This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Kelowna's singles scene

There’s a white elephant in Kelowna’s proverbial living room. 

In my first column, I asked you to send me your ideas for columns you think are noteworthy. 

Surprisingly, I had more than one response asking me to write about the large number of single/divorced people and the dating scene.  

While I tend to write about the challenges of raising kids, I also realized many of these single and divorced people are also parents. 

Yet, this subject remains untouched, almost taboo. No one wants to discuss it even though the interest appears to be there. That’s why I decided to give it a try.

I’m going to fumble through this as best I can. I went out and talked to people. I lurked in coffee shops, pubs, wineries and grocery store lineups.

I was surprised at how willing people were to talk to me about it, but also, how many felt almost embarrassed by their singlehood as if they’d failed in the relationship-and-love department.

Did you know there’s something called the Kelowna Curse?

The Kelowna Curse is aptly named because of the number of couples who move to our fair town and after a few years, split up. 

The other common scenario is one person moves here to be with the other person who already lives here, and shortly thereafter they break up.

I’m interested in exploring the reasoning behind this. 

Is it money? Greener grass? The excitement of the unknown? Or is it just too easy to stop working at being in a successful relationship? 

Divorce and separation have become so normal that you can just print an agreement off the Internet — be it custody or division of assets. Sign it, and suddenly you’re on your way to posting a profile on the dating websites.

So, with the seemingly large number of already singles and the new ones coming onto the “market,” you’d think there would be a large pool of people to date, right?

Not according to the people I spoke to — males and females of all age ranges. The largest group was the 30-50 range, many of whom are parents. 

Funnily enough, it didn’t matter what decade I was talking to, the answers were similar on both sides.

The males’ biggest complaint was that the single women are looking for a “free ride” (the money theory). Someone to take care of them and their children financially and emotionally. 

But since many guys have to take care of their own kids and ex-spouses, via child and spousal support, they’re tapped out and feeling used. 

“We hadn’t even had our first date yet, but she texted me to ask what kind of car I drove,” one of my subjects said. “Why should that matter? Does she want to date me or my car?”

There was also the fear that the females want instant “In a relationship” Facebook status. There appears to be a rush to be a happy couple for all the world to see. 

History tells us that men don’t like that, especially when kids are involved. The men were so cognizant of the fact that they needed to know someone was a “good” person before introducing her to the kids. 

But the pressure to be serious right out of the gate was a major turn-off — for all the guys, whether they had kids or not.

One question I heard from so many of the guys was where are the “normal girls” in Kelowna?  The ones who have jobs and homes, who don’t expect to be wined and dined every night of the week.

And the women were very quick to respond with: “We’re right here!”  

All the women were very vocal about the men not knowing what they wanted in a partner. 

The guys say they want stability with someone who loves, but doesn’t smother. A partner to grow old with, who has a job and stable lifestyle. 

In a few cases, they wanted a mother figure for their children. 

According to the ladies, they all have the qualities the guys are looking for, but as soon as a “hotter” woman passes, their attention is captured by the sparkly object (this would be the greener grass conspiracy). 

The guys disputed this.

As is usually the case, the women were all frustrated by the mens' lack of commitment and the feeling that they were going nowhere, even after months and sometimes years of dating. 

In the case of single moms, this group felt strongly about the lack of understanding from the men if they had to cancel or change plans if their kids became ill or something came up. 

These women also felt that many men were non-participants when it came to rearing her children, but expected full participation from her to help with his kids.

What I found interesting was how quick women were to introduce the other person to their children.

On average, the women were comfortable around the third or fourth date mark. Men wouldn’t entertain the thought until the second or third month of dating. That’s a big span.

In an attempt to quell the backlash that could be generated from this column, no one disputed the sanctity of marriage, and both men and women were open to the possibility of re-marriage. 

No one gets married intending to get divorced, and the reasons for those who were divorced were varied and vast. 

The one constant though was that every single person I spoke to had the same desire to meet a lifelong partner and best friend.

Lots of disdain was expressed over online dating — there were a lot of comments about how one appears online not being who they are in person. 

As well, a constant theme of where else does one go to meet someone with integrity and morals. And the fear was real when it was suggested they approach someone they find attractive in a social setting. 

We seem to have lost our ability to communicate face to face — instead preferring the protection of our phones and laptops.

While doing this project, I was constantly challenged to keep my opinions out of it. 

I felt some obligation to try to solve this “Curse” problem, but alas, the only thing I could solidly offer was the promise of writing about it. 

Maybe even taking the perceived embarrassment out of being single for many. And I guess that’s really it. 

As for the Kelowna Curse, while I don’t see a way to stop it, it may be helpful to those who’ve experienced it to know they’re not alone. 

Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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