7 Reasons Dating in Your 30s is Hard

Fact Checked by: Grady Shumway, LCSW

There’s no way around it: once you turn thirty, life starts to feel more than a little bit different. Many of your friends have already coupled off and had kids, and there may be pressure from your family to do the same.

But finding the time to meet someone, let alone get serious, gets tougher once you hit thirty. It doesn’t mean all hope is lost, but it definitely means it’s harder to find someone single you click with. If you’re in your 30s and still looking for love, here are some of the challenges you may have to face—but don’t worry! None of them are insurmountable.

Married friends change the pace

The changes in life that come when your friends start settling down and having kids are twofold: your friends will have less time to spend out on the town, and they’ll have less energy to expend when they do have time to join you.

You’ll love your honorary nieces and nephews, but you’ll miss the good old days when your friends could play wingman. Honestly, your friends probably miss it too. Give your friends enough lead time to find a babysitter, and maybe you can still fit in those nights out once in a while.

Career goals take their toll

You spent your twenties building a career that gives you a sense of accomplishment, or at least helps keep the lights on. Between job and sleep, it can feel like there’s just not enough time to be as involved in the dating scene as you once were.

There’s no need to push it. Making sure you’re relaxed and stress-free after work takes priority over frantically hitting the town in hopes of meeting someone new. It’s a bummer, but having less free time is part of owning that whole “adult” thing. It doesn’t mean there’s no time for fun nights out meeting other single folks, but it’s definitely a marked difference from past dorm room days.

Adulting from A to Z

Jobs aside, there are just more responsibilities when you’re in your 30s. More responsibilities mean less time, and fewer chances to be spontaneous and take the kinds of risks that lead to adventures and meeting new people.

Work, pets, or even just the weekly house cleaning can take up the time you would have been out partying in your younger days. The kinds of responsibilities that go along with being some who’s got their life together usually don’t mesh well with the foot loose and fancy free life.

The older you are, the smaller the dating pool

The math is simple: the more couples there are, the fewer single folks there are. With your friends pairing off, there are fewer new faces entering your orbit. If you’re truly interested in meeting new people, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands and be proactive in finding new love.

Answering to that well-meaning aunt…

There’s one in every family: whether it’s your mom, your family-man older sibling, or a nosy aunt or uncle, it’s tough to escape from family celebrations without at least a little prying into your private life.

Whether it’s a “is there a special someone?” or a repeated reminder that “you’re not getting any younger!” those well-meaning relatives don’t make being single in your thirties any easier. And once siblings and cousins start bringing their young ones along, the pressure builds up even more for you to follow suit. Our tip: smile and tell them that when you meet The One they’ll be the first to know.

You may not be ready to settle down yet

Dating doesn’t always mean settling down. One of the toughest parts of dating in your thirties may be that you’re totally happy being independent, but you wouldn’t mind having a plus-one. There’s nothing wrong with that. Knowing who you are and knowing you’re not the marrying kind is great information to have.

But there are plenty of singles in their thirties who are hoping to settle down long term. The best thing to do is to be up-front about your expectations. No matter how fool-hardy an errand, there are plenty of folks who think that you’ll come around to settling down in time. You could…but why risk broken hearts later on when you still haven’t changed your mind? Honesty is always the best policy.

Me time versus we time

Let’s say you are open to getting serious. By the time you’re in your thirties, you’ve likely taken a lot of stock in what works for you and what doesn’t. You know your core values, and the person you’re dating knows theirs, too. If you’ve got those core values in common, you’ve got a great start for a healthy long term relationship.

But being part of a couple doesn’t mean being joined at the hip, and that goes double as you get older. You and your significant other may have different hobbies, and that’s fine. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Have some hobbies that are yours alone, and join your significant other after.

The bottom line…

Dating in your thirties definitely has its hurdles, but it’s not impossible. It’s even enjoyable, and though you’ve got less free time to devote to dating. And because you’ve got less free time, it’s even more important to be selective about how you spend that time, and who you spend it with.

Set goals for yourself in love and out of it, be on the lookout for someone with similar values, be honest, and don’t compromise. You don’t need to. The right person will find their way into your life, as long as you’re willing to do a little bit of the work as well.

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Author: Matt Seymour, MSF

Matthew J. Seymour is a dating industry expert with over a decade of experience coaching singles, reviewing dating apps, and analyzing trends within the industry. Matt is a published author with his most recent work “Get More Dates: How to Master Online Dating Apps” that hit shelves in 2023. With a Masters of Science in Finance (MSF) degree from the University of Florida and extensive knowledge of the innerworkings of the online dating industry, Matt frequently serves in an advisory role to some of the largest dating apps on the market. In Matt’s current role with Healthy Framework, he leads the interview team that regularly interviews key dating industry leaders, and leverages his financial knowledge and dating app experience to review and share what singles need to know to get the most out of dating online.