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Let’s face it – dating is tough. Many believe there’s someone for everyone, but with more than 7 billion people in the world, how many awkward first dates do we have to sit through before we find a catch? For the single travel nurse, that number might get pretty high. While the gypsy lifestyle lets you meet a lot of new people all over the country, dating while working as a travel nurse poses its own unique set of challenges.
Challenge #1: Meeting New People
Moving to a new city every few months can make maintaining your social life – and your love life – difficult. Some lucky nurses travel together which means lower expenses and an automatic friend in your new destination. But for others, it’s a completely solo journey, and while that means there’s every opportunity for adventure, many wonder where to begin.
One easy place to start is orientation. Ask around to see if there are other travelers working in your facility and seek them out. Where there’s one traveler, there are usually several, and they’re probably in the same situation you are. Looking for more local travelers at other facilities? Try social media pages like Gypsy Nurse where travelers are always eager to meet new faces. If you meet a love interest among these fellow nurses – congratulations! You’ve found someone who understands your demanding schedule and atypical lifestyle. If not, you’ve found some friends to help widen your new social circle.
Though it gets mixed reviews, online dating is another popular way for busy single people to connect. Sites like Match.com or EHarmony, or apps like Tinder are a quick way to see who’s available around you and begin communicating. Remember to be careful, though, as online dating can sometimes be dangerous. Don’t give out too much personal information to anyone you’ve never met and always trust your instincts if you get a bad vibe.
Rather meet people the old-fashioned way? The internet can still help. Meetup.com is a popular site where you can join groups of people with similar interests, including hiking, pub crawls, foreign languages and just about anything you can imagine. Join groups that interest you, start attending events and see what happens!
Challenge #2: Revealing Details About Your Career
A major hurdle for almost every travel nurse is talking about work with a current or potential dating partner. Many travelers find that their love interests no longer take them seriously once they discover they’ll only be in town a short time, and few things are more deflating to someone looking for a relationship than being considered just a fling.
For travelers who have been seeing their partners for several weeks or months, the conversation about extending their assignment may come up. For a lucky few, the suggestion is well-received and the relationship continues to grow. But more often, a traveler can tell you how the mention of extending scared their partner off, as though changing their plans for just a few weeks was too much commitment.
So what’s a travel nurse to do? The answer is different for everyone, but many nurses suggest leaving the specific details of your career out of the conversation until you know how serious the relationship might be.
Challenge #3: Dating Coworkers
Dating someone you work with has a lot of pros and cons. Fellow hospital employees will be some of the first people you meet in your city, and depending on the size of the facility, there will be many to meet. Dating another healthcare professional can be very appealing, as you may have similar schedules and will share an understanding of the demands of your field. But before beginning any workplace romance, make sure you have a clear understanding of the hospital’s rules on the matter. You wouldn’t want to put your assignment at risk!
Also beware of “serial daters.” Some perm employees may be looking out for new travelers, knowing that they are new to town and won’t be staying. If someone seems a little too interested in you, ask around with other perm employees to see if you might’ve found trouble. On the bright side, there are a lot of travel nurse love stories out there. Many travelers have met each other on assignment and continued traveling together, some even getting married!
Keep Your Head Up
Dating while traveling can be very frustrating, but don’t let it get you down! It’s true, being a travel nurse can make starting a new relationship difficult, but when the right one comes along, your career choice won’t matter. Enjoy the journey!