DATING LESSONS IN YOUR 30S.
Thinking back, dating felt so much easier during my early teens through to my early 20s. I didn't have to consider pre-screening anyone or how compatible I was with that person. I liked them, they liked me, they asked me out, I said "yes" — and it was a done deal. Simpler times for sure! However, it seems that the dating process gets a little more complicated as we approach our 30s.
I don't know about you but when I hit 30, a handful of my friends were either engaged, married and/or had popped out some kids! And that's amazing for them, but I've never been one who wanted all of that early on. I was always career driven, and never concerned myself with societal timelines.
HIGH-VALUE ROMEO, WHERE ARE THOU?
That being said, we're all human, and by nature we're wired for connection. It's fair to say that the majority of us recognise that it's important to feel loved and nurtured. So when it comes to finding companionship, I'd honestly say that in some aspect, dating in your 30s (especially these days) is certainly harder! Firstly, your candidate pool shrinks. Secondly, meeting potential partners at school/college/university is non-existent. Thirdly, attending parties and social gatherings aren't as frequent. And lastly, your friends are less likely have other single left friends this point. So where are the hot spots for fresh encounters? Pleaseeeee.... don't say dating apps! 😭😂 Then top of of that, dating in your 30s means that we've probably gone through our fair share of failed relationships and dating disasters. *Queue the "Amen, sister!" comments from my fellow single queens out there, I feel ya!* So if I've got through some bullshit... no doubt that these eligible bachelors have as well! Somebody's bound to have baggage or feel wounded from past betrayals, meaning that perhaps some of the innocence and fun of dating may be lost.
IT'S NOT *THAT* BAD
But it really isn't all doom and gloom, although it may seem like it when you take one look at my Instagram feed! 🙈 Sure, the process of courtship isn't what it used to be, but I feel we can really leverage our wisdom gained over the last 10-15 years. I'd say that being older and wiser, and really getting to know myself a lot better has improved the quality of the people I go for (and attract!) Through my past relationships, I learned a lot about my likes and dislikes, my non-negotiable, what I need from a partner, and what I can offer. When you have such a range of experience, it provides you with a clearer picture of what you're looking for. At 31, I'd like to share some of my biggest learning curves so far: DISCOVER AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT First and foremost, learn about who you are. If you're dating and going in blind with no clue about what you're like as a person, or you don't recognise your self-worth, you'll end up wasting time with people who won't value the opportunity because you're unable to verbalise your needs. GET THE TIMELINE OUT OF YOUR HEAD There's no rules on when dating starts and ends! Don't force yourself or feel compelled to get into a relationship because you have an end goal of "marriage and kids" in mind. Let go of societal ideas, and don't let "being single" make you believe that there's something wrong with you. GAMES ARE FOR KIDS Let's be certified grown-ups, and let's date like one. If you want to text someone, text them. If you want to see someone, suggest it. If you're not hearing from them, then they're not that into you. It's really that simple. Yes, it's a shame but rejection won't hurt as much because as an adult, you'll understand that it happens in life... time to move on to something better. BE HONEST AND CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT We get so hesitant about being upfront and honest regarding our intentions because we fear we'll scare someone off. Let me tell you something, "going with the flow" or "seeing where it leads" are phrases that I've ignored in the past because I didn't want to look like I was putting pressure on the other party. The end result of those "relationships" were nothing but a mess. When we're open about what we want from the start, we'll naturally eliminate those who do not fit our criteria. Keeping an honest dialogue will help you avoid awkward situations/conversations later on. DATING POTENTIAL WILL SET YOU UP FOR FAILURE When you're "looking on the bright side", you'll soon realise that it's not so bright after all. Someone can be a good person, but absolutely no good for you. When we're dating, it vital to not rush the process, be mindful of our choices, and see people for who they actually are not for what they could be. YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY HAVE A POINT Listening to my family bang on about how this person or that person isn't good for me... well, back when I was a teen and my young adolescent years, it was like "to hell with your opinion!" — But now that I'm in my early 30s, it's a whole different story. While they might not know everything, they definitely made some good points... because where are these guys now? Remeber that friends and family do have our best interest at heart. If everyone's telling you to get rid of someone you're dating, it's probably worth taking into consideration! Navigating the wild world of dating in your 30s can feel pretty overwhelming, but the beauty of life is that you never stop learning, growing and adapting. It's always trial and error, and that's not a bad thing. Good relationships are hard to come by, but I guarantee there's no shortage of people to meet. Always remember to enjoy the journey, have faith, have fun, and be unapologetically you.