Pretty much everyone who’s moved to a new town knows that butterfly-ish feeling you get that’s asking, in a nutshell, What now? Unfamiliar places and faces surround you, and if you’re single, it may be tempting to think, There’s no way I’m going to find Mr./Ms. Right here — I don’t even have a clue where the closest coffee shop is! While feeling doomed romantically is a common fear amongst new-in-towners, I’m here to say that, on the contrary, moving can be just the shot in the arm you need to achieve the best dating success in your life! Not convinced? Check out these surprising benefits below and how to make the most of them.

Benefit #1: You can play the “I’m new in town” card as an easy way to break the ice
Flirting experts often say your best tactic for meeting people is a conversation piece… and announcing that you’re new in town — in person or in your online dating profile — can bring out a potential mate’s “welcome wagon” gene and make for tons of easy icebreakers. “Tie your new-in-town announcement to something specific,” advises Evan Marc Katz, founder and author of Why You’re Still Single. “If you’re in L.A., you could say, ‘I’m new in town, and I wanted to check out the Hollywood Bowl concert series — but it’s no fun picnicking by myself.’ That way, you’ve painted a picture of yourself and your interests and projected an air of likeable vulnerability.” Obviously, you don’t want to head off somewhere remote with a virtual stranger, but if a coworker suggests getting a group together to go picnicking, you’re on your way to mingle-hood.
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Benefit #2: Your new pool of potential mates may suit you better than the old city could offer
When Jill, 38, took a look at her dating life, she saw a pattern: sweet Southerner clashing with the New England approach to courting, since that’s where she settled after college. Nobody treated her with what she saw as the necessary amount of respect to earn a date. “I wasn’t asking for much,” she says. “I just wanted to be, you know, courted, not treated like a buddy. Nobody had the type of manners I expected to see.” That all changed the day Jill moved to Austin, TX. “I mean, men actually ask me if I would like to go out on a date,” she gushes. “They’re so nice. I absolutely love them!” The moral of the story? Maybe the reason you’re still looking for The One is due in part to the fact that you were in the wrong place — and are now living in the right one. Maybe you’re a small-town type at heart living in the big city, or vice-versa; either way, your next move could be the right one for you.

Benefit #3: You’re forced to explore your new surroundings, including places where local singles congregate
It’s a simple matter of survival: you are going to explore new coffee shops, grocery stores and farmers’ markets wherever you find yourself. You have to haunt furniture stores, hardware emporiums, and you’re bound to hit the local Home Depot. All of these are prime places to open your eyes and see the attractive singles all around you — and maybe ask for a little advice on how to prep for a paint job. “Since you don’t have access to your old friends and routines, you pretty much have to put yourself out there and try new things and make new friends,” says Dr. David Hawkins, author of Are You Really Ready for Love? 10 Secrets to Finding the One You Want. Need some ideas? Sign up for the local runner’s club, take a writing class, or just make it your mission to acquaint yourself with every restaurant in your new neighborhood. When Liesa, 31, moved to a small town in Pennsylvania, she went on a health kick and took on a bevy of new activities, from swimming to running to mountain biking. And that’s exactly how she connected with Doug at work. “I had been borrowing a bike,” she recalls. “I asked Doug for advice on buying a mountain bike, since he used to be an editor at a cycling magazine. He actually built one for me (that was so hot!), and then we started going on bike rides together. Now we’re engaged!”

Benefit #4: A new locale can erase painful reminders of your past relationships and give you a new, more positive outlook on love
Sure, your old digs may have been comfortable, and you knew your way around. But it probably also saddled you with a decent amount of relationship baggage over the years: Look, there’s that coffee shop where my ex and I had our first kiss… or There aren’t any available women in this entire town — and believe me, I’ve looked everywhere. Thankfully, your new surroundings are a blank slate of sorts, one where you can start fresh with the type of attitude that may magically bring romantic potential out of the woodwork wherever you go. “This is what I call The Away-Game Theory,” says Katz. “Doesn’t everyone find it easier to hook up when they’re on vacation?” Being away from what’s expected, he says, “loosens you up to be yourself.” Tanya, 35, who moved from New York to Los Angeles, definitely found her fresh outlook helped jump-start her love life. “Since I had no expectations, I had no fear,” she explained. “Most people say Los Angeles is so lonely and shallow, but I’ve met tons and tons of creative, smart, ambitious guys who want to date me, more so than in New York. I’m dating much more. Maybe it’s because I’m much more open to different types of men than I was before.” The bottom line is, there’s nothing like change to open your eyes to new possibilities, and few things shake things up like moving to a new town. So get out there and enjoy it!

Amy Keyishian is a freelance writer based in New York, who has written for Cosmopolitan, Maxim and other publications.