Why Atlanta is one of the worst cities for dating

Atlanta has all the elements to be the best city for dating in America, but instead it is one of the worst.

“Atlanta is a mess,” says Brian Howie, creator of the Great Love Debate world tour which seeks to answer the question, “Why is everyone still single?”

Howie’s love tour has been to the metro area three times in the past year-and-a-half and after completing more than 100 shows in 70 cities nationwide, the results look pretty bad for the ATL.

“Every time I go to Atlanta, I hear [people saying] ‘It is 6 to 1, women to men.’ It’s not. It is 50/50 in every city in America,” Howie says.

But when it comes to dating, attitude is everything and Atlanta is hostile territory.

“There are plenty of men and a little bit of desperation in the air in Atlanta, so it doesn’t bode well. That doesn’t put men on their best behavior,” he says.

Women in Atlanta are a particularly desperate daters. There are Black women who are totally frustrated with their options and young women who think they should be married by age 30, Howie says. Men in Atlanta take advantage of that desperation and get away with more crap than men in cities like New York, Howie observed.

The crowd at the Great Love Debate Atlanta. April 2014.

The crowd at the Great Love Debate Atlanta in April 2015.

During one memorable Atlanta show, a man stood up to share with the audience what he was looking for in a girlfriend when up popped a woman he had gone on a date with six months before. “She said, ‘I’m exactly that and you didn’t want it,'” says Howie. It was kind of like the Jerry Springer show, Southern style.

“I love Atlanta. Then I get there and I’m scared to death,” Howie says. Atlanta women have convinced themselves there are no good guys in the city and none are coming. But Howie sees things differently.

“People move to Atlanta all the time, the weather is good, there are tons of places to go.
All the pieces are in place for Atlanta to be the best dating city in America,” he says.

Howie started his love tours as a promotional tool for his book “How to Find Love in 60 Seconds,” ($20, 4th Street Media)  then it turned into a social experiment. Now, as he says, it is a movement. In 2016, the tour will go to nine countries and 200 cities (it returns to Atlanta on March 2).

Howie has hosted spin-off love debates to address different races, religions and sexual orientations — Jewish, Christian, Black, Asian, gay and straight. While attendees range in age from teens to septuagenarians, the average age is between 35-55. About half of the crowd is divorced and half have never been married.

Panelists Ellen Smoak and Des O'Connor at the Great Love Debate Atlanta, April 2014.

Panelists Ellen Smoak and Des O’Connor at the Great Love Debate Atlanta, April 2015.

No matter where in the country he is or who he is talking to, singles almost always raise the same issues. “People always want to hear the grass is greener,” says Howie. “In every city in America, there are thousands of possible matches for you and you have to learn how to recognize it.”

For now, Howie’s picks for the best dating cities are Washington, DC for single women and Charlotte for single men.

How can Atlanta elevate the dating scene and take its rightful place as the best city for dating in America?

Men and women in Atlanta need to call a truce and learn how to meet in the middle.

“Women want men to try harder and men want women to make it easier,” says Howie. “If we can just take a half-step toward each other, it will be so much better.”

Reader Comments 0

Tony Barton Jr.
Tony Barton Jr.

I don't know about any of that but, I do know dating in Atlanta is ridiculous. The fact that I'm single, young (26), good looking, work (hard), have a since of decency and I know it, kills the atmosphere when I walk in. My smiling up beat presence brings a hint of joy to the environment. I speak clear and with truth so, my motives are quickly understood. A since of order lingers in the air after I am done talking.

Subconscious, I look to every eye watching to see whose ear heard and to whom it may concern the most.

It's then I notice the woman's attention and attractions (young and mature) and, unfortunately for me... the men's as well. I'm straight for the record.

Upon approaching a woman, they snap, almost as if being harassed with in a matter of seconds. Then grin as I am apauled. Mere seconds later the men try their luck.

I am a businessman, therefore I must be respectful. I can't make an assumption that the lightest pass was personal and be confrontational, and then look like an @**whole.

While they are persistent and the women keep brick walls, I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.


@Ryan Baker @Melissa Connealy   Ms. Melissa, I'm going to go out on a limb here but after 32 years of experience as a psychotherapist, I'm usually right on target.  I think the "Mr. Brown" described in your message above is "Mr. Baker" in disguise.  I am of the opinion, based on your description, that this individual displays many characteristics of both narcissistic and psychopathic personality types.This gentleman, has just self-diagnosed himself, in his reply to your response.  He called you "crazy". Without knowing this individual personally, take a look at the relationships he’s had with important women in his life, like his mother.If there’s a broken relationship, chances are, this individual is severely broken, he’s never had the nurturing and love from a mother and does not know how to nurture ANY relationship with women their entire lives. They experience failed relationship after failed relationship, staying only briefly to get a “high” from the newness of it before it quickly breaks down. Deep down inside they are loners.

