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Is dating in your 30s harder?
Some aspects of dating in your 30s make the process harder—such as a shrinking candidate pool. You can no longer meet potential partners at school and probably aren’t attending parties and social gatherings as often. These are hot spots for fresh encounters. Plus, your friends likely have fewer single friends to hook you up with by this time. In addition to a more narrow playing field, dating in your 30s means you’ve probably endured your fair share of failed relationships. So have most other eligible singles you come across. Somebody’s bound to have baggage or be jaded by past betrayals. That means some of the innocence and fun of dating may be lost.
Why dating in your 30s is better for some people.
There are many reasons dating may actually improve once you hit 30. You likely know yourself a lot better by now. Those failed relationships taught you your likes and dislikes, what you need from a partner, and what you can offer. In your 30s, you have a clearer picture of what you’re looking for because it’s supported by experience. Though the process of courtship may not be as simple as it once was, that’s not necessarily bad. Instead of only using the «like» factor, you start to consider others that support your desired outcome. The quantity of your dates may decrease, but the quality is likely to increase as you use wisdom to your advantage.
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Expert advice for dating in your 30s:
«The shortest path to relational success is understanding yourself,» Moyo says. Jackson recommends focusing on this first and foremost. She notes, «The worst thing you can do to yourself is date in your 30s and have no clue about who you are. This prolongs the dating phase because you waste time with people who have no clue how to treat you, and you don’t know how to verbalize your needs because you don’t know yourself.»
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Forget the timeline.
You often start feeling compelled to settle down in your 30s. Maybe your friends are all getting married, or your parents are questioning the direction of your dating life. If you hope to have kids one day, you may start to worry about that so-called biological clock. However, both experts caution against making romantic decisions based on a timeline. «Let go of societal ideas that you’re supposed to be in a relationship, married, or have children by the time you’re 30,» Jackson says. «Love can happen at any age. Don’t pressure yourself so much, and don’t allow singleness to make you believe that there’s something wrong with you.» Moyo adds, «You’re not late. There’s no rule book that says dating has to start and end at a certain age. 3.
Know that it’s OK to be inexperienced.
Once in your 30s, there may be an assumption that you’ve been around the block a few times. Moyo notes that dates may overestimate your sexual, romantic, and conversational skills. The list goes on. Fear of being «found out» or believed to have «no game» can sometimes hold you back in dating. But age isn’t always an indicator of experience. Many people hold off on thinking about their dating life while they’re focused on their career, social life, or hobbies in their teens and 20s, and that’s totally valid. If that’s you, accept that you’re still learning and release the need to put up a façade in dating. This is important because authenticity is key to connection. eHarmony.com Join eHarmony today to find your person.
(Ad) Dating in your 30s might mean you have your fair share of past relationship hurts. Jackson recommends going to therapy for help with overcoming persistent trauma and festering wounds. «If you don’t heal, you’ll begin to cycle through relationships,» she states. Moyo adds, «Understand and accept that wounds follow you. Any unresolved emotional baggage can be projected onto your next partner and ruin your chances of a successful relationship.»
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Pay attention to trends.
By the time you’re in your 30s, you likely have enough data to recognize patterns in your dating life. According to Moyo, those trends mean something. If the trend is positive, work to recreate those circumstances. For instance, if you have the best dating luck when you initiate first contact, take the lead more often! If you notice a negative trend, such as being repeatedly ghosted, consider the cause. Think about what you can learn from it and the elements present in each scenario. Then you can make adjustments as needed to right your dating ship. 6.
Give up the games.
Don’t fall into game-playing traps. Jackson urges giving up tactics such as waiting three days after a date to call or text. «If you want to reach out, reach out,» she says. «If you want to ask someone on a date, just do it. Here’s the thing: Rejection won’t hurt as much because you’ve done the work to heal yourself and understand that it happens in life, and you’ll be fine.» Everyone’s a certified grown-up now—time to date like one.
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Be clear about what you want.
