The Riddle of Dating in your 30’s

Stef Sampa
5 min readDec 26, 2020

It’s a weird thing, dating, isn’t it? We start of in our school years with awkwardness, excitement, sometimes ineffectiveness. Going forward to our college years and throughout our 20’s, we tend to adapt, to obtain experiences that shape us, to formulate our strategy of success and eventually to get picky, based on our preferences. Dating in our 30’s though… Now there’s the tricky part!

But why is it getting more complex?
Being in our 30’s, more or less we already know what we are looking for, we probably have an idea of what we want to do in life, and it’s perfectly logical to look for a person to embark on that journey with us. There’s nothing wrong with that expectation, I assure you! The only problem comes with availability; a supply and demand kind of thing.

All the good ones are taken!
In most cultures, people in their 30’s are expected to have a family, or at least be in a relationship that tends to lead in one. The issue at hand though is that many people that check the most ticks on our checklist are already married with children, or on their way to do so.
It’s hardly a surprise, given the fact that a good relationship in our late 20’s or low 30’s tends to be treated in a very different manner than it may have been a few years back, and if some of us are there, we’ll hang on tight and eventually get married and start a family with this person.

Ok, so what’s up for grabs out there?
Throughout my experiences, as well as those of the people around me who are still on the market (and trust me, they are not few!), I’ve grouped the available people in their 30’s into the following categories:

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1. The worker bee: these people are pretty much work-oriented throughout every aspect of their life. Don’t get me wrong, working and focusing on it is a noble pursuit, but there are more things in life! Noel Gallagher once said “I don’t live to work; I work to live” and I couldn’t agree more! The tough thing about the worker bee mentality is that by dating a person who lives by it, we will always come second-best; the whole relationship will be based on work schedule, meetings and deadlines. Although it does work for some people, it doesn’t sound very viable in my opinion, since this could eventually become a relationship based on absence.

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2. The time bender: this dating category incorporates all these people out there that simply refuse to grow up! It’s very healthy to maintain a positive attitude towards life and we could all use some childish mentality from time to time; however, inevitably through life, the prioritization of a person in its 30’s is a lot different than the one he/she had in his/her 20’s. As a result, a relationship with a person belonging to this category could be very fun for a while, however it should turn out to be difficult in the long run, especially since the time bender usually isn’t in a phase of serious commitment and/or family.

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3. The “Indiana Jones”: Before telling me that the tomb raider/ archaeologist we grew up with is fun to be around, think about his personal life..! Exactly! This type of person is someone fully aware of his/her age and what comes with it. The problem starts when they decide that they have not been adventurous enough throughout their 20’s and they now want to catch up on their bucket list! Expect early Sunday morning hikes, rafting, mountain climbing and other relevant adventures when dating this category. Some of us may think this sounds like fun, but when every weekend becomes an adventure and all their energy is focused on that, it could become tiresome on the long run.

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4. The porter: We all have a past; it’s time we accept that and live with it! After all, we have grown though it, we’ve evolved, we’ve learned things, we’ve gotten to know ourselves better. The key is to leave the past where it belongs: in the past! And that’s the main issue with the porter: he/she still carries the luggage of the past to the present and possibly to the future. It’s one thing to get to know a person despite the parameters that molded him/her into the person he/she is today, and it’s a completely different one having to deal with his/her past over and over, simply because they can’t let go!

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5. The desperate: Now that’s a tough one! This category incorporates the people in their 30’s that are single and stressed by it; they feel that their biological clock is ticking, they may have family and peer pressure over the matter and they fear being alone. Don’t get me wrong, they may have the potential of being wonderful partners! The problem arises when they constantly apply pressure on their partners to take things to the next level prematurely. This pressure could lead their partners to a defensive stance, and with this stance comes the need for space and potentially break-up.

So it’s all downhill from here?
Certainly not!! And it certainly isn’t as simple as simply avoiding the five grouped categories mentioned! There are many people who belong in more than one category, others that move within the grey space in between them, as well as others that are simply an all-round normal person.
As far as I’m concerned, dating has never been more complex than it is now, in the COVID-19 era, for a person in his/her 30’s. However, being a positive person who always sees the glass as half-full, I’m certain that the perfect person is out there for everyone. Everything up to the moment we find them is, simply put, a rehearsal for the premiere and the applause that comes with it!
I am a firm believer of the phrase (originating from Ancient Greece): “God helps those who help themselves”. By incorporating into our subjective mentality the key milestones for our personal happiness, by accepting that what we perceive as the perfect person doesn’t exist — but can be molded through time and mutual sacrifices, and by simply keeping our eyes open, dating in our 30’s should become easier and much more fulfilling than it ever was.