I already know what you’re thinking: Holly, STOP acting like turning 30 is the end of the world! Don’t worry, that’s not really what this post is about.
I definitely don’t think finding love past 30, 40, 50, or any age is something that’s impossible. But, I’ll admit that sometimes I wonder if I’m getting to that point where I’ve been single so long, that it’ll make it that much more difficult to let someone in. Or, maybe it’ll be easier — who knows?
A few weeks ago, I saw an article in The Cut (from NY Magazine), “I’m 36 — Did I Miss My Chance for Love?” It’s a “Dear Abby” type of article, and while the questioner said more about herself than this, here’s a part of her question:
But I’m single and 36 years old. Apart from the odd holiday fling, I’ve not been in a relationship for six years. I desperately want to find a good man and settle down and have children, but I can’t even find a man to go on a date with! Most of my friends are now coupled up and have small children, and I’m terrified I’ve missed my chance to do the same. Mostly I can be happy for them, but occasionally I’m torn to pieces by the unfairness of it. Why do they get to have a partner AND children, when I get neither? What’s wrong with me? Why do people who were (and are) ambivalent about having children get to have them, when I’ve always wanted to be a mom and don’t get the chance?
Polly, the girl who answers the questions had a really amazing answer. It was really long, so I put the most important part (which is still long), but still… it’s good:
BUT: You have to keep trying. Maybe having a baby alone is the way to go eventually. I don’t think that’s a terrible option, I think it’s a brave and exciting option. You should do some research on that, gather information, and maybe resolve to revisit it in a year or so. But put it on the back burner for the moment. Right now, you need to keep online dating, keep going out and meeting people, keep joining new clubs and taking new classes, keep asking friends to invite you to the parties of other friends. Please trust me that 36 is not that old. I have a friend who met her wife at 36, and another who remarried at 40 and is happier than she’s ever been. In your late 30s, men (some of them divorced! Don’t overlook the great divorced guys!) start looking around for a REAL partner instead of a fantasy, someone who has some experience under her belt, knows exactly what she loves, and isn’t afraid to show it. Someone like you.
If finding a partner is important to you, you have to open your heart and put time and energy into it, and you have to be committed to taking rejection in stride. Rejection isn’t personal. You are who you are! You’re not trying to be everybody’s favorite lady, you’re just trying to be YOU. Stop hiding and stop marketing yourself and stop trying to seal the deal. The last thing in the world you want is to coax some random, thoughtless fuckwinder into marrying you.
But don’t give up hope. Why wouldn’t you feel optimistic? You’re already pretty happy. You’re going to rock this out and have the life you want no matter what. So be your dangerously girly self, without apology. Be her forever and everywhere. Shout to the sky, “I AM GIRLY. I LOVE KIDS. I LOVE BUILDING FIRES. I LOVE BAKING CAKES. I HAVE FEELINGS. I AM NOT COOL. I WILL NEVER BE COOL. I AM MADE OF MAGIC.”
You haven’t missed the boat. There are boats everywhere. Maybe you’ll like one of them and maybe you won’t. I think you will. But in the meantime, savor this moment. Be exactly who you are, and savor it. Even true love doesn’t come close to feeling as good as that.
This advice is good for someone of any age! I hate it when people get so bogged down trying to be a person they think will attract another person. The only person you can be is YOU. And the cool thing about that is this: there’s no one else like you. How sweet is that?
One thing I know, for me, it’s really nice to be sure of yourself. Even up to a few years ago, I was starting to lose sight of who I was — what was I looking for in life? What was I looking for in a life partner? I know I couldn’t answer those questions; but today, I’ve got a much clearer idea of what I’m looking for.
I found a cool article on SheKnows.com, “11 Dating Habits you Should Ditch After 30,” and there are some pretty good ones, making it perfectly fine to stop looking for guys at bars, stop playing the “numbers” rules, and stop looking for someone to fix you.
What are you rules or thoughts on dating after 30?