The Best Dating Advice Right Now If You’re a Woman in Your 30s
In so many ways, this can be the most rewarding time to find your person. These expert tips can help.
There’s no doubt about it; dating can be hard at any age. But, as anyone who’s single in their 30s will tell you, it can be somewhat of a minefield to navigate. From getting ghosted to never-ending swiping on apps and the pressure to couple up from well-meaning friends, dating in your 30s can feel far more like a painful ordeal than a pleasant way to spend your free time.
While the dating pool may be narrower and your prospective dates may come with a little more baggage than they did a decade ago, there are some major benefits to dating when you’re older and wiser that can’t be ignored. For instance, as a woman in your 30s, you know so much more about yourself and what you want—both in life and in a romantic partnership. You’re also more likely to be well-established in your career and finances, which can help you make room for starting up a really meaningful and exciting connection with someone. In so many ways, dating in your 30s is the freaking best.
So, whether you’re ready to not be single, are looking to get back out there post-breakup or divorce, or are somewhere in between, here is some helpful advice from three different relationship and dating experts that you can use to find your person right now.
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1. Practice Intentional Dating
While it takes two to tango, dating actually starts with numero uno. “Take the time to focus on yourself and reflect on what you want out of a relationship before jumping into the dating world,” says Logan Ury, director of relationship science at Hinge and author of How to Not Die Alone.
“A great way to get started is to diagnose your bad habits. What are the patterns and behaviors that have been holding you back? Are you too picky? Not picky enough? Ask some close friends for feedback if you’re struggling to identify these on your own,” explains Ury.
Once you diagnose and then work to break that bad habit, you can make progress in your dating journey. “After self-reflecting and deciding you’re ready to date, you should embrace a new approach to your dating life. Whether it’s trying a video date for the first time or refreshing your online dating profile, commit to switching it up this year and see how it goes,” says Ury.
While all of us have our own unique dating stories, many of us suffer from the same thing: unrealistic expectations. In Logan’s work as a dating coach, she’s categorized common blind spots into a framework called The Three Dating Tendencies (this quiz can help you ID yours):
- The Romanticizer has unrealistic expectations of relationships
- The Maximizer has unrealistic expectations of their partner
- The Hesitater has unrealistic expectations of themselves
“Whether it’s the idea that your next relationship will be 100% perfect or you have a long list of qualities for your ‘ideal’ partner, let go of stressing over perfection,” she says. “Nothing in life will be perfect, and it’s important to keep this in mind when dating. Relationships are work, and you should date with an open mind instead of constantly worrying about the ‘perfect’ choice.”
2. Date Outside of Your Type
Speaking of perfect choice, you may think that guy at the bar with the long blonde ponytail is Mr. Right, when in fact, he could be all wrong. “Single people often tell me that they have a particular ‘type.’ They’re confident they know what they want — they just need help finding that person,” says Ury.
“But through my research, I’ve found that these hunches are often wrong. Here’s the truth: the person who will make us happiest long-term does not always match our so-called ‘type.’ Therefore, my advice is to expand your parameters. Go out with people who you don’t necessarily think you’ll click with. Date like a scientist and experiment. You may be surprised by what emerges,” she suggests.
The past is also a good indicator that what or who you were previously attracted to, may not be what’s best for you long-term. “Considering that you’re in your 30s, your perception and judgment are likely to be based on past experiences,” says Liam Barnett, dating expert, matchmaking, and attraction coach for DatingZest.com. “You might meet a person with similar features to a person you’ve met or dated before, and you tend to automatically project the image of the person from before onto this person you don’t know.” This could potentially cause you to rush into the wrong relationship.
3. Ignore Your Biological Clock
In your 30s, you may feel like you’re just hitting your stride in life, but for some, the pressure of running out of time is looming when it comes to marriage and/or kids. “If people aren’t having the dating life that they want in their 30s and they feel the pressure of biology, there’s a propensity to panic. This solves the problem in the short-term, but leads to unhappiness later in life,” says Laura Buckley, a matchmaker and dating coach at Secret Alchemy.
Ignore the urge to rush into something. “If you’ve been seeing someone for a few weeks or have been on a couple of dates, you may feel like you know them, but you don’t,” adds Buckley. “It takes time to really get to know someone and when people over-invest in someone and then that person ghosts them, it’s a horrible feeling. If you don’t over-invest in the first place, you won’t be so disappointed.”
So how do you avoid over-investing from the start? It’s simple. Look for signs that this person is worth putting your time, attention, and energy into. Listen to their words and take note of their actions—these are often the biggest clues that can help you determine if someone’s right for you and the relationship you’d like to have. And this research takes time.
4. Look Beyond the Screen
While dating apps and online profiles can be tempting, experts say, nothing trumps meeting someone in real life. “People always tell me that they want to meet someone organically,” says Buckley. “But when I ask what they’re doing to try and make this happen, they’re sitting on their sofas scrolling through Bumble,” she says.
Buckley advises looking up from your phone when you’re out and about at the grocery store, gym, etc., and aiming to have some real, human interactions. “Get out more, say yes to social activities. If you have a small social circle, focus on making it bigger,” Buckley suggests.
5. Learn From the Past
It’s important to not forget the lessons (oh, the lessons) you’ve learned from past mistakes because you definitely don’t want to waste your time repeating them, advises Barnett.
So, if you’ve always been a little vague or non-commital about what you really, truly want in a partner, it’s to time to stop that. This time, be very clear up-front about what you are looking for in a partner and from a relationship.
“Stating your intentions from the beginning in a connection is likely to save you and your potential partner from misunderstanding one another,” says Barnett. “By being transparent and upfront from the beginning, you avoid the ‘Oh, I thought you were’ and ‘Oh, I thought it meant’ confusion along the way.” And that can make dating in your 30s so much easier… and a lot more fun.