Moving from a big city to small town, or from one region to another will challenge your expectations and experiences in dating. Photo credit: Neo Latrice/CreateHerStock

The real struggle: Getting back into dating after relocating from a big city

5 mins read

Over the course of the pandemic, people from larger cities left in droves looking for more affordable places to live. Both Midwest and Southern states became inundated with women from places like New York, D.C., and Los Angeles who carried with them city sass, inner city states of mind, and a desire to date.

Moving to the South or the Midwest after living in a fast-paced city your entire life then trying to transition into the dating scene can be a daunting experience for women. The cultural differences and unfamiliarity with courtship nuances can leave you feeling overwhelmed. 

But not to worry. As part of our expert dating advice roundup, Ark Republic has enlisted the help of four Black-owned matchmaking service founders, who have generously offered their expertise to us. So whether you’ve relocated for a lower cost of living, love, or a fresh start, these tips will make certain that your transition into the dating scene is extraordinary and effortless.

“What’s your angle B?”

When you first arrive at your new home, you may side-eye someone presenting an instant laid-back charm. While it is quite normal in your relocated place, it can be suspicious to you. Due to the trust issues you’ve acquired from living in the kind of city where everyone looks out for their own interests, a welcoming smile may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

Trenia Norford, founder of matchmaking firm, Connectricity, is originally from Brooklyn, but has lived in the Midwest and now resides in the South. She told Ark Republic that men from New York “want a lot of options.” That means they’ll try to date you, maybe your friend, and your cousin too because she’s attractive.

“My New York men, God bless them,” said Norford. In her trained experience, she has seen NYC guys play the field, “then maybe they’ll settle down” afterwards. Through the lens of an inner city eye, it takes some convincing to believe that people from Midwestern and Southern states see dating as a way to build more meaningful connections. They hold politeness and hospitality in high esteem. In that regard, it’s critical to be respectful, open-minded, and willing to embrace their laid-back culture.

“There’s something to be said about Southern values. Midwest values too because it’s very closely aligned. It’s family and God. That’s very important to them,” explained  Norford.

Indeed, family, both nucleus and extended, are cherished in these parts of the country. Therefore, it’s crucial to respect and honor these family ties. When dating, make an effort to understand and appreciate this as well. It goes without saying that you should also show respect for their family and being inclusive during family events can go a long way in building a strong connection.

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So how does that work if your guard is up? According to founder of the matchmaking and dating coach firm, Matched With Love, Darci Roberts, it is important to use those previous experiences to write out a list of qualities that your partner absolutely needs to have. 

“That could look like loyalty or being a great communicator and a lot of it is based off of previous relationships. It could be traumatic relationships, or it could just be previous dating experiences. But everybody’s list of qualities that they want in a partner looks completely different,” advised Roberts.

Additionally, the founder of Mosaic Matchmaking, Brooke Fitzpatrick, told Ark Republic that singles should make it a point to make new friends and get to know local co-workers, as well as establish a network in their new location. 

“Embrace your new environment and being in a new place. You’ll be able to better understand some of the cultural differences and [that will] help you potentially meet different dating prospects,” suggested Fitzpatrick. 

Approaching is not pursuing

While some women perceive approaching a man as too aggressive, it is true that women are approaching men more frequently; not only in inner cities but all over.

“I wish we’d change that mindset [that says] approaching a man is pursuing a man. You’re just letting him know the interest is there. You’re sparking it. Now whether or not that man continues on, then you’ll know if you’re the one pursuing or if he’s pursuing. So shoot your shot, you never know,” stated founder of the professional matchmaking agency, Unlocked Hearts, Juanita Brown.

That said, it is important to be mindful of how you are approaching a potential partner while remaining your authentic self. Initiating engagement is going to be surprising for the man because it’s probably not what they’re accustomed to, Fitzpatrick told Ark Republic. For some, it could be a turn on and for some, it could be a turn-off.

“[Don’t] necessarily say, you’re so toned. I can’t wait to see what those arms do. But you compliment them on their style and that is something they can still appreciate,” pointed out Fitzpatrick. 

Also, you don’t have to ask them out right away according to Norford. “I think sometimes as a woman, that little girl in us wants someone to approach us. We want someone to scope us out.”

A way to know someone is through their culinary lineage. So when you’re out, nibble on some samples. Photo credit: RDNE Strock project

You have a date. Now what? 

It is worth noting that dating in the South and Midwest often involves a more prim and proper appearance. Therefore, dress in more formal attire, such as dresses or button-down shirts, and avoid outfits that show too much skin.

This also goes for the fellas. Despite the unspoken rule in inner cities that says wearing a doo-rag, or baseball hat with a t-shirt and Timberland boots is an acceptable outfit for any occasion, it is not appropriate dating attire in these regions. Yes, that means leaving the wrinkled camouflage pants and the construction boots at home. A date means presenting another type of sophistication. Consider jazzing up your appearance with a blazer and skip out on wearing a hat altogether.

Conversely, if you have an outdoor date planned, a more casual approach may be acceptable. From hiking and picnics to beach trips and horseback riding, outdoor dates often revolve around enjoying nature. Taking it all in will not only create lasting memories, but also show your willingness to adapt to their culture.

If you and your date decide to stay indoors, remember that food plays a major role in Southern and Midwest culture. So be prepared to embrace their cuisine, on this date. Enjoying meals together is a common way to bond and connect with your potential partner. Be open to trying local delicacies and asking for recommendations to impress your date rather than disparaging their foodways.


As you are settling into your new place, remember to open up your selections and heart when you relocate. Dating someone from the Midwest or the South can be an interestingly unique

Journalist established in 2001, inspired by transformative leads.

experience. Putting these tips into practice will help you to adjust to dating life, shoot your shot, and find love.

Snyder welcomes in a new series exploring the new frontiers of dating—from a mature dater to using technology welcome to TinderLove.

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