Tell me your stories about dating in your 30s?
May 27, 2012 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me show a friend that plenty of people find love after 35? She is afraid that no one will want a relationship with a woman who is single at 35.

A little history. My friend is 31. She's currently in a healthy relationship, but isn't sure where it is going. She's mentioned a couple of times now that she feels like something else might not come along because she's in her 30s and "who wants a woman that's single at 35." I just want to show her that wonderful relationships happen after 30 and I thought the best way to do that would be to collect your stories.

So, if you've started a relationship in your 30s, whether it ended up being permanent or not, would you mind sharing it here? How did you meet? What's different, if anything, about this relationship compared to those you had in your teens and 20s? Is this the first relationship you've ever had? Do you have any advice you would give her?
posted by persephone's rant to Human Relations (50 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
I met my now-husband when I was 32, got married the year I turned 35. It is WAY better than any other relationship I've ever had (not just because, obviously, it worked out) because we were both adults, experienced enough to know what we did and didn't want out of relationships, and were able to act like grownups with honesty and no gameplaying. I think most people should wait to get married until they're in their 30's, frankly, most of us don't really become who we are until we've been around for a while, and many of us get better at relationships once we grow out of feeling that we need someone else to be fully whole.
posted by biscotti at 8:49 AM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Here is my very long comment from a thread last February that you may find helpful.
posted by Madamina at 8:50 AM on May 27, 2012

All the advice that tends to be given sounds trite when it has not happened to you yourself.

I was just thinking about this recently, that people will say things like "it will happen" or "when its right, its easy" or whatever but you never quite understand it until it comes along and happens to you. Each time its a surprise, as you increasingly grow older and somewhere at the back of your mind you've given up.

All I can do is share some data bits:

I got married at 32. It didn't work out but at no point up until then did I ever think I wouldn't find someone. Then came some years of confusion, on my own part, feeling old and over the hill, choosing to be single for a while, meeting some men in my early forties (but I think I wasn't ready, since hindsight is always 20:20)

I've met someone now at 46. ;p

What's different, if anything, about this relationship compared to those you had in your teens and 20s?

I'd love to have my young body and figure back, for sure. But that's about it. I appreciate being my experienced adult woman self. Self assurance is earned and as I'm learning, its sexy.
posted by infini at 8:52 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but I think that a lot men over 30 are by far more interested in meeting and possibly dating a "35 years old single woman" than a woman in her 30ies who is stuck in an unhappy relationship just for sake of not being single.

That she says such things indicates to me that her current relationship isn't as healthy as you think. That's a place to start - does she think that guy is her last chance and she stays with him because she fears no better guy will show up soon? That sounds more like an issue - that she defines herself through a relationship and feels worthless if she's single. My advice would be to investigate that and help her realize she has worth on her own.
posted by MinusCelsius at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

A friend of mine had a tumultuous romantic life, mostly rather unhappy, through her twenties and early thirties. When she was approximately 35 (maybe 34, the timing is blurry to me now a few years later) she met...a younger man! A fellow in his late twenties, no less! She was smitten, but worried about all the usual - being too old, unhappy romantic past, worries about her looks, etc. Anyway, they hung out on the sort of quasi-dates that one has and eventually she asked him out for real. They have been virtually - nauseatingly sweetly, in fact - inseparable ever since. It appears to all observers to be a relationship that will go the distance.

There are some great guys out there - it's just that between the sexist creeper jackasses who impinge on your consciousness the most and the horrible media messaging, it feels like there are not.
posted by Frowner at 8:55 AM on May 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

I married at 32, my wife was 35. It's been 18 happy years, with twin girls. We met at a (pre-internet) dating service. I don't think those even exist any more. I imagine it would be much easier now!

Don't give up.
posted by schrodycat at 8:56 AM on May 27, 2012

The central question here is age - from your post, it sounds as if she's afraid her age will somehow change her. This sounds like an expectation of the sort you'd find in any sane person with worries in their life.

