There are a lot of people living in the Boston area, so why is it so hard to find a relationship?
Marriage counselor and dating coach Samantha Burns has plenty of experience helping people find and maintain love. She understands that while it might seem easy to find a connection in the city, there are hurdles that definitely get in the way.
Not finding love in Boston? We talked to Burns to see what she believes is keeping many Bostonians from successful romances:
Busy Professionals: "Boston has a booming job market. For the many doctors, lawyers, professors, and entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get stuck in your high-demand work routine without maintaining a work-life balance. However, relationships don’t happen overnight. It requires effort to cultivate a happy long-term relationship.
You need to make dating a priority and make a conscious effort to leave time in your schedule for online dating, meeting people IRL, and going on dates. You get out of dating what you put into it. Aim to go on at least one date per week."
Online Dating Overload: "Boston is a tech savvy city and online dating here is very popular, but it's being seriously abused. Today it seems as though people are using it as a game or ego boost, instead of dating with the intent to get offline and meet in person. It's addictive, and activates the same reward center of your brain that we see in drug and alcohol use, releasing dopamine and giving you a "high" every time you match with someone, keeping you coming back for more every time, even when you've already connected with some great people.
The other issues is the "grass is greener" mentality, which is when you're over inundated with choices online and you feel like there could be someone "better" out there, who you could meet with the ease of swiping your finger. The truth is, Boston is a small city and it's packed with people, so to prevent yourself from slipping into this grass is greener mindset with online dating, it's important to do some self-reflection to get clear on what you're searching for.
If you don't know what you want and how you want to feel about someone, you'll never know if and when you've met that person. The worst case scenario is not committing to someone who has real potential because you’re to distracted by the allure of online dating."
Winter Hibernation: "There's nothing sexy or flirty about a big sweater and snow boots. Boston is absolutely gorgeous in the summer time, with so many festivals, outdoor dining, farmers markets, and events in the parks, but for six months of the year it feels like we are hibernating. The freezing temperatures and blizzards keep singles inside, eating comfort food and binge watching Netflix, and the winter blues and seasonal depression can really decrease your motivation to date.
Remind yourself it’s possible to find love any time of year, and challenge yourself to get out of the house at least once each weekend to socialize with new people. Good winter date spots include a cozy fireside lounge, bowling, a gym class or rock climbing wall, wine tastings, paint night, or an escape room."
Expensive City: "Frankly Boston is just an expensive city and it can make it challenging for people to afford dating, especially for all of the students and start up entrepreneurs who are on a tight budget. In some cities it's inexpensive as as $3 for a drink, but here you'll likely be in that $8-$12 range, plus appetizers, and if you treat someone to dinner and dessert, you've just coughed up $100.
The truth is there's dating and venues for any budget, you just need to be creative. You can always keep a first date casual, with a coffee or ice-cream date, or pack food yourself for a picnic in a park, rent a hubway bike and go for a ride together, or take a stroll around the Esplanade along the Charles River and enjoy the views for free."
Townies vs. Transients: "Boston is not the most warm and welcoming city. There are two main populations here when it comes to dating. You have your born and raised Bostonians who have tight knit cliques since childhood and often don't go out of their way to meet and mingle with new people, and you also have a big transient population, with people coming to this city for education and to pursue career opportunities.
In either case, I find that people like to stay in their comfort zone and have difficulty getting out and meeting new people. A successful dating life requires you to expand your social network, so it's important to say "Yes!" to social invitations, try professional or social networking events such as those on meetup.com or other organizations that can then introduce you to their friends, co-workers, or family members. You can join an intramural sports league, like Boston Ski and Sports Club, or free groups that runs the Harvard Stadium stairs, sign up for a class at one of the many adult schools of education.
The point is, you're not going to meet someone new if you continue to socialize with the same people and don't put yourself out there. Focus on meeting as many new people as possible, and even if there's no spark, you never know what friends they can introduce you to."