By Chloe Carmichael, Ph.D.

The New York City dating scene is notoriously challenging—but we’re also a city of 10 million people, so we’re quite full of great dating options! In my Park Avenue practice, I work with some of New York’s most selective singles as they work towards their goal of finding a meaningful lifelong relationship.

Singles today who are seeking a traditional, long-term relationship can sometimes be overwhelmed by the lack of structure and continuously changing social norms. These factors can make it hard to tell who shares your wish for a conventional relationship, and who could potentially wreak havoc with your heart. These guidelines are here to help you approach dating in a steady, measured way that lets you get to know people before getting too vulnerable.

Decide on a certain number of first dates you’ll have every week. The more quickly you hope to find someone, the higher that number should be. If you’re not seeing enough quality people, then knowing you still have to meet your weekly number will motivate you to either find better sources or confirm your expectations are reasonable: you don’t want to box yourself into a corner! The best number for you depends on your goals and sense of timing. If you keep your dates brief, it’s easier to hit your number without monopolizing your schedule.

Just like job seekers who don’t limit themselves to one employment search engine, you should not limit yourself to one method of finding new dates. Use multiple dating apps, ask friends to set you up, be open to new faces when you’re out with friends, try matchmakers, join the singles group at your church or house of worship—do whatever it takes to make sure you go on a pre-set number of first dates every week.

Don’t spend more than 90 minutes on a first date. Part of determining if it’s a good date is finding out how the person handles follow up—why invest multiple hours on this before you even know if they’re any good at follow up? Before you spend big blocks of time, confirm if the person is any good at follow up (whether that means asking you out again, or answering your request for a second date).

New Yorkers tend to be focused, driven people with high expectations. Remember that you’re a special person, so why would you expect to find the right partner within just a few months of searching? Give yourself time to find the right person. Commit to date in a deliberate and focused way for 12 to 18 months before you have any real expectations of finding a potential life partner. If you see someone sooner, that’s great—but setting your expectations for the long game will make the process less frantic and stressful.

Don’t permit yourself to daydream for hours about someone you don’t know very well. If you have a vivid imagination, your brain may not understand the difference, and you could develop a distorted sense of trust for the person as if you’ve been spending hours of great times and building trust with them when in reality you hardly know them.

Don’t spend too much time trying to analyze someone who isn’t there (they don’t call, not available, etc.). Just move on quickly. That’s why you need to be going on plenty of dates, keeping first dates brief, not daydreaming too much. Don’t get too focused on any one person till they demonstrate a willingness and ability to form an excellent, reliable relationship.

Feel free to take what works for you and tailor or disregard the rest. Many people who are seeking a long-term or lifelong partner struggle to find the balance between being open-hearted, yet also not becoming vulnerable too soon. The guidelines above have helped many people at my practice, and I hope they help you as well!

For more information on Dr. Chloe Carmichael, visit

Dr. Chloe Carmichael is a clinical psychologist with a private practice on Park Avenue in Manhattan. She knows firsthand how it is to be single in the city, and she teaches her clients essential tips to get what they want. Her work has been featured on VH1, CBS, FOX5, Cosmopolitan, and other national media. Dr. Chloe is happily married and mother to a beautiful baby boy. Dr. Carmichael is the author of the recently published The 10 Commandments of Dating, available on in e-book format.