There’s no shortage of rom-coms depicting the ups and downs of the dating in The Big Apple. But what is dating in New York City really like? I reached out to several Aussie women in New York who met their significant other in the US, to find out their tips on dating in New York City.
For instance, do you really need to have “the talk” before becoming exclusive? Is it true that women outnumber men in the NYC dating pool? And are there any special considerations for expats dating a foreigner? The short answers: maybe, it depends, absolutely.
So before you set out on a date (or settle back on your sofa with a classic NYC rom-com), check out these tips for dating in New York, as told by Aussie women who met their American partner over here.
Date yourself first
Don’t wait for Mr/Ms Right to get out there. After all, The City is your perfect date:
“While NYC can feel lonely and overwhelming, there are amazing people here. Put yourself out there but also enjoy being alone in a foreign land. You’ll learn so much about yourself and sooner or later you’ll end up with a mortgage, spouse and kid.” – Beth
Go outside your comfort zone
Being an Australian woman in New York probably means that you thrive on adventure, so be brave and socialize outside your comfort zone:
“The sky’s the limit here in terms of experiences and diversity of people. You’re always going to feel a little “special” here with your exotic accent. Date outside your comfort zone, say yes when you’re not sure (unless he/she seems creepy) as you never know where it’s going to lead.” – Beth
“Be open to a relationship, even if your plan was to be in the USA only for a few years (like me). You could find the love of your life – like I did! Whilst it’s hard to think about being away from home indefinitely, it’s great that flights are cheaper than they used to be and that you could end up having two homes. How amazing is that!” – Natalie
Be aware that “multi-partner dating” is a thing
Several Aussie women found the accepted New York dating norm of “multi-partner dating” unnerving, though it’s possibly a universal by-product of the online and app-based dating world:
“I think the challenge, which is more acute now with app-based dating, is the multi-dating partner nature of Americans. You can have multiple irons in the fire at one time which is something I struggle to wrap my head around.” – Gabrielle
“People here date multiple partners at a time. It’s a given. When I was in Australia, that wasn’t the case. There is also the conversation of “are we exclusive?”. Not sure that it happens at home, but if I am spending most of my time with you, I’m not seeing anyone else (who has the time or energy!)” – Natalie
“In Australia, courtship seems a little more organic – you meet someone, you like each other and boom, you’re a couple. Over here, the process is more defined. Apparently, you are supposed to have “The Talk” about being exclusive.” – Angela
Know that the glass can seem half empty…
There’s also the scarcity mindset, the belief that there’s not enough for everyone. In NYC it manifests itself ubiquitously – jobs, apartments, romantic partners:
“The competition for men here (in particular NYC) is high. There are many beautiful, smart, strong women living in NYC.” – Natalie
Editor’s note: For the record, we know Natalie personally and can attest to her being incredibly beautiful, smart, strong, amazing and more.
…And sometimes half full
On the other hand, New York is also a place that will pleasantly surprise you:
“It’s easy to get stuck in the scarcity myth: that there’s not enough to go around. But time and time again, I find the opposite. New York is a place where anything is possible and you’re surrounded by opportunities. Although dating wasn’t a priority for me when I came here, I promised myself that I’d say “‘yes” to any social invite that came my way. It ultimately lead me to saying “yes” to the hunky American I found myself standing next to.” – Angela
Keep the bigger picture in mind (aka it’s all fun and games until you’re stuck on a 20 hour flight with toddlers)
There’s the sobering reality with getting serious about an American, when your homeland (and previous life) is 10,000 miles away, particularly if you end up having kids together:
“There is the fact that there is a whole life back home that your partner hasn’t been a part of. It’s weird that you have had friends for 25 years and they don’t know them. They only know you for the person you are in NYC, not the one from home.” – Natalie
“I never considered how hard it would be living so far away from my family especially when we had kids. It was easy for the first 5 years when it was just us but then we had our daughters and everything changed. Someone will always lose out no matter which country you choose to live in and you’ll feel really bad about keeping your children on the other side of the world from their grandparents. We are lucky enough to be able to go home every year for a visit and my folks come here every year, but just think about taking a 4 and 2 year old on a plane for 20 hours!” – Meghan*
“The biggest downside to marrying an American is that one of you will always be away from your homeland. This gets harder when you have kids and as your own parents get older but it’s worth it to be with the person you love.” – Beth
Discuss your long-term expectations
When you first came to New York, you probably had some idea of how long you planned to stay and what your next move would be. When you’re building a life with a partner, it’s essential to establish an open dialogue about your respective long-term goals, what you’re each willing to compromise on, as well as the non-negotiables:
“Think about the future! Like any relationship the romance and excitement will fade so make sure you are with someone who will understand that going to Australia for their vacation is just part of the deal.” – Meghan*
“If you think you ever want to return to live in Australia, have that discussion before you marry. I met my husband while I was living in NY and was very happy, it was just taken for granted that we would stay in the US. We have a great life here but knowing I will likely never live in Australia again is really hard.” – Kylie*
No matter what, have fun
At times dating can be a roller coaster of emotions with many factors outside your control. One thing you have plenty of influence over is your ability to enjoy the playground that is New York City. After all, something about it drew you here in the first place:
“Enjoy it! Don’t take it too seriously (until it becomes serious). Americans love Aussies, so just be yourself.” – Natalie
“Every time you step out your front door in New York, an adventure awaits. There’s no shortage of people, places and events to inspire you. So take a deep breath, step outside and immerse yourself. You may not meet the love of your life, but you’re guaranteed a story to tell so make sure it’s a good one.” – Angela
Tell us your tips
Do you have any NYC dating tips? If so, let us know in the comments section below. This was the second part in a series about Australian women who met their partner in the US.
A big thank you to the following Australian women who shared their experiences for this article:
- Angela: from Adelaide and Brisbane, came here 12 years ago in search of an adventure
- Beth: Brissie born with an American father, attended college in the US and has remained since
- Gabrielle: in New York since 2010, on a holiday that resulted in a job offer
- Kylie*: moved here 16 years ago from WA to pursue a Masters degree at NYU
- Meghan*: moved here from Melbourne in 2010 to pursue career opportunities
- Natalie: from Sydney first visited to NYC in 2009 and returned to NYC 6 years ago
* Pseudonym used at request of contributor
This is interesting, both the observations of dating in New York and the difficulty of leaving life in Oz behind. I was so lucky to meet another Aussie in NY, as Dad and I had that shared history.