Why It May Not Be Wise to Move for Love

Should you move for love? (Photo: Getty Images)

Some singles looking to pair up are taking drastic measures to boost their romantic odds and their self-esteem: moving to another state.

According to a story titled “I Left New York City So I Could Feel Hotter,” published by the New York Post, young single women (and some men) are fleeing Manhattan’s impossible physical standards to seek refuge in other U.S. states and abroad where the beauty barometer is set lower. “As a woman, you’re never enough,” Zoe Barry, a CEO and former New Yorker who moved to Colorado, told the Post. “I was never tall enough or slim enough. It grates on you after a while — that pressure to be a walking mannequin.”

After relocating, “all of a sudden I was the belle of the ball,” said Barry. “In Colorado, it was like, ‘Look at her!’ In New York, I couldn’t find a nice guy anywhere.”

Likewise, publicist Sherry Smith settled in Paris and immediately experienced a change in how people viewed her. “In New York, I felt average, like a 6,” she told the Post. “In Paris, I felt like an 8 or a 9. I was regarded very differently and got more attention, even though it was the same me.”

Sure, it’s not exactly realistic for everyone to move, leaving behind loved ones, jobs, and other forces that keep one bound to a particular location, but there’s evidence to support prioritizing romance. Studies have pointed to love, not work, as the most important factor in a person’s happiness, even when income is doubled. Other research shows that married people are healthier and, in some cases, happier than singles.

However, according to Gail Saltz, MD, a psychiatrist and the author of The Power of Different, moving solely to sample from a new dating pool carries some risk.

“If a person has difficulty finding a partner, they will likely have that same problem no matter the city,” Saltz tells Yahoo Style. “In most cases, it’s better to examine other factors, such as a fear of intimacy, an inability to compromise, or unrealistic expectations, that might be holding them back.”

Moving can also be impractical: If your new town doesn’t fulfill its potential, do you pack up again?

And while Saltz maintains that committed couples often relocate in the interest of their relationship, single people grapple with a unique cost-benefit analysis: If you live in the capital of your career, will you be compromising your future for a person you haven’t yet met?

Ultimately, the idea of a soulmate waiting for you in a far-flung city sounds dreamy, but staying put may be more fruitful. “People have the potential to find love with more than one person if they’re willing to examine how they’re undermining their own romantic success,” says Saltz. “The idea of nobody being attracted to you in a city of millions is absurd.”

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