To break things down, I’m a mid 30s guy living in Orange County, CA. I moved here roughly 7 years ago due to a finance position that I was offered when I graduated from college. Long story short, after establishing myself at work, paying off school loans, paying off credit card debt etc. (basically trying to mend the financial mess caused by school), I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to get into the dating scene.
At my age all my friends are either married with kids, or have kids. I’ve tried the typical online approach (Match, Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder, etc.) and I have tried cold calling approaches (basically trying to talk to random women I run into from time to time).
I don’t know if it’s me, the area I am in, or maybe a combination of both. Dating in Orange County feels like trying to make a free throw with a cement block while my shoelaces are tied together.
Just wanted to see what is everyone’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, etc.
Here’s why I wanted to tackle this question: It poses a question with no right answer. At least, to me there is no right answer. Feel free to disagree in the comments.
To answer your question: No. Dating isn’t hard for everyone. Some people are not only good at dating, but they seem to encounter a pretty turbulence free dating life. Let’s take someone who met their future spouse in high-school, dated in college, then got married and lived happily ever after. Was dating hard for them? Probably not. That said, I would say that for the vast majority of people out there, dating is difficult.
When people say “Dating is hard” what they’re usually saying is one of a few factors about dating are making things difficult. This isn’t an inclusive list, but generally dating is “hard” when you’ve got a problem with one of the following issues:
- Availability and proximity of desirable romantic candidates
- The behavior of desirable romantic candidates
- Busy personal life interfering with dating desirable romantic candidates
In your case, it sounds like whats making dating difficult for you are the availability of desirable romantic candidates more than anything else. That really isn’t surprising when we look at the data. Sure, there are around 3 million people or so in Orange County, but that’s spread out over a fairly large amount of land area. 3 million people sounds good, but the population density is about 3,200 people for every square mile. Comparatively speaking, Queens, one of the 5 counties that makes up New York City, has a total population of 2 million plus people, with a population density of about 21,000+ people for every square mile. People tend to forget that sometimes, the raw numbers of who you can actually date matters quite a bit. If we did a bit of quick math, assuming you only wanted to date someone who lived within Orange County, you’d get an actual potential dating pool of about 225,000 single women*, where as my potential dating pool is approximately around 600,000 single women. I think that the challenges you face, a dearth of available romantic candidates, is going to be something anyone who lives in a place where the population density is relatively low is going to face. I don’t think the challenges you face are unique to you, I think they’re challenges that anyone in your situation would face, regardless of how much of a catch they are. I really don’t think it’s you, unless you’re way more horrible than this question lets on.
Now, were you living in a city like New York, your complaints would probably be around the behavior of your romantic candidates. I could be wrong, but most of the dating writing that I’ve seen is about the behaviors of offers versus the lack of available people. Even if it’s framed as availability, it’s more about what people aren’t (successful, fit, happy, well-adjusted, etc.) rather than whether or not your nearest match is 100 miles away. If you don’t believe me, you can check out any of the millennial “news” platforms that run dating and relationship posts and I can promise you the most popular ones have to do with, wild guess, fuckboys, people who ghost, and a ton of other bad behaviors. I like to think that if you’re framing a dating problem as “I can’t find someone who isn’t intimidated by me” or “Everyone I date ends up ghosting” it’s really a discussion around the bad behaviors of people, versus the actual physical availability and proximity of suitable candidates, but I could just be being pedantic. Being busy is simple, sometimes people are just too busy to actually date. It’s especially hard if you’re someone with a lot of plates up in the area, and it’s a fairly common complaint, especially in big cities where the cost of living sort of forces you to have a job and a side gig, or just work long, non-traditional hours.
I’m hesitant to say all dating is hard, but I’d be surprised if most daters don’t face one of the 3 challenges I mentioned above. If nothing else, find some solace in knowing that you are not alone out there in your dating struggles.
Good Luck Out There.
*Based on the following estimates, which include some very rough math: For Orange County the approximate population is 3 Million. Approximately 30% of the population is 25-44, approximately 50% are woman, and approximately 50% are single. For NYC, approximate population is 8 Million, applying the same estimates.