What You Should Know About Dating By The Time You Hit 30

What You Should Know About Dating By The Time You Hit 30 ©iStock/monkeybusinessimages

One of the greatest things about getting older is that you learn a lot about dating as you go along, which makes you an even better catch and helps you weed out the bad guys. By the time you hit your 30s, you should have the following lessons under your belt:

  1. You need to know what you want and you should be unafraid to go get it. You might have had a good idea about what you’re looking for in a partner in your 20s, but when you hit the dirty 30s, all your dating experiences should give you an even clearer idea of what you want and the confidence to get it.
  2. You can be guarded without being bitter. It takes a few tries to get this one right, but that’s what your 20s are for. Nasty guys and horrible dating experiences will make you realize that the fairytales don’t exist, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have faith in finding great love. The trick is to use your bad experiences to guard your heart without becoming bitter. A bit of jadedness can keep the a-holes at bay, but too much of it can put off the great guys.
  3. You can be alone. One of the most empowering lessons is that you don’t need a partner to fulfill you. It’s great to have a wonderful relationship, but you’re not going to fall apart without it. You can be alone and really happy. The bonus is that learning this will also enrich your relationships because you won’t be a clingy GF, depending on another person to make you happy. That only leads to disappointment.
  4. You need to get a lower BS threshold. You might have put up with a lot of crap in your 20s, but you’re not going to allow it into your life again. You’ve become less tolerant to BS. If a guy doesn’t treat you the way you know you deserve to be treated, he’s out of there. You’ve learned that you have to love yourself more than anyone else.
  5. You should keep your options open. Although it’s a must to know what you want from a partner, you shouldn’t limit yourself to one type. This isn’t about lowering your standards (you should never do that), but just about taking a chance on a guy who might not seem like the type you usually go for. After all, those guys you’ve dated didn’t last, did they? You might just be surprised to find that the guy you never thought would be a right fit for you is actually a great boyfriend.
  6. Dating should be fun! Don’t for a second think that as you get older, you have to become more serious about love and relationships. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to lose your carefree, fun-loving spark. Although relationships are hard work, they should also be enjoyable otherwise what’s the point?
  7. You can’t change anyone. This is a biggie. Although you might have fallen into the trap of thinking you can DIY a bad boy into a nice guy, by the time you hit 30 you realize that this just isn’t possible — and even more importantly, it’s not worth wasting your time and energy trying. You have so much better stuff to do.
  8. Self-worth is your best dating ammo. You might still worry about the cellulite on your thighs or doubt if you’re a great GF, but you’ve gained more confidence by living through the tumultuous 20s. When you value yourself, you don’t settle for crappy relationships and you know you kick ass. This means you demand respect and always should because it’s what will make dating so much more rewarding.
  9. Love shouldn’t make you lose yourself. In your 20s, you still had your dating training wheels on, so chances are you allowed disappointments to mess with your heart. You might have become an emotional wreck over little things, like if a guy didn’t call you back or wasn’t interested in dating you. But then you got through the pain and it toughened you up. Your heart is a muscle that gets stronger with use, after all. Now you don’t have to lose yourself the minute something doesn’t go your way because you see the bigger picture and what’s in it is how amazingly you can deal with the bad times and how much you rock. Don’t forget it.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.