Her age has no magical effect on her (and magic is basically what would have to happen if turning 35 should in any way affect her suddenly). I know a wonderful couple myself, who are both widowers with children, and whom found each other in their mid-fifties.

I would tell her that 35's just a number, that she's only as old as she lets herself be and that life goes on.

'Cos life always does.
posted by DemographicLanguage at 9:02 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

When your friend is 40 she'll laugh when she looks back at how she thought early 30s was over the hill. Tell her she is young and to seize the day.
posted by Summer at 9:04 AM on May 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

What everyone else said.

Approaching 50, and not interested in dating someone much younger, NOR someone in a relationship, NOR staying single, so - duh - I am interested in a relationship with a woman near my age. Duh.

Her fears are ridiculous. Sad, but silly.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:21 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm 38, so your friend is making me (more) depressed! My good friend and my aunt (out of a small sample of all the people I know...which is not that many, so it's a reasonable percentage) both met their life partners at 40 or 41. Oh, so did my old roommate, and she had twins at 45. (might not recommend that).

Your friend is going to believe what she wants to believe. Based on my online results, LESS people are interested in you after 35, that is for sure. But how many people do you need to be interested in you in the end? Just one good one, right?

But again, she's going to believe what she wants to believe. And now I am (more) depressed.
posted by bquarters at 9:33 AM on May 27, 2012

I'm 39. I met baniak two and a half years ago, and he's been stuck with me ever since. :D

(also, I'm twice divorced. The right person will not care about your age, former marital status or anything.)
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:41 AM on May 27, 2012

You best know your friend, and you are in the best position to know what might help her... but do you think she'd be best served by a self-selected collection of anecdata? To put it more bluntly: are you even telling her the truth if you go about doing it that way?

Sure, plenty of people find love after 35; and plenty of people do not find love after 35 -- plenty of people never find love ever. Your friend, your call -- but her resistance to your ministrations might (only "might) could be read as a rejection of your methods (ie. polling internet strangers and asking them only for their success stories). She might want some science or some more rigor. Might be worth a trip to, as a change of approach, if nothing else.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:00 AM on May 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

The "no one" part is absolutist thinking and, naturally, is mistaken. I turned 36 recently and have been single since leaving a long-term relationship at 28. At 30 I met a younger man; we had a happy but brief relationship. Last year I met a man a year older than me, and we had what I thought was a promising long-distance relationship until I found out he had 4 other women.

It's not "ridiculous" to think that it gets harder after a certain age for women; it's statistical, as a matter of fact. From that analysis by OKCupid: "It's no secret that dating changes radically as you get older. As you can see below, the number of online daters peaks at 24, drops sharply at around 30, and then gradually tapers off, as the remaining singletons either find mates or withdraw themselves from contention."

Like bquarters, I've noticed a difference on the anecdotal (personal) level too. For whatever reasons, there are less serious messages and fewer profiles of men looking for a woman "my age". I had (until disabling my account recently) my own age preferences set between 28 and 50, FWIW. Men my age... well, they fit OKCupid's dataset in that linked analysis.

Honestly, I'd recommend not putting all her eggs into one basket. It's much happier and more fulfilling to live with a balanced outlook: if she finds someone, great! If she doesn't, that's fine too! Being single can be awesome. I'm happy enough single, in fact, that I closed my OKC account because I'm more optimistic and content on my own, without the drag of browsing yet another profile where the guy's writing sounds interesting and mature, then getting to his questions and finding out that the 5% "enemy" (OKC's wording) comes from major differences in relationship outlooks. I.e., I'm monogamous, have my "mandatory" questions set to reflect that, and yet would get 95% "matches" who wanted only open relationships (in addition to strong desires on the "open relationship" questions, they set other, monogamous responses to undesirable). I figure if it's going to happen, I'd rather meet a neat guy in a context where I have a positive, secure outlook.