We’re often hesitant to be upfront and honest about what we want for fear of scaring someone away. However, verbalizing your intentions should take place early on when dating. «Here’s the thing,» says Jackson. «If you’re dating with intent, in hopes of being married, having children, etc., voice that from the beginning. Don’t be the overzealous dater who tells every person that they’ll be your husband or wife on the first date. However, do speak about dating intentions.» Being upfront about wanting something serious will naturally eliminate dates who just want to have fun. Straightforward dialogue will also help you avoid awkward situations later when you’re looking for something casual. If your candor scares someone off, the sooner the better. 8.
Learn your money personality.
In your 30s, financial considerations become much more important than they may have been in your younger years, says Moyo. Financial problems in relationships are also one of the most common causes of divorce. He suggests asking yourself questions about your so-called money personality.» For example: Do you see money as power, status, security, or a resource to be enjoyed? It’s crucial to date people who relate to money the same way you do if you’re hoping to develop a serious relationship. 9.
Understand your attachment style.
Moyo also recommends learning your attachment style to understand why you do what you do when dating and in relationships. The better you understand yourself, the easier it will be to help a potential partner understand you. Plus, you can work on removing any barriers keeping you from healthy romantic attachment. Don’t be afraid to dig deep into self-awareness. 10.
Stop dating people for their potential.
Sometimes we continue dating someone because we believe they’ll be a great partner one day, whether that’s when they’re less stressed out, or when they finally get a job, or when they learn to be less defensive. Some psychologists refer to this as creating fantasy bonds. «You don’t have the magic wand to fix anyone,» Moyo states. «Chances are if someone has been that way for the past 30 years, you won’t change them. Experience the relationship now, not in the future.» 11.
Sharpen your communication skills.
Enhanced communication should be one major difference between dating in your 20s and dating in your 30s. Jackson says effective communication can help eliminate assumptions and ensure you and your dates are on the same page. Practice fully expressing your thoughts. Make sure you aren’t approaching dating with a closed mind. Jackson says some people can get so hung up on finding someone who fits their predetermined «type» that they miss out on an ideal mate. Don’t limit your dating pool with a bunch of superficial requirements, such as «tall and handsome.» 13.
Don’t rely solely on dating apps.
While dating apps are a formidable source of meeting new people, Jackson says you can’t be afraid to step away from your comfort zone. Date outside of your box. Attend social gatherings and be willing to meet people in different environments. She even suggests trying blind dates. Your future partner may not be on an app. 14.
Forget the gender roles.
According to Jackson, gender roles and gender rules are a major source of playing games in dating. If you’re caught up in who should do what, it can cause you to try to manipulate the situation and the other person. Dating becomes a competition where both people lose. 15.
Remember that dating isn’t always about getting married.
Sometimes, especially with the pressure you may be feeling in your 30s, you can want to be in love so badly that you create it in places it doesn’t exist. «It would be a beautiful thing to find the one and get married, but it doesn’t always happen,» Moyo says. He mentions being careful to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment. The process may take longer than you’d like or not go as you hope. Don’t adopt the «marriage or bust» mindset. Allow dating to continue being a fun learning experience. Navigating the multifaceted world of dating in your 30s can feel overwhelming. Just remember that it’s not a matter of the process being more difficult at this age. Just make sure your dating life is evolving over time just like you are. Photo by Vanessa Gren/EyeEm «When my last relationship ended, there was a sense of excitement from some of my male friends in relationships,» John, 36, from Manchester, is telling me. «In their eyes I could once again ‘play the field’ and do some of the things that they probably secretly wanted to do.» «Depending on where you look and who you listen to, there is an idea that being single in your 30s is normal and even to be desired,» he adds. «I think that’s a bit of an oversimplification, to say the least. The reality is quite different.» The messaging about being single is conflicting. It is simultaneously cast as consistently fun and ultimately tragic; essential for fulfilment but only truly acceptable in the past