Email Questions: Dating in Your 30’s

Something that seems to be a common topic among email questions recently is how to go about dating in your 30’s as a single woman.  Whenever I get this question I have to let the woman know that I obviously have zero experience with what they’re asking me about.

BUT… one of the reasons people have “blog rolls” is to point people where they can find great information that the host either agrees with or doesn’t have knowledge of.  On the right side of the screen, under “Single Women: What Men Really Think,” is a great website resource for any woman out there in the dating market.  Andrew (the author) even has a whole post dedicated to dating in your 30’s:

Female Game for Women in Their 30’s

Check out this gem, too, if you’re really interested:

The Advantage of Dating in Your 30’s

Now for my thoughts on it, since you asked… they aren’t really optimistic so you’ve been warned.

If I were somehow to switch places with you, a single woman in her 30’s, I probably would forgo dating altogether and just seek to live a life alone and find genuine happiness in other things.  Volunteering with kids if you have an ache for children, working fulltime at an orphanage in another country or in a children’s home in the US.  Maybe become a nurse and work with people where you feel like you make a difference in other people’s lives.  Work on a great career in a field of your interest where you can spend your excess money not spent on a family, traveling and seeing places most people would never see.  Have more time to write or read great books.  I don’t know… but dating men would be the last thing on my mind.  I know that sounds crazy, but you asked what I thought and so I’m going to be brutally honest.  There’s a reason why I got married incredibly young and didn’t sleep with anyone before my husband.  I was terrified of being used, wanted to wait to have sex until marriage because of my faith in Christianity and a firm belief that it would be giving my husband a gift that would only belong to him, and even looking back in hindsight, I think that the being terrified of being used was a good thing.  I think more women should be terrified of being used… maybe it would help them decide faster what they really want in life.  I avoided tons of unnecessary emotional baggage and pain by finding someone who truly loved me and cherished me, and committed long-term to me that young and inexperienced.  I don’t think that is easy to find in any way possible when you get beyond your 20’s.  It sounds and looks like it’s a whole different ball-game, and not a very nice one.

When it comes to the 30+ dating market, most of the men dating women in that age range are only out to use those women.  This is not to say a woman in her 30’s or 40’s (or 50’s ?) couldn’t find someone to marry, it’s just that it will be infinitely harder to navigate all the sexual aspects without subjecting yourself to just being someone they want to have sex with.  The reality is men that would be interested in you age wise, can probably pull much younger women and would also be interested in much younger women for long term relationships.  Men are always, however, interested in easy sex.

Then there’s the factor of what kind of men will they be?  If you click on the link above, Andrew goes on about why you should avoid different kinds of men….  No men in their 20’s, no men over 40, no divorced men… lol… there’s like literally NO MEN left after you filter for those things he warns about.  Very dismal if you ask me, hence why I would just avoid dating altogether.  While there are some great catches out there who have been frivorced, it’s my opinion they are very hard to find, and they may have contributed in some way to their divorce which they may or may not be honest about.  With proper girl game, I’m pretty sure you can catch a desirable divorcee, but you’d have to be extremely open and genuine with him (and match everything on his list of perfection lol) or you’ll scare him off faster than anything.  And event then, there’s still the likelihood that you’d just be used and “nexted.”

After reading around the internet a few years now, I’m convinced that older men – the men who would be interested in 30+ women, are very very VERY bad marriage material.  Every single one of them seem to have deep issues with hating (or strongly disliking) women, and I’m not blaming them many have good reasons to not trust or like women, I’m just being realistic that this makes them horrible future partners.  You don’t want them to get with you and then never be able to trust you or love you.  It would be so painful and devastating to fall in love with a man like that, and very much in your best interest to avoid it altogether.

In short, I think you should brutally assess if you can truly attract a good man who would love you, and if not, accept a single life and just make it as good and fulfilling as you possibly can without a romantic partner.  There’s much more to life than romance, even though I fully believe that if you find and create a fulfilling marriage, it can be the most wonderful thing you ever do in your life.  But there comes a point where you may have to accept that having that kind of marriage is not possible anymore, and move on to find fulfillment elsewhere.

