If I’m to believe books, movies and tv, I should be clutching my blow up doll boyfriend, sobbing, because now that I’m on the other side of 30, I have basically failed. There are, according to these mediums, very few options left, and I might as well exile myself to a life of spinsterhood. I already have two cats, might as well start collecting more J
Thank goodness I don’t believe everything I see/read. When I found myself suddenly single earlier this year, my first reaction was desolation followed by pure and utter panic because I realized that, at some point I’d have to start dating again. I HATE dating, which seems odd, all things considered, but believe me, I do. Or at least I did. Relationships I can do... but dating a non-friend always felt contrived and stressful to me. So I hated it. But, I'm not sure when, something in me shifted, and I suddenly approached dating in a completely different way than I used to, and I think it’s because I’m older.
Admittedly, in your 30s, there are certain biological issues that start to become more relevant than they were when we were 25. But failing? There being no options left? Hardly. At least not from what I have seen and experienced, both personally and vicariously. In fact, I’m going to go as far as to say that dating in my 30s has been immensely more enjoyable than dating in my 20s was. (This is not to say that I didn’t adore most of my ex boyfriends. We’re still friends, they read my blog, and they’re terrific.) What makes it better is MY perspective, which has evolved considerably. So I did some research, both asking friends but also reading scientific and psychological reviews and studies confirming that dating in your 30s is a whole different ballgame
5 REASONS WHY DATING IN YOUR 30’s is BETTER THAN YOUR 20s
More confidence: Despite the fact that I was consistently awesome on dates (I work in marketing, after all) I always found the whole process incredibly stressful and I’d always be nervous, regardless of whether or not I liked the guy. I was consumed, for mostly ego reasons, with being likeable. I no longer operate like this. Now I walk in already knowing what I bring to table and am no longer worried about him liking me but rather “Am I going to like him?” I’m 100% myself, unabashedly, take it or leave it. And if it’s “leave it” then I’m totally fine with it. I’m not interested in wasting time on someone who doesn’t like or appreciate me for who I am. This has made the whole process actually fun rather than taxing.
No games: I’ve never been a game player, but for the sake of the people that are: games subside considerably in your 30s. They’re exhausting, pointless and boring. The older we get the more we realize that finding someone we’re compatible with is a great thing, so we tend to not waste time and just be with them.
Independent: Most of us, when we’ve reached our 30's, have a more established sense of being and our lives. We’re not just starting out at our career, we have our own group of friends and hobbies, which means, usually, we have a strong sense of self and identity. Our relationships aren’t something we need to define us, but rather enhance the life we already have already built for ourselves.
Self awareness: We’re constantly evolving and changing, but in our 30s, we have more self awareness than we did when we were in our early 20s. (I don’t know about you but I am a different person than I was at 25. And thank goodness for that.) Basically: We know what we need and want. Each relationship we have, good or bad, is a learning experience, that we hopefully walk away from better than we walked in. We have figured out what works and what doesn’t, what we like and don’t like, what we want and need. So we don’t waste our time pursuing fruitless or futile endeavours. Our standards are also higher and we are less tolerant and forgiving of bad behavior, and as a result, waste less time. We also obsess less on the little things and focus on the things that actually matter.
Less jaded: Some people might say, “What on Earth is she talking about?! Failed previous relationships make us MORE jaded.” But I don’t think that’s actually the case. Think back to your first heartbreak: it was devastating, you probably thought the world was going to end and you’d never love again. Now…doesn’t that seem silly? The more breakups we’ve had, the more we know that no matter what….we’re going to be ok and get through it. We WILL move on and find someone better. And that’s pretty powerful knowledge to have. We might, perhaps, be more cautious to enter into a new relationship when we’re older, but I think that’s more due to our standards and not wanting to disrupt our lives as opposed to be afraid.
There are probably people out there who disagree with me and will lament that the dating pool is practically obsolete the older that we get. There are also people who met their partners/spouses in their teens or 20s who are happily still with them. My parents (who have the best relationship I’ve ever seen) got married at 23. I have countless friends who got married in their 20s and who are in healthy, stable, and enviously loving relationships. And those people are incredibly lucky, but it doesn’t mean that the circumstances for the single 30-somethings are dire. Instead of fixating on the fact that we’re getting older, we should focus on all the great experiences that we’ve had that have shaped and defined us. We should concentrate on all of our successes and strengths. And know that, any relationship we partake in, is with a high quality individual who doesn’t make us feel like we’re compromising but instead complementing.