tense. As women, depending on when we were born we know precisely what single life in our late 20s and 30s looks like: a heady mix of Bridget Jones, Carrie Bradshaw and, more recently, or rather more refreshingly, Lizzo. As an identity, straight female singledom is so packed with emotion that we have entire genres dedicated to it. We speak about it frequently. We rail against it when it becomes stereotyped or commodified, trite or just plain degrading. “ The messaging about being single is conflicting. It is simultaneously cast as consistently fun and ultimately tragic; essential for fulfilment but only truly acceptable in the past tense. ” But what do we know about the same things when it comes to the (straight) male experience? «James Bond?» John floats when I ask about societal depictions to which single men are expected to relate. «Too broken to emotionally attach so he just fucks women and kills people.» Not exactly relatable, is it? «There don’t seem to be many male role models living happy, healthy, single lives well into middle age,» he says. There is an established (albeit very tired) narrative attached to single men in their late 20s and 30s – that they are players, the bachelors, ‘picky’ or dangerously noncommittal. The sticky trope that men don’t (or won’t) speak about their feelings comes into play too, along with other burdens of toxic masculinity. Unsurprisingly, as John says, there’s a lot more to it than that. «People seem to think that the same pressures put on women to settle down aren’t there with men,» says 28-year-old Dean Westbrook, a travel consultant from Wimbledon. «It is to a lesser extent with men, of course. But I still have those very optimistic older relatives that send me Christmas cards like ‘to my grandson and partner’, because they assume that I must have settled down by now. I’m an only child and I know my mum would like grandkids. There is a pressure,» he says. Studies show that he’s not the only one to feel this way. Seventy-one percent of single men told a 2017 eHarmony survey that they felt pressured to get into a relationship, compared to 58% of women. «You just can’t let expectations weigh on you,» Dean adds. «For me I think the quieter stuff – the week-to-week stuff – is more relevant. A lot of my friends are in relationships, so when it gets to the weekend and I’m asking what everyone is doing, suddenly every man and his dog is off to Center Parcs. You can’t help but think about what everyone else is doing and then, what am I doing?» «I do think men need to talk about loneliness and disconnection more, especially men who are single and feel cut adrift,» John says. “ A lot of my friends are in relationships, so when it gets to the weekend and I’m asking what everyone is doing, suddenly every man and his dog is off to Center Parcs. You can’t help but think, what am I doing? Dean, 28 ” He came out of a six-year relationship in July 2019. «Most of my friends are in long-term relationships… You can find yourself alone and men are terrible at asking for help or surrounding themselves with friends, in my experience.» «I think this is partly because as you get older you stop making new friends but also because there’s a perverse sense that men should be lone wolves who shouldn’t engage with their emotions. You see this a lot in books and films – generally the ones that appeal to men to help them shore up this image. It’s a vicious cycle.» «I’m lucky in that I have male friends I can talk to about my feelings, who have been through similar things, so I could talk to them about being lonely. But I think that’s not too common and I worry for the men who don’t have people around them that they can talk to about feeling alone, because it’s such a horrible feeling. I can see why the suicide rate among men my age is so high because it can really feel like you’ve failed at life, especially if you buy into society’s messages about what it is to be a man.» Some studies show that single men report higher levels of loneliness than the majority of other social groups. Others claim that women are better at talking about loneliness. That’s not without consequences: male midlife depression is very common between the ages of 35 and 50, and suicide rates are frighteningly high. Eliot Small, 30, head of a central London IT department, has been single for a few years after a four-year relationship came to an end. While he’s not actively looking for a relationship currently, he is open to it. But he says that finding a meaningful connection, especially in the age of apps, is increasingly difficult. “ I worry for the men who don’t have people around them that they can talk to about feeling alone. I can see why the suicide rate among men my age is so high because it can really feel like you’ve failed at life. John, 36 ” «I guess I’m okay with being single,» he explains. «But I would like to find someone. The accessibility – of being able to ‘connect’ with so many people, constantly – seems to have ruined