You’re probably well aware that dating in your 20s is totally different than dating in your 30s. If you’re just entering your 30s or are wondering what happened since you’ve reached the big 3-0, you’ve probably noticed a dramatic shift in what women want and how you’re perceived in the dating market. So if you’re dating in your 30s, how can you do it successfully?
To help you navigate the dating scene in your 30s, read on to learn about what the key differences are between dating in your 30s versus dating in your 20s and the best ways to date in your 30s to ensure you’re not wasting your time.
Dating in Your 30s vs. Dating in Your 20s
There’s no doubt about it: Dating in your 30s changes everything.
As we age, we tend to crave different things than in our youth. To highlight just how things change when dating in your 30s as a man, let’s look at some of the main changes that you’ll experience than when you were in your 20s.
Reasons for dating
In your 20s: We’re looking for fun and new experiences with women. Essentially, dating is a form of entertainment and ways of “tasting the rainbow” before finding a long-term committed partner.
In your 30s: Both men and women are looking to settle down and start a life together. While some older women and men may be looking to recapture their glory days in their 20s, the majority of women will be looking for long-term partners. Hooking up in your 30s is certainly an option, but many people tire from the repetitive nature of casual relationships.
In your 20s: When we’re younger, we have a greater number of women to choose from. The dating pool ranges from women our age as well as more mature ladies that strike our fancy. Because we don’t have much experience with all of the personality types of women out there, we’re willing to consider exploring something different that we might actually like or be pleasantly surprised by.
In your 30s: If you’ve dated in your 20s, you probably have defined a number of characteristics that are desirable versus those that turn us off. This narrows the dating pool significantly, making it more difficult to find someone that ticks off all the boxes in our requirements.
Furthermore, women are more likely to have children by this time and look for a new relationship after a separation/divorce. This often puts men at an advantage to find unattached partners, whereas women with children or a divorce in their recent past have to work harder to find a high-value man.
Marriage and children
In your 20s: Very few young people are concerned with getting married and having children in their 20s. While the option is on the table if you meet a willing partner, many people are scared off by the responsibility and commitment that marriage and children require.
In your 30s: Besides companionship, marriage and children are definitely certain factors that play into whether a woman wants to be with a man long-term. This goes both ways: she may not want to start a family, or she may have “baby rabies” and want kids yesterday.
In your 20s: Younger people have less baggage, which makes relationships feel fresher. Many young women will carry around baggage from their childhood, but few have had years of developing resentments and experiencing traumatic experiences that sculpt their personality.
In your 30s: By your 30s, the consequences of a carefree youth may have caught up to you. Whether this includes emotional baggage, children, or other factors, you’ll more than likely have to contend with a woman that has some form of stuff in her life that weighs down the relationship.
In your 20s: Dating young doesn’t necessarily require us to have to be compatible. Finding someone you feel a spark with is sometimes more important than compatibility when you’re young. Often, so much of life is new and exciting that we’re willing to overlook our partner having a life of their own and interests that don’t overlap with our own.
In your 30s: Compatibility is the name of the game. Women will often test men from the first date and onwards to see if they’re good long-term prospects. If you’re sexually incompatible, for example, a woman may look elsewhere rather than be doomed to a rocky and unfulfilling relationship in her later years.
In your 20s: In your 20s, sex is the primary motivating factor for meeting a partner. That being said, it’s also a bigger deal to be intimate with new partners and it may mean getting attached or heartbroken.
In your 30s: By your 30s, sex shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Hooking up in your 30s is just as common in your 30s - if not more so than in your earlier years. However, you’re more aware of what you want. There may be less stress overall with getting intimate, but it still remains a pivotal factor in a successful relationship.
In your 20s: In your 20s, you want someone attractive. Looks hold a high priority and women are apt to choose the most attractive men over those who are seemingly better long-term prospects.
In your 30s: Looks still remain important when dating in your 30s, but women are often looking for other qualities that make you a more well-rounded individual. After all, women have probably been “pumped and dumped”, only to realize that attractive men are difficult to keep for themselves and often come with baggage (such as narcissism or numerous exes).
Length of Relationships
In your 20s: Without enough dating experience and plenty of options, most relationships only last a few months or years at best. While it’s possible to find a partner for life in your 20s, that’s the exception, not the rule. Cheating and swapping partners is also more common in your 20s, which shortens how long men stay with women.
