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Why Dating in Your 30s is the Best Time in Life

by eharmony Editorial Team June 28, 2024

Single life in your 30s can sometimes feel like a strange time. It can feel as if you’re stuck in this uneasy zone between wanting to settle down while still feeling that similar energy and opportunity dating in your earlier years.

We explore what’s often described as the most fulfilling decade of people’s dating lives and offer up some perspectives on modern dating in your 30s. We also look at some tips for getting started and how you can find a truly authentic connection both online and offline.

Dating Over 30 vs. Dating in Your 20s

People dating after 30 tend to be more experienced with relationships, meaning they approach them more maturely and without the baggage sometimes found in older singles, making your dating experience more clear and rewarding. According to the Pew Research Center, by dating over 30 singles are most interested in building a relationship.1

Is dating in your 30s more difficult?

The two factors that have the most impact on the experience of dating in your 30s are the reduced opportunities to meet people (attending fewer natural social spaces such as bars, educational institutions and cultural events) and the number of eligible singles shrinking somewhat.

However, many dating over 30 point out that while they may be going on fewer dates, the quality of the dates vastly improves at this age. This is because people in their 30s tend to be more sure of what they want, less likely to play games and better emotionally equipped for sustainable relationships.

The most common challenges with dating in your 30s

When one looks at dating in your 30s as a woman, many complain about men their age showing greater interest in dating younger women. However, this may be another example of pop culture skewing our perspective on dating life. The most recent US Current Population Survey shows that the most common age difference between couples in the country, by far, is 1-2 years.

However, you should avoid letting this and other dating preconceptions tint your dating experience. As long as you have a connection based on mutual respect and attraction between consenting adults, only you and your partner can define your relationship.

Dating in Your 30s: Ten Tips for Making It a Great Experience

Dating at any age has its ups and downs but dating in your 30s comes with its own special set of advantages and drawbacks. There’s a smaller dating pool, for one, and opportunities to meet new people aren’t as widespread as they were in your 20s. But if you’re dating in your 30s, it also means you have a better idea of what you want, and you’ve (hopefully!) learned from past mistakes. Here are 10 things to consider when dating in your 30s, and some tips on making it a great experience.

1. Be clear about what you want

One of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is ‘Begin with the end in mind.’ This applies just as much to dating, especially dating in your 30s – you’ll have much more success at getting what you want if you know what it is. Before you begin your journey, take time to figure out what kind of relationship you want, what a happy relationship looks like to you, and what your boundaries and deal-breakers are – it’ll save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Tip: Take the time to figure out who you are and how to advocate for yourself.

2. Date outside your ‘type’

By the time we hit that fourth decade of life, many of us are set in our ways. While this can be a good thing, it might also mean we keep making the same mistakes. Don’t write somebody off just because they don’t fit the checklist you made as a teen of your ideal partner, or because they’re a different ethnicity or background than you usually go for. You never know what might await when you step outside your comfort zone.

Tip: On one of those dating apps for 30s? Pick someone you’d normally never date – it’s lower pressure than doing it offline.

3. Don’t worry about timelines

Dating in your 30s as a woman? You probably already had to deal with someone saying how important it is to hurry up and settle down. Honestly, that’s nonsense. Good relationships happen organically, and pushing or settling just leads to resentment and break-ups in the long term. Take the pressure off yourself and your relationship and let your heart guide you – there’s no rule that says you must be married or engaged or even dating by a certain age, regardless of your gender.

Tip: Deliberately take things slow at the beginning; it’ll help you figure out if this relationship is worth taking to the next level.

4. Listen to your gut

It turns out that intuition is indeed scientific. It’s the result of our bodies processing more information than we’re consciously aware of and can help us make decisions our conscious mind hasn’t reasoned out yet. While intuition isn’t flawless – it can be affected by unconscious bias – listening to ourselves can help avoid wasting time and energy on people who aren’t right for us.

Tip: If you’re unsure about something in a relationship, talking it over with a trusted friend or family member can help you figure out if your gut feelings are worth listening to.

5. Brush up on your communication skills

Studies have shown that happy couples communicate better, and that communication is key to a good relationship2. When you’re dating in your 30s, it’s important to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Clear communication help everyone in the relationship feel heard and make compromises easier. It’s even more important if you’re dating in your 30s as a man, since guys aren’t often taught to communicate well. Luckily, they can learn!