something. It feels fickle. People are so fast-paced, they’re texting lots of different people at once… I feel like girls might do this more than men. It can make you feel insecure.» There’s a slight defensiveness to the way Eliot speaks about this subject, which I come up against several times when researching this feature. Some men are embarrassed to talk about it, others worry about how it will make them look, to say publicly that they’re single and not happy about it. This pressure is universal, it seems – it’s not cool to admit that you want to be loved but we all do. Unsurprisingly, background also has a big impact on attitudes towards being single among the men I speak to. John tells me that his single friends who have confessed they would really prefer to be in a relationship often have parents who are still together and want to emulate that. Dean’s healthy outlook – «I’m lucky, I have lots of lovely friends, I’m just trying to be decent» – seems to reflect his secure family life. Eliot, on the other hand, whose mother is Russian and father is British, went through divorce as a kid, before being sent to boarding school. His views are quite sharp-edged – he talks about men seeking «breeding» and seems resentful of women at times. Later, he says that there is «no rape culture in Britain or the US» and urges me to look up the stats on false reporting. He feels that men can be treated as disposable by women in modern dating. This is something that Dean agrees with, though. «I had a bad date last month,» Dean explains. «It was a third date and we went to a small gig. I’m not a bad person or offensive or anything, and we seemed to get on well. But she walked out halfway through the gig. I didn’t think that was very nice. I think a lot of people – of any gender – feel that the impersonal nature of apps means you don’t have to be polite. Human decency is a little lost, there.» While John has only flirted with apps so far, he has found them to be «both good and bad». They’re good, he says, because he has met people in similar situations to himself. «I’ve found there isn’t a mad panic about being single, people have their own ideas about where they want to go,» he explains. «So it’s nice to know those anxieties about being single aren’t necessarily founded.» Rejection (and plain bad behaviour) can badly affect your mental wellbeing though, as Dean says. «Being single and dating is fun, but it’s also exhausting. You have to be resilient and sure of yourself. Otherwise, it can just leave you feeling more alone.» John adds that he’s «found with apps you can feel you’re competing for attention and matches etc. It’s a cold and impersonal environment and, depending on how much emphasis you put on meeting someone there, it can really cause emotional distress. I think men are more susceptible to this because they often don’t have the same emotional toolkit to navigate the world of online communication that women have or require.» “ We’re being boxed into identities or stereotypes that we feel uncomfortable in, or that wider social gender stereotyping has created in the first place. ” Many of our discussions are underpinned by a familiar feeling – that we’re being boxed into identities or stereotypes that we feel uncomfortable in, or that wider social gender stereotyping has created in the first place. The men I speak to all recall moments of being on the negative end of a stereotype and feeling trapped by it; for instance, John has noticed that he feels he often has to justify why he’s single at 36. «When I do explain I’ve come out of a seven-year relationship I’m immediately given more leeway, as if it’s okay to be a victim of circumstance rather than a philanderer who is too afraid to commit.» «I think the most shameful trope for single men in their 30s is the guy too afraid to commit and settle down, who just wants it all his own way,» he adds. «That’s a really toxic stereotype that makes men feel insecure, in my opinion.» Another friend confides in me that people assume he is an «overgrown child» because he’s 38 and single – a woman in his office made a joke about him not being able to clean and cook. For what it’s worth, said friend has competed on a Masterchef special in the past (and won). «I don’t think people think my life is very serious because I’m single, 38, and don’t have kids,» he says. Due to financial necessity he lives in a houseshare in London which, he says, «doesn’t help». And just as there’s a poisonous and unfounded narrative of failure imposed on unmarried women in their late 30s, John thinks that «people don’t understand that there’s a feeling of failure around having a relationship end in your 30s,» as a man, too. «For men who constantly receive messages about taking responsibility, achieving and winning, this can be a really big blow,» John adds. «Ultimately, being single is fine, being isolated is not,» he says. «And there isn’t enough space created in society for men to be one and not the other.»
