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ADVICEBURG: “Dear Bachelor Near Bridgewater”



(Illustration: Will Maclachlan)

People often dream of living in a cooperative community. Well, Anne Macleod Weeks did for 40 years. As a teacher, dorm parent, guidance counselor, coach, principal, and advisor to faculty and parents in boarding schools, she pretty much experienced all that life can throw at you.  She welcomes your questions and concerns.

Submit your questions for Anne at thebarnacle.ca/advice and receive guidance in next month’s Barnacle!

Dear Anne,

I am a man in his early thirties who moved to the South Shore three years ago in search of building a peaceful, community-oriented life.

Working remotely, I love living here – the ocean, chats at the farmer’s market, restoring my old house. I’m grateful to have made some good friends here, and I’m connected to my neighbours through volunteering. My life feels perfect, except for one problem: unfulfilled romantic needs.

My top priority is finding a companion. All of my friends spend most of their downtime with their partners/families. I have high self-esteem and enjoy all kinds of hobbies, but it’s very lonely spending most weekends by myself.

I don’t get matches on dating apps here, and always see the same people at parties and events – it’s a reality of our demographics there aren’t many single women around.

I have been on a few dates here by asking out women I meet through friends. Each time, it ends with respect on both sides, but then my life is more challenging because of how close-knit our community is.

There is someone I see often among my friends who I feel absolutely heartbroken to spend time around, wishing things worked out between us. And I am excluded from one circle because someone I briefly dated is now with a new partner who doesn’t want me around.

This all came to a head on a business trip to Toronto last week. I matched with a kind, funny woman – let’s call her Aadi (first name alphabetically on Babynames.com) – on a dating app. We spent an amazing day together that revealed we share a rare connection. We’re texting daily now and flirting with meeting again – but she is committed to living in Toronto.

For a while, I’ve considered relocating to a city for better dating odds. So it’s tempting to consider seeing where a relationship with Aadi could go, even if it meant moving to Toronto one day.

But I spent a summer working in Toronto years ago and I know why I didn’t want to stay: I’d be in a tiny, noisy condo at an extortionate rental price instead of the big seaside home I own. I would always be anonymous instead of building relationships with neighbours in a shared community. And I don’t have any personal connection to the area, while all of the people I really love are in Nova Scotia.

Should I see how far things go with Aadi, even if it would only either end in more heartbreak or life in Toronto? Otherwise, what should I do?

– Bachelor Near Bridgewater

***

Dear BNB,

I have heard this concern from multiple singles living on the South Shore, so you are certainly not alone. You present several aspects of this dilemma, so I will address each one.

It’s good to hear you have a solid sense of yourself. That is important when navigating relationships, and though it may intimidate some people you meet, it also means you won’t be easily sucked into a relationship that won’t work just because it is convenient.

First, any group that excludes you because a past date has a new partner is not really worth your time. Don’t let loneliness cause you to settle for a group of people who cannot see beyond their own insecurities.

Second, you mention there is someone with whom you would like to build a relationship, but it hasn’t happened. Have you tried to build a friendship with this person first? Often, getting to know one another with no expectations can eventually lead to an appreciation of each other that can be a foundation for a closer relationship in the end. Planning time with this person, even in a small group, may create a comfort level that can bring more intimacy.

Then there’s Toronto. This is a tough one. You can continue to build this relationship remotely and with visits when possible. There is always the chance that you will fall in love and location will become secondary for one of you. The risk you run with this, though, is falling in love and neither of you wanting to move, ending in heartbreak. And, where does that leave you?

Back to where you were on the South Shore with lonely weekends. If you decide to pursue this relationship, you just need to accept what the odds are and know it will or will not work out.

My question would be how much you have accessed opportunities in Halifax? Though I have heard from some singles that Hali is just as hard to navigate, there are resources there that you could try. For instance, there are the MeetUps that offer common interest areas for people to interact. There is also BumbleBFF. I have heard both pros and cons with this app, but it is certainly another potential resource.

If you have dating app burnout, you could also try The Halifax Matchmaker, Jean-eva Dickie. I first read about her in The Coast. She is known to have the magic touch. At least Halifax is an easy commute, so you might meet someone who is willing to make the drive and who appreciates the beauty of the South Shore.

So often long-term relationships develop in the workplace. With the growth of remote work, this opportunity has, unfortunately, waned. The only thing that might mirror this type of interaction would be to take a class through something like Dalhousie’s Open Learning or to maybe learn a new language. It’s good you are spending time at the Farmers’ Market and in volunteering, but taking a class might also lead to meeting new people beyond your current network.

Hold fast and keep the faith. There is definitely someone out there, as you have seen with Aadi. I know it’s an old cliche, but I believe it’s true, that the less you are actively looking, the more likely it is you will meet someone.

I wish you the best,
Anne


Comments

One response to “ADVICEBURG: “Dear Bachelor Near Bridgewater””

  1. Single on the South Shore

    I literally could have written this letter myself, you’re not the only one! Maybe the Barnacle would consider a personals section?!

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