Katrina Clarke | Sept. 14, 2015 | Toronto Star
Sean Hoff moved to Liberty Village this summer seeking a fresh start in a “young, fun place” after a breakup.
“I think there’s no other place in the city that is as welcoming and encouraging of meeting your neighbours — be them single or in couples,” said Hoff, 31.
In July, Hoff started hosting monthly dinner parties for neighbours, bringing together a mix of couples and singles in a neighbourly move he never could have pulled off in his old King St. and Spadina Ave. area, he said.
It’s not intended to be a matchmaking event, and while no singles have linked up romantically after the dinner — as far as he knows — Hoff said the greatest outcome would be if he unintentionally match-made a couple who eventually got married.
In the age of Tinder, condo Facebook groups and ubiquitous apartment-dwelling, Toronto singles are bound to have a love match or two within their own building. But while there are a slew of positives that come with inter-building dating, there are also potentially love life-ruining risks if singles aren’t prepared for close-proximity romance.
Amanda Sarju, 34, was working out at her condo gym when she looked in the mirror and saw her ex-boyfriend, a neighbour, running just two treadmills away.
The split was amicable and she assumed he’d say hi. But things got awkward, fast.
“This guy refused to look at me,” she said. “He literally ran staring at the ground.”
Sarju was leery about trying inter-building dating again, but didn’t let the fears stop her from pursuing her current boyfriend — a man who lives in her Liberty Village condo complex who she met through friends.
“It’s convenient,” she said with a laugh. “There’s no walk of shame, you don’t have to go outside … (If) we drank all our wine, I’ll run down and grab a bottle of wine from my place.”
She likes the luxury of having two apartments, while still having her own space to retreat to.
And while the benefits outweigh the cons for Sarju, a business manager with a luxury car company, she said it takes maturity and desire for commitment to make neighbourly love last.
“If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, yeah, it can come back to bite you in the ass,” she said, imaging how awkward it would be to run into your one-night-stand in the elevator.
CityPlace condos, Sarju has heard, are a hotspot for those types of university dorm dalliances.
Regardless of what a singleton is looking for, there’s undoubtedly a better chance they’ll find a romantic partner in communities like Liberty Village and CityPlace, where young professionals abound, than in neighbourhoods where people are coupled-up or typically keep to themselves.
But while some inter-building daters find long-lasting love, others find themselves in murky waters.
“It’s so tricky,” said Kimberly Moffit, relationship therapist and head of KMA Therapy in Toronto. “At the end of the day, you probably don’t want to pick up and leave your building just because a relationship didn’t work out.”
Moffit says it’s important for singles to approach inter-building dating with their eyes open. There’s always the possibility you might run into your recent hookup while on a date with someone else, and there’s a risk that the relationships might become too casual and comfortable too fast, she said.
“It’s really important to keep the intrigue going,” said Moffit. “Give a good window in between dates, like a week, so you’re actually looking forward to seeing each other.”
She’s adamant, though, that people not shy away from possible partners just because they fear an awkward breakup. And finding love while doing laundry or getting mail — when people don’t usually have their guard up or full face of makeup on — can also be the most natural setting to meet in, she said.
But these days, she thinks there are fewer couples dating within their buildings than there were 20 years ago. It’s an assumption she chalks up to reliance on online dating and the pervasiveness of smartphones to bury one’s head in.
As for Sarju, as her relationship approaches the one year mark, she has a policy in place to keep things fresh and exciting: no unsolicited visits.
“I need time to brush my hair, brush my teeth,” she said. “I don’t want you to drop in with coffee. You think it’s a nice gesture but I look like a hot mess.”