Best Dating Sites for 30 Year Old Singles
There may be some of you here that are looking to meet other singles in their 30s right now. If that’s you, don’t let us be the rock that holds you back! Single men and single women in their 30s tend to have lives. They’re a bit busier, don’t spend all night in the bars, and move through the world with a sense of purpose. What this means is that it can feel impossible to find other 30 year old’s looking for love. This is where online dating comes into play. The best dating apps for 30 year old singles can help you cut through the noise, get away from the games, and find that special one in a million you’ve been looking for. We’ll talk way more about this later on in the guide, but here are some of our favorite dating apps and sites to get those of you itching to get out there a ticket to the show!
Why Dating In Your 30s is Better
A lot of you guys and gals reading this guide probably had a plan to already be married and settled down by this point. And while we’re sorry that things didn’t go quite according to your plan, it’s okay! In fact, there are actually a lot of reasons that dating in your 30s is better!
The Dating Pool is More Established
Take a minute and think back to 20 year old you. If you’re really being honest, how much did you have life under control? Were you already the person you eventually grew into being? Would the person you’re looking for now even have liked 20 year old you? While we don’t want to be too presumptuous, we’re betting that a lot of you weren’t the same person then and you didn’t really have it all figured out. Real talk—neither did most other people. The greatest news about dating in your 30s is that the dating pool now is much more filled with people that have it together. Does everyone have it together? Not a chance. But a much higher percentage of people know who they are, what they want, what their life plans are, and the real winner of all of that—is you.
There’s Less Game Playing
When people know what they want, the annoying romantic games go down. When people are already tired of playing games, the annoying romantic games go down. When you’re dating in your 30s, there’s generally less game playing. Sure, you’ll still run into a few knuckleheads out there, but it’s going to be way less of a problem than when you were in your 20s. Hallelujah.
The Cost of Dating is Generally Less of an Issue
If finances aren’t great for you right now, don’t take this the wrong way. You still deserve love. What we’re trying to point out here is that more singles in their 30s are financially stable than were in their 20s. We can remember worrying what the girl or guy was going to order at the restaurant if we were paying. And while we still might think you’re not that great if you order the lobster on date one, it’s not going to make us cry when we check our bank statement in the morning. This helps to reduce some of the stress and anxiety and makes things a much smoother ride. Chalk this up as another win for the 30 year old dating category.
People’s Priorities Have Shifted for the Better
Yes, there are still people just looking to hook up. Yes, there are still (here comes our favorite word again), knuckleheads out there. But a larger percentage of the population dating in their 30s is looking for a real relationship. If you’re still trying to play the field and “do your thing,” well, to each their own. However, this guide is more dedicated towards people looking to find something lasting and meaningful.
How Dating In Your 30s is Different
Here’s a newsflash that you’re probably already well aware of. Dating in your 30s is not the same as dating when you’re any other age. The singles are different, the priorities are different, and the way things “go down” are quite different as well. Let’s take a look at some of these differences, as it can help you get prepared for what’s in store for you.
Dating in Your 30s vs. Dating In Your 20s
- Netflix and chill is no more. The lazy hookup tactics of your 20s aren’t going to fly in your 30s. Here’s an uncomfortable reality. You are an adult now. It’s okay if you like to have a little fun here and there but do it with some meaning. Have some respect for the rest of the 30 year old singles in the same boat as you. And besides, all the cool kids are watching Apple+ now. We think?
- Going Dutch. When it comes to paying for the date, there are quite a few more women that are onboard with splitting the check, especially on a first date. If money’s tight guys, don’t necessarily count on this. But it’s also not out of the ordinary to ask to split the bill.
- They don’t want to text all day long. When you’re in your 20s, it’s fun to text with someone you like all day long. But when you’re in your 30s, you probably have a career and a serious job and responsibilities (or at least the people you’re dating might). This means all the lols, brbs, jks, and rotfls may need to get toned back. And even if you can make it work with your job, it doesn’t send the best message. The guy or girl might start to wonder what you’re doing with your life if you have the ability to text like a maniac all day long.
- Goals and responsibility are sexy. Speaking of what you’re doing with your time, having goals, drive, and fulfilling your responsibilities instantly became a lot sexier the day you turned 30.