There's nothing to be afraid of in your mid-30s. I've really come into myself and created some of my favorite memories, and had some wonderful experiences, at this age. I'm actually looking forward to getting older, because you really do start to realize how much richer age makes a person. And all that, ALONE (doom-doom-doom) :) It's not doom. It's fun. Relationships at this age are better for it, too, even the short-lived ones.
posted by fraula at 10:04 AM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I met my boyfriend on Plenty of Fish in 2008, when I was 34 and he was 43. We've been happily together ever since. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 10:04 AM on May 27, 2012

My great-aunt married for the first time when she was WELL into her thirties. In the 1940's. And she married into wealth. Not exactly typical for that day and age! She wasn't conventionally beautiful, either, but she was stylish, vivacious and intelligent.

A friend of mine's widowed father (in his 60's) married a woman who was well into her 50's and this was her first marriage. Her grown stepkids love her. (It's a huge plus that said grown stepkids are nice, sane, employed, drama-free folks; not all stepkids are going to resent their stepparents and stir up endless drama.)

Another woman of my acquaintance married for the first time at 45 and her advice was to "hold out!" rather than settle.

I am in my 40's myself and have no intention of "surrendering" or giving up hope. It's true that it's harder when you are over 40 than younger, but it's not impossible - and face it, being upfront about your age filters out a LOT of trophy-wife/broodmare seeking douchebags!

I will have to say that it's a lot easier to find love when you're over 35 or so if you don't want kids. All of the women I've mentioned, including myself, are or were childfree by choice and didn't feel the pressure of "must have baby NOW! OMG time is running out!" It's also easier to find love if you are not in a big glamour-centered city (like New York or Los Angeles) where a lot of men do want trophy wives, and there are a lot of trophy wives to go around.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:06 AM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I met current LadyFriend when I was 30; been three years and all going well. I know heaps of couples who got together when the woman was in her early-mid thirties. Often, they are fantastic relationships precisely because both people are sure where it is going.

By the thirties, often individuals have run the obstacle course. They've waited for someone. Someone's waited for them. They've been in great relationships that ended. They've been in poor relationships that ended.

And in the thirties, one is a bit wiser than the 20s. Often, marriage shifts from a social convention (it's what one does...) to a personal choice (it's what I want to do...). Also, people are more realistic and open about what they want. No longer are there simple categories (single, friends, friends with benefits, etc.), because people in the thirties realise life is way more complex than simplistic definitions. People can be single, have a partner, take a lover, get married, have a baby, have an open relationship.. there's limitless options. Thus, the people that I know who've met in their thirties have great relationships, because 1) they are choosing to be fully in them, and 2) they handle those relationships maturely.

Speaking of handling relationships immaturely...

My friend is 31. She's currently in a healthy relationship, but isn't sure where it is going. She's mentioned a couple of times now that she feels like something else might not come along because she's in her 30s and "who wants a woman that's single at 35."

So your friend is 31 and worried about being single when she is 35? Suspicious. Why would she be concerned about being 31 and single at 35? She is not single now, thus it seems like a made-up fear. And why would she entertain this made-up fear?

Could it because she isn't sure where it's going? Perhaps. If that's the case, then is she waiting? Worried that one day she will have to force the hand, and at that time, she will find herself single again?

Or is she in a 'healthy' (but non-ideal) relationship because she is afraid of being single at 35? Also perhaps. Perhaps she is not quite satisfied with her currently relationship, but taking the attitude something is better than nothing?

Either way, I think she may not be so concerned about being single at 35, as she may be concerned that the relationship she is in is not the right relationship. It may be manifesting as 'I am afraid of being alone at 35' but that is an irrational fear. I would wonder what is the root of the fear, for that is probably the issue that she needs to address.

But again, being a 30s male who has dated older women previously (great times) and found love in the 30s, I know very little. The stories here indicate that indeed, Life Does Not End At 25.
posted by nickrussell at 10:09 AM on May 27, 2012 [7 favorites]

Sure, plenty of people find love after 35; and plenty of people do not find love after 35 -- plenty of people never find love ever.

