12 Women Share the Crazy Highs & Lows of Finding Love After 30

Wendy Robinson | Sep 14, 2016 Love & Sex

A friend of mine is going out on a date this weekend. It'll be her first date after the breakup of her long-term relationship, and the first time dating in her 30s (she's 35). She's nervous -- but I'm fascinated. What's it like dating like as a fully formed grown-up, and not as a twentysomething who is still trying to figure everything out? 

While I wait for my buddy to survive her first coffee date with the promising guy she met online, I decided to ask some other women who've found love after their 20s to tell me their stories.

Turns out, falling in love at 30, 40, and 50 (and beyond!) is fun and messy and confusing and, when it works, so totally worth it.

They say there is nothing like young love, but click on for some stories of women who might disagree.

 

Image via iStock.com/svetikd; unsplash/Wilson Sánchez

  • Running Out of Time

    1

    "I think one major change in dating/love in my 30s is the heightened intensity. For me, even though I logically know it's not true, I have a sense of 'running out of time.'

    "So I'm quicker to make judgments rather than letting something unfold to see where it goes, because that feels like a waste of time. I also find breakups harder because you feel like you're using up a limited allotment of chances. And starting over again at 35 feels more daunting than [at] 25." -- Lizzie B., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Big Talks Early

    2

    "When you are dating in your 30s, especially in your late 30s, you end up having major conversations really early. With one guy I dated, we talked about wanting to have kids on like the second date. I was 37; I didn't have time to waste with someone who didn't want kids. We were married at 38 and I was pregnant at the wedding!" -- Casey Y., Salinas, California 

  • Party of Three

    3

    "The biggest difference of dating now? Easy -- I have a kid. It isn't just about me. I have to meet someone who I like AND my kid likes. Having a kid narrows your pool of partners a lot." -- Dani H., Saint Paul, Minnesota

    More from CafeMom: 12 Epic Blind Date Stories That End in Love ... or Horror

  • Same Direction

    4

    "Though I had a very clear sense of who I was in my 20s, that got subdued in an effort to marry the 'right' person. When I met Patrick, I stood firm for those exact values and dreams. Luckily, those meshed well with his, and we found ourselves 'looking together in the same direction rather than gazing into each others' eyes,' to [paraphrase] St. Exupery." -- Bethany G., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Quick Love

    5

    "When I was in my 20s, I'd date a guy for months or even a year, trying to figure out if we were a good fit. I put up with A LOT of drama along the way. When I met Dan, I was 41 and marriage wasn't the goal anymore. I was happy living alone and I had no patience for drama anymore.

    "So, ironically, we were engaged in less than six months. We just weren't playing games anymore." -- Kim J., Tucson, Arizona

  • Real Me

    6

    "The biggest difference in dating now versus dating in my 20s is that now I date women! I found out some very important stuff about myself after I turned 30!" -- Sasha R., Oakland, California

  • Sex Is Easier

    7

    "Interestingly, I find it way easier to have casual sex in my 30s. I am infinitely more confident, comfortable with my body, and independent enough to feel freedom to just do it and move on without consequences. I have a million percent more sex now at 35 than I did at 25!" -- Leslie B., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Missing My Window

    8

    "I haven't been married, and it is my goal. I'm not planning on kids, so I thankfully don't have that clock ticking, but I do think there's a feeling of missing my window. When you see most people around you have settled down and you haven't, it frankly sucks. 

    "But I absolutely feel assured about what I want. My life is incredibly full without a spouse and I wouldn't expect that to change when I meet him. So I feel like I have SO much more to offer, and so much clarity on what is worthwhile to me in a relationship."  -- Lizzie B., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • My Number One

    9

    "When I was younger, I'd totally let whoever I was dating become the center of my life. They'd be the sun and I was just in their orbit. But now I'm 40 and a mom and my first priority is ALWAYS going to be my kid, so it puts the person I'm dating in perspective. 

    "I like you, dude, but you are only going to get 28 percent of my time." -- Arnette M., Dallas, Texas

    More from CafeMom: 10 Single Moms Share Their Biggest Relationship Deal-Breakers

  • No Body Shame

    10

    "I'm 43 and I weigh 258 pounds and I get more action now that I did when I was 20 and 150 pounds. I 100 percent think it is because I have no body shame anymore. I'm too old to have body shame anymore or to feel like I can't find love if I don't look perfect. 

    "It is liberating to be dating in my 40s, actually." -- Fiona M., Lansing, Michigan

  • Happy to be Alone

    11

    "After a rough marriage, I am so happy to be living alone. It takes the edge off of dating, in a lot of ways. I'm not desperate to find someone because I am happy to have my own life and space." -- Michelle F., Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Real Love

    12

    "When I was 21, I got married because it was expected and I wanted to have a family. 

    "When I was 53, I got married for the second time. This time it was real love and I did [it] because I wanted to and not because I felt like I had to. This time around is so much better." -- Linda G., Phoenix, Arizona

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