Remember when you were in your 20s and it seemed liked everyone was single? The thought never crossed your mind to look down at a girl’s hand to see if she had a wedding ring. Everyone was available for drinks after work and the dating pool seemed endlessly deep. Flash forward to your 30s and things have changed and hopefully you have as well. Let’s take a quick look at what’s different and how to use your “advanced age” to your advantage.
You’re Older… err Wiser
The best thing you’ve got going for you compared to your friends who got married in their 20s is you know yourself a lot better now. In your 20s you were still formulating the person you are and the person you wanted to be. On the flip side, I know lots of couples who married in their 20s and grew together beautifully. It does happen and kudos to them…but this article isn’t for them. It’s for you, so let’s get back to it.
In your 30s you’ve experienced a lot more through prior relationships to determine what you want in a partner and what’s a deal-breaker. You’ve tried on a few more pairs of shoes, tasted a few different flavors of ice cream, insert whatever analogy you like but you have a better handle on what it means to be you and what kind of a partner brings out the best in you.
With that added knowledge of what we want comes added complexity. We run the risk of becoming too narrow in our focus and pre-defining what we need before it arrives at our footsteps. We can become too comfortable in the independent life we’ve carved out which has brought us success in our career, financial reward and a lifestyle that is the envy of our married friends. However, we need to be careful not to become so absorbed with our independent life and/or preconceptions of what is good for us as to miss a partner who may take our life to a new level of amazingness. Yup, just created a word there. Amazingness.
Time is at More of A Premium
In your 20s, time is this infinite space that seems endless and eternally open ended. You will hang out with anyone in any scenario. You’ll go along with any plan purely for the adventure and journey of it. You are at the early stages of your career development, so you can stay out late and you’re not important enough that when you show up to work hung over that you’re impact on the company is felt.
I’m not suggesting AT ALL that you lose that kind of enthusiasm for life and new experiences when you reach your 30s, but things do change. You’re career is pumping, you’ve developed interests in things that you like to devote time to and you’ve built a larger network of close friends that you want to spend time with. All this adds up to fewer available hours for things and people you enjoy.
What this means is taking time for dating and meeting new people comes at a price that is absolutely worth paying, but is at a higher premium. The result is you have to be more selective about who you spend your time getting to know as a potential partner. Creating a becomes much more important in your 30s than it was in your 20s.
You’re Life Doesn’t Revolve Around Closing Time
In your 20s it’s all about being at the coolest new spot on Friday and Saturday night and being surrounded by as much action and stimulation as possible. If you’re reading this and you’re in your 20s, do it up and get your fill because truly that is what that time in your life is about. Fun and discovery!
In your 30s, the following conversation may arise, “You know what, it’s been a long week and I don’t really feel like going out this Friday night. I’m gonna stay home and chill or catch up on my TIVO or Netflix.” Your 20s self would smack your 30s self in the face, throw you in the shower and force you out, chiding you as a pussy and reminding you that tonight could be the greatest night of your life.
This transition comes from an awareness of who you are and an ability to give yourself what you truly need without any guilt. Embrace the joys of being developed in your 30s and choosing to pursue other interests besides just partying like you did in your 20s. You now appreciate waking up and going for a run, hitting a farmer’s market or getting an early start on whatever it is you really enjoy doing on your weekends.
Don’t deny who you are in your 30s. Don’t keep doing what you’ve done in your 20s simply because that’s what you did before or what you’re expected to do as a single person. Find other dating partners that have embraced this transition in their lives too and will love joining you in the activities you love. Maybe that partner will end up showing you some new things that they enjoy and add to your life.
Embrace Your 30s Instead of Bemoaning Them
This is the best time of your life. You are hitting your stride. You have some money to spend. You are comfortable in your own skin. You are more of a finished man. You are awesome!
The key is adapting your dating process to be different than what you did in your 20s and creating a strategy that is effective and feels consistent with the person you are today in your 30s.