Single in Raleigh

single in raleigh

Raleighites often boast about the city’s top rankings in “best of” lists. It scores highly when it comes to family life, real estate, entrepreneurship and cost of living. But there’s one list where Raleigh doesn’t bode well—love and dating. In 2014, Raleigh was named the worst city in America for singles, according to online dating service Zoosk. Two years later, there isn’t much improvement. WalletHub rated our city #75 for dating opportunities, with Akron, OH, Witchita, KS and Stockton, CA making better matches for singles. Clearly, when it comes to dating, this city needs a little help.

“It’s more difficult here,” says dating coach Alma Rubenstein, who moved to Raleigh three years ago after helping singles find love in Los Angeles and Seattle. “People are more reluctant to meet. There’s not a lot of support systems for single folks.”

According to Rubenstein, many singles also have forgotten how to flirt, which makes it hard to meet someone new and exchange information. She notes many of her clients come from the tech industry and often feel uncomfortable in social situations. In fact, she started hosting seminars focused on flirting, including Flirting 101 and Flirting With Success (datedoctoralma.com), to help locals learn how to connect with those they find attractive. She uses improv techniques learned from years of acting to help attendees learn to flirt while also having fun in the process.

“It’s called the dating game for a reason,” she says. “It’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun. How can we make this fun? Two people exchanging a glance, your body heats up, your stomach stirs. People don’t do it enough.”

Is it hard to meet people in the city? Are we flirting averse? We wanted to find out what it’s really like being single in Raleigh at every age, from your 20s to your 80s. And, here’s what you had to say. 

George Jefferis

Born and raised in Raleigh, Jefferis says he’s had two serious relationships. Currently, a police academy candidate, he doesn’t have a lot of time to meet people.

Timing is everything…

I’m not really looking for anything serious because my time is really limited. If I’m in a relationship, I want to give that person the time they deserve. I hate to generalize because there are always outliers, but I think women in their mid- to upper-20s are looking for a family. Men, like myself, are concentrated on their career. They want to have a stable foundation to be able to support their family and their significant other emotionally.

On marrying young…

A lot of my friends have gotten married or are in serious relationships and will be married in the next few years. I think you need to know who you are as a person before you figure out what you’re like with another person.

Great places to meet people…

You can meet people anywhere, at the gym, a coffee shop, grocery store, bars. It doesn’t matter where I go.

Computers versus humans…

I’ve never been into online dating. I got on Tinder at one point, and I thought it was ridiculous. I would much rather meet a person in person than online. I understand time constraints but you can build more of a relationship in person. I’m the outlier.

Patience is a virtue…

In this technical climate, everything comes quickly. When it comes to dating, we want it to happen quick. We turn to our cellphone and say, ‘I can meet someone right away.’ Being patient and saying ‘I like this person’ is important to me. Instead of seeing LOL on a screen, you see the person smiling or laughing in front of you.

Rainey Ashcraft

Involved in a seven-year relationship in his 20s, Ashcraft found himself 30 and single. After two years of dating, he has recently started a new relationship with someone he met online.

Bring on the 30s…

Dating in your 30s is totally different; you meet people differently. Being gay in Raleigh when I was in my 20s, it was more of a taboo scene. Now, it’s more accepted socially. The city is welcoming, and there are plenty of opportunities to meet people. Now my goals are completely different; I’m not just looking for someone that is attractive. I’m looking for someone that has my same interests. I’m looking for love.

Those Who Play Together, Stay Together…

I co-founded a kickball league, Stonewall Kickball. It’s a great social network to meet people. It’s important to me to enjoy activities with someone—going to Meetups for your interests, bowling leagues, sports. We have so many things here in the Triangle to take advantage of—the greenways, museums, tons of events like First Friday.

The good and bad of apps…

People of all ages are using apps. There’s the good and the bad. Some people only have one goal – meeting one time only – other people are really looking for a relationship. It’s weeding through who’s there for what reason. I hear a lot of people saying that match.com is a successful way of meeting someone—gay or straight.

Deciphering online dating…

Apps allow people to state their desires. If they take the time to go into depth about their interests and who they are as a person, it makes a huge difference. I think people are generally honest. It also makes it easier to find common interests and set up a date. If someone wants to meet you right away, it’s usually a red flag. If someone wants to talk and get to know you first, they’re usually of substance.

The magic of Photoshop…

People can do a lot of magic through Photoshop. Or, was this picture taken 10 years ago? It may be the person, but not how they are representing at that moment. I’ve heard horror stories about people using a false picture, I don’t want to discourage anyone. I’ve had good experiences with it.

Kris Shuford

After a five-year marriage in her 20s, Shuford divorced in 2001. Since then, she’s had a couple of serious, long-term relationships and one broken heart. 

40-something and dating in Raleigh… 

In a word:  difficult.  I do feel that so many people meet their spouses and significant others during college and their 20s. I realize that the Raleigh area has been named one of the best for dating, but apparently I am not looking in the right places.  My job also requires me to be at work very early in the morning. Because of this, late nights out on the town are a very rare occurrence.  Perhaps this limits my exposure to meeting new people.

Finding Time to Meet People…

I have found meeting new people not very easy. At this age, we have many obligations and commitments. These, on top of holding down a career, a household, and possibly a family, leave a little time to meet new people. Thankfully, I am blessed with many wonderful friends, but even they have not been able to turn up any new people for me to meet.

Done with Dating Sites…

I have tried several of the online dating sites such as Match, eHarmony and OK Cupid. Although I have met some very nice guys, I have not yet met THE guy. Currently, I am not on any dating websites.

Tell it to Me Straight…

I certainly should have kept a diary of all of the experiences I have had. I would say the one that stood out the most was the gentleman who described himself as an avid hiker and gardener, but then showed up in a wheelchair.  He was paraplegic. A little heads-up about his situation would have been much appreciated.  I had another one who showed up with the breathe-right strip on his nose. 

Best Date…

I am still waiting for this one!

Victoria Riddell

Involved in a seven-year relationship in his 20s, Ashcraft found himself 30 and single. After two years of dating, he has recently started a new relationship with someone he met online.

50-something and dating in Raleigh…

Fifty-plus is a great age; however, Raleigh is not ideal for mature singles. It is much more family orientated without a sophisticated cosmopolitan center. Many men at this age have children below 18 as their former wives had careers prior to children.  After kids and dogs, they do not seem to have time to date. Even more challenging as a woman without children is meeting men without children.

Being single in a couple’s world…

As a woman, it is not easy to meet men without attending sporting events and activities, or frequenting bars, which are not highly respected venues for serious dates! Couples are not fond of inviting singles to join social affairs. If couples or friends do introduce prospective date material it is normally shockingly way off base. A good match is not their priority, proving they are trying is!

Love and Friendship…

I met up with a man from an online dating site. When we met, the attraction and chemistry was instant, and we laughed and talked easily. We went out several times and although we did not continue dating past a few weeks, we have remained friends for years. In fact, it happened twice, and so I have two close male friends from on-line dating sites. I truly believe there are great men out there and the ones I have met have been very pleasant and kind, just no chemistry for me or the other way around.

Alexandra Drosu
Alexandra Drosu

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