There’s a pivotal moment for many women in their 30s. It starts right around when they begin to recognize the same people are using multiple dating apps and ends when they’re drunk and crying to their girlfriends at a bar on a Saturday night. (No judgments. We’ve all been there.)
Because dating in your 20s can feel like one bad experience and disappointment after another, it’s no wonder you start to worry if you are ever going to find “the one.” Dating in your 20s is so difficult because men often aren’t as mature as women, and the opposite sex isn’t always looking for the same thing. But, around the age of 30, everything begins to change.
If you’re the kind of woman who tried to turn hookups into relationships and relationships into engagements, the reasons why that didn’t work in your 20s are the same reasons why those relationships will work in your 30s. With apps like Tinder, Match and Bumble, there is a virtual pu-pu platter of potential dates and hookups available that can arrive faster than an average Postmates delivery. With so many choices, it’s difficult for men to choose just one partner. However, when men start to turn 30, they’re over it and realize they want something with more substance than a fried egg roll.
But we can’t blame dating apps entirely. Both men and women are super-focused on their careers in their 20s. While many women can simultaneously focus on their personal lives, men don’t always share the same goals. Lori Salkin, a dating coach, matchmaker and love expert, thinks that once men establish themselves professionally, they stop playing around and start looking for love.
“By their early 30s, men come back on the dating scene, having tired of playing and meaningless relationships,” Salkin explains. “Older and now more mature, they are also more ‘on their way’ in their careers and express that the bachelor life is starting to feel silly or immature. They want to focus on their professional lives and are ready to add a woman and family to their personal lives. These men know that they are ready because they have lived through the alternative and are done with it.”
In other words, when a man realizes what he wants, he isn’t afraid to go after it. Take Michael*, 31 and his girlfriend, Alyssa*, also 31. From the beginning of their relationship, Michael wasn’t afraid to make his feelings known. He took Alyssa on a ski trip within a few weeks of their first date and met her family soon thereafter. Now together for over five months, Alyssa recently accompanied Michael on a business trip he took to a tropical island. What woman wouldn’t sign up for that? They’ve discussed the future, and it certainly includes each other. Had they met when they were 23, this relationship probably wouldn’t be on the same path.
A man’s ability to choose a woman actually has less to do with her and more to do with him, at least according to Kevin M. Klein, a radio show host. He says of his own experience, “Every woman that I dated, I felt like I could have married at some point, but it just was that I wasn’t ready, more than anything else. For a lot of the of the girlfriends I’ve had, there was probably a time with any of them when I thought I would marry that person, but it just didn’t happen [that way]… I wasn’t in the right mindset to get married while I was with that person.” So, it turns out that it probably wasn’t you after all. It was him.
Here’s another hard truth. That relationship you had in your 20s probably wasn’t going to work out anyway. According to a study by the CDC, marriages between people in their 20s are more likely to end in divorce. We all know (or are) that woman who stayed in a relationship for several years past its expiration date, hoping her boyfriend would propose. Instead of a ring, she got dumped. But, she also may have dodged a big divorce bullet. While you might have felt that “all the good ones were taken,” as you hit the tail end of your 20s, they’re not anymore. This actually puts some newly single and very experienced fish back into the dating pool.
So, if you are leaving your 20s single and frustrated, realize that much like a Starbucks barista at 8:55 a.m., men are taking their sweet time. But, when you finally have that relationship in hand (and hopefully a latte), you’ll know it was totally worth the wait.
*Name has been changed