Congrats on making it through your 20s! If it were up to us, you would get a medal, a prize, and an all-expenses-paid trip to somewhere awesome. Instead, though, the world has decided that you’ll be rewarded with the joys of dating in your 30s. Oh joy…
If you aren’t picking up on our sarcasm, we’re trying our best to lay it on super thick. Unfortunately, dating in your 30s isn’t quite like the movies and romantic stories you read tend to portray it. It can be challenging, pressure-filled, and sometimes feel like an impossible uphill climb.
But there’s hope! Seriously, we’re not here just to spread doom and gloom. Dating in your 30s can actually be a lot of fun, and you can find what you’re looking for without having to jump through a million hoops.
In this guide, we’re going to dig into it all. We’ll start by giving you the proverbial lay of the land as to what dating in your 30s is like in general and what it’s like specifically for men and women. After that, we’ll share some comparisons of how dating in your 30s differs from dating in your 20s and also how things may shift as you move from your early 30s to your late 30s.
Once we get through that, we’ll get into the real good stuff. We’ll share where 30 somethings can go to meet singles, how to get started dating at this age, and look at some fun data on dating in your 30s.
It’s a lot, but we’re excited to get into it!
Table of Contents:
Online Dating in Your 30s
As you’ll see when we start talking about what dating in your 30s is actually like that online dating rises to the forefront of how people are meeting. In your 20s, it was something people used to find casual flings and occasionally used to find something serious.
In your 30s, though, the lack of time, the business of life, and the desire not to settle all drive people to the online realm. Thankfully, online dating apps do wonders to help 30 something year old singles connect, get to know each other, and build connections.
If you’ve been thinking about trying online dating or it’s been a while since you’ve tried it, let us invite you to give it a shot! That being said, make sure you’re using dating apps better designed for people in their 30s. Sorry Tinder—you and your friends are unfortunately not going to make the cut.
Here are some of our favorite dating apps for 30-year-olds along with some free trials to let you check things out for yourself.
|Ranking||Dating App||Claim Trial|
|#4||Higher Bond||Try Free|
|#5||Christian Mingle||Try Free|
What is Dating Over 30 Really Like?
You’ve heard all the warnings…you’ve heard all the romantic stories…and you’ve heard all the horror stories. Seriously, though, what is dating over 30 really like? Is it amazing and awesome? Is it the worst thing on the planet? Is it somewhere in between?
That’s what we’re going to break down today.
Obviously, it’s important before we share to keep in mind that individual experiences may vary. Just because the majority of singles in their 30s experience one thing doesn’t mean that you are going to experience it as well. What we’re trying to do is share the broad themes that we see to try and prepare you for what might come.
Here are several key points to what dating in your 30s is probably going to be like:
- More people are looking for serious relationships. – It’s no secret that a lot of people like to “live it up” in their 20s and then settle down going into their 30s. Expect to see a lot more people on the dating scene looking for something committed and not just casual.
- Some people are still living in their 20s. – Just because you’ve decided to accept you’re in your 30s doesn’t mean everyone else has. Expect to still see people looking to live that party wild lifestyle well into their 30s (and sometimes even longer).
- Singles are more protective of their time. – You have a lot more going on now. There are more things that are important to you. You have more responsibilities. We share all of this with you because other 30 something year old singles do too, which means they’re going to be more protective of their time. That means you may need to schedule dates further out or squeeze them in, and there will be a lot more consequences to calling off a date last minute or showing up late.
- Dates are planned much less spontaneously. – We just mentioned it, but we want to hit it again. Dates are usually planned much further in advance when you’re in your 30s to accommodate for everyone’s busy schedules. Even if you can get out at a moment’s notice, don’t expect that everyone else can too.
- Online dating is in the driver’s seat. – Because of the time constraints and the desire for more serious commitments, online dating apps are the perfect remedy. While Tinder and the likes of casual apps were big in your 20s, the more serious relationship-oriented dating apps take center stage in your 30s.
