Lifestyle

7 crucial tips for dating in your 30s

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Dating is hard at any age, but entering a new decade brings with it a new set of nuances to learn how to navigate.

If you thought you had finally nailed the dating game in your 20s, once you hit 30, things might feel incredibly frustrating and overwhelming again.

The truth is, dating in your 30s is very different than dating in your 20s. The playing field is narrower and you probably carry a little more baggage than you did the decade prior.

You may have gotten your heart broken and developed some trust issues, for example, or you could be more devoted than ever to a career that takes up a significant portion of your time.

You also likely have fewer single friends, so there’s more pressure to couple up.

If you’ve recently become single or just turned 30 and are beginning to notice how dating has changed, don’t stress. We’ve got some crucial tips to help you survive (and thrive!) dating in your 30s.

1. Age is just a number

Does age really matter? Not so much. Don’t be so quick to write people off because they’re too old or too young for you. Relationships work because two people are in love, support each other mutually, and have a great time together, not because of how far apart in age they are. “When two people actually go on a date, the age difference might not have as much importance as other considerations, such as physical attraction and a compatible personality.

2. Let go of the past

Many people who are single in their 30s have dealt with some form of heartbreak—be it ghosting, cheating, or a breakup. But it’s time to leave the past behind. The third date is not a good time to discuss how your ex cheated on you. Let it go! We all have skeletons in our closets. This doesn’t mean you have to pull one out and wear it. Yes, your past has shaped who you are, but it’s not your present or future. Instead, focus on what is happening now and look where you are going next.

3. Let your guard down

When you’ve been in a lot of unsuccessful relationships, a natural defense mechanism is to put your guard up. If you don’t let anyone in, then you won’t get hurt, right? However, if you don’t let anyone in, you probably won’t end up finding the one. When the time is right and you’ve met someone you’re into who is also into you, let your guard down. Be vulnerable. If this makes you feel anxious, tell yourself everything will be okay.

4. Don’t be jaded or bitter

When you’re in your 30s, it’s much easier to become jaded and bitter; so many relationships have not worked out that you may start to think it’s never going to happen. But it’s important not to let this negative thinking get the best of you. If you think it’s never going to happen, then it won’t—you have to be positive.

5. Focus on having fun

When you’re in your 30s, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about the things you don’t have yet. You haven’t met the one, you’re not married, and you don’t have kids. Wanting all of these things is okay, but grilling every person you date to see if they have what it takes to fulfill your expectations is not. Focus on having fun and getting to know the person. What’s the point of being in a relationship at any age if you’re not having fun?

6. You do you

Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not or give up fundamental things that make you who you are. Losing yourself in a relationship can create anxiety, resentment, and even hopelessness, which can cause you to rebel or express yourself in exaggerated or extreme ways that can threaten the connection.

Own who you are. Nothing is more attractive than someone who is comfortable in their own skin.

7. Trust your gut

If you have a gut instinct about someone, trust it. Listen to your intuition. If something is telling you that they’re not right, then they’re probably not.

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