Exactly. I know women who have met someone and gotten married after 35. It certainly can happen. But I'm sure your friend knows it can happen too, theoretically. She is afraid it won't happen to her. I'm totally sympathetic to her fears but, um...she's not 35. She's 31. What is she planning on doing with the next four years that she's so certain she'll still be single then? If I were her (or if I were 31 again) the question I'd be asking is not "give me anecdotal evidence that some people have gotten married after 35" but "what can I do now to help my chances of finding a good relationship soon?"'
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:15 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

my 40 year old sister recently-ish decided to leave her very long term boyfriend. only a few months later she is dating a new guy who is (I am told) very sweet. also he has the most adorable puppy in the world.

people, women, can and do find love at all ages, but she does need to put herself out there and be open to life. the women I know who are having a hard time finding someone are, I think, too particular a priori. they've got all these rules and parameters for what they require in a mate. sometimes life is going to surprise you...if you let it!
posted by supermedusa at 10:22 AM on May 27, 2012

I am 53 and my partner is 54. We met when I was 39 and she was 40. My marriage had broken up just under a year previously; hers a year or so before that. In the interim she had had two brief "dalliances", as she likes to call them now.

So yeah, of course you can find love after 35.
posted by Decani at 10:38 AM on May 27, 2012

Two things:

1. I met my husband to be at 30. But more to the point, I have a friend who's 41 and dates regularly. She doesn't want to have kids, so no biological clock rush. She is single now but met her most recent boyfriend at age 38, about to turn 39. She is confident in herself, keeps up her looks, trusts herself/her instincts, and realizes that most of the guys she'll meet that are her age have an ex-wife, a child, or both. She is fine with being a step-mom someday.

2. My mom was 31 when she married my dad. She had misgivings, but figured that no one else was going to come along at her age and she wanted to have kids very much. It was a huge mistake. They weren't right for each other and had a terribly messy divorce. I am not looking forward to being in the same room with the two of them at my upcoming wedding. Please encourage your friend to avoid my parents' mistake.
posted by Pearl67 at 10:44 AM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

I met my partner at exactly 35, as a matter of fact, just when I too had "given up hope."

We are expecting our first kid in 7 weeks!
posted by tristeza at 10:50 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I started dating The Fella at 35; we married three weeks before my 40th birthday, six months after his 40th birthday.

I'm thrilled that I met him after the blush of youth, because 25-year-old Elsa wasn't ready for a guy like him: whip-smart and hilariously funny and incredibly thoughtful, but self-effacing and sometimes a bit reserved. At that age, I'm not sure I would have seen him for the treasure he is. And at a younger age, The Fella might not have been interested in 25-year-old Elsa: brash and snarky and not always kind. I'm not sure he would have seen any treasure in me; I certainly didn't see it at that time.

Frankly, 25-year-old Elsa was kind of a jackass. She didn't really know what she wanted or what a good relationship looked like. She hadn't yet learned to be kind, to think before speaking. She hadn't learned to love herself and to extend that love to people around her, or how to hold out for someone who could show her love and respect.

Meeting as adults, The Fella and I were able to establish an adult relationship. That doesn't mean we don't have childlike fun --- we absolutely do have tickle-fights, dumb inside jokes, silly theme parties, and goofy traditions (Valentine's Day horror movie double-feature? YES PLEASE). For us, having an adult relationship means that we entered this relationship knowing who we are, that we're true to ourselves, that we respect each others' boundaries and negotiate new boundaries together, that we see us as a team rather than as adversaries.

I tell you what, though: before The Fella and I became serious, I thought it was possible I'd be single (with some pleasant, casual dating partners) forever. My first [partner/best friend/oh so complicated] died when we were both in our 20s, and my next long-term relationship, at 30, was pretty miserable. I really did resign myself to the possibility that I was destined to be alone for the long-term.

And I embraced it: I realized that it's better to be happily alone than unhappily partnered, that life is pretty fun when you're free to make plans all on your own, and that I'm a great person to spend the rest of my life with. So I learned who I really am, and I learned to treat myself with kindness and respect, just as I had learned to treat other loved ones with kindness and respect.

