Finding Love in the Urban Realm

This Valentine’s Day season the internet world will be flooded with stories like “The top 10 cities for single people to find love” or “The best cities for a romantic getaway.”  These stories are all based on the same premise – that finding a great match and maintaining a strong relationship is much easier in the city.

Sometimes finding Love just means being in the right place!

It’s easy to write off such stories as media hype or just plain silliness, but there are reasons that you see them coming back every year.  Finding love is serious stuff!  Many people really do want to find a partner, whether they are looking for a potential spouse, a soul-mate, a lover, or even some of those new categories you might find on Craigslist (and the city is great for that too!).

The city offers many advantages to the aspiring lover that can’t be found in low-density, sprawl neighborhoods, even those with large populations.  This is because urban areas help people meet in unique ways and help keep those contacts relevant. Here are some reasons that cupid is has traded in his wings for a transit pass:

  • The Right Market
    Those media stories mentioned above often focus on demographics, and for good reason.  Urban areas offer a great mix of people, and enough of them so that you can actually find someone that can tolerate you!
  • Chance Encounters
    Dense, transit-rich cities offer the chance to meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise.  Some may think it’s the height of civilization to solo commute from your home garage to your office garage without human interaction, but urbanists know otherwise!  And what’s a better introduction: exchanging names after bumping into someone on the bus or exchanging insurance cards after hitting their bumper during rush hour?
  • An Interconnected Network
    This is the best advantage of cities – meeting new people that are friends of your friends.  Instead of making eyes across the arugula patch at every girl/guy in the supermarket, ask your buddy for an introduction.  This gives every relationship a huge advantage because there is a expectation that everyone will act honorably or face the social consequences.  It also ensures that our relationships stay relevant, as we build unique communities.
  • Shared Experiences
    Do you have a fondness for Jackson Pollack artwork or French movies?  Well, before the internet evolved into a useful place, people actually visited “museums” or “art cinemas” to find others interested in similar things.  The same is true today, and on a larger scale.  The city you live in may be famous for its views of the ocean, successful sports teams, or its reprehensible politicians.  Discussing shared experiences may be trite, but it’s a good first step towards more interesting conversations!
  • A Better Alternative
    Not every relationship lasts, and some kissed frogs never change into a prince.  Cities always offer the hope of something better.  On the other hand, some relationships do last.  Your city can still offer something valuable – by hanging temptation in front of lovers every day, all are reminded they had better “be all that they can be” or their lovers might be spending next year with someone else.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I asked our contributors to share their personal stories about finding love and how their city was involved.  Please feel free to share your own stories in the comments or give a VDay shout-out to your own special someone.

Kirsten: “My husband and I met at the Melody, chatted for the first time at the Red Key, went on our first date to Mass Ave, the canal and Fountain Square (walking from Mass through Lockerbie and over to the canal), and basically fell in love while talking about our shared love of, yes, music, Indy, food and books, but also our shared hope of living in a great old neighborhood.”

And what about your Urban Indy creator…?

Kevin: “The year was 2005. I had finally saved enough money to live in an apartment on my own downtown.  It was small, it was quirky (the bedroom had 7 walls), but I was walking distance from work and of course post-work fun.  At the time I posted on an international travel website called  One day, out of the blue, I got an instant message from another person in Indianapolis. The conversation went something like this:

Netts: I see you like historic neighborhoods. Are you familiar with Chatham Arch.  I just moved in and I love it!
Me: Wow, hi, yes, I live in Chatham Arch.  It is great.
Netts: I’m in the Argyle building above Aesop’s Tables.
Me: Me too!
Netts: I’m in room ###
Me: You’re my new next door neighbor!  I’m in room ###.

We met each other that evening.  She had a long distance boyfriend at the time so neither of us had any expectations.  We decided to walk to Scholar’s Inn and the Chatterbox, and we had a great time.  One month later, after many fun nights out in the surrounding neighborhood, she decided to break off her relationship (I hope he doesn’t find this article somehow), and the rest is history.”

Happy Valentine’s Day Indianapolis!

Comments 2

  • Nice list! You’re correct, I don’t think I would have found a good match without the shared experiences and fun of city living.

  • I met my wife in Broad Ripple. She was a friend of a friend. I sometimes laugh that I have an engineering mind, and she is a full time artist with a degree from Herron and yet we get along as if we were made for each other. Im pretty confident that if I had stayed living in the small town I grew up in, that we likely may not have met. It was through my moving to the city and opening up a new social group that we were able to meet each other.

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