Dating is weird. It’s awkward. It can be messy at times, exhilarating at others. Dating is a skill, and like all skills, it takes a bit of practice to get used, a bit more practice to get good at it. That’s why things change when you’re dating in your thirties versus your twenties. Not only have you changed, but the people in your dating pool have changed. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. They say age is just a number, and that’s true when you’re trying to figure out whether a potential partner is too young or too old, but it is decidedly not true when it comes to your experiences in dating.
The older you get, the less time you have. One by one your friends are getting married creating a lot of pressure to pair up. Amidst this pressure, however, it’s important to know what you want. When you were in your twenties the dating world was one you still knew, you dated various people to get a feel for what you liked and didn’t like. In your thirties, you have a bit more experience under your belt. You’re more comfortable in your skin. You know what you want and, consequently, you have little patience to be with someone you know is a waste of your time. Don’t be afraid to be decisive.
When you were younger, the rules of dating seemed a little vague. We’ve all heard of the “three-day rule”, and we were scared to sound too desperate. Any conversation about the relationship, like exclusivity, usually took months to come up. Now, however, there’s no need to beat around the bush. If you like someone and enjoy their company ask them out. The days of “will they, won’t they” and crippling self-doubt are over. Strike at the chance because you might not get another one.
With age comes wisdom, and that is true for dating in your thirties as well. You have some experience now and a well-developed intuition honed through years of awkward and boring dates. Trust your gut. If something seems strange or otherwise off about a person, then trust yourself enough to follow your instinct.
In the same vein, because you have so much experience it’s easy to become jaded and bitter. Above all else, don’t let yourself be overcome by it. You’ve been hurt before, everyone has, but in order to find love, you have to be willing to make yourself vulnerable. So take a chance and remember to never settle, but also don’t expect Mr. Perfect. Love is also about compromise, after all. Even if that compromise takes the form of some really ugly pajamas.