My Experience Dating As a Millennial in New York City

The following article was written by “The Renaissance Woman,” a 30-year-old Millennial who’s going through a transformation of sorts and wants to caution other women her age to take dating and relationships more seriously. She has asked to write a few posts for my readers. This is her first.

New York City is a thrilling environment for young people. Access to high profile restaurants, the best public transportation, trendy bars and unique employment opportunities make it a hub for young professionals looking to “make it” in competitive careers.

I know firsthand the allure of the city.  I moved to Manhattan in 2005 to pursue a career in the music industry. I stayed for nearly ten years until I burned out at age 26 and moved away.

As with the majority of millennial women, I was laser focused on my career goals and aspirations of rising to the top in my industry. Manhattan was perfect for me. Being an extrovert, I was enthralled with the fast-paced lifestyle. As I moved into my early twenties, I was optimistic about the prospect of dating. With a population of 8.5 million, certainly it would be easy to find good dates and establish a connection with Mr. Right, right?

Wrong.

New York City is hell for single, relationship-minded women. From my experience, it was exhausting, competitive and ultimately unsuccessful. If you’re just looking for sex in the city, New York will fit the bill. But if you’re looking for love, go elsewhere.

New York is indeed the epicenter of epic careers. I began working professionally in music at fifteen years old. I attended a private, performing arts high school near Columbus Circle meant for students who already had careers in the creative arts. At the time, I was a professional recording artist. I was making albums, playing shows with a band and taking meetings with record labels.

My days were filled with auditions for Broadway shows and taking voice lessons until I moved to Boston, MA, for college in 2009. I returned to New York from my one-year stint at Berklee College of Music. I picked up where I left off, continuing on my same path and becoming more and more intrenched in my career goals. I worked extremely long hours, often until late at night.

During that time I went on several dates with men where the main topics of conversation revolved around career aspirations alone. His and mine. Those dates would end, and it would be weeks before we connected again—if we did. Getting to a second date, much less a third, is nearly impossible when you’re living a fast paced city life. People fear committed relationships because they’ll interfere with the climb up the career ladder. Relationships are viewed as a distraction.

My story is not unusual: most people in Manhattan are pursuing demanding careers. Between commuting to and from work, long work days, stress, high rent costs and pure exhaustion, there’s not much time to form meaningful relationships.

There’s also this:

Men in New York are in less of a hurry to settle down. One of my best friends, I’ll call her Caroline, is single and 30. She’s an attractive successful journalist and lives in Brooklyn. Caroline uses the dating app Bumble to find potential dates. I recently asked her about her views on dating in New York. She said most of her friends, who are also smart, beautiful women, are all exasperated from dating in the city. She said it’s common to be single in your thirties. That way of life is feasible for men but much harder for women who may want to settle down earlier and have a family.

The population of the city is over 50% female. There are far fewer men than there are women in Manhattan, which makes the competition steep and gives men the dating advantage. It also has one of the largest gay populations in the world, so many of the men women meet aren’t even an option. Caroline told me her male friends view women in New York as far more aggressive than women in other places. Women often make the first move to ask men out, which throws traditional dating out the window. I can relate to that. I recall many times asking men out on dates, which would feel wrong to me now. The idea of a man knowing what he wants and going after it is so attractive. The role reversal upsets the dating dynamic.

The “hookup” culture in New York City is ubiquitous. This particular subject makes me cringe, as I made a lot of poor decisions in the past when it come to dating. I’ve come to discover that those poor decisions were made under the influence of a culture pushing a very feminist narrative. That cultural narrative is especially prominent in progressive cities like New York. Funny thing is, I never considered myself a feminist. In fact, I was and still am politically conservative, which made me an anomaly in Manhattan. But it turns out my worldview was greatly impacted by feminism without my even knowing it. I think this is true for most women in my generation. Millennial women were taught via the culture that having sex “like a man” is empowering. Newsflash: It isn’t. For me, such behavior usually went nowhere and ended in a walk of shame. It took me years to realize I’d been conned by that notion. I spent a good deal of my twenties meeting up with dates in bars and having too many drinks, which led to my being much more casual with my body than I should have. I realize now I gave up my self-respect and even power by lowering myself to that level. My friends were doing it, too, and we were all having similar experiences. We’d meet for happy hours and lament over how awful guys were. We never acknowledged our role in our dating failures.

