I grew up in a close-knit southern town and am grateful for my small town upbringing. However, since graduating high school, I’ve moved to bigger cities to pursue my studies and professional passions and I’ve never looked back. I’ll always be grateful for my small town roots but will never date a guy from a similar place.
Loving my childhood doesn’t mean I want the same things in adulthood.
Let me begin by saying I loved growing up in a small town. I loved living a short walk or bike ride from my best friends, knowing my neighbors, and feeling safe. But loving my life at 10 or 12 years old doesn’t mean I want the same thing at 22 or 24. Now that I’m older, I know I want the excitement of big city life and I want to be with someone who thrives in big cities like I do.
There’s a difference between being grounded and being naïve.
I credit my small town and the family, neighbors, and friends therein for keeping me grounded as I’ve grown up and moved away. That being said, had I stayed there my entire life, I’m sure I would be much more naïve about the world around me. I don’t want a guy who’s never known anything but his town of fewer than 60,000 people and who doesn’t have the wider perspective of someone who’s broken away from it.
I need to be with someone who dreams big.
Growing up, I felt like the exception: someone who loved her town but couldn’t wait to get some distance from it once she was old enough. I’m certainly not the only small town girl to pursue bigger and better things, but in my experience, like-minded people are hard to come by. I want to be with someone whose ambitions are bigger than his high school basketball stats and Prom King title.
I get bored easily.
I get restless the longer I’m stuck in the same routine and small towns inherently lack the dynamism, thrill, and—let’s face it—the culture of bigger ones. I crave change and challenges, whether that means trying a new restaurant or finding an alternative route to work when my metro stop closes unexpectedly. I want to be with a guy who embraces excitement the way I do and is always looking for new experiences.
My and my partner’s business should be our business.
On one hand, it’s comforting to know pretty much everyone in my hometown. On the other, it’s suffocating. Of course I want to share my and my partner’s life with close friends and family, but when the going gets tough, it should be nobody’s business but our own. Gossip spreads like wildfire in small towns and I’m loath to feed those flames.
I want to take my husband’s name, but don’t want to join a small town dynasty.
The further I get into adulthood, the less keen I am on settling down somewhere where people know my or my guy’s parents and grandparents. I’m traditional in the sense that one day I do want to take my husband’s name, but by doing so, I don’t want to join a small town dynasty—something that’s unfortunately common where I come from.
I find anonymity inspiring.
There’s something so liberating about walking out on the streets of a big or foreign city, knowing nobody knows who you are or where you came from. In this kind of anonymity, I feel free to be myself, act without fear of reproach, and discover the parts of me that were stifled in a small town. I want to find a partner who’s also found that freedom and has the confidence to be himself, well before he meets me.
I want a guy who can handle big city responsibilities.
Here I go making more generalizations, but hear me out. Big city life is undoubtedly more stressful and I’m attracted to guys who can handle big city responsibilities. Sure, these guys may not know how to change a flat tire, but if they can navigate the metro system, keep their tiny apartment clean, and introduce me to their favorite hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant, I’ll be smitten in no time.
This doesn’t mean one day I won’t return to a small town, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
Remember what I said about having an awesome childhood? One day—several years from now—I’d love for my kids to grow up the same way I did. But the thing is, I’m not ready for that—neither the kids nor the return to small-town life. My 20s are for pushing myself and growing in ways I’d never be able to within the city limits of a small town. I’m confident that in the unpredictability of big city life, I’ll find the guy I’m meant to be with.
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