Additionally, psychopaths are, first and foremost, social predators. With no conscience to check their behavior, they use charm and manipulation liberally to get what they want from others. No one is exempt from this. They modify their personalities to become exactly the person they think you want them to be. And they’re good at it.

In the beginning,  underneath the mask that they wear, they appear incredibly thoughtful, sympathetic, and you feel an unusually deep connection with them — until they no longer need anything from you. That's when the crazy-making behavior begins.  They are extremely selfish, self-centered, egotistical, self serving, controlling, manipulative and pathological liars. 

When a psychopath tries to make you doubt your intuition, it means your intuition was causing them trouble. Psychopaths seek to psychologically destroy anyone who might threaten their illusion of normalcy to the world. So when they begin playing mind games with you, it’s actually a warped, indirect tribute to your ability to notice that something was “off” about them.

Here are some common phrases you'll hear from a psychopath who's trying to make you doubt your sanity — and how they serve to undermine your independence.

1. "You overanalyze everything.”

Psychopaths will intentionally do things to make you feel on-edge or paranoid,  aim to make you doubt your intuition by constantly planting hints to make you feel anxious and then blaming you for having that anxiety.

2. "I hate drama.”

And yet, you’ll soon come to discover there’s more drama surrounding them than anyone you’ve ever known. Psychopaths will first idealize you above everyone else, praising you for your perfect, easygoing nature, telling you how beautiful you are everytime they make love to you. But because they are perpetually bored, this never lasts long. They are pathological liars, serial cheaters, and eternal victims.

Before long, these qualities inevitably start to surface and cause you overwhelming confusion. Anytime you mention your concerns or frustration, they’ll declare their hatred of drama and make you feel bad for reacting to their horrible behavior (instead of addressing their cruel and intentionally bad behavior itself).

3. “You're so sensitive.”

Psychopaths manufacture emotions in others — it’s what they do. After constantly showering you with praise and flattery, they’ll ignore you for days on end and wait for you to react. When you finally do, they’ll accuse you of being sensitive or needy. They’ll insult, belittle, and criticize you (usually in a teasing/joking manner), pushing your boundaries until you finally speak up.

Then, they’ll turn your manufactured reactions against you in order to make you seem crazy.

4. “You misunderstood me.”

Sure, healthy couples have misunderstandings and miscommunications all the time. But psychopaths will intentionally say things they know will provoke you. When you react, they’ll turn the tables and blame you for misunderstanding. Often, they’ll even deny that they ever said it.

This is called gaslighting — blatantly doing or saying something, and then blaming the other party for misinterpreting it (or denying that it even took place). The fact is, you understood what they said perfectly fine. They’re just trying to make you doubt your sanity.

5. “You're crazy/bipolar/jealous/bitter/in love with me.”

The name-calling usually starts when things are going downhill fast. According to a psychopath, all of their ex-lovers, colleagues, and friends are crazy, bipolar, jealous, bitter, or in love with them. This becomes very confusing when they start reaching out to those very same people they once denounced to you, using them to triangulate and cause chaos (making the psychopath appear in high demand at all times). Then they toss you in that very same “crazy” bucket, continuing their never-ending cycle of idealizing and devaluing anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path.


If both people would learn that in a relationship where another person has been added to your life, it stopped being about you. Also, unpack the baggage and don't punish the next person for something that you refuse to let go of. Hold grudges=Dying alone!


Hilarious part is that when a woman finds out I'm a widower they cut and run for some reason. I'm looking for the reason to clean out my home and start over. Guess also because I don't deal with the drama most cut and run as well. 


Don't get me started.  Every man  I met in Atlanta after the age of 35 acted terrified of me and women in general.  They'll get hurt again, boo hoo.  News flash - we all get hurt, get over it and move on.

Kandis Byron
Kandis Byron

I lived in Atlanta for 5 years never could hold a man attention due to the competition, she giving in quicker than I or they would say things like I'm to short, to dark, to pretty I cause to much attention, my locs represent I'm dirty woman. Or I will find damaged men in transition from recent relationship. The only men that appreciated me and treated me well was married men. No, I did not date them.

I'm back home in nyc and it's an entirely different arena.

Carla J
Carla J

I can't believe that one word was not said about the famous "Down Low" problem in The ATL...I lived there for over 25 years and it seemed like every other dude had this problem. You would think that with all the so-called "Upscale Buppie" guys there, that this would be dating heaven. But, alas...all the eligible straight dudes must have went to jail or got married or something because the next thing I knew it was like 4 girls for every guy and those guys lost their ever-loving minds. They started treating women like trash because they knew that there were 3 others just waiting and hoping. Then those "down low" clubs started popping up and the next thing I knew, I was engaged to a guy who was perfect on the outside, but Oh so messed up on the inside. Sometimes you just can't treat a man too good or give him everything that he wants.  Atlanta is the perfect example of what happens when people start to get their cake and "EAT IT," too.