Dating in your 30s can be tricky as it is. With a shrinking candidate pool and fewer opportunities to meet people, there seems to be a shortage of potential partners to choose from as more people are off the market.
If you’ve found yourself newly single and navigating the dating scene after a long-term relationship, divorce, or even a dating hiatus, you might feel like the odds are against you. However, just because you’re dating in your late 30s doesn’t make you a dinosaur! In fact, there are plenty of people who happily find love later in life.
Yes, the dating world is different than it was when you were dating in your 20s—but you’re different, too! With aging comes a lot of perks, like maturing, finding yourself, and discovering ways to date with intention.
In our guide below, we’ll address some tips and tricks for dating in your 30s to help you find your match.
1. Make Sure You’re Ready To Get Back on the Horse
Maybe you just got out of a long-term relationship. Or perhaps you’ve gone through a divorce. Whatever it is, before you jump back into the dating scene, make sure you’ve worked through the issues you faced in your previous relationship.
Taking the time to self-reflect and heal is crucial to not transferring unhealthy dating patterns into your next relationship. If you have unprocessed grief, you’ll attract other wounded people and repeat the same romantic mistakes. Allow yourself time to sort through your experience until you feel strong enough to give dating another go.
2. Toss the Timeline
You’re in your 30s, and you’re still not married with kids—so, what? Placing deadlines on yourself and living up to societal expectations are not what’s going to land you in a happy and committed relationship. Forget the dating timeline you made up in your head because it’s only putting undue stress on yourself.
Instead, reframe your expectations and realize the best is yet to come. Need some inspiration? Long-time bachelor George Clooney didn’t tie the knot until he was 52, Salma Hayek was 42 when she got hitched, and actress Hilary Swank just welcomed twins at the age of 48! See? You still have plenty of time to find your person.
3. Get Over Out-Dated Taboos
If you’re in your 30s, you didn’t grow up with the onslaught of dating apps. And if we’re being honest, online dating was probably something you scoffed at in your early 20s. Well, the truth is, times are a-changing, and the stigma of online dating is going by the wayside. Dating apps are simply just another facet of the modern dating world today, as people are using online dating to make connections that are otherwise difficult to come by.
In fact, a recent study revealed that 37% of people between the ages of 30 and 49 are online dating, meaning you’re missing out on a big chunk of the pie if you’re not willing to give online dating a try. Look into all the different dating sites and apps to see if anything sparks your fancy or aligns with your preferences. After trying it out, it’s ok if it’s not for you, but don’t knock it until you try it.
4. Get Out and About
A big reason why those dating over 30 are turning to dating apps is because it can be tricky meeting new people out in public, or the wild, as we like to call it. When you’re in your 30s, you’re no longer going to class, staying out late on weekdays, or hanging out with your friends every weekend like you were in your 20s. So it’s no wonder your dating pool feels so much smaller!
Aside from using dating apps, you might have to get creative about the ways you surround yourself with new people. For you, this might mean joining a local volunteer group or starting a book club in your community. For someone else, it might involve joining a pick-up soccer league or trying a mixology class. Not only will this help you meet new people (who are single or who have single friends!), but it will get you involved with those who share common interests with you.
5. Date with Intention
If you’re serious about finding a mate in your 30s, then you’ll need to stop dating like you’re in your 20s. Sure, it’s fun to date the hot, jobless hippie who lives in his van and travels around the country, but is that really worth your time if you want to settle down and have kids within the next few years?
One way to focus your efforts is to date with intention. Before dating again, give yourself the space to determine what kind of person you want to date and what you want to gain from a relationship. Think about deal breakers and aspects that are non-negotiable to you, consider your core values, and establish boundaries.
For example, are you willing to date someone who doesn’t share your religious or political beliefs? Or are you open to dating someone who already has kids? While it’s ok to change your mind along the way, having a better understanding of the kind of relationship you want can help steer you in the right direction, saving you time and energy along the way.
6. Date Outside of Your “Type”
When it comes to dating in your late 30s, you’ve probably developed a “type.” But as tempting as it can be to stick to dating “your type,” remember that it didn’t work out with your ex for a reason (and any relationship before that).
Since there are fewer eligible singles in their 30s, there’s never been a better time to keep an open mind and date somebody out of your norm. That’s how you grow as a person and change for the better in your next relationship. By stepping outside your comfort zone and taking a chance with someone different, you might surprise yourself by making a meaningful connection.
7. Never Settle
We get it. Dating as a woman in her 30s can feel like there are no more fish in the sea—or at least no more good fish in the sea. But that mindset is what could lead to settling for less than what’s best for you, and that’s not fair to you. After all, staying with someone who doesn’t meet your needs is a recipe for disaster for your mental health and well-being. Not only that, but it’s a waste of time for both people involved.
Instead of settling for someone who doesn’t meet your expectations, you could be investing that time into finding someone who actually fulfills you. Whether you’re a man or a woman dating in your 30s, you’ve held off this long, so why not wait to find your perfect match? Sure, it might push back that arbitrary dating timeline (that you should be ignoring, by the way!), but the wait will be so worth it in the end.
8. Prioritize You
If you’re dating over 30, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: It’s ok to be selfish. You’re no longer that 20-something pleaser who was smashing your own desires to accommodate your partner’s. No, you’re a strong, independent person who has hopes and dreams and a whole lot to bring to the table.
The beauty of dating over 30 is that you’ve had time to explore who you are and what you want. You know what you stand for, what you’ll tolerate, and what you want in a partner, which is a major advantage when it comes to dating. You’ve focused a lot on self-discovery and making sure you’re happy with yourself, so you deserve to find someone who supports you and helps you shine.
9. Don’t Overlook Professional Matchmaking
If you’re dating in your late 30s, maybe you’ve already marked a lot of these tips off your list. You’ve tried online dating to no avail. And you’ve joined more singles clubs than you care to admit. If you’re done with casual dating and want to get serious about finding a partner, then it might be time to give matchmaking a try. When you turn to a service like Tawkify, a professional will research potential matches who align with your preferences, vet them for you, and even schedule initial dates to help you find that perfect someone.
If you’re still dating in your 30s, don’t get discouraged! You still have plenty of time to meet new people, date, and eventually find your match.