Dating in Vancouver is a dating advice column by local relationship expert Amy Chan, author of “Breakup Bootcamp: The Science of Rewiring Your Heart”.
A lot of people gripe about how horrible dating in Vancouver is. Many complain about how “cliquish” and snobby people are, how hard it is to meet people, and how Vancouver’s culture is steeped in casual encounters and a reluctance to commit.
But are eligible candidates really that hard to find? I spoke with eight locals to get some firsthand perspective on what’s really happening in the local dating scene.
Situationships are out
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of singles I interviewed are not in favor of “situationships.” A few people didn’t even know what the term meant!
A situationship is a modern term for an intimate connection between two people that eschews traditional labels, commitments, responsibilities, and expectations typically found in conventional relationships. Situationships are more than just physical interactions; they incorporate emotional elements as well but, instead of formal dates, these interactions are casually termed as “hanging out.”
Situationships are by no means a new phenomenon; existing in the undefined, gray area of a relationship has been around for ages. It’s just more widely accepted now, and while most people don’t want them (85 per cent of the people I surveyed were against situationships), many settle for them to meet their intimate and emotional needs in the short term.
Still, the singles I interviewed expressed that they preferred committed relationships, acknowledging that casual situationships are fine for a certain stage of life. So maybe the stereotype that Vancouverites are only interested in fleeting connections isn’t quite true. People desire deeper intimacy—they might just struggle with how to create it.
To hike or not to hike? That is the question
While one person seemed terrified at the idea of being stuck on a mountain with a stranger, some were more optimistic and even preferred doing something active on a first date.
Hikers might be onto something. Research suggests that due to the misattribution of the source of arousal, increased heart rate and adrenaline can enhance perceived attraction towards someone. So, consider taking your next first date for a jaunt up a local mountain.
I asked our Vancouver singles what their biggest turn-ons and turn-offs were, and there seemed to be some consensus.
The paramount turn-on was integrity; following through with your promises has become the new aphrodisiac. On the flip side, the most significant turn-offs were a lack of self-awareness, presence, and curiosity or interest during dates.
Curiosity is a muscle that you build; it’s the antithesis of judgment. It fosters connection and cultivates compassion. Often, those who rely on interpersonal skills for their work—such as journalists, therapists, and nurses—can naturally employ their abilities to ask questions and listen attentively. This practice encourages the other person to open up and feel safe enough to share information about themselves.
The act of self-disclosure triggers the release of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin. So if you dominate the conversation on a date, you might leave feeling great, eager to see the person again because you’ve had a dopamine boost. However, if your date hardly gets a chance to speak due to your monopolization of the conversation, they won’t get these feel-good chemicals, making them less likely to desire a second date.
While Vancouver’s dating scene might be criticized for its emphasis on casual relationships, the reality is more nuanced. Vancouverites are indeed looking for meaningful connections, valuing integrity and commitment in their potential partners. The path to love is perhaps more accessible than this city gets credit for.