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The Pitfalls of Dating After 30

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Everyone wants to know the key to dating successfully once you cross into the land of Thirtyville.  See, Thirtyville represents more than an age, it’s a time in our lives when we’re expected to have more clarity,  greater stability, and a deeper sense of self.

Our thirties are the manifestation of all the growing, building, and learning we (supposedly) did in our twenties. We should reap benefits of sowed seeds and have everything fall together nicely in our lives. But so often that fails to be the case. Most of us are dissatisfied with our careers, having chosen bigger paychecks over passion and purpose. Meanwhile, many remain actively engaged in the dating game wondering when and if we’ll ever find The One (or at least someone worthy of the title ‘Runner Up‘).

Dating after 30

So what’s the real deal with Thirtyville? Why isn’t it akin to a promised land of milk & honey? Why are we still struggling to answer questions thrown at us a decade ago? While I don’t know everything about dating, I know a few things. Some were conceived from disappointments and poor decision-making, while others were born from investigation and introspection. Nevertheless, here are 3 major reasons we struggle with dating after 30…

3 Pitfalls of Dating After 30

 

1). Increasing & Diverging Expectations

You know those “basic” things you assumed every guy knew? Well, here’s the secret. Those things aren’t basic anymore. Days of gentlemen opening doors, picking up the tab, picking you up on time (if they pick you up at all), or bringing flowers are remnants of the past. There’s a noticeable push-pull dynamic in dating after 30. By this age, most women have had at least one guy treat her fairly well and demonstrate what’s possible. And as the saying goes, “once you’ve been treated right, it’s hard to go back to bull–.”

On the other hand, guys have spent years paying for flowers, food, and gifts only to find themselves still wondering if a woman deserving of their best actually exists. As a result of their own disappointment and feelings of resources wasted, men have pulled back. Some appear outright lazy in matters of love. So, while women may be expecting more, some guys are offering less. Therein lies the conundrum.

“Expectations from your yesterdays may compromise a relationship meant for your tomorrows”

2) Accomplishments – Yours & Theirs

Regardless of gender, once you reach a certain level of personal success, it’s natural to become more discriminating in dating. Especially when dating after 30, women feel more entitled to certain things because of who they are, what they have’ve done, and how they’ve done it (for example: becoming a Marketing Vice President by the age 35). Subsequently, successful men find it easy to simply walk away when what a woman offers isn’t aligned with their ideal. Why should anyone have to compromise?  It’s another example of the ever-present push-pull.

If we crossed into Thirtyville having achieved the aforementioned accomplishments, we assume all age-appropriate suitors have done the same.  When a woman finds herself owning, making, and running things – watch out. We get used to our world – our house, our rules, our life, and our definitions of right and wrong. So, when a man comes along and isn’t where we believe he should be, it’s incredibly difficult to see him as an equal (if we ever will), let alone head of (our) household. We tend to fault him for not having the same boxes checked as we do because in our minds, not having what we have means he didn’t do things the “right way.”

 

3. Baggage, Baggage, Baggage. 

We’re all walking around cloaked in the lessons of our pasts . Different relationships taught us different (sometimes the same) lessons. We’ve learned, forgotten, and re-learned things that while nicely organized and captured in dating books, could never be mastered. Now, we unknowingly have layers upon layers of “life” around us and on top of us. Every opinion, assumption, judgment is the result of some event in days or years prior. So it’s clear to see how this makes dating after 30 more difficult.

When we interact with a romantic interest, we’re not merely interacting as two people. We’re interacting as two experiences: two lifetimes of broken promises, regrets, distrust, fear, or whatever else that weighs you down. The more years you participate in the sport of dating, the more baggage you accumulate. While our twenties may not have been the easiest time, we had fewer experiences and therefore, less baggage. Ironically, we expect more clarity and stability dating after 30, yet rarely consider how “tainted” we’ve become.

Let’s hear from you: How has your experience with dating after 30 been? Have you experienced any of these pitfalls? 

This post was written by Renita Bryant. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novella, Yesterday Mourning. You can follow her on Twitter and read her thought-provoking blog, Renita’s Mynd Matters, on life & relationships. 

Posted on: Mar 1, 2014

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81 comments
Q Nealy
Q Nealy

This article is so very true. It seems we get in our own way at times, and in respect to dating, time becomes less and less our friend the older we get due to our experiences warping our view. I can identify with all three, but I know for sure at some point that I've wondered if any woman was deserving of my best, and that was stemming from past experiences of being burned. Gots ta do better!

Marvin West
Marvin West

I agree with George's comment. Being a nice guy means I finish last...if at all. Ill post a great video that talks about how dating has been directly impacted by the changes of our culture in society. For example. ..60 years ago, chilvary was a given, as was marriage (to get the cookie), the man earning the paycheck and the women keeping the home. Today... Chilvary is dead, marriage is at an all time low, and a house wife is almost impossible to find. The video doesnt exactly say it like that...but you get the point.

Adriana Arangua
Adriana Arangua

This is real nobody believe in love anymore there is no Respect for all those people that are looking for friendship with benefits Love doesn't exist its everybody look for the ire own benefit thank you this inspire me lol

sashac
sashac

I liked this article. The good thing about this article is that it gives you 3 things that you can work on to change your experience with dating.  If you're not having an easy time dating it's probably because there's something about you that needs to change. If you want to see changes on the outside, you have to work on the inside first. I'm doing that myself and my experiences with dating are changing drastically. 

Magic20099
Magic20099

@PaulCBrunson I love this article and gives me some really big points to keep in my mind when I crack the 30 yr old barrier.

Ruth Florella Charlton
Ruth Florella Charlton

Let me rephrase. We try hard to be open minded to the process. We try to go with the flow but at 40 something when you realize men your age haven't matured. Its heart breaking. Not looking to be married tomorrow or RESCUED. Just honestly wanting some real companionship. But all you get asked is about sex. When you turn it down and say, I require more, they just walk away.

Lchiha
Lchiha

All this is true. I have experienced all. Number 1 still stands out. Lol.

Nicole Colon
Nicole Colon

He's probably more interested in sexing that young tail than her status.

N Ayeek Nigar-Ragin
N Ayeek Nigar-Ragin

I don't agree with the article. Never had a problem dating and I'm 35.

HolleyClark
HolleyClark

I meet a divorced men who are bitter over the break up and want to take it out on the next woman or women that they meet.  I read men don't heal they hoe(sorry). And I meet the Hoes of the dateing world, it very dissapointing.

Nakia Howard-Towns
Nakia Howard-Towns

Not very promising for single women but I can see the issues...I believe that women should concentrate on living life and wait on God to bring the right man into their path. Keep your standards with an open heart no matter what!

Eriza Lee JD
Eriza Lee JD

Well this article certainly doesn't make me feel better about dating. It's not ideal. And don't add being a single parent to the equation. But I'm still optimistic. Our perspective on the situation must stay positive if we hope to attract positive people within our space. I still have hope that good men are out there

Angela T Jones
Angela T Jones

It's true! In my experience at least. Particularly when you have grown and matured to find out what you like and don't and you date with the intent to find companionship or an eventual relationship that lasts more than one night, but others are still dating for the purpose of short term companionship or one night stands and aren't honest about it. It's also challenging the more successful you are (as a woman) because the men thatt think they want to date you also think that means you'll stop reaching for your goals so you can have a relationship because they assume the relationship is a higher priority for all women. When you don't live up to that unrealistic expectation of becoming their overnight housewife, they blame you instead of acknowledging that maybe they weren't equipped to be with you to begin with. I haven't been asked out on a date in over a year for some of these reasons (rejection is God's protection) and I'll be 40 this year. I expect dating to become even more challenging. So instead of trying to date, I'm focusing on becoming wealthy and staying happily single. It's more fun and less stress.

Phyllis Turley
Phyllis Turley

Great article. So many points hit close to home...very close. So what's the answer to the dating after 30 dilemma?

Tishawn Fortner
Tishawn Fortner

If the money,status or looks isn't there, he probably wont be venturing down that path as much as he'd like.

Tishawn Fortner
Tishawn Fortner

In our 30's people have real issues that are more etched in stone indefinitely.Nothing is cute about a person over 35 who's broke with child support and has other issues they refuse to resolve as well as wants other women on the side.Not everyone is like this but I have seen a lot of over priveledged men run circles around women like this.This is one of the main reasons women stop believing in love after 30!

Khadi Brown-sugar
Khadi Brown-sugar

Most Man are so lazy, selfish, heartless these days and only want 2 go after the cookie: better stay single for life!!!

Ruby Taleela
Ruby Taleela

The society has changed greatly.I'm in my mid 20 s and I'll tell you dating has been so challenging!People want quick fixes,no commitment and lie a lot to create an opportunity to deceive you into what they want out of that brief time you have known them.its all about sex and all superficial things that don't matter.There is a break down on values and I think there needs to be education on forming constructive social relationships and those formed more personally will start to become mote valuable.

Marta A. Sloane
Marta A. Sloane

Finding decent clothes so you can actually go on dates is one of the major issues/annoyances, I'd get arrested for wearing what some of the 20 -somethings wear-and I wouldn't wear it in the first place. I need to look like a woman/lady, not a street walker..

Cidney Murrey
Cidney Murrey

It's not if a woman looks and feels like she is still 20 something. All hope is not lost;)

George Lyman
George Lyman

It seems that the older that you get the more cynical people become. Either women think you are going to change them into someone else or you are going to treat them like the looser they just left. I'm tired of being a nice guy and getting dumped on

Jewel Barnett
Jewel Barnett

It is really a challenge, when you've been there done that, and you have standards.

Amber RThomas
Amber RThomas

Dating in my 30's was a nightmare. I'll be 40 in.September and I'm not gonna go through another decade like the one I'm leaving. Of course I'm entering a new chapter in my life and I've grown and changed. I also will date with a new perspective and a more personal agenda. My son will be 18 next year and graduating high school, so I'm hoping when he leaves the nest and I'm on my own ill find dating in my 40's a much more pleasant, fulfilling experience. I do agree the number of damaged people with baggage increases as you age. I feel like I'm on the island of misfit toys most of the time, seeing the available men left in the dating pool. Very slim pickings. But I'm happy enough in my life that if I don't ever find "the one" I'll be at peace and continue to live satisfactorily. A man is a bonus. An accent. Not the piece to make me whole. I complete me.

Kari Ruth
Kari Ruth

This makes me want to throw my hands up and completely give up on dating. Let's sum this article up - find a husband in your 20's or you're screwed...

LuvLadyTtv
LuvLadyTtv

@PaulCBrunson this was so depressing...lol! Makes you think about settling for the one who was almost just right...

DieganSun
DieganSun

@PaulCBrunson Well it's not very encouraging, but I guess it's nice to know when you aren't alone in your struggle...

Jamie Ranger
Jamie Ranger

Yes.. It is very challenging!! Not too sure "dating" truly exists anymore

Gloria Johnson
Gloria Johnson

Wait till you are in your 40's...even tougher to navigate.

Aiesha Person
Aiesha Person

Yes yes yes!!!!!! The dating scene is terrible....

Debra Lynn Williamson
Debra Lynn Williamson

I don't think dating itself is more challenging, but finding someone that you want to date is, because you no longer want to play the games that you played when you were younger. Plus, you usually can spot the players much quicker than you did when you were younger.

Ruth Florella Charlton
Ruth Florella Charlton

Dating over 30 and over 40 is harder than climbing Mt. Everest and Mt. Kilimanjaro all at the same time. The baggage people come in with is almost insurmountable. Not to mention, so many women nowadays have such low standards, if you have a standard at all, most guys just pass you by. "I can get what i want somewhere else for nothing" *smh*

Brenda Parham
Brenda Parham

Dating post 30 has been amazing for me..I'm 38..and instead of forcing life I just live life. Enjoying everyday.. and my standards are set high so therefore that's the caliber men I date. HE found me..I wasn't looking.. I was living and working on me..