I suspect that confidence and self-respect is part of what made me so attractive to The Fella when we started dating, but it also would have seen me through a life of singlehood.
posted by Elsa at 11:02 AM on May 27, 2012 [30 favorites]

she's in her 30s and "who wants a woman that's single at 35."

Your friend has a misogynistic streak. It makes me not want to offer her help, frankly. Why should we older women support younger women who insult us with these types of statements?

But, to answer your question: speaking as a hoary old battleax pushing 50, there is love to be had after your 30s. Interesting men with life experience who are looking for the same in a partner, and seem to appreciate women who are mewling and whinging about silliness like age, circumference of thighs, or the latest fear-mongering put forth by Cosmo magazine to sell product.

Your friend needs to get out more, expand her social circle to include people of all ages, and perhaps do a little reading in women's history.

I will now toddle off with my walker, clacking my a date with a hottie to prep for.
posted by quivering_fantods at 11:15 AM on May 27, 2012 [23 favorites]

(*not* mewling. Damn granny fingers.)
posted by quivering_fantods at 11:16 AM on May 27, 2012

If she wants to be cynical:

She can compromise now and be married at 32. Then she can be divorced at 40, and in the exact same position except with a bigger arse. Or, even worse, she can be a 40 year old divorced single mother with a fuckton of debt and a bigger arse. Woo hoo!

She has ten years to have kids. If she wants to maximise her odds of marrying happily, she needs to dump Mr Mediocre, be clear she's looking for a life partner and kids, and date her butt off.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:17 AM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Not sure I agree that your friend has a misogynistic streak, unless it's one we all share, having been raised in a society that idolizes youth, particularly in women. I mean, if archaeologists of the future look back at our media records, they may well think that some terrible disease afflicted older ladies, leaving very few of them indeed in comparison to all the hot young ladies and silver haired foxy gentlemen. :)

So, first things first: your friend shouldn't beat herself up about this anxiety. But as others have noted, this does not sound like the kind of concern you dwell on when you're in an awesome relationship that makes you feel completely loved and valued. So maybe she should give that some thought.

Second thing: I'm a bit older than your friend, and I briefly entertained such fears after the dissolution of my last LTR. Thank God I didn't let them stop me from throwing my hat back into the dating ring, because - touch wood, it's still early days - I met someone lovely of the same age, and it blows my mind how well we communicate. I think it might be owed to all those separate experiences we each had dating and relating in our twenties. We learned from them. And now we bring those skills into our interactions with each other.

So far, I tell you, dating in my thirties is FAR better than dating in my twenties ever was.

The only drawbacks I can see concern potential childbearing. This isn't a big concern for me, but even if your friend very much wants to have kids, she's thirty one. There is no reason for her to be hearing klaxons of alarm yet on that front. She's got plenty of time.
posted by artemisia at 11:23 AM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

I met my wife when she was 35 and married her when she was 37. Had a kid when she was 42. Happily married 15 years.

Oh yeah, I was 27 when we got married. So not only can a woman find love after 35, she can sometimes find a handsome young individual such as myself.
posted by bondcliff at 11:44 AM on May 27, 2012 [9 favorites]

My last bout of internet dating started when I was 35 and ended shortly thereafter when I met my sweetie. Up until then I never had any age-associated problems, either. Frankly, I don't like the kind of men who would see a 35 year old woman as some kind of hag, so it was never a problem for me. If your friend goes for status obsessed d-bags then she might have a problem.
posted by yarly at 12:22 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have six close women friends who married for the first time at 40 and older, and probably another dozen in my extended circle, including one who married for the first time at 52.

