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What to Know About Dating in Your 30s

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
A couple riding a bike with  the girlfriend on the handles of the bike
A lot of things change once you reach your 30s, and our love lives reflect that. Dating in your 30s is somewhat different from dating in your 20s. Many of us start to feel more confident, more sure of what we want, and less willing to settle as we get older.

Many people start thinking more about dating in terms of meeting the one, marriage, and children once they reach their 30s.

Not everyone knows who they are or where their life is headed in their 30s, and this is becoming increasingly true as people settle down later and later in life. So, don't be worried if you're still single or figuring out who you are in relationships when you're dating in your 30s. You still have time. In fact, many people now marry in their 40s and after.

Here are some things about dating in your 30s that may be helpful to know and some ways to use dating sites to get what you're looking for in love and life.

Is It Difficult to Date in Your 30s?

Is dating in your 30s harder than dating in your 20s? For some, the added pressure of wanting to settle down and have a family definitely can make it harder. People with these goals may be pickier when they date, which means fewer matches, and they may have a sense of urgency that creates added stress when things don't work out.

For people who fall into this camp, it's helpful to open your mind and realize that, even if you don't meet the one by the time you're 40, you can still have relationships with amazing people in the meantime and gain a lot of joy from other things in life. You also still have many years left to meet the love of your life; life is long!

If children are important to you, you can consider options such as egg freezing, having a child with someone who is not your spouse, sperm banks, or adoption. In other words, there are options, and putting a timeline on love can create undue pressure that pushes it away.

On the flip side, people who don't want anything serious may find it harder to find people on the same page as them in their 30s. But they are out there—you just need to be open about what you want. Put what you're looking for right on your online dating profile so that no one's wasting anybody's time, and you may also want to be open to dating people younger than you (or who are older and already have families).

Tips for Dating in Your 30s

What you need to know about dating in your 30s is that it can produce some of the best experiences of your life despite the challenges that come with it. One way to have more success dating in your 30s is to make your dating profile stand out by including photos that represent your biggest passions and interests and language that describes exactly what makes you unique. The goal should be for someone to know exactly what kind of date to ask you on when they look at it.

You should also be assertive when asking people out, especially if you're looking for something serious. You don't want to waste tons of time chatting on an app. The best way to see if you have long-term potential with someone is to meet them in person, so do your best to plan a date within your first conversation on the app. If you're unsure of which apps to use, check out Zoosk, Elite Singles, or some of the best gay dating sites if you're part of the LGBTQ+ community.

It's equally important to put yourself out there in real life. There are so many opportunities to meet people in person, especially if you live in one of the best dating cities. Go to a bar or a restaurant by yourself and strike up a conversation with someone next to you. Don't spend your life behind a screen. Get comfortable approaching people and learn to bounce back from rejection. It's a necessary and universal part of the game.

Why Dating in Your 30s Is Better for Some People

Once you're in your 30s, you can use the confidence you've gained over the years to be bold, voice your desires, and say, "Thank you, next!" as soon as you know it's not a match. It's this confidence that can make dating better in your 30s.

Another advantage to dating in your 30s is that you have a real sense of who you are, and that'll likely be true for the people you're dating. The more a person knows who they are, the more likely they are to find someone who's truly a match. This is why so many people get married in their 30s. It's prime time to experience love on a higher level than before.

How Long Should You Date Before Getting Engaged in Your 30s?

If you're looking to start a family, you may feel pressure to get engaged as soon as you find someone who's compatible with you when you're in your 30s. However, it's much better to wait another year or two than to risk having to call off an engagement or get divorced. Couples who date for at least three years before getting engaged are 39 percent less likely to end up divorced.

That said, there is no magic number. Some people experience love at first sight and know they belong with someone right away, and those who get married after 25 are less likely to get divorced in the long run. Just make sure to have the tough conversations about things like values and plans for the future before you make a long-term commitment.

And remember that it's completely normal to continue stumbling, making mistakes, learning, and changing in your 30s despite the idea that this is the time in your life when you're fully grown and self-actualized.

The good news is that you have your 40s to become even better at relationships... as well as your 50s and beyond.

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and Brown University graduate in Cognitive Neuroscience and Gender and Sexuality Studies. In addition to writing for Top10.com, Suzannah written for major publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. Weiss' writing about feminist issues and sexuality has also been discussed on The Today Show, The View, and C-SPAN.