 

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20 thoughts on “Email Questions: Dating in Your 30’s

  1. I’ve seen what David notes, and it strikes me that those, male and female, who marry later generally have a lot of the same characteristics as those who marry younger. They take care of themselves and have a life outside of chasing a spouse–no desperation seems to be key. One additional thing they often have is a network of friends of their age or older (generally married people) who are praying for them, may introduce them to possible mates, and who are quite frankly often baffled why no one’s come to sweep them off their feet. “Son, can I take your pulse? If you’re not noticing so-and-so, I’m concerned that you won’t fog a mirror anymore.”, and all that.

    There are some out there who probably aren’t marriage material, but it’s really more an issue of character than it is anything innate.

  2. That’s great David, but why did the women wait so long? Why weren’t they married before, assuming this was their first marriage?

    And were they marrying divorced men or long-standing bachelor men?

    The only ones I’ve seen get married in their 30’s are women who either were very overweight, or had a bad past (so their pool of desirable men was almost non-existent and they ended up “settling” in their minds).

  3. Hm… I wonder at this:

    “those, male and female, who marry later generally have a lot of the same characteristics as those who marry younger”

    If they had a lot the same in common, wouldn’t they have had the same goals when younger you would think? I don’t understand why someone would wait until their late 30’s to “finally” get married, partly because I was in the group who knew what I wanted in my early 20’s.
    Not desperately searching, but definitely knew what I was doing was right (like getting into a college Christian group where all the men were, figuring out which ones really liked me, and filtering some through dates and picking one to commit to forever that I judged was the absolute best of everything I ever wanted).

    I guess I just don’t understand how someone who waited almost 2 decades longer than 18, has the “same characteristics” as that 18 year old girl who kind of knows what she’s looking for. A 38 year old woman compared to the 18 year old virgin girl… what do they really have in common?

    Forgive me though, I am chronically sleep deprived and exhausted so you may be totally right and I’m missing it!! LOL

  4. And for women reading that are 30+, I’m sorry to answer this so brutally. I’m not the best person to ask these questions about dating in your 30’s and certainly not the “what would YOU do” kind I’ve been getting… because like I said in the post, I just **wouldn’t.** I’d opt out completely. Becoming a Mother Theresa type would be my life goal if I were in that position to do it. I know most of y’all don’t want to hear that.

    Andrew’s site is the best site I’ve seen out there for women in regards to specific and practical dating tips. He’s at least really optimistic it seems about dating in your 30’s, so I’m sure there’s hope.

  5. Stephanie, the ones I had in mind were fairly attractive ranging to very attractive, and it was their first (and so far only) marriage. I’ve also known a few who had failed marriages in their 20s and remarried in their 30s, successfully as far as I can tell.

    Again, just anecdotal…I’m sure there are actually statistics on this, somewhere.

    I think that to a lot of people in their early 20s, time seems infinite…someone remarked that a 22-year old can no more imagine being 45 than he or she can imagine being a giraffe…

  6. Anecdotal only, but I know several women who’ve gotten married in their 30s and have been married long enough that it looks like it’s going well.
    I know a lot of those women too. As in more than 10 -maybe even 15- and well acquainted with for several years. Most have been married half as long as me but are in their first marriages. Not overweight, most devout Christians before marriage. Smart women, not shallow or frivolous. Couldn’t have gotten this far homeschooling without them, honestly.
    but why did the women wait so long? Why weren’t they married before, assuming this was their first marriage?
    The assumption that “they waited” is in many cases, largely erroneous. I only know 2 who would say that. Most desperately wanted to be married and it just wasn’t happening. You can only get married with the instigation, invitation, and consent of the man, as I’m sure you understand. Most met their husbands after several years of stateside missionary work and met their husbands in that capacity, as they were also involved in the same ministry.
    The same marriage market that is making it hard for men to meet good women is making it hard for women to meet good men. Contrary to online dogma, the assertions that there are millions of good men out there while there are almost no good women don’t even make logical sense.
    I got married young too, but I realize not everyone is so fortunate and it’s not always their fault or anyone’s fault. The more devout, virtuous and conscientious you are, the harder it is to find someone, whether male or female.
    And now I’m slinking back off but I think a lot of these ideas need to be held up to the light of total Truth.