- Societal and familial pressures may be higher. – Depending on how your friends and family are, expect to start getting pressured about things like getting married, having babies, settling down, etc. We’re not saying that this pressure is right; we’re just saying get ready to see it coming in full force.
- People start collecting baggage. – For most people, the life baggage they have in their 20s is low. However, as people get into their 30s, they’ve experienced things—good and bad. With that said, expect to see people who have a little more baggage than you saw when you were dating in your 20s.
- You’ll run into more singles who are jaded. – Unfortunately, a lot of the baggage single people collect comes from their dating life. What you may start to run into are people who are jaded that the world hates them and all men or women are the devil. Oh joy, right? While we’re not proponents of being jaded, here’s something to keep in mind—that is all coming from a place of pain. They’re that way because someone hurt them, and hurt people do hurtful things. This doesn’t mean you have to date them, but we just wanted to give you some perspective to operate with.
- The dating budget is often a little higher. – While this might not be true for everyone, it’s definitely true for a lot of people. When you were in your 20s, McDonald’s may have been a fancy date—and that’s okay. When you start dating in your 30s, though, people tend to have more disposable income, which means the dating budget may be a little higher. This doesn’t mean you can’t still do a cheap cup of coffee for a first date, but look for the potential of things to change as you get past the first day and onto subsequent ones.
Dating in Your 20s vs 30s
The chances are you’ve already seen some of the differences between dating in your 20s and dating in your 30s. We wanted to share a few more direct comparisons to help you see what is similar and what is going to be different.
- The people are the same. – Just because everyone’s age now starts with a three instead of a two doesn’t mean we’re magically different people. It’s not as wildly different as you might think.
- Many of the differences are logistical. – Things like when you schedule dates, the budget for the dates, and how and where people meet are the biggest differences.
- The single biggest difference is the goal. – The biggest difference between dating in your 20s vs 30s is what the majority of people are looking for. While many are looking for serious in their 20s, a lot are looking for flings. In your 30s, the shift is much heavier on serious relationships and very minimal on the casual (for the most part).
- Career importance. – A lot of singles in their 20s are still figuring out their plan for life and may be working jobs they don’t care as much about. However, for many singles in their 30s, it’s career time and their success as work becomes more important. The effect this has on dating is you can expect people to not want to stay out as late on weeknights (or go out on them at all) or be able to drop everything at a moment’s notice to do something spontaneous.
Late 30s vs Early 30s
One last caveat we want to talk about is how dating changes as you go from your early 30s into your late 30s. Here are a few things you can expect to see:
- There isn’t going to be a dramatic change at say, like 35 years. It’s gradual, and people will all start to shift on their own schedule.
- The biggest change you’ll see is a lot stronger shift towards the desire for serious relationships as people get into their late 30s. In your early 30s, you’ll still have way more people trying to live the life of their 20s.
- Some people will start to get less proactive and some will get more proactive the later they get into their 30s. This, generally, is people either “giving up” or people getting more motivated to make something happen. People are generally a bit more balanced in their early 30s search.
6 Things to Expect When Dating in Your 30s as a Man
Hopefully, you’re already starting to get an idea of what to expect when dating in your 30s. What we wanted to do, though, is dig a little deeper into what it’s going to be like dating as a man in this age bracket.
Keep in mind that a lot of these points center around heterosexual relationships and also stem from a lot of the ways society has viewed relationships for decades. We’re not here to decide what’s right and what’s wrong; we’re just sharing as much information as we can that will be helpful to someone.
1. Expect to see more checklists.
Often, women have a clock ticking to meet someone, settle down, and have babies. And while this is okay, sometimes that comes with a rigorous checklist of what they are looking for. In their 20s, the checklist usually comes out several dates in when they’re considering taking things to the next level. When dating in your 30s, this checklist often comes out on date one.
2. People will be looking for you to “grow up” if you haven’t.
Again, we’re not here to say what’s right or wrong or to tell you what to do. But if you are still living in your 20s, expect to run into some resistance. If you don’t have goals, plans, and are “going somewhere” in some capacity, expect that to turn off a lot more people than it did in your 20s.