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is really simple, but we women insist on making it complicated. I turned 30 this past January and have begun a new chapter of my life. I’m at peace with the fact that making it in the big city isn’t the be-all-end-all.

Now that I’m getting older, I’m beginning to find beauty in simplicity. In the end, it’s our relationships that define the success of our lives.

I never thought I’d say this, but there is something to be said for an uncomplicated life with fewer options. I still have work to do, but I’m now gearing my life toward that particular goal; and I would challenge other women my age to do the same. Think critically about the big picture of your life and whether or not living a fast paced life, whether you live in a city or not, will bring you closer to all of your goals—not just your professional goals but your love and relationships goals as well.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, columnist and radio host known as The Feminist Fixer. She helps free women from feminism so they can find lasting love with men. Suzanne's newest book, WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts, will be published October 2019.

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  1. This piece by “The Renaissance Woman” is rather interesting to say the least. It misses the point in other areas I dare say.

    Even if younger Millennial women were to take dating and relationships more seriously, I am not convinced that the eligible men would change their attitudes towards women and sex. I am a 57 year old divorced man. There is not a period I can think of in human history for a man to be alive. Women and sex are widely and readily available to lots of us men. This incel thing just boggles my mind. Men my age can easily date women in their 20s and 30s if we desire. I do. We can enjoy great sex lives. I do! Much better than in a marriage. My point is there is no real incentive for most men to enter into long -term relationships with women. Note I said “most”men. Not all. Yes, men who want families and/or might come from a religious background will still desire marriage (and yes sex too). Well educated and high-income men and women also still marry at high rates.

    Today, most men have discovered that marriage involves a significant sacrifice of sex. It also involes a significant sacrifice of many other things we men cherish as well (friends and freedom). I experienced this while married. I hated it so much so I asked for a divorce. I know marriage is not ALL about sex. But, you cannot remove its importance.

    So, what this has done for a lot of Millennial men is it has disincentivize them from long-term relationships and marriage. I hear lots these men speak of having witnessed their brothers, fathers, uncles and other men being emasculated by marriage. Or they have gone through “divorce rape.” So, if you can have easy access to women and sex, why take on all the risks of marriage?

    Sex to men is a HUGE thing. I am not saying it is not for women. I know for a fact that women love sex just a much or if not more than we men. The problem is the men who give them the BEST sex is NOT the men whom they choose to marry. Women, as was the case with my ex wife who was a OB-GYN, marry the EXACT opposite of their best lovers. Understandable. The problem is this: These wives proceed to starve their husbands of sex. They treat their husbands like second class citizens sexually. YOUNG MILLENNIAL MEN NOW KNOW THIS. They want zippy to with it. I cannot blame them.

    Hence, even if young Millennial women were to take their dating and relationships more seriously, I do NOT believe it will yield significantly different outcomes. Young Millennial women must change their attitudes AND behavior towards men. A lot of damage has been done by modern feminist ideology. Women are not going to return to pre-feminist days. I cannot blame them. But, men are not going back to the days of yielding to women (unless you are one of these White liberal male feminist). So, they tend to eschew marriage and long-term relationships.

    I don’t want come across as believe marriage and relationships are solely about sex. But, I challenge you to show me a healthy marriage and/or relationship with an unhealthy sexual relationship. You women simply underestimate the significance of sex to most men.

    Your thoughts?

    • It sounds like this guy’s wife just didn’t want to have sex with him & his whole philosophy now is predicated on that unfortunate issue. I’m sure that isn’t the norm in most marriages.