  7. Elspeth! I was replying to your comment and hit something that made the comment disappear and it changed your name to “Array” which was probably part of my trying to type the reply! So sorry! Anyway, I tried to update your name because it first appeared as “Elspeth” and in my email it appears as “Elspeth” not Array. ?? So sorry though that was weird!

    I’m sure you’re right in many ways about the 30’s women you’re seeing… it’s probably that I’m just not seeing it because of our social group or people we knew etc. We were among about 20 couples (so about 40 people altogether) who all found each other inside different Christian groups in college. We all got married either while still in college or shortly after. The only women we know who have truly waited to have sex that are single in their 30’s were both in relationships that should have led to marriage but didn’t.

  8. Regarding why those who were doing about the same thing as women who marry in their 20s didn’t themselves marry in their twenties, it can be any number of things. Some people simply take longer to mature to be ready for marriage–I wasn’t even close until I was 25. Others repent of things that were getting in their way–excess attention to career, excess weight, and the like.

    Finally, as Elspeth notes, sometimes it’s simply an issue of chance. Prior to meeting each other, my wife and I both got to know several people who were basically decent, but nothing clicked. Then there are others who were interested who were, politely speaking, mouth-breathers despite looking outwardly respectable.

  9. I wonder how much Christian fundamentalism plays into this. This is more the circle I grew up in so I’m familiar with a lot of cases (directly and indirectly), but I’m not sure how many people overall it effects. Ame posted a link on her blog from a man who writes about his experiences with Christian fundamentalism, and so much of what I read there rang true. I’m SO thankful my family was getting out of it when I was an adolescent, but I know my oldest sisters were hit hard. The oldest wore make-up and fashionable clothes for the first time when she was 24 with absolutely no marriage prospects. Both of my oldest sisters married in their late 20s and my oldest sister married a very low-value narcissist and has since divorced.

    These are the Jana Duggars of the world, the Botkin sisters, the stay-at-home-daughters, etc. Women who want to be married but whose family/social structure is set up in a way that makes it extremely difficult.

    The cult-like problems of fundamentalism are coming to light and more and more people are jumping ship at an earlier age so I’m not sure how much of an issue this actually is when it comes to ladies dating in their 30s. But I thought I’d throw it out there.

  10. Anna, depends on how you define fundamentalism, really. If I define it as inerrancy of Scripture, virgin birth, sinless life and substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection and 2nd coming, no correlation at all. If I define it in terms of cultural habits–jumpers, father-led courtship, Gothard/Phillips style rules and such, I would anticipate a correlation.

    BTW, it might even be an error to call this even “cultural fundamentalism”, since Gothard and Phillips really were a bigger deal in circles that would call themselves “evangelical” rather than “fundamental.” No argument that a lot of what they prescribed was, politely speaking, horse manure, but I might quibble with the label.

  11. I was referring to the Gothard/Phillips brand (although it is so much bigger than just people who follow those two). I’ve always heard it referred to as Christian or Evangelical fundamentalism (or fundie for short), but that might not be current anymore. What would you call it?

    Whatever one calls it, its undeniably toxic; particularly to women, although it’s not all sunshine and butterflies for men either. I think they’ve survived this long by having ideas that sound like they must be so good (even as a former fundie, there is something still magically quaint about the idea of a father-led courtship model), and it’s not until one is buried very deep in them that the evil starts to show. Typical cult appeal.

