Schmid suggests a shift in the area’s perceived culture of conservatism, noting the frequency of women open to polyamory, according to their online dating profiles.
(Monogamy is his style.) A general sense of commitment and trust, however, persists in Grand Rapids, perhaps rooted in those historically conservative values.
“You have the opportunity to make an impact here.” Tellis glows as she discusses empowering others through music, environment and education. When asked to characterize Grand Rapids, a sense of pride accompanies her descriptions of community-oriented, entrepreneurial and kind West Michiganders.
“But Grand Rapids opens up possibilities and forces you to get to know different perspectives and people for who they are versus their physical appearance.
In other cities, it’s easier to stick with what’s comfortable,” says Newsome.
Tellis, an African American and lesbian, says she’s experienced discrimination in other parts of the country, but has never felt uncomfortable in Grand Rapids.
“Grand Rapids is a big small city,” says Ellen Jones*, 46 and single.
When it comes to finding a significant other, newcomers and boomerangs agree: it’s easier to meet people in bigger cities, but it’s harder to keep them, because there’s always the next best thing. and a former Baltimore and Seattle resident, Henian Newsome, 29 and in a relationship, knew Grand Rapids was going to be different when he moved here more than a year ago.
Here, they said, it may be harder to meet people, but it’s easier to keep them. “There were no hip-hop stations, no professional sports teams.Jones suggests to simply let people know you’re looking to date and are open to introductions. While a long-term companion is the ultimate ideal for most, don’t let “single” define you.This method has kept her in the dating game nearly every week since January 2013. Next time that ugly thought “There must be something wrong with me, because I’m 30 and single” creeps its way into your conscious, squash the age-old societal norms by embracing who you are (independent, self-aware, etc) and what you have (freedom, flexibility, space).Perhaps as a result of the region's conservative label, others expressed the same expectation, so that by continuing to explore their options while pursuing other goals, some local singles feel they're defying traditional norms.Hailing from the east side of Michigan, Mike Schmid, 30 and fresh off the market, notices stark differences in religious values between the west side and east side of Michigan: “Here, people are more proudly devout, whereas there, faith was quieter and more personal.” Calling himself “spiritual, but not religious,” Schmid says it’s not too difficult to find others with similar values.While the small town vibe decreases anonymity around town and across social circles, it may lend itself to the culture of trust. ” The question generally induces sighs and a few smirks.