Vancouver may be voted one of the most livable cities in the world but most people who live here feel they pay a price when it comes to dating in this city. Anytime people discover that I study relationships and write about them, I almost always get asked the question why it is so hard to date in this city. Is the dating scene in Vancouver worse than other cities?
I set out to see what people had to say about this and what they said was less than pretty. Mike, who is 28, told me that "the reason it's so hard to date in Vancouver is because this is a city that younger people pass through." He added, "Once people reached the age when they are ready to settle down which usually entails buying some sort of real estate, people move away due to the absurd cost of owning."
Adam, is 24, put forth the idea that Vancouver is an easy place in which to hook up with someone. "This decreases the desire to settle down till a later age," he said. Others have also told me the cost of living is so high in Vancouver that children of privileged families are driven towards a higher tendency to focus on themselves and away from commitment.
If any of this is true, how does anyone who is looking for a committed relationship meet their potential mate? The most common suggestion I receive is to go online. But if my parents were able to meet each other without the help of Internet dating, what is it about today's culture that differs?
"Even though I'm married, if I was single I would definitely go the online dating route," said Lisa, 45. "It's difficult to date how people use to date because I think we're less social and technology has changed the amount of time we actually spend going out and interacting."
I think each and every one of the people I talked to has some truth in what they said whether it's through pure observation or from personal experience. Our environment has a larger impact on our perspective in life and I think it's especially relevant in Vancouver. Traditional rites of passage such as owning a home are challenged by competition within the housing market.
The high price of housing may also attract people to the city who are not looking to settle down for a long-term stay. If we're not ready or prepared for a serious commitment, we will tend to adjust our needs and wants according to what we are ready to offer.
The economy may be influencing our personal lives more than we realize. Think about what you perceived as a priority when you lived with your parents previous to moving out. Often times it is the change in roles and responsibilities that pushes us to grow up and act like an adult. Essentially, the housing market may be stunting our emotional and relational growth in addition to leaving us little to work with in our bank accounts.
Amy Yew is a researcher and therapist. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also tweet your thoughts on Twitter @AmyYew.