Opal understood something very important about human development and relationships. As people mature, their habits become more fixed, making it harder to adapt daily routines to accommodate the addition of a romantic partner. In Opal’s generation, when people married young and society supported the continuity of their marriage, building a relationship was in some ways easier than it is today. Today, people who marry too young face serious career obstacles and other barriers. Society often expects that careers will be the first priority for both men and women, and marriages are not assumed to be “forever.” While these changes have many positive impacts—such as making it much more possible for victims of abuse to leave their abusers—they also make it harder to start and maintain lifelong relationships.
So how does a single person in Norfolk find a romantic partner and build a satisfying relationship today?
The first and most important relationship to build is that with oneself. Know who you are, what your values are, and what is important to you. Take yourself out on a date now and then, and explore the things you love doing. Whether you want tips from the Botanical Gardens master gardener (available free on Saturdays at Fred Heutte Horticultural Library in Norfolk) or wander the Chrysler Museum of Art, make some time for yourself.
When you know what really moves you, volunteer with a charitable organization that matches your values. Choose a position that lets you interact with other people as much as possible. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people who share your values, and conversation comes easily in the context of getting the work done. Look for friends rather than dates; romance is paradoxically most likely to appear when you’re not actively looking for it.
Even so, there’s nothing wrong with looking through the Norfolk personals as long as you’re not neglecting your happiness and development in order to search for romance. If you place an ad yourself, be honest; don’t say you like long walks if you’ve not actually taken one in the last year! When responding to an ad, arrange to meet in a public place in Norfolk that allows for both conversation and safety. Choose a location that provides conversation topics, and consider opting for the unconventional instead of the traditional dinner-and-a-movie routine. For example, an afternoon at the Virginia Zoo next to Lafayette Park might offer the perfect backdrop for a successful first date in Norfolk. With a $7 admission price, it can also make a date more affordable!
In Norfolk, city events offer more opportunities for wonderful dates that combine the safety of public venues with environments that facilitate getting to know your date. Upcoming opportunities include the following:
•Friday- Sunday, September 8-10, 2006: The 2nd Annual Virginia In-Water Boat Expo at Town Point Park & Waterside Marina in Norfolk, VA
•Friday – Sunday, September 15-17, 2006: 5th Annual Cingular Wireless “Norfolk Seafood and Beach Music Festival” at Town Point Park in Norfolk, VA
•Saturday, September 30, 2006 - Hours TBA: "The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival" at Town Point Park in Norfolk, Virginia
•Saturday-Sunday, October 21-22, 2006: 19th Annual Cingular Wireless Town Point Virginia Wine Festival at Town Point Park in Norfolk, VA
(More information is available from www.festeventsva.org.)
Most importantly, relax, be yourself, and have fun!