I was one of the earliest to marry among my friends, and I was 34. Your friend needs to look around her in real life more and less at what the media tell her, is my guess.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:51 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I met my husband when I was 35 or 36 and he was 33 or 34. We married when I was 38. We just had a child 10 days ago; I'm now 40.
posted by kestrel251 at 12:56 PM on May 27, 2012

A la quivering fantods, I am not sure how to answer this without being a jackass. A 46-year-old jackass. I split from my husband at age 40, and never felt that I didn't have a chance at a new relationship. I have been seeing an older gent and it is still possible to fall in love, even if you're not in the blush of youth. The best part is, I don't really care whether I am still considered a hottie by men. I keep myself very fit, travel, read, and socialize. If they would rather hook up with a young twit with big tits, their loss.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:18 PM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Husband and I were both in our very late 30's when we met via online dating service.
Not the first relationship, but first serious one in a very long time for me. What was different than when we were younger? As biscotti said, we both knew better what we wanted and didn't want in a relationship/partner and didn't play any games. (We were equally surprised that we each found things in each other that we didn't know we wanted but that were/are great!)
posted by LilBit at 1:26 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't have any direct experience with this but had a quick thought that might help.

If she thinks that women who are mid-30s have trouble finding men who are in their mid-30s, who are the men finding? Women in their 20s? It doesn't seem likely. The men are probably just as worried about the impressions they'll give.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:35 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Let's see... I'm 45, been married twice and have had quite a few relationships (some good, some bad) well after age 30. I've just found a wonderful man who's 42 on OKCupid (and I was on it for the quizzes and to make connections in a new city not to find true love). We're planning to marry next year. My mom has is 19 years older than I am. She married for the third (and last) time about two years ago to a man she met online playing Scrabble. Her mom is 17 years older than her and she and also married husband number three, her second husband of over 30 years died about seven years ago, about a two and a half years ago... I think... I'm not good with time.

Anyway, with me being in my forties, my mom in her sixties, and my grandma in her seventies (when she married)... I'm pretty sure if we can find love with good men in our age range in our so-called advanced years -- and none of us were really looking for it -- then it's possible for anyone.
posted by patheral at 2:35 PM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

I performed the wedding of a good friend of mine two years ago when she was 38. They'd met when she was 36 and got engaged a year later. She got pregnant at 39 and they just had their first baby together!

When my friend was about 30, coming off a long-term but dysfunctional relationship, she began to worry she was never going to meet anyone, and fussed and fretted more and more over it as time went by. When she was 33, she stopped and asked herself, "What is it that is upsetting me here?" And she realized that what she desperately wanted was a family and to be a mother ... she would LIKE to have a husband, but what she could not live without was the opportunity to be a mother. So she considered sperm donation, decided it was not right for her, and instead went through DCFS certification to become a foster parent. Her daughter came to live with her when she was 34; her son when she was 35. (And, yes, she began dating the (never-married, no-kids) man who became her husband when she was a single mother-by-choice of two children.)

So I'd encourage your friend to ask herself, what exactly does she want? Does she want a life partner? Or does she want to be a mother? Or does she want to own a house with a white picket fence and a Labrador? A lot of people put off starting other parts of their life that they really want until they get married. And there are arguments to be made that already owning a house can be tricky when you decide to marry someone who lives 1200 miles away, and that being a single parent is hella hard, and whether you want to have children outside of marriage or not, etc., etc. These are big decisions that she should think hard about. BUT if she is unhappy and waiting for a particular kind of life, she should ask herself whether she needs a partner (and it's okay to want or need a partner!) or whether what she really wants is to buy herself a house and start amassing furniture and store Christmas decorations in the attic.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:46 PM on May 27, 2012 [7 favorites]

I didn't start seeing my partner until I was nearly 35 and it was a long distance (Boston/Seattle) relationship for the first year or so.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:40 PM on May 27, 2012

bondcliff is correct!