      • Agreed, Carolyn. I’ve been married for 18 years, we still have sex 5 times a week. We’ve always had great sexual chemistry. Marry someone who you want to have sex with, it’s not that hard. A nearly 60 year old man dating women he could have fathered is just sad and pitiful.

    • Yes, those women do marry the exact opposite of what they are attracted to. And they continue to play with the alpha bad boys on the side. Some women do a lot of hamsterwheeling, to justify this. Many women do not keep their agreements. Marriage for a man is putting your assets on the roulette wheel, I mean hamster wheel, and hoping you’ll get some return on investment.

  2. I appreciate this writer sharing her experiences and transformation. New York can be totally exhausting. It sounds like she is work out from taking her career so seriously & is looking for a balance now. She’s trying to find it in a partner but may have put her friends by the wayside as well. I’m very guilty if that as well because the days of work & getting from A to B can be so taxing.

    I don’t agree that there aren’t marriage-minded men in New York at all, however. For years I’ve heard men lament that New York girls just seem to want to sleep around rather than have a relationship.
    Like often attracts like and if the author was in a phase of playing the field or what-have-you that may gave been what she got.
    In the city, or anywhere, it’s probably best to find local hang outs like bars, coffee shops or an animal shelter where you can volunteer. Take the time to meet with your friends & be open. A huge city means you can find ANYTHING- any kind of person or situation. Don’t stand for being treated poorly & in spite of societial warnings- don’t worry about time so much. You’ll only psych yourself out & bring your own mood down.

    And NYC ladies- please don’t worry about statistics about gender parity! There are cute, employed men everywhere! Sure 100% if them aren’t single but unless you are rude or hideous or completely closed off (& I’m sure I’ve been all three at one time it another) you will get hit on. You will meet nice guys. You will can get what you want.

  3. There are men looking for wives, in NYC. They keep a low profile, though. They are in a buyer’s market, so they can be selective. In the old days, family would find a man a good wife, and vice versa. Have you seen statistics on arranged marriages? Divorce is much lower for them. Maybe because parents and family have the experience to know what works, and what doesn’t. My parents would never have stuck me with my first wife, no, I have to own the stupidity of having married that woman. And let us not forget Sex and the City. How many women who watch that think they can find Mr. Big, with a sexual history longer than a British peer’s lineage, major neurotic personality, addictions to spending money… Mr. Big can have any woman he likes. He can choose that nice 22 year old, who is very pleasant, or he can choose the 41 year old, who is bitter, has hit the wall, has addictions and resentments, is brainwashed by feminism… if you were Mr. Big, whom do you choose?

  4. This was a very interesting article – haven’t seen many like it as it seems to go against the politically correct imagery of the day. I’m not from New York but I think this is a general issue affecting the nation. We’re led to believe by the media, entertainment industry, etc that every women has her MBA, makes six figures, and is sexually aggressive. It’s not clear what percent of women are actually like this but the imagery has had an impact not only on millennials but also generation X. I agree that young men have no incentive to be “men” any longer, being raised by helicopter parents who don’t force them to take any responsibility and having access to online porn, tinder, and social media which eliminate the incentive to “earn” a physical relationship with a women.

    However there is also bitterness among the previous generation of men which I think generates a lot of the negativity women face for being successful today. I’m 51 and I remember back in the eighties that women would go to clubs with their ID tucked in their bras and nothing else (no need for money). There was an expectation that men would “do their jobs” if they wanted “to get some”. That was fine in the eighties but you can’t turn around and talk about how strong, empowered, and equal you are 30 years later. The perception that millennial women now ask their boyfriends on dates, drive them around, and then pay for dinner creates a lot of resentment for the last generation of men who “had to work for it”.

    I’m all for strong, empowered women and the change in culture where women don’t need to apologize for being leaders and having success is positive (I have a daughter). However, women as a group need to get a handle on what defines a man and a women as well as roles and responsibilities or there will be significant problems. I like being with women. Everything I’ve done in my life in some form or fashion is motivated by trying to impress women. All the money, success and accolades in the world mean nothing if you’re alone in life. Women need to consider that as they make their next move.

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