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Dating in your 30s: What It Feels Like & 37 Secrets to Be Happy & Successful

Dating in your 30s is a little different from your 20s – there are still the same games, but a little more maturity in general. Here’s what you need to know. 

dating in your 30s

Dating in your 30s might sound like a nightmare, but in fact, it’s not all that different from dating when you’re a little younger.

Of course, there are some differences you need to know, but if you build it up in your mind, you’ll only end up stressed and increase the chances of a disaster.

For sure, there are still the first date jitters, the tedious small talk, and the hours of preparation in the bathroom. And for what? Some person you may or may not hit it off with? But isn’t that half the fun?

If you’re in your 30s and looking for love, or just out to meet new people and have some fun, let’s explore the things you need to know. [Read: 20 relationship problems that push a couple apart or bring them closer]

Is dating in your 30s harder?

Yes and no.

Some people say the stakes are higher, but that really depends on how you look at dating in the first place.

If you’re desperate to find someone because you’re concerned about a ticking clock, of course, it’s going to be harder. So, forget all that and take the pressure off, that way it’ll be easier.

When you break it down, dating in your 30s is no different from dating at any other time, you’re meeting someone new and seeing if you hit it off. That part is exactly the same.

The only major difference is that you’ve had enough of players and games and you just want to meet people you can connect with. Hopefully, the person you meet feels the same. [Read: How to be better at dating – 15 ways to enjoy every step of the way]

What dating in your 30s is really like

If you’re fresh into your 30s *or even well into this decade* and trying to figure out how the dating scene works, we’re right here beside you. Let’s take a look at what it’s like dating in your 30s.

1. Slim pickings

Yeah, you may be walking into the dating community thinking that it’s gonna be flowing with eligible people.

Don’t get us wrong, it is heavily stocked, but you’re likely to go through a lot of partied-out types and a fair share of divorcees. [Read: Casual relationship – 80 casual dating tips and rules to not get hurt or attached]

2. The biological clock is ticking

Whether you like it or not, there’s a biological clock ticking in most women. So, if you’re interested in having kids when you’re dating in your 30s, you’re not looking for a boyfriend – you’re looking for a husband or sperm donor at best.

Your priorities are a partner who has a stable job, a stable mind, and wants to start a family. So, though dating should be fun for you, you’re probably sitting at the bar with this guy with a checklist in the back of your mind. [Read: Ways to know if you are ready for a baby]

3. You know what you want

By the time you reach 30, you know what you want. You know, somewhat, what kind of person you’d like in your life and where you’d like to be in 5 or 10 years. Your 20s were mostly spent wasting money on clothes, gadgets, and alcohol.

However, with every drunken night spent, you learned more about yourself. And now you’re here, clear-minded with a sense of where you want your life to go.

4. Some men want them young

This part’s a bummer. A lot of men in their 30s aren’t really looking for women in their age group. They want them young. Don’t take it personally, they want this because they’re immature and can’t handle a woman who’s experienced.

Younger women have that “fertile” look to them. If you think back, older men were probably hitting on you when you were in your 20s. Well, now you’re in your 30s and they’re nowhere to be seen. [Read: Why you should date an older man at least once]

5. You’re well-educated on the dating scene

You’ve done this all before. You know when someone is just looking to score or when they’re a little on the creepy side. Why? Because you’ve been on hundreds of dates and you know the signs before you even see them.

You’re a seasoned dater. So, take this knowledge and use it to your advantage when sifting through the eligible ones.

6. Many young guys want older women

A lot of young guys dig older women. No, you’re not a MILF – you haven’t made it to that status yet *unless you have a child*. So, congratulations.

Younger men always want to have an experience with an older, wiser, and sexier woman. [Read: Cougar dating – rules for dating an older woman]

7. People may be intimidated by you

Makes sense, you’ve been there and done that. So, when you’re sitting across the table from your date and you’re telling them about your educational background and where you’ve traveled, hell yes, you’re intimidating.

When you were in your 20s, your ambitions were seen as sweet, but now that you’ve completed them, you’re a lethal weapon.

8. Wingwomen don’t exist

Yeah, you should know this by now. Most of your friends are engaged or married, so they’re not hitting the bars with you in hopes of meeting a nice guy. They’re done.

It even makes dating more difficult since couples usually hang out with other couples. Not good if you’re looking to mingle. The guys? Well, there’s usually at least one who’s willing to be your wingman. [Read: Signs your friends are ruining your relationship]

9. You may come with extra baggage

You might have a couple of serious relationships under your belt, so naturally, that comes with its own set of baggage. This is completely normal.

