When did we get so old? One minute we were out every weekend in pubs and clubs, and we could shake off a hangover in an hour, and the next minute all our friends were married with children, and a single bottle of wine will haunt you for all of the next day. Not only that, but there’s also suddenly no obvious way of meeting new people anymore. You used to be able to date people through meeting friends of friends, or by hooking up in those pubs and nightclubs. Now you have nobody to go to them with, and your friends of friends are as married as your primary friends are. It’s no wonder that this is the age where people start to wonder if they’ve left it too long to settle down.
Don’t despair if all of this feels a little too close to home. Millions of people in their thirties are still single, and most of the time, it’s just because they haven’t found the right person yet. Also, you’re not actually that old. Try telling someone in their 40s that you feel old, and see what kind of response you can get! You’re also not without access to dating. You might just need to use an app to do it. Using Tinder (or other dating apps) can feel a lot like you’re playing slots on an online slots website, but it does work. The process is almost identical. If you don’t like what you see on an online slots game, you spin again. If you don’t like what you see on a dating app, you just swipe again. The biggest wins on online slots games are usually scored through persistence, and that’s also the way to get the best dates!
Even when you do manage to land a date, though, how should you approach it? Neither of you is likely to want to spend the whole night drinking and dancing, and your priorities are likely to be very different now compared to how they were ten years ago. There’s a way out of the minefield, though. If you’re in your 30s and you want to meet someone and start a relationship for the long term, here’s how you should approach it.
Abandon All Ideas Of Having A ‘Type’
Lots of people like to say that they have a ‘type’ when it comes to dating. We don’t know why they say it, because science suggests that they’re wrong. If you or your friends have a history of dating women who look or act the same, it’s probably because they were still missing their ex when they started new relationships and subconsciously (or even consciously!) went looking for someone similar when they decided to get back into the dating game. All you’re doing by sticking to a ‘type’ is limiting your options, and let’s be honest about this; if your whole ‘I have a type’ theory was correct, you’d already have met somebody. Chances are your ‘type’ isn’t really your ‘type’ at all. Take a chance on people who have different interests to you, or look very different from people you’ve been out with before. You’ll probably surprise yourself by how well you get on with them.
Be Open And Honest From The Start
Dating doesn’t have to be serious in your teens and twenties. You can date someone for a few weeks, and if things aren’t going well, you can cut things off and meet someone else the following week. It’s like a dating conveyor belt. By your thirties, that’s usually less appealing. People have less time to waste, and so they don’t want to spend a year with someone and dream of marriage and children, only to find out that their partner isn’t interested in either. Always say what you’re looking for right from the very first conversation. If you just want to hook up, that’s fine – just make sure that your date has the same idea in mind. If you want something serious, say you want something serious. So long as you’re speaking to the right person, they won’t run away from that idea.
Forget The Games
We don’t like the rules of dating. We don’t even know who invented the rules of dating. There shouldn’t be any. That whole idea of not messaging someone for a day or two after the first date to ‘keep them keen?’ Ditch it. Holding back on telling someone how much you like them because you’re worried about how they respond? Don’t do it to yourself. If they don’t respond the right way, they’re obviously not the right person for you. It’s painful, but at least you can end things and move on quickly. It’s fine to kiss on the first date, too. In fact, it’s fine to do anything you want on the first date. This is your life, and you should live it however you want. Find someone who thinks the same way as you, and you’ve got it made.
Don’t Put Pressure On Yourself
As much as it’s important to be honest when meeting people, it’s also important that you don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you can’t enjoy the whole dating experience. Not every single person you meet has to be ‘the one,’ and not every bad date has to be a disaster. You’re a little older now, and it’s natural to be worried about spending the rest of your life alone, but time isn’t moving any faster than it was in your twenties. You still have decades ahead of you, and you owe it to yourself to take your time and be relaxed about how and when you meet people. Don’t be pushy, and don’t go into every date with an expectation that you’re about to meet the love of your life. Take every date as it comes and focus on being confident in yourself. They say that confidence is sexy, after all.
The people you’re meeting for dates probably have very similar concerns and fears as you do. They’re also worried about being over 30 and single. They’re also wondering if they’re getting dating wrong. Be true to yourself, be honest with them, and take chances on people you’d usually pass on. If you’re able to do that, you’ll find that dating success comes without you even having to try too hard.