When it comes down to it, everyone wants to be loved. However, as we age, we tend to crave contrasting things. Dating at 20 and at 30 can be drastically different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy both periods in your life.
In your 20s, you’re looking for a fun date.
Especially in your young 20s, dating can be simply a form of entertainment. The only qualifications for an ideal date at this age is someone you can enjoy a great concert with.
In your 30s, you’re looking to settle down.
On the other hand, even if you’re someone who feels too young to commit to one person, you are suddenly more aware of what qualities will make you ultimately want to settle down. It’s natural to want someone who could be more of a long-term investment when dating in your 30s.
In your 20s, you want excitement.
Similarly, when dating in your 20s you are more likely to look for a prospective partner you find exciting and engaging. Finding someone you feel a spark with is sometimes more important than compatibility when you’re young.
In your 30s, you want direction.
When you’re dating in your 30s, you’re much more likely to look for someone going in the same direction as you rather than novelty value. Humor and spontaneity are always helpful in a relationship, but you are now more likely to want to someone you can have a future with.
In your 20s, you love having someone to sleep with.
When you’re dating in your 20s it’s also a bigger deal to have sex. Whether you sleep with someone easily or not, it’s more nerve racking and exciting to explore sexually in your 20s.
In your 30s, you’re more aware of what you want.
By the time you’re in your 30s, however, having sex with someone you’re dating is less of a source of stress or anxiety. Even if you don’t sleep with someone until you’re committed, by the time you’re 30 you are much more likely to know what you want in bed and are less shy about how to get it.
In your 20s, you want someone hot.
Dating in your 20s also means looking for someone attractive. Before you really know the sacrifice and friction that comes with a long-term relationship, looks can mean everything.
In your 30s, you want character.
In your 30s looks might be a consideration, but you are more likely to be drawn to qualities you know make you a better person. A hot significant other is delightful, but it is no indication of character.
In your 20s, you want fiery connections.
In your 30s, you prefer softer desire that lasts.
In your 20s, you’re quick to think marriage could be on the cards for you.
In your 30s, you want to spend much more time with someone before you can even think about settling down.
In your 20s, you want similar interests.
Another thing you are likely to look for when dating in your 20s is someone with the same interests. It’s just easier to have a conversation over beers if you like the same bands, TV shows, and celebrities.
In your 30s, you want someone with the same goals.
When dating in your 30s, however, having all the same interests is less important. Now, you are more likely looking for someone with similar goals so your relationship can get you somewhere. You still love it when your significant other is passionate about the same things, but what’s really crucial in a relationship is a common drive and outlook.
In your 20s, you strive for a better body and attitude so you’ll be more acceptable.
In your 30s, you know your prospective partner will love you for who you are.
In your 20s, you want someone caring.
When you’re dating in your 20s it’s also common to search for someone who treats you nicely. Coming fresh from dating in high school, you are all too familiar with backstabbing and false promises. Someone who is considerate makes all the difference.
In your 30s, you want someone who keeps caring.
Where you used to be drawn to people who respected you, you now look for people who can keep that respect in the relationship. The first few weeks or months with someone who treats you nice are great, but younger flames tend to lose their determination to treat you well. In your 30s, a love interest who know how to treat you this nicely for years might as well be solid gold.
10. Love as a Verb
In your 20s, you want someone to love.
When you’re dating in your 20s you are likely to want to fall in love. Searching for that first person to really capture your heart is a fresh and thrilling experience.
In your 30s, you want someone who knows how to love you.
Though love is crucial to a healthy relationship, when you’re dating in your 30s you know love is not enough. If you are going to be with a significant other for any length of time you will need someone who wants to work with your quirks and shortcomings. Passion and compatibility are still important, but someone who works to treat you exactly the way you need is priceless.
In your 20s, you’re blinded by love.
In your 30s, you value relationships that come from a solid friendship.
12. Growing Together
In your 20s, you want someone enjoyable.
Dating when you’re younger also means looking for someone whose company you enjoy. Intelligent conversation, humor, and attitude are all essential to catch your attention at this age.
In your 30s, you want someone who makes you better.
Comparatively, by the time you are 30 you are more likely to look for someone whose company makes you a better person. By now, you have learned that many people can help you have a good time, but very few people truly move you forward and closer to the person you want to be.
In your 20s, you want someone who gives you a thrill.
In your 30s, you want someone who has their life together.
In your 20s, you’re more likely to give an ex another shot.
When you’re young, it’s hard to separate feelings from logic when it comes to love. When you have a solid connection with someone, you are more willing to forgive their shortcomings.
In your 30s, you know a clean break is usually best.
As you grow more experienced, you realize there is usually a reason a relationship failed. Even though you genuinely care for the person, trying again doesn’t always make up for your inherent duelling perspectives.
15. Follow Through
In your 20s, you want someone who makes you happier.
Another difference between dating at 20 and at 30 is, when you’re in your 20s you are looking for someone who helps you be happier in the moment. A special someone who brings a smile to your face and has a knack for cheering you up can mean the world when you are this age.
In your 30s, you want someone who keeps you happy.
However, while dating in your 30s, you are more likely to need someone who knows how to keep you happy. Someone who cracks jokes and is sad when you’re sad is special, but doesn’t necessarily make for a relationship that lasts. At this stage you still need someone who wants to make you happy in the moment, but someone who consistently shows they appreciate you is crucial. Where younger love interests paid little attention to your work or habits, more mature love interests know to send you a message or gift for no reason. By consistently showing that they don’t take you for granted, someone you fall for in your 30s is more likely to keep you.
Featured photo credit: Leo Hidalgo via flickr.com