In your 20s, your biggest issue was passing an exam or making sure you had enough travel money. Now, you may have children, be in debt, or have issues developed from your ex, so this is going to be a challenge. These issues will all come up eventually when you’re dating.

10. You’ll want to cut the crap

You don’t want to do the whole, “Where are you from, do you have any siblings” deal. It gets slightly old and exhausting. You want to find someone good, so you want to make sure you’re not wasting your time.

You’ll be researching their dating profile, seeing their goals, where they work –  you know, things that may affect you. [Read: Tricky mind games men play and how women can win]

11. You stop pretending

By 30, you know who you are, and you’re not trying to impress anyone. This is the beautiful part about being in your 30s: you don’t care about trying to make people like you.

You are who you are. Which is the best part about dating in your 30s.

12. You might feel like old news

You’ll feel a little old when you get back into the dating scene. You’re in your 30s, and no one wants to start back at square one at that point.

So, it’s a little like failing a class and having to retake it the year after. You’ve done it before, and everyone realizes you’re older than them. [Read: Dating anxiety – what it is, 39 causes of panic, and signs and steps to get over it]

13. You become realistic

Every girl wants to find their Prince Charming and every guy wants to be him. Well, at least that’s what Disney taught us. But, by 30, you realize that perfect princes don’t exist and you become more realistic.

People are flawed, you are flawed. There’s going to be something they do that annoys you. But ask yourself, do their positive qualities outweigh the annoying things they do? Probably. So, you’ll go for it. [Read: Unrealistic expectations that can ruin your love life]

Crucial tips for successful dating in your 30s

Now that you know the reality of the situation, don’t despair! Not everyone’s experience of dating at 30 and over is negative and full of pitfalls.

All you need to do is understand the key points to remember and go into it with a, “what will be, will be” mindset.

1. Know what you want

Are you looking for a long-term partner or do you just want to have fun? What do you want? It doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you’re clear about it before you start dating.

That way, you won’t end up stressed out and wondering what the other person wants and if you’re in alignment or not. [Read: Awful dating habits that are keeping you single]

2. Let go of the past

It’s not easy to try and forget hurtful things that have happened in the past, but it’s vital that you do your best.

Learn any lessons that need to be learned and remember that from now, it’s a clean slate. The past doesn’t have to repeat itself.

3. Be vulnerable

The thing about dating in your 30s is that you have your guard up. You’ve seen all the tricks and you’re fed up with them. So, it’s hard for you to drop the wall around your heart and be vulnerable.

But if you want to find someone special, you have to try. [Read: 19 reasons why we’re afraid to open up to people and steps to overcome it]

4. Beware of negative thinking patterns

We attract into our lives what we focus on. So, if you’re always thinking negatively about dating in your 30s, your feelings and actions are likely to reflect that.

Instead, remember that you have nothing to lose. That way, you’re more likely to be surprised in a good way.

5. Don’t rush things

They tell us that we need to be mindful of our ticking biological clock, but all it does is add stress and pressure. Mute it. Forget it.

Don’t rush and you’ll enjoy your experiences much better, and increase your chances of meeting someone special. [Read: Rushing into a relationship – why you need to learn to slow down]

6. Dump your divorce bias

Any negative thoughts you have toward people who are divorced, or even any favoring thoughts: forget them.

Whether divorced, remarried, never married, or constantly single, it doesn’t matter. Allow people to show you who they really are. We all have baggage of some kind.

7. Be open to a wider age range

Look, you don’t have as much choice as when you were in your 20s. By their 30s, some people are already coupled up and married. Not all, but some.

That means you just need to be open to dating a wider age range and not be so rigid in what you’re looking for. People might surprise you! [Read: Dating someone way older than you – the must knows]

8. Don’t date someone you’re not into

The thing about dating in your 30s is that, in some cases, it can push you to think that you have to just chase every lead. You don’t. If you’re not into someone, don’t date them. It’s that simple.

9. Communicate openly

Be open and honest about your life experiences, what you’re looking for, and more importantly, what you’re not looking for.

Communicate openly and you reduce the chance of mixed messages and confusion. Nobody’s got time for that. [Read: 42 secrets to communicate better in a relationship and ways to fix a lack of it]

10. Do you

You’ve faced plenty of life’s challenges so far in life, so now you’ve earned the right to just do you. Enjoy your dating experiences, meet people, do what you want *as long as you’re not hurting anyone else*, and don’t feel guilty for it.