3. What you wear becomes more important.
Dressing to impress does start to carry more weight the older you get. No, we’re not saying you have to start showing up to dates in a three-piece suite. But what we are saying is that showing up in wrinkly clothes that need to be washed is going to be far more impactful than it was in your 20s. Whereas that may have been viewed as being a “free spirit” last decade—it will show to a lot as a lack of care or effort in this one.
4. The hookup culture is minimalized.
Yes, there are still some people who are just looking to have a little extracurricular fun on the dating scene, and that’s okay. However, for the most part, the wild days of people’s roaring 20s are probably somewhat behind them. It’s a lot more of a focus on meaningful connections and getting to know people.
5. Your married buddies will call you lucky.
Many of your buddies who got married quickly and popped out babies may be nearly a decade into their relationships. Expect to get lots of jokes from them about how you’re the lucky one that you’re still getting to live your life. Are they right? Probably not.
There’s something beautiful about having a family and a great relationship with a supportive spouse. What you’re probably hearing is either just random jokes or it’s them venting about issues in their own relationships. Take these comments with a grain of salt.
6. You can still have fun.
We’re not sure who needs to hear this, but someone does. Dating in your 30s is still fun. Just because it may seem to be a little more serious-focused doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Remember, it’s the same people just some running towards a different goalpost.
6 Things to Expect When Dating in Your 30s as a Woman
Alright, ladies—let’s get it into it. What does the dating landscape look like for a 30 something year old woman in today’s world? Here are some things you can expect to see, at least in some capacity.
1. You’ll still run into people looking just to hook up.
If you’re still looking to have a little casual fun, you will have that opportunity in your 30s. That being said, the majority of people in their 30s start to transition into looking for something a little more serious and committed. The point of sharing all of this, though, is to remind you that not everyone has made that switch in goals, so be aware.
2. Expect to get pressure from your friends and family.
For some reason, the women tend to get the most pressure from friends and family to settle down and have babies. Depending on what your family thinks you should be doing with your life, you may start hearing this a lot more. Generally, families and friends let people do their thing when they’re in their 20s, but once they get to their 30s—the pressure gets raised.
3. You may find men who are intimidated by your success.
Thankfully, we live in a world now where women can succeed beyond their wildest dreams. And while we wish that all men would think that’s awesome, it’s still not the case. You may run into some men on dates who are intimidated by your success. How they respond will vary greatly, but it will be pretty evident quickly if they’re not cool with not being the breadwinner.
4. The BS still flows.
People love to exaggerate their accomplishments and what they’re doing when they’re in their 20s. They’ll talk about all the big plans they have and the huge things they’re going to be doing—whether it’s true or not. That all stops when you start dating in your 30s, right? Nope. You’ll still get a lot of BS from people, just more about their careers and what they’ve done in their past.
Is this everyone? Absolutely not. There are so many great people who are single in their 30s. The reason we’re sharing, though, is to remind you to keep your guard up in case someone is trying to feed you a line.
5. More people will be looking to set you up.
Accompanying the pressure of your friends and family trying to get you to meet someone is something that you may or may not be a fan of. People will be much more aggressive about trying to set you up on dates when you get into your 30s. For some reason, they think it’s their duty to help you speed things up. If you like the added help, great. If you prefer to do your own thing, it will get annoying.
6. People may start to think something is wrong with you.
This one annoys us more than anything because it couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are single at any age, there is literally nothing wrong with you. The only people who feel that way are the ones that need a companion to fill gaps and holes in their own lives. That being said, expect to get weird looks and offhand comments from people that think there has to be a reason you’re still single or that it is somehow your fault.
How to Start Dating in Your 30s
So, now you know exactly what to expect when you put yourself out there and start dating in this age bracket. That begs the next important question—how do you get started dating in your 30s?
Well, we’re here to help.
