How important is age vs life-stage when looking for a partner? I'm 30 but might as well be 25, and I don't know where I should be looking for my next partner.
posted by farce majeure to Human Relations (27 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, so I recently was dumped by my girlfriend of 2 years, and oh man does it sting. For starters, she was amazing, easily the best girlfriend I've ever had, by miles and miles. She was a year younger than me, but had her life put together and was a lot more mature when it came to being in a relationship. Unfortunately, I was extremely immature when it came to my concept of what a committed relationship is or how they work. I had some mental hangups that made me fail to appreciate just how awesome she was and to really commit to her while we were dating, and she eventually left me.
I turned 30 last October, but I've had a somewhat crazy life to date, and in many respects am more like someone in their early to mid 20s than your "traditional" 30 year old. I moved to Japan soon after university, and spent most of my 20s bouncing around the country, teaching English and having a good time, but I've now realized, failing to go through some fairly key developmental steps necessary to become a full on adult. This last relationship was in Japan, until the very end, when I moved back to the states for a grad program to try to make a move towards growing up(thought I was going back to Japan when I finished, but now who knows).
I'm in grad school! There are no prospects (or time) for dating here. but I'll be done soon and starting over from scratch... totally from scratch. I left what few possessions I had with my ex in Japan, and I won't be getting them back. I'll be starting a new job, likely in a new city.
Also, at least at the moment, I don't look like I'm 30, I look a fair bit younger, mid to late 20s, and I'm a reasonably good looking guy, if that matters.
The good news: This breakup has kicked me in the ass, pushed me down the stairs, torn my heart out and stomped on it, and in the aftermath I've had to do some very serious self reflection. I think I've finally realized where a lot of my hangups in committed relationships lie, and I think I'll be able to be a much better partner the next time around.
The bad news: I didn't expect to be dating in my 30s. I'm not quite ready to be in a relationship yet, but eventually I'd like to try again and I worry that women my age will expect me to have my life more put together than it is. And, actually younger women might too, or just think I'm a creepy old guy.
Life in general, I still have no idea how to approach either. This wasn't something I worried about until recently, I just kind of went with the flow and while it was fun, I don't have much to show for it. I have to admit, I feel a bit ridiculous being this age and not having a career or long term relationship in my life.
So, ok this is all fairly convoluted, but basically what I'm asking is, given my circumstances, where should I be looking for potential people to date? I am finished with wanting to date around, and would very much like to find a partner for the long run, but I'm not at a place where I'm ready to have kids right away. Life-stagewise, I might as well be in my mid 20s. Is it weird to look for woman to date in that age range? If so, how do I meet them? Ideally, I'd like to pair up with someone at a similar life-stage, so someone who's getting their career started, and wants to settle down eventually but isn't in a rush to have kids right away. But will I be a creepy old man? Will younger women expect me to have my life put together more than I currently do? Should I be looking for women closer to my age? But if I do, where do I find them? It seems like women in their 30s are usually farther along in life and looking to settle down soon, which is something I'm working towards but not quite ready for yet.
It seems like dating is going to be a lot more complicated in my 30s, but I don't know. Am I making this more difficult than it really is? (I do that sometimes) Anyone out there been in a similar situation? How did it work out for you? How did you look for a partner?