11. Don’t settle

This is a big one. Just because you’re dating in your 30s doesn’t mean you have to meet someone, grab onto them like glue, and think, “Phew, I did it!”

Don’t settle if it doesn’t feel right. It’s a much better idea to wait. [Read: 17 things to do before getting married and settling down]

12. But don’t seek perfection either

By this time, you know what you want and what you don’t, but that doesn’t mean you should try and find your version of perfection is someone else.

Perfection is subjective anyway. And let’s be honest, everyone is flawed. You’ll be searching forever.

13. Know who you are

We’ve mentioned knowing what you want, but make sure you also know who you are. Don’t try and pretend to be someone you’re not just because you think it will make you more attractive to other people.

You’re you, and you’re wonderful. Stick with that. [Read: How to know if someone is right for you – 23 signs you’ve found the one]

14. Forget the timeline

All of this trash about needing to be married by a certain age or to have had kids by a specific time needs to be forgotten. Firstly, not everyone wants to get married or have kids, and even if they do, why do you need to do it by a certain time?

Sure, women can’t have children forever, but there are other options these days if you want that! Forget the timeline and just go with the flow instead.

15. Know it’s okay to be inexperienced

There’s this idea that when you’re dating in your 30s you must have a world of dating knowledge and experiences. This can be either in life or in the bedroom. Look, it’s okay if you don’t.

You’re just a person out there trying to meet someone nice, that’s really all you need to go with. [Read: When you’re not as experienced as him]

16. Heal your wounds

Before you start trying to date, make sure that you heal your wounds from past experiences. Otherwise, you’re just going to drag them into the next relationship. Give yourself some time and don’t rush.

Spend some time alone and focus on yourself. Learn the lessons and move on. Only then will you be able to focus on the future and not always look back to the past.

Think back to your previous dating experiences, can you see any trends? Do you always do a certain thing or act a certain way? Do you always find specific experiences happening to you?

These are trends that you should be aware of. Only with awareness can you change your thinking and actions and prevent them from happening again. [Read: 26 different types of relationships to predict your romantic life and future]

18. Give up the games

Seriously. Nobody’s got time for that at any age.

19. Learn your money personality

You might wonder what this has to do with dating in your 30s, but it’s important to know what your money personality is so you can find someone who matches.

Are you a saver or a spender? Are you an investor? Money is a huge sticking point between couples, so knowing this information helps you find a better match for the future. [Read: How to talk about money with your partner without fighting about it]

20. Understand your attachment style

Everyone has a slightly different attachment style and it might be that yours has caused you to act in certain ways in the past.

By understanding what yours is, you can change how you date and perhaps look toward a more successful outcome. [Read: Attachment styles theory – the types and 19 signs and ways you attach to others]

21. Don’t date people for their potential

It’s easy to look at someone and imagine what they could be, but you have no idea if that will happen or if they even want to become that person. Instead, focus on who they are and decide whether that’s enough for you or not.

22. Be open

Don’t hide anything about yourself and don’t feel guilty about anything in your past either. For sure, don’t go into a first date and spill your life story, but don’t assume that you need to hold things back because of judgment either.

Be open and be yourself. [Read: How to be yourself – 26 steps to unfake your life and love being you]

23. Forget gender roles

We live in the modern world, and gender roles might still be around to a degree, but forget about them and open your mind. Who knows where it might take you?

24. Remember that dating isn’t always about getting married

Drop the pressure. Whether you want to get married at some point or not, don’t go into dating trying to find the person you’re going to walk down the aisle with. Just go in with the hope to have fun and you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience.

Ironically, when you do that, you’re more likely to find what you’re looking for – marriage or not. [Read: Itching to get hitched – why you shouldn’t rush marriage]

Dating in your 30s can be a fun experience!

Everything in life is about how you look at it. If you go into your 30s and panic that you’re over the hill, you’re going to show that attitude to everyone around you. But if you go into it and just be yourself and have fun, you’ll attract like-minded people into your life.

Your 30s don’t mean you’re old, on the contrary, you’re still a young pup! While you might need to adjust your dating strategy a little, it’s not a bad thing.

Remember, dating is supposed to be fun.

[Read: Dating multiple people – the stress-free way to have fun doing it]

Don’t think of dating in your 30s as some daunting task. If anything, it’s a great opportunity to go into the dating scene knowing exactly who you are and what you’re looking for.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...