- Weekday dates are king (or queen). People have jobs now. Yes, people had jobs in their 20s, but more people take their jobs seriously in their 30s. This means that if you’re always pushing dates on weeknights, you might not get the response you want. You can still date on weeknights, but it’s nice to recommend things that end earlier in the night and involve far fewer martinis and beers.
- People may have baggage. The single men and the single women you meet may have baggage. Heck, you may have some baggage. And guess what? That’s totally okay. You’ve already lived over a decade of your life as an adult. You’ve made decisions, mistakes, and things you’d never change for anything in the world. If this isn’t something you’re okay with, dating in your 30s may be a long, long decade.
The Differences of Dating In Your 30s as a Man or a Woman
The things that make dating as a 30-something year old different aren’t always the same for men and women. In the next two sections, we want to speak directly to the guys and the gals reading.
Dating in Your 30s as a Woman
Ladies, here’s some good news. A lot of the game-players, Netflix and chiller-ers, and flaky folks are not in your new dating pool. However, that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. Some of these people are still out there. But for the most part, you’re going to like what you find. Many of the men you look to date are more serious about finding love, making a lasting connection, and believe it or not—looking for marriage. That all being said, don’t turn into a life-clock-azilla. Yes, we just made that word up. But here’s what we mean. Some of you are worried about your biological clock. You want kids. Your mother and friends are probably harassing you to get married. While we can understand the pressure (sort of), don’t let that bleed into your dating life. If you want to watch men run for the hills, this is how you do it. It’s okay to express that you’re looking for something serious, but “HI! NICE TO MEET YOU! I’M LOOKING TO GET MARRIED! I CHANGED MY NAME TO MARY AND BOUGHT A LITTLE LAMB BECAUSE I LOVE MARRIAGE SO MUCH!” is not the way to attract a quality man.
Dating in Your 30s as a Man
Gents, welcome to your 30s. Here’s some great news for you. You hit your prime in your early 30s, which means you should be at the top of your game. And for even better news, there are a lot of beautiful women in their 30s looking to meet a quality man. Which brings us to the most important point—quality man. You have got to be a quality man if you want to have some success dating in your 30s. The ladies aren’t going to like immaturity, lack of drive, or you with only one thing on your mind. Take some time and look to reshape how you date if you don’t fit the bill of a quality man.
Commonly Asked Questions
Is 30 too old for dating?
You are never too old for dating, and that certainly applies to being in your 30s. In fact, most people dating in their 30s have clearer goals, life more put together, and more experience that can make for a more fruitful dating experience.
Is dating easier in your 30s?
Dating is and is not easier in your 30s. Awesome, thanks for that non-answer. Let us explain. In your 30s, more people are better communicators, tired of games, and have life experience that can help with dating. On the other hand, though, you may be getting a lot of outside pressure from family and friends, and you may have some baggage that could complicate things. The bottom line answer to is dating easier in your 30s is that it’s just different—not easier or harder.
How long should you date before marriage when you’re in your 30s?
The amount of time you should date in your 30s before getting married is however long it takes for both of you to feel confident that you want to spend the rest of your lives together. How long is that? It’s going to vary. If you forced us to give an answer, we’d say approaching the two-year dating mark is where you could seriously start considering marriage. If you’re in your late 30s, that timeframe could be a bit shorter. Don’t take this as a hard and fast rule, though.
What age is late 30s?
For most people, late 30s starts somewhere between 37 and 38. If you’re 38, 39, or 40—you’re in your late 30s. If you’re 37, it can go either way. Honestly, though, it doesn’t really matter.
Where can you meet singles in your 30s?
You have a lot of options for meeting singles in your 30s, including at work, at the gym, at church, playing sports, or online. Our favorite option for singles in their 30s is online because it helps people deal with busy schedules and brings any potential baggage or issues to light faster. Its efficiency is perfect for singles in their 30s.
Our Favorite Sites for 30 Year Olds
Written By: Jason Lee Jason Lee is a data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication. His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, NBC, FOX, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.
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