  12. Marriage from the Biblical perspective is all a matter of God’s will. It is God’s will to bring people together, and not people (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:6).

    I believe it is important that a daughter is protected by a parents, especially her father. So, those who rail on about the toxicity of daughters in a family structure which makes it “hard for them to be independent from their family” should not so easily dismiss it as all toxic. This is not to say it is good, but rather, to explain the reasons as to why it may in part be the case.

    “Independence” is a lie from the devil.

    For all those married Christians who keep trying to scare single Christians into marriage about their financial prospects in old age, they should be quiet. God is He who provides those who are faithful to Him (Matthew 6:24-34).

    If one is a Christian, one should never worry about these earthly things, including marriage. God has engineered the circumstances of each of His children, and designed them exactly the way they are for His purpose and glory.

    For a Christian, marriage is to be entered into by God’s will, not because one strives for it.

    So, DO NOT WORRY!

  13. Biblically that doesn’t make sense Jojo. Clearly it was “ok” with God for people to take marriages into their own hands and arrange marriages for their children so that they would be provided for or be able to father children in their future.

  14. I’m about to have a bunch of family over at our house so really busy… but I’ll try to find biblical examples later of when people helped their children find spouses… clearly it’s not wrong to want to put people together.

  15. Anna, I’ve seen Gothard/Phillips all around evangelical and fundamental churches, and I’ve seen people warning about it in both as well. It’s actually descended from Victorian attempts to include Torah observance into Christian life and I believe a book called “None of these diseases” (1963) which modernizes the same.

    It’s something of a persistent infection that strikes the churches I love, and I sure wish we could treat it. Hopefully it hasn’t killed any affection you’ve got for the actual theological fundamentals.

  16. What I meant was that it is ultimately God who determines who marries who. He may use human hands, but it is ultimately a matter of His will:

    Therefore what GOD has joined together, let no one separate.”
    (Mark 10:9)

    So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
    (Matthew 19:6)

    It is not that abstract a concept.

    It is time we all read the Bible more carefully and seriously heed what it says.

  17. I think God lets us choose, and sometimes to our detriment. There are some Christians (Calvinists?) who believe everything is ordained and that only what happens in a person’s life was all going to happen anyway, and that we basically have no choice in how our lives are directed, but I think it’s much more complicated than that.

    I think people can choose to do things that would be outside of God’s will… you see it many times when people have sex outside of marriage, and then marry their partner. My mom successfully scared me enough (lol) by saying that it puts a “curse” over the marriage. Yes, it can be repented from and I do believe they can still have a good marriage, but it will be in spite of them cursing it first, not because they went into it in God’s will and timing.

    Oh and one of the best examples of people taking it into their own hands was Abraham sending his servant to find a wife for Isaac… but then again they did use a “sign” from God so maybe you’re right in that.

  18. Yes, that is what I meant. That a sign was needed from God by Abraham, the father of Israel, indicates that marriage being created by God is ultimately determined by God.

    Although there is free will given to people by God, God orchestrates all things according to His plan. When people act outside of God’s will, they will not be blessed. Rebellion brings a curse, and you better believe it.

  19. “When people act outside of God’s will, they will not be blessed.”

    Do you believe they can self-correct and then be blessed? I do! My biblical knowledge on curses is not the best at all (I find it a little creepy and who knows if that’s even true that having sex before marriage really puts a real curse over it), but some can be generational curses and some can be only while that person (or couple) are actively in sin (under a curse), and then it can be reversed. You see that with the curses and blessings detailed out in Deuteronomy for Israel… very detailed curses of exactly what would happen when they disobey, versus very detailed blessings if they did the right thing.

    It’s not at all just with pre-marital sex, even with something very simple like forgiveness for being wronged. If you choose not to forgive, the Bible is pretty clear that you suffer consequences (even physical consequences!) that sound a lot like being under a curse – but it’s only for that time period and once you choose to forgive, that curse is lifted off of you. Sin seems to bring curses… generally.

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