Love And Dating In Your 20s Vs 30s

Dating experience | | , Copywriter & Sports journalist
Updated On: May 6, 2024
dating in 20s vs 30s
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When you’re out on dates in your 20s, nobody really tells you how much things are going to change in just a bit. Before you reject that potential love interest for the way they pronounce “data” (it’s data, not data!), taking a look at dating in your 20s vs dating in your 30s might be beneficial. 

So, what exactly is dating in your 30s like, and how is it different from when you were fresh out of college? And when it comes to dating, what’s better, the 20s or 30s? Let’s take a look at the differences that seem to happen in the blink of an eye. 

The Difference Between Dating In Your 20s Vs Dating In Your 30s

When you first put foot in the dating world, the biggest concern you have is the first date jitters you’ve got a severe case of. Hiding those sweaty palms, you’re probably lying about liking the same niche indie-pop artist as the date who’s sitting adjacent to you. While they’re sipping on their low-fat almond milk cortado, which you judge them for. 

As you approach your 30s, however, a “date” is no longer a fun little activity you can just do on a weekday. Now, you need to clear out your schedule, squeeze this date in, and expect it to mean a lot more than just something “fun”. And while you’re both bonding over how 1997 wasn’t 10 years ago, you think there may even be something here.

If you’re in your 20s, it may seem like your dating and love life will always look the same as it does right now. A few clubs hopped, a few dates met a month, and a lot of drinks downed. Let’s burst your bubble and tell you what it might look like in your 30s: 

1. In your 20s, only perfection will do 

You’re swooning over that guy you recently met through a dating app, and though the first date didn’t sweep you off your feet like in the movies, you’re looking forward to giving it a go. But when your friend looks at him and goes, “Ugh, is that what he wore to your date?” halfway through saying, “Well, yeah…I mean, he’s cute,” you’ll realize you’re not too interested. 

Did she wear that sundress in a color your ex liked? That’s a dealbreaker, right? Did Jacob call you a little too soon after your date? That guy Greg you’re talking to definitely doesn’t look clingy. Bye, Jacob!

In your 30s, sharing a pizza at home is the ultimate date

In your 20’s, you’re looking for a saccharine manifestation of all the rom-coms you’ve cooked up in your mind. You probably have a list of things you want from a person, and looking cute together in your Instagram pictures is an absolute necessity. 

Related Reading: 6 Pro Tips To Find A Good Man For Once and All

In your 30s, someone who doesn’t annoy you would be nice

In your 30’s, however, is when things get interesting. Between the humdrum of your career, failed romances, and the many issues that come your way, the only thing you’ve accumulated is baggage that’s now taking up all the space in the part of your brain you once called “Waiting for Mr. Right.”

“That mutual friend I once talked to for 5.6 minutes at my friend’s party 6 years ago didn’t seem too bad, you know,” you might tell yourself in your 30’s. Forget Mr/Mrs “perfect”, by now, all you want is someone who likes the same shows as you. 

Don’t get us wrong, that’s not to say that people in their 30’s are desperate for love, it just means they know better than to expect their knight in shining armor to sweep them off their feet. “Love at first sight” is a young man’s game. At best, they’re looking for someone to split rent with. Imagine all that moolah you’ll save! 

Dating In Your 30s

2. In your 20s, breakups happen all too often 

When you went to your best friend for advice after a particularly nasty fight, chances are the first thing they said to you was, “End it!” We get it, too. You’re young, you feel you’ll come across a better lover by tomorrow. 

Hence, why must you slog your way through a relationship where your partner has liked five pictures in a row of someone else on Instagram? Plus, all those dating apps you’re on seem to be flooded with people you can talk to. 

During your 30s, you’re likely to “work on it”

Assuming that you’ve reached a stage in your life where you’d want to make meaningful relationships, an argument about how “My friends always get so much personal time, why can’t I?” won’t spell doom for your relationship. 

You’ll realize there’s more to love than what goes on in the bedroom, and that you don’t need to be skipping beats every time you see your partner. If you’re wondering why dating in your 30s is better, it’s because your partner being busy with work for 4 hours doesn’t end up with you blocking them on all social media. 

3. Your 20s are all about the label-less 

Friends with benefits? Casual dating? Cuffing season partner? Or maybe even just “going with the flow?” Yeah, all that’s a young man’s game. Your exploratory days are all about pushing the boundaries of the labels you come across and figuring out what you like best. 

If you’re in your 20s, you’ve probably heard someone say something like, “It’s just casual, no expectations,” or you might even be saying it yourself. We’d say a label-less relationship is a recipe for disaster, but hey, that’s what your 20s are for, right? The more you learn! 

Related Reading: 18 Tips To Ace Dating In College

Your 30s are all about DTR 

Dating in your 30s as a man or woman basically entails you defining the relationship as quickly as you can. Neither of you are in this to joke around, and the question, “So, what are we?” doesn’t leave you with your phone on airplane mode. 

Do relationships move faster in your 30s? They certainly might seem to when you’re already telling each other about extended family, just five dates in. Get those family tree graphs out, nobody here is kidding around. 

4. In your 20s, relationships may confuse you 

“He said he wanted to spend Saturday with his friends instead of me, does he hate me or is he cheating on me?” Relationships in your 20s can often feel overwhelming as such. Every fight will feel like the end of the world, and every emotion magnified. 

You may be confused between limerence and love. You might think that spending a lazy afternoon together immediately means your relationship is the worst of all your friend groups, especially since Brad and Mindy won’t stop uploading stories of them in the gym. 

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In your 30s, you know your way around the common issues

When you’re in your 30s and think back to the times when you used to fight with a partner for not responding to your texts, you might just be left cringing. By now, you’re a lot better at navigating the ups and downs of a relationship. 

You know that a friend from work is just a friend from work, and that shouting at each other doesn’t count as communication. No longer will you be bothering a friend after every fight you have, and blocking each other on social media won’t be your go-to tactic for conflict resolution. 

Dating in your 20s vs dating in your 30s can seem miles apart, and they pretty much feel like that too. When you go from being able to drink all night without having a hangover the next day to getting a hangover for a fortnight because you had a beer and a tequila shot, things are bound to change. 

At the end of the day, dating in your 20s is like diving headfirst into the deep end of the pool, without knowing what’s in store. What is dating in your 30s like? You’d rather sit outside the pool and watch the young kids dive while meeting others who are doing the same.

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