re not an independent mature adult. But in some other cultures, it’s normal to stay in the parental home until marriage, or to form households of three or more generations. In today’s economic climate, many young adults are staying with their parents until a later age. So this is not necessarily a deal-breaker for dating, especially if you have a private space and good boundaries with your parents. Nevertheless, if you can afford to move out on your own, it can be empowering to independently decide what your home is like, and liberating to not be pressured every day by your parents’ expectations.

Living with roommates has the advantages of saving money and getting more social interaction. Some shared households consider sex noises acceptable behind closed doors, which you might find discomfiting while single, but convenient when dating. You might want to move out on your own to get more privacy, but a potential date may not care whether you have roommates.

If you are considering moving to a fancier apartment or house to impress dates and other people, you might be overestimating how much they care about your abode. Prioritize your own comfort and budget when deciding where to live.

Moving to another city or region is a much bigger change. Maybe you want to find a new job and make new friends, as well as find more compatible dating partners. It’s worth doing a test: visit the city you’re interested in, go to social events and cultural places, talk to people there, investigate the local job market and colleges. Consider creating a dating site profile as if you lived in the new city, and correspond with some matches. Is the new city likely to be any better than where you are now?

If you’re in a minority, such as being queer or trans, you might be living in a lower-population area with a small dating pool. Moving to a big city might make a big improvement in your life. Similarly, if you live in an area where most people disagree with your politics or discriminate against your ethnicity or religion, you will find more dates and greater peace in a more tolerant city.

If you live in a rural area or small town, it can be hard to find eligible partners. A small population can only sustain a few social activities, which might not be your style. Some people are faced with tough choices, and they may leave their family or hometown or job to move to a more populous place. Others drive a few hours to date people in the city. If you want to be less lonely staying in a rural area, I suggest counselling (perhaps by video) to help you enjoy better social connections with your neighbours.

If you are a mainstream straight person and live in a medium to large-sized city, your local dating pool is pretty big. If you’re meeting eligible people but finding them incompatible for dating, there could be many reasons, and it’s not necessarily due to your city’s culture. In this situation, I recommend going to a counsellor to find out the underlying causes of your dating difficulties, because therapy is cheaper than moving.

Some lonely folks are interested in moving to a country where the potential mates are more conservative, or more liberal, than back home. From what my friends have told me, moving to another country is a great way to learn that you might be more compatible with dating partners from your own home culture. And again, you may have dating difficulties that are not resolved by flying away. But working abroad for a year would be an interesting adventure to talk about on a date!


Alana is the organizer of, the founder of the Love Not Anger project, and the creator of the original "involuntary celibacy" support website in 1997. This post expresses her own views; she is not a mental-health professional or dating expert.

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