Dating in your 30s


There always seems to be rules for dating, however nobody really knows exactly what these rules are! There is a lot of winging it and making up these rules as you go along. Sometimes it’s simply more fun that way and sometimes it’s just necessary as you and your partner Forest Gump your way through. There are many disparities between dating in your 20s compared to dating in your 30s, but one thing that remains the same is this: it still makes no real sense and finding a match on your own is still hugely unpredictable!

The thing is when you’re younger it’s less frustrating because you have more patience and tolerance. As you get older your patience can wear thin as there are only so many weddings you can attend as ‘the single friend’ – plus you start to indulge in ridiculous notions of dying alone! Here are a few examples of dating as a 30-something year old that I have found to be true.


People have more baggage the older you get. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but you have to prepare yourself for meeting someone who may possibly have responsibilities or commitments in the shape of children from a previous relationship. If you’re looking for an unattached singleton then of course there are still many of us running around out there, but it’s important to keep an open mind. You need to realise that ‘the one’ may come as a package deal that you will need to embrace if you want it to work.


Priorities change in your 30s and something that never crossed your 20-something year old mind is now deal breaker. You grow, you learn and you start to realise what you can and absolutely cannot put up with anymore. When you’re younger your reasoning on finding a boyfriend or girlfriend were perhaps superficial. For me, my want in a partner was simply someone to have a good time with, whereas now the idea of ‘the future’ creeps in. Marriage, kids, employment… all aspects of my life that never crossed my juvenile mind are now somehow at the forefront.


Alongside the idea of priorities is expectation. I expect a lot more from a potential love than I did as a bumbling, giddy 25 year old! I’m still now a bumbling 32 year old, but I’ve deduced what I want and what I categorically do not want. Having priorities and high expectations as a 20 year old on the dating scene, was unfathomable back then. I now want to know what I’m getting myself into and what type of person I am allowing myself to be drawn to. Talking to friends of the same age group I have found that our needs are far more demanding and in order to have a successful and fulfilling relationship, I need to know what that person is bringing to the table! This of course is something that you develop over time with practice… and a few broken hearts along the way!


Being blunt and direct is a tool for everyone in their 30s. There was once a time when you had the endurance to play the game and wait 2, 3 or 4 days after a date to contact your love interest. You even enjoyed the cat and mouse chase of it all relishing the excitement. Whereas now “ain’t nobody got time for that!” You either want to hang out or you don’t. I don’t have time to second guess your motives because I’m a real life grown up who would like to fill my day with more productive activities than stressing over a text message! If you like someone just tell them. It really is that easy. Life is too short for game playing, especially when your age is increasing at a stupidly rapid rate!


The fairytale of ‘the one’ bumping into you at your favourite coffee shop will not just happen. When you’re 20 you still feel like you have all the time in the world and your prince or princess will walk in at any moment and sweep you off your feet. You’re instilled with a belief system born from every rom-com movie ever, that “it will just happen!” and this belief spills over into your 30s. However soon enough reality deals you a heavy blow and the likelihood of effortlessly finding ‘a keeper’ is not so straight forward. You have to go out and find them. I mean, they could be lost somewhere! As you get older you begin to realise that a sweet life isn’t just gifted to, you have to put some effort into achieving this.


Dating in your 30s against your 20s is vastly different but that lies mainly within the fact that with age comes experience. Dating when you’re old enough to know better but still young enough to get it terribly wrong is tricky for us all. The best thing to do as a single 30 something year old is to just get on with it and have fun with it. Try not to feel too overwhelmed with online dating. It’s a scary step but a step nonetheless. We’re all in it together!


Shem Douglas writes for the dating help site where she offers dating tips, tricks, discount codes and chats on all things love, when trying to navigate the awkward minefield of dating and relationships. Shem has over analysed the dating scene to the Nth degree occasionally with a cynical eye, and tries to use her experience to offer constructive and motivational high fives to fellow singletons! After living and studying in London for many years, Shem has now hopped over to Dublin working as a freelance copywriter. She can be found most days trying to restrain herself from getting a cat!


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