Tip: Reading some books about communication in relationships, by yourself or as a couple, can help improve your communication skills.

6. It’s okay if you don’t have all of it figured out

Pop culture will tell you that if you don’t have it all together by 30, you’re a failure. That’s simply not true. While you should focus on getting better if your life is a complete shambles, there’s no need to put dating on hold until it’s perfect. So long as you’re on the path to being your best self and putting in the work to get there, it’s more than okay to start looking for someone to share the journey with.

Tip: Keep a positive attitude during your dating journey – it’ll make it easier to find someone who wants you exactly how you are.

7. Be flexible                         

Ah, for the carefree years of our teens and 20s. Dating in your 30s can mean juggling work, kids, caring for family members and who knows what else. The keys are finding an understanding partner and shifting away from the idea of a traditional dating journey. Rather than dinner and a movie, do breakfast dates, go grocery shopping together, trade babysitting duties with another couple or single friends. There are many ways to carve out time to have a relationship, it just takes a little creativity.

Tip: Use our list of non-traditional date ideas as a jumping-off point.

8. Let go of your baggage

It’s a rare person that makes it to 30 without at least one failed relationship – and being single until you’re in your 30s comes with its own share of issues. Whatever’s in your past, it’s important to not let it influence your present and future in negative ways. Unresolved wounds don’t just keep hurting you, they can also damage your chances of a good relationship with future partners.

Tip: Seeking professional help to deal with your trauma is a great idea if you can. If you can’t, journaling and reading about relationships can also help.

9. Be vulnerable

As you get older, and especially if you experience a bad or unhealthy relationship, it can be tempting to put walls up to protect yourself. However, one of the foundations of a good relationship is trust3. When it comes to dating in your 30s, it can be terrifying to reveal your vulnerabilities and insecurities. Doing so with the right partner, however, can not only strengthen the relationship, it can help in your own healing.

Tip: It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; you can start small and slowly increase the amount of vulnerability you show as you trust your partner more.

10. Don’t settle

If you’re dating in your 30s as a woman, the pressure to find someone ‘good enough’ is relentless. This is truer if the dreaded biological clock is ticking. Settling isn’t just unfair to you,; it’s also unfair to the person you’re with. Rather than rush into the relationship for the wrong reasons – and increase the odds it will fall apart – it’s better to develop a Plan B.

Tip: Remember your worth isn’t based on whether you have a partner or not. Fill your life with family and friends; love will happen when the time is right.

There’s no expiry date on finding happily ever after. Dating in your 30s is a different beast than dating in your 20s – you’re more self-assured now and more aware of what you want, but the dating pool is smaller and finding the time and energy to look for love isn’t as easy as it was a decade ago. Love is still out there, however – it just requires a little more effort, not to mention planning, for the dating over 30s crowd. Luckily, eharmony exists – we’re a great option for people who want partners who share the same values and want the same kind of relationship.

Dating in Your 30s Is Simplified Through eharmony

At eharmony, we’re all about fostering deeper, genuine connections between people online using the power of true compatibility. We were even recently rated in a user survey as the online dating app that helps users find the most authentic relationships.4

Beyond connecting people more effectively through our Compatibility Matching System rather than swiping, our platform empowers you to create successful connections with members through our advanced features that include highly specific filtering options, detail-rich profiles that intuitively explain your similarities and respective Compatibility Score and a host of other features, all while enjoying a greater sense of  respectful interacting,  thanks to our highly supportive and responsive Customer Care team.   

Getting started is easy

  • Sign up on our site or download our app.
  • Complete the Compatibility Quiz, which is how our system gets to know you and your relationship needs to find the most compatible eligible people dating over 30 on our platform.
  • Fill out your profile and tell potential connections the real story of you.
  • Review the list of highly compatible singles we found for you in the Discover section and check out their profiles.
  • Once someone sparks your interest, reach out. You can send a text message or use one of our other communication features like our Icebreaker.

Let Us Help You Find Meaningful Connections Online

While dating in your 30s can come with its share of ups and downs, it’s easy to see why it’s also one of the most eventful periods in your dating life. An age where it’s easier to build more mature and communicative relationships that aren’t as hampered by many of those typical perils associated with 20s dating life.

We’re just here to support and guide you in finding those deeper and more successful relationships. In essence, we point you in the right direction and give you the tools to make the most of your dating life and, along the way, help you find that special person who brings with them true happiness. Find it today. Join eharmony.

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