In your 30s: In your 30s, you want to spend much more time with someone before you can even think about settling down. Once the trial period is over, people often mate for years - or be faced with jumping back in the dating scene, which is always more uncertain in your 30s.
In your 20s: People in their 20s are always figuring things out and are “works in progress”. Women interested in men are willing to overlook a man without direction if he checks off the boxes she’s looking for. Of course, this depends on the woman, but she’ll be willing to overlook a lack of prospects or security for a longer time than she would in her 30s.
In your 30s: When women are in their 30s, they want direction. They’re looking for men who have their life together and are actively pursuing success. As energy levels start to wane in our 30s, women instinctively know to avoid men that don’t have a plan for the coming years and look for security elsewhere.
Also, having similar goals is important in your 30s. If a man is looking to travel extensively and see the world, this can be a source of conflict with a woman that wants to settle down and build a life.
How to Date in Your 30s
Now that we’ve covered what the main differences are between dating in your 30s versus the previous decade, it’s time to adapt to new circumstances. Let’s take a look at some things you should keep in mind when dating in your 30s:
Where to find people of the same age
If you’re looking to find women in their 30s or near that age group, there are a few spots you should check out.
- Upscale Bars: Drinks and cover fees at these bars are often higher than usual to weed out low-quality “riff-raff” and younger people that would otherwise change the atmosphere from an older crowd.
- Running/Hiking Groups: These groups serve as a way of maintaining a healthy body as we age and provide a social group for similarly-minded people.
- Volunteering: Women seek to soothe their maternal instincts by caring for their community, so expect to find older women at hospice organizations, animal shelters, homeless shelters, and more.
- Dating Apps: Apps like Tinder may be more geared towards hookups, but they’re still viable for dating in your 30s. Because you can customize age demographics, simply filter by age and you’ll be delighted to find all of the available women in their 30s to date.
- Friends: It’s hard to find friends in your 30s, so a friend group is a great method to find women in your 30s. Also, women like to play matchmaker for their single friends so that they can feel included, so having a friend circle is a great way to meet women in their 30s.
That being said, you can still visit some of the same spots that you frequented in your 20s; however, be prepared to accept being the oldest person in the room or have to deal with immature behavior that you may find boring.
What red flags to look out for
By the time you’re in your 30s, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of trials and tribulations, only to emerge wiser and more informed about the world. However, we can still fall into new traps. The following are some of the most common red flags to watch out for when dating in your 30s:
- She has daddy issues and wants you to fulfill the role of a male role model, not a partner.
- She strings you along and doesn’t want a committed relationship.
- She lacks maturity and wants to make up for lost time in her 20s.
- She focuses too much on her career and views your relationship as a regular appointment (like a physical therapy session).
- She has “baby rabies” and wants to have children as soon as possible. Considering many women worry that they won’t be able to have children and that their shelf life will expire once they turn 39, they’ll use sexual deceit or pressure to get pregnant - even if it’s something you don’t want just yet.
State your intentions from the get-go
For your 30s, sharing your intentions right from the beginning helps you avoid wasting your time and getting emotionally attached to someone. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you talk about marriage and children in the first few weeks of meeting a new partner, but you should set the tone of the relationship and have talks about what you want out of life. If your new prospect doesn’t share these goals and milestones, it’s better to move on than try to convince someone who may leave you older and more frustrated.
This is also true of dating profiles. If your goal is to find a committed partner, don’t be afraid to write that on your dating profile instead of something more ambiguous. You’ll attract better prospects that know what your intentions are before even saying “hello”.
Consider dating younger women
Let’s be honest: the dating pool in your 30s for women of your same age is going to be more difficult. Don’t overlook younger women. In fact, many younger women date older men because they’re more established and mature than men of the same age.
As we get older, it’s harder and harder to date due to obligations like career, family, friends, and other factors. However, you’re going to want to date often to get a sense of what’s out there.
Actively pursue more women. Whether this involves going to more social events or using multiple dating apps, the idea is to increase your dating pool in your 30s - not be weighed down by old methods that may have worked in your 20s but are dismal in your later years.
Be open to dating someone who isn’t your type
You still have plenty of time to find a partner in your 30s. And while we all get set in our ways, your 30s is the perfect time to branch out from your usual “type” and date new people. By dating women outside of your comfort zone, you may actually find an amazing person that you might otherwise miss.