I was divorced, met my awesome and devastatingly handsome (no, seriously!) husband when I was 38 and he was younger. Our son is now 14 months old and I am 42.
posted by jbenben at 4:50 PM on May 27, 2012

Tell her this - my recently gathered, completely un-scientific anecdotal evidence seems to show that there are a heckuva lot of women going through mid-life crisises and subsequently dumping fairly nice guys within that age-range ;-)

So yeah - heck, the idea of dating someone under 30 scares me - I can barely find common-ground with co-workers that young these days, let alone romantic partners...
posted by jkaczor at 5:27 PM on May 27, 2012

My girlfriend and I have been together two years, and are moving in together next week. We met when she was 33 and I was 27. Two years later there's a cat! We've had a lot of crazy fun in the last two years, and she only occasionally uses "I'm 35" as a reason we don't go to shows on a tuesday. Dating older and younger men will be no trouble- finding someone that you care deeply for and trust to feed your cat and wake you up for work will be just as hard as at any age, maybe slightly easier that at 25.
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:15 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

sounds like your friend is having a problem with ideas of ageing. She may be comparing herself to the 25 year old person she used to be. Its going to be a long hard road to her eighties if she doesnt let go of ideas like that and enjoy the age she is right now...I know, easier said than done. Noting what others have said, stop reading the newspapers and their ageist commentary and start looking around at real life. You might be surprised! (laughs evilly)
posted by sparkle55 at 6:20 PM on May 27, 2012

So far, I tell you, dating in my thirties is FAR better than dating in my twenties ever was.

The only drawbacks I can see concern potential childbearing. This isn't a big concern for me, but even if your friend very much wants to have kids, she's thirty one. There is no reason for her to be hearing klaxons of alarm yet on that front. She's got plenty of time.

Agreed. And good lord, is the sex better. Most of us may have had superficially "better" bodies at 23, but most of us also were much less comfortable and confident with ourselves and about we really like to do in bed and whether or not we're any good at it. Certainly there's a thrill in "yay, sexy person finds me sexy from across the room", but just being flattered only takes both parties so far. I happily traded enjoying getting to bed for much more enjoying of the being in bed.
posted by desuetude at 8:39 PM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Age is a state of mind. If she thinks it ends at 35 or 30 or 25, then she'll instantly "be old" because she's not enjoying herself. The older in age she gets the more life will open up to her if she lets it.
posted by mleigh at 8:48 PM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

and "who wants a woman that's single at 35."

I wonder the same at 44 as I wind down a 20 year relationship, but that's just fear talking. The truth is men who will find you attractive will shift as you age, but men never stop looking and being interested. And, as far as children go women who are healthy can reasonably expect to have healthy children until the age of 45. She's got oodles of time.
posted by squeak at 9:15 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

"who wants a woman that's single at 35"
I wonder the same at 44

I can't speak for all men, but IME 35-45yo women have, so far, mostly been awesome.
posted by ead at 10:12 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have to ask - she's in a 'healthy' relationship that she fears will not last and she also fears being single at 35 and is planning four years in advance how she's going to handle being undesirable because of her anticipated single status?

If no-one would want a woman who is single at 35, the implication is that everyone would want a woman who is in a relationship at 35. Is being in a relationship her idea of a good way to attract more men? Not being sarcastic here, I have met people who actually used their partners as a way of turning themselves into an attractively scarce resource on the dating scene.

If that's not her attitude, then why is she planning ways to handle the loss of her 'healthy' relationship four years into the future instead of either investing in what she has now, or breaking up because there's no future in it? Because surely she isn't yet quite the damaged goods at 31 as she anticipates being at 35?

If you have a bouquet of stories to give your friend about love after 35, that may answer your question, but I don't know if it will answer hers. Are you sure she is looking at this the way you think she is?
posted by tel3path at 12:40 AM on May 28, 2012

I'm a year younger than your friend. I know how she feels. Last year I felt like her, that somehow once you cross the 30 mark you have lost all desireability and that no one would want to date me because I was obviously flawed beyond repair, because if I wasn't someone clearly would have snagged me by now. Following some very honest conversations with some of my male friends (some older, some younger), they actually convinced me that I was being totally ridiculous, that acutally being unattached in my 30s would read to the quality men as though you're:
- independant and strong
- self sufficent
- aren't so desperate for a relationship that you take anyone who expresses the tiniest bit of interest
- confident to know what you want in a relationship and to not settle for less than that.