First, you have to realize that there isn’t some magical spell or action you take to get yourself into the dating game. The first step is always consciously deciding that you’re ready to meet someone and committing that you’re ready to put yourself out there and ride the ups and downs of looking for love.
Once you’ve done that, the next steps are pretty straightforward. Basically, you start doing things to try and meet other singles to go on dates with! There’s no reason to overcomplicate it or think there are some crazy rituals you have to do.
Here are some helpful steps and tips you can do to get yourself started. You don’t have to do all of these (you can though), but we share them for inspiration and direction.
- Tell your friends and family you’re looking. They may already know the perfect person for you but not know that you’re actively looking for someone.
- Join an online dating app or two. Seriously, online dating is like the cheat code for singles looking to date in their 30s. Take some time to check out a few of the apps we’ve recommended earlier in this guide. Find one you like, create a profile, add some pictures, and get into it!
- Open your eyes. This is one of the best tips to get started dating. Look around you. Think about the people you know. Is there someone right in front of you that you’re attracted to? Is there someone who has been trying to flirt with you or ask you out and you missed it? Sometimes the right person is already there just waiting for us to be able to see it.
Tips for Successful Dating as a 30 Something Year Old
One of the last things we want to share with you today is a collection of tips for successful dating in your 30s. Many of these tips apply to any age bracket, but a lot of them are specific to 30 somethings.
- Don’t be scared to take calculated risks. – We’re not saying to do something stupid or crazy, but we are saying that you may want to consider shaking things up a bit. What you’ve done so far hasn’t been working, so why not try something new?
- Know what you actually want. – As you’ve seen, one of the biggest changes of dating in your 30s is what people are looking for. We recommend you make sure you’re not wishy-washy on this one. Take some time and decide what you’re looking for. Do you still want to keep things casual, or are you ready to find something a little more serious? Neither is wrong, but know where you stand.
- Don’t get discouraged. – If you’re getting frustrated that you haven’t found Mr. Right or Ms. Right already, it’s okay. You still have plenty of time, and contrary to what people might tell you, you’re in no rush. Remember, every person you determine isn’t right for you is one more step towards the right one.
- Be respectful of other people’s time and priorities. – As we mentioned, 30 something year olds on average are busier than those in their 20s. What this means is you should plan to be more respectful of people’s time, as you would expect the same from them. In practice, this means not cancelling dates for no reason and being on time.
- Nip the pressure in the bud if you need to. – If your family and friends are giving you a hard time about your romantic progress and it’s bugging you, tell them to stop. It’s your life, and while their comments are coming from a place of love, it’s really none of their business.
Data on Dating Over 30
As you may already know, at Singles Reports, we’re in love with data. Recently, we started conducting a multitude of new data studies to really dig into what dating is like for everyone—both online and in person.
The results have been exciting. What we plan to do is regularly update this section with new information as it becomes available to us about the 30 year old demographic. We’ll share a few of the takeaways with links to the full studies so you can dig in for yourself.
You’ll find that our data groups are generally split up into the 25-34 and 35-44 year old brackets, so you’ll see half of the age bracket on each side.
Here are some of the recent takeaways we’d like to share!
Have you ever experienced feelings of emotional fatigue or burnout?
- 81.89% of 25-34 year olds said they experienced some level of emotional fatigue or burnout when online dating.
- 78.57% of 35-44 year olds said they experienced some level of emotional fatigue or burnout when online dating.
Here’s the link to the full emotional fatigue in online dating study.
Do you respond to incoming messages from singles you are not interested in?
- 41.73% of 25-34 year olds said they don’t respond to messages from singles they’re not interested in.
- 35.71% of 35-44 year olds said they don’t respond to messages from singles they’re not interested in.
Here’s the link to the full results of our singles messaging study for you to check out.
Are politics important to you when selecting a romantic partner?
- 28.35% of 25-34 year olds said it was very important
- 20.63% of 35-44 year olds said it was very important
Here is the link to the complete politics in dating study that goes way deeper into it!