Dating when I was younger had a lot of ups and downs, but I also learned many valuable lessons. What I learned has saved me from unnecessary heartache and helped me to avoid drama while dating in my 30s. As a result, I’m having the best time ever not only enjoying life more but also having more fun while dating.
- I can cut through the BS. When I was younger, I would easily fall for the rues guys told. Either about being in a place in their lives where they were ready to settle down, or acting like a gentleman for the first few dates only to get you into bed before they ghosted you. I can now suss out when a guy is just telling you what you want to hear vs. a guy who is genuinely interested in exploring something serious. I guess you can say I’ve lost my naivety.
- It’s no longer about looks but connection. In my 20s, one of the must-haves for the guys I dated was good looks and everything else was secondary. In my 30s, I now focus on forging connections and scrutinizing someone’s character first before I even think of having a serious relationship with them. Looks still play a role but they’re not as important.
- I know what I want and don’t want in a relationship. Going through the crazy dating shenanigans in my 20s, I met all sorts of guys. The undercover players, the a-holes, the emotionally unavailable, and even the clingy guys. Dating all types of guys helped me to have a better idea of the kind of guy I want to date and the nature of relationships I want to have.
- There’s less pressure to find “the one.” Meeting the one seemed like my primary goal in my 20s. This led me to be a serial dater who was always in relationships. In my 30s, I no longer feel the pressure to have a guy. I feel like there’s more to life than finding the right guy. I’m exploring a different phase in my career, learning more about myself, making life changes that are bringing more happiness into my life. Dating is now just another thing I might happen to think in any given week. I no longer obsess over it.
- I’m more confident. In my 30s, I feel more comfortable in my own skin. All those flaws that bothered me when I was younger I have come to accept. Now, I don’t let my insecurities get the best of me. I’ve learned that no one is perfect but accepting yourself fully and embracing your unique quirks is a beautiful thing. It takes the pressure off of being perfect and gives you the freedom to make deeper more meaningful connections.
- I don’t waste time on people who don’t have their act together. I have finally figured out a general direction for my life that I’m happy with. Over the past few years, I’ve been working hard at accomplishing goals I have set for myself career-wise, health-wise, and for relationships. As a result, I am looking to surround myself with people who are also ambitious and working towards creating a great life for themselves. When it comes to dating, I won’t settle for a guy who is still ‘finding himself.’ I need a guy with a purpose.
- I’m all about meaningful relationships. The older you get, the more you realize that life is short. There’s no point wasting your time on relationships either romantically or platonically that don’t add value to your life. I’ve been in a position where I have been dating a guy for a couple of months, and things are less optimistic than they were in the beginning. In such cases, I no longer have a problem being honest with the guy and with myself that the relationship is not working out for me. That way I don’t waste his time or mine.
- I’m real with myself. When I’m dating, I have a clear purpose with what I want out of a relationship. If it’s just sex or friends with benefits, then I don’t waste my emotional energy on it. If it’s something I’m hoping to be long-term, then I’ll invest more time and energy into it. But I’m more real with myself now and I don’t try and make a relationship something it’s not.
- I’m not terrified of being single. When I was younger, my value and happiness were tied to whether or not I was in a committed relationship with a guy. This made me scared of being single. But in my 30s, having a relationship no longer defines me. I enjoy time alone, exploring different hobbies and ventures, and growing my horizons as a person.