Whether you relocated on your own or you’ve been unintentionally thrown into the singles scene through the breakdown of a relationship, dating in an unfamiliar country can be both exciting and daunting. We spoke to two expat ladies who are discovering just what Singapore has to offer for singles, and asked them to impart any tips they had on playing the dating game here.
Penny*, in her early 40s, found herself single again after ten years of marriage. “I moved to Singapore five years ago with my husband, but after ten years of marriage he decided that being married wasn’t what he wanted. Though we separated last August, I really only hit the scene in March this year.” Susan* broke up with a long-term boyfriend in her 20s and has been single for just over a year. “I was in a relationship from my late teens into my mid-twenties. I’ve lived in Europe and the US, but I was always in this same relationship.”
* Names changed to withhold identities.
How have you found dating in Singapore?
Penny: There are men out there, although you may have to look hard for them, and fight other women off! It also depends on what you want; it can be very transient – people come and go from Singapore. This can be great as you never have to run into them again, but if you are looking for “Mr Big” it’s a harder game to play. There also seem to be a lot of younger guys out there who are into older women – something I wouldn’t say no to!
Susan: I’m a rookie, so I’ve only been on a handful of dates, and all of them have gone quite well. The guys were really nice, and we had the same interests so the conversation was good. But I didn’t fancy any of them, which is a pity. Singapore is small, so your single friends may well end up dating the same guy you’ve dated. It has happened to me, but as there was no real connection on the date anyway it wasn’t an issue. If you’re both on the same page, some guys can actually become your friends in the long run, which is also cool.
Where are the hot spots for singles in Singapore?
Penny: I’m still fairly old-fashioned, and I think you can meet someone through friends and social networks, although I’ve also dated men I’ve met in bars here. Club Street is always full of office workers on a Friday night, and there are always lots of people in Boat Quay, which is not as touristy as Clarke Quay. Talent can be sparse, depending on what is happening in the city, or if you’re looking for something long-term. If, like me, you don’t want anything serious, there are plenty of options for meeting people.
Susan: The Screening Room rooftop bar is good during the week; and it’s not crowded, in case you’re anxious about seeing people you might know. Potato Head and Chijmes are also decent spots.
How about further afield?
Penny: I’m originally from Sydney, where there are plenty of available men. I’ve also lived in London, which has a good dating scene. However, after a recent trip to Dubai, I would suggest to any single ladies to get yourself there for a girls’ weekend – there are men everywhere!
Any tips on which dating apps to use?
Penny: I’ve been on two dates through the Tinder app, and I’ve been lucky as both were good – and “normal”! You do get connected with some odd people, but you can just un-match with them. I’ve had some interesting matches on Tinder, where guys wanted to know if I was into bondage, or they were married and here on work, and wanting to hook up! I also met a guy on Tinder who was here on holiday; three months down the track, we’re still talking and have seen each a few times, but he doesn’t live here, so the long distance thing is tough. But it’s a nice surprise to still be talking and connecting in different locations when we can.
Susan: I use Tinder and Bumble. I think they’re on a par with each another, though I like that Bumble puts the girl in control of who she speaks to; you don’t have the problem of matching with 20 guys and only speaking with one! When it comes to meeting them in person, don’t set your expectations too high, and go with an open mind. Having come from a long-term relationship, I had no clue what I was doing and I found it all very cringe-worthy, but you just have to accept that this is the dating world that we live in now. I’m still getting over that part!
What are the best and worst things about being single in Singapore?
Susan: I haven’t discovered the worst thing yet – I’m still having fun; however, my single girlfriends often complain that most men come here with their partners, or that it’s very hard to find someone who lives here and isn’t just stopping by on business. The best thing is that, if you’re looking for fun, Singapore has great nightlife, with some very attractive professional men!
If you’re still looking for tips on how to enjoy the single life, check out our Wine and Dine section to find the best places to eat, drink and have fun in Singapore.
This is an article that first appeared in the November 2016 edition of Expat Living. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!