and as others have said above, she is DEFINITELY not going to find anything better as long as she is in a relationship. Step one to finding the relationship you want is BE SINGLE.
posted by gwenlister at 4:41 AM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

Oh, I should add that I am now in a long term relationship with a fabulous 37 year old man. So not only is there love out there for women over 35 as everyone on the thread agrees, there is also lots of love to be found for MEN over 35 too. He was married before, which I think your friend will find will be a frequent thing in the 30's+ dating pool. Dating someone who is mature and established and knows what they want from life (all things that usually come with age) is god damned amazing and it makes things so easy. The drama that seems to plague a lot of relationships with younger people just isn't there because we both have moved beyond that. Our love and life together is very simple and modest and easy and happy. It isn't work. It isn't a constant battle or ridiculous fights over silly misunderstandings that could have been avoided if people had just TALKED TO EACH OTHER HONESTLY! And the beginning dating process is a lot easier because both people usually are clear enough in what they want from a relationship that things don't drag on and on with people who aren't really well suited. Or at least that has been my experience.

In summary, mature grown-up dating/relationships rock immense ass. Your friend is buckets of nuts if she thinks she's done for once she passes 34.

There does not exist a cut off age for attractiveness,. As we get older our preferences change too. As a 30 year old I don't look at the "hotties" in their late teens/early 20's as sexy or better than the men closer to my age. I'm sure I would have when I was 18, but now they just seem weird looking and so YOUNG. At most I can think to myself, "That kid is going to be hot in about ten years.", but that isn't common. And yeah, right now I can look at a 70 year old man and not see anything even remotely sexy/alluring, but I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that when I'm 70 I'd be all up on him.

For your friend to feel that there is some sort of female attractiveness expiry date is really sad for her and a little troubling in some ways. It is extremely insulting to any woman past the age of 34, and it frankly is insulting to men for her to assume they are all so shallow that they would ALL, without question or exception, declare all women 35 and over to be undesirable.

I think she NEEDS to be single right now to work through some of these thoughts and feelings. Why is she so terrifed? Why is she so convinced that no one will ever love her (again)? Why does she feel that she isn't worthy of a quality relationship with someone she is excited to be with and who makes her excited for their future?*

(* this isn't meant as a slight to her current partner, that guy could be really fantastic but she just isn't "feeling it", who knows. It just clearly seems like she isn't excited about the relationship and it isn't what she wants.)
posted by gwenlister at 10:54 AM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

My fiancee was single at 35. Then I met her, and she wasn't anymore. She's significantly older than me. We met on safari in Botswana.
posted by benbenson at 3:47 PM on May 28, 2012

Not an answer, but anyway...

I'm single and recently turned 30. I'm from a culture where most people get married before 25, and at 30 women are more or less considered "too old". I live in a country where most people get married to their first boyfriend/girlfriend, and my colleagues look at me strangely for being single at 30. FWIW, my parents are seriously worried about me spending the rest of my life alone.

Yes, I understand why your friend feels the way she does. A lot of my friends in the US are still unmarried, but that's not the norm where my family is from.

I have a great career and I enjoy life. But I do think about this a lot, especially at night, and it often makes me feel very sad. And until I find "the one", I don't think I'll ever believe my friends' words that it will work out.
posted by xmts at 4:43 PM on May 28, 2012

I'm 31 and I've been dating a wonderful woman these past few months who's older than me (six years older, to be exact). So yeah, plenty of guys out there who have no problem dating women over 35, some of us are even a fair bit younger :D

FWIW, I think the fact that we're both over 30 has made things a lot easier - we're both more confident, more experienced, and understand what we want/don't want in a relationship. I think we're also both a fair bit more pragmatic and comfortable with being single than we were in our 20s - makes it a lot easier to just live in the moment, rather than fixating on the "what ifs".
posted by photo guy at 6:08 PM on May 28, 2012

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