News is cyclical and every so often a headline like this one catches my eye: “Best and Worst States for Singles.” According to a new analysis from WalletHub, Florida tops the list of best states in which to date, and West Virginia comes in last. “Everyone has different priorities when searching for love,” the article says, “but certain places simply make dating easier than others.”
In the analysis, states were ranked based on 29 points of “dating-friendliness,” including the number of single adults living in the state, average cost of going on a date, and the date-worthy activities and attractions available. Obviously, states such as Florida and California ranked in the top five, having high populations and a wealth of attractions including major theme parks and the beach. Apparently, West Virginia and North Dakota, the bottom two states, lack competitive accoutrements.
WalletHub clarifies that these factors really come down to personal preferences and odds:
“In states with low cost of living, for instance, your income might stretch a lot further, which means cheaper or more frequent dates. That’s an attractive option during this period of high inflation. If you’re more financially stable, though, you might appreciate a state with more attractions to find new experiences for both you and your potential other half. Dating is also a numbers game, so a state with a higher proportion of single adults automatically improves your prospects.”
Here’s the thing: While a higher proportion of single adults in your geographical location may improve your prospects, this is not necessarily true, especially if these other single people are not in your demographic or do not share your values. And while a great restaurant and bar scene may be a plus for casual dating, it’s simply unnecessary for the formation of a quality relationship leading to marriage. (On a similar note, as much as I love the theme park with the mouse, that’s also non-essential.)
A dating state of mind
The state in which you live may make dating easier or more difficult, but I believe it’s low on the list of factors that lead to finding a spouse. Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned, but if you’re drawn to someone, you don’t need an extravagant occasion or event to get the ball rolling. Consider my first three dates with my husband, Kevin:
- Latte in a coffee shop over a four-hour conversation (and he got an employee discount)
- Hike in a local park followed by sharing a frozen pizza
- Bowling with our church group followed by a taco potluck
In those early days of dating, we didn’t care what we were doing as long as we were doing it together. The conversations we had and connection we felt were the highlights. When it comes to a successful dating relationship, mindset is just as important, if not more important, than favorable conditions.
Keeping it simple
I’ve lived in four states since I’ve been old enough to date. Each one had its charms and drawbacks when it came to finding friends and forming relationships. Every state has natural beauty, quirky local places to check out, and biblical, Jesus-loving churches. I met my husband in a chance encounter at a coffee shop that resembled a scene from a Hallmark movie, but our relationship developed primarily because we attended the same church — and because God was in the details.
Looking back, our romance was rather ordinary. Even now, 15 years later as we’re following a strict budget and seeking to steward our finances wisely, our marital dating activities are unexceptional: sharing a French press at a coffee shop (we do love coffee), listening to an audiobook together in the car, taking advantage of the cheap seat night at the movie theater. What we do doesn’t matter as much as the fact that we’re together.
So go ahead and find out where your state ranks — we’d love to hear your thoughts — but remember that God has no such 29 data points when He’s directing your romantic endeavors and bringing people together. He is never bound by statistics. Enjoy where you live and look up once in a while to notice the people around you. Take risks to get to know them, treat them with honor and be open to what God might do. He’s likely put you in just the right place to receive all that He has for you.
Copyright 2024 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved.