Among other adjustments that come with turning 30, women looking for love must realign their expectations when it relates to finding love. While they can’t afford to be as footloose-and-fancy-free as they may have been in their 20s, looking for a deeper commitment in their 30s means that the reward is greater. What it requires is a more realistic evaluation of where they’re at and the types of men who would be good matches, and a greater strategy in finding that perfect partner. We asked relationship experts for their insights on how meeting men changes once you move from your 20s to your 30s.
From having the first choice to not being someone else’s first choice. In your 20s, “you felt like the world was your oyster,” says dating expert and matchmaker Stef Safran. You had your pick of the litter, so to speak—you could choose any sort of guy. And you often went for the “bad boy,” thinking you could change him.
By the time you hit your 30s, however, you realize that you’re not the “prime pick” in men’s eyes anymore. However, that doesn’t have to be the end of the world! Re-evaluating yourself may actually inspire you to be more open-minded and in turn seek out open-minded people. The wisdom of experience also keeps you from being fooled by men who are just players and not looking for a real commitment.
From opportunity coming to you to searching it out yourself. “Meeting men in your 30s can be tough,” says David Bennett, author of Eleven Dating Mistakes Guys Make (and How to Correct Them). “Many men are married and in relationships. Many women find that guys in their 30s are passing up 30-something women for women in their 20s. To meet guys in their 30s, women should understand that the days of sitting in a club while guys line up to compete for their attention are likely over.” The upside of that realization, however, is that it frees women to take more control of their dating lives. To wit:
From unplanned to strategic. “Women in their 20s should be going to happy hours, bar parties, joining sports teams,” advises Safran. In short—“doing anything ‘fun’ that they meet new people, including women.” (It always pays to meet a likeminded woman who has a great single male friend.)
When it comes to their 30s, however, women can’t afford to be so laissez-faire in looking for love. “Women in their 30s should be more strategic,” Safran says. “Join sports teams that are known to have singles in the 30-something age group; don’t just join any team. Go to networking events and make constant efforts to get new female friends—so that you can get new groups of people to meet potential dates through.” Women in this age group are also more likely to use online dating, as they may not be getting as many blind date setups.
From searching out the alpha male to “boring” guys. Bennett suggests that women be more open to relationships with a wider variety of men: “Guys that may have seemed ‘boring’ in their 20s are likely stable and successful in their 30s,” he says. “These guys are on dating websites, in supermarkets, and even in clubs and other locations. Women can focus on talking to these guys instead of immediately passing them up.”
From obsessing over “the spark” to appreciating the slow-burning flame. One of Safran’s key pieces of advice applies to women in their 20s and 30s: “Be open to dates that someone isn’t ‘perfect’ on paper. Give someone a chance if they don’t give you that spark right away; most people state that lasting relationships are often built on friendship and trust over a hot physical spark.”