30 Something and Dating
One of the most frustrating things in my 30's has been and continues to be dating. I can't understand why it has gotten harder. Dating is never easy, meeting people online, at work, through friends. Trying to figure out the best place and time to meet someone. How long after you start talking do you go out? or when you are asked for your phone number because "this app sucks" and you really would rather stay in app due to handful of folks you gave your number too who turned out to be creeps, stage 5 clingers, or the worst- the type who finds entertainment in sending you photos of their genitals. That is the worst kind. Apps seem to be great if you are a millennial looking for a hookup, however if you are looking for your forever partner in crime, I fear dating apps may not be the way to go.
The odds are against us, most young couples are married between 27 and 29. This means the dating pool is much smaller once we hit 30. More people are married, with families, or in long-term relationships. So where does that leave the rest of us? dating those who are in the pool, and hoping for the best. You may notice as this happens your pool of friends shrinks, as they are all off getting married, having kids, and starting a new life.
After 30 the goal changes, the focus, the end result of what is wanted and expected in a relationship. After 30 people are generally looking for a life partner. There is less desire (if there ever was a desire) to mess around, hop from partner to partner, and be labeled as a fling or arm candy. Perhaps up until 30 your focus was your career and bettering yourself, exploring and enjoying life, and maybe it's now that you are finally at peace with yourself, you have inner happiness, but you are ready for a little more. Our brains don't stop fully developing until our mid-twenties, which also means that by 30, our brains are changed. After the cognitive development and changes, our wants and needs change. People discover what they want and start seeking partners who can give it to them.
Not only are our brains fully developed, but we become set in our ways. We have our own morals, ethics, values, and a core set of beliefs. At this point, most of us know what we value, what we aspire to be, and what we are truly passionate about and want out of life. It is likely that women will be more open and upfront about what they are looking for in a relationship, as they are less likely to want to be playing the field. This is especially true of a woman in her 30's who still hopes to have her own family. Because we are in our 30's let's not forget that we most likely come with more baggage. Here's the thing, we all have baggage. None of us are perfect, none of us have it all figured out, however it's how we deal with our own baggage that is important. I am twice divorced, and I am open about that. I have no children, even though I want to be a mom. If you ask me a question about what happened, I will tell you, honestly. There are single parents looking for something real, workaholics looking for something real, divorced career driven people who, yes, you guessed it, are also looking for the real deal.
If you are dating, and in your 30's the likelihood is that you have had a few relationships. Maybe they ended okay, maybe they weren't amicable at all. Learning from these experiences, taking the good, and recognizing where things went wrong, what didn't feel right, what you aren't willing to settle for or put up with, these are major things to think about before getting invested in dating. We are adults, we have responsibilities, we have our own lives, and it can make it challenging to figure out how to make someone else a part of that, or how to figure out where we fit in to someone else's busy life.
One key factor is having similar interests. You don't have to have everything in common, you don't have to love all the same hobbies, music, foods, or films, however there should be commonalities that you share and can enjoy together. I'm in my mid-thirties, I'm not interested in a loud bar, or a crowded venue for a date or as a place to meet my potential partner. Finding common ground can help develop a relationship faster, give you both something to look forward to doing and enjoying with your partner, along with the fact that finding some common ground and interests can help develop a bond faster. I have noticed personally and professionally that things may move a little faster in the dating world in your 30's. Maybe this is because more people know what they are looking for, they can identify what isn't working, or on the flip side, what is working.
Dating after 30 may not be the easiest thing to manage, but by getting to know potential partners once you're settled in your career and know what you really want, the relationship may be more likely to last for the long haul. If for some reason it doesn't then you have gained more knowledge about what works v.s. what doesn't and what it is you need to meet your relationship goals. It's hard, it's brutal, but I encourage you to keep trudging through the mud that is dating in your 30's until you find your partner in crime who makes you forget how many bad dates, let downs, heart breaks, ghosts, or wrong matches you experienced in the past. Remember, the past is in the past, the future hasn't happened yet, so live life, love life, and date in the present.