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The Differences Between Dating at 20 and at 30

The Differences Between Dating at 20 and at 30

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.

1. Dating

In your 20s, you’re looking for a fun date.

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    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.

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      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.

      2. Compatibility

      In your 20s, you want excitement.

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        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.

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          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.

          3. Sex

          In your 20s, you love having someone to sleep with.

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            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.

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              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.

              4. Appearance

              In your 20s, you want someone hot.

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                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.
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                  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.

                  5. Passion

                  In your 20s, you want fiery connections.

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                    In your 30s, you prefer softer desire that lasts.

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                      6. Marriage

                      In your 20s, you’re quick to think marriage could be on the cards for you.

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                        In your 30s, you want to spend much more time with someone before you can even think about settling down.

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                          7. Direction

                          In your 20s, you want similar interests.

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                            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.

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                              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.

                              8. Acceptance

                              In your 20s, you strive for a better body and attitude so you’ll be more acceptable.

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                                In your 30s, you know your prospective partner will love you for who you are.

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                                  9. Commitment

                                  In your 20s, you want someone caring.

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                                    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.

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                                      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.

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                                      10. Love as a Verb

                                      In your 20s, you want someone to love.

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                                        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.

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                                          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.

                                          11. Friendship

                                          In your 20s, you’re blinded by love.

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                                            In your 30s, you value relationships that come from a solid friendship.

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                                              12. Growing Together

                                              In your 20s, you want someone enjoyable.

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                                                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.

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                                                  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.

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                                                  13. Responsibility

                                                  In your 20s, you want someone who gives you a thrill.

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                                                    In your 30s, you want someone who has their life together.

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                                                      14. Exes

                                                      In your 20s, you’re more likely to give an ex another shot.

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                                                        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.

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                                                          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.

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                                                            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.

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                                                              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

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                                                              Alicia Prince

                                                              A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                                                              Last Updated on May 28, 2020

                                                              10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

                                                              10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

                                                              Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

                                                              You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

                                                              Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

                                                              You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

                                                              Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

                                                              1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

                                                              If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

                                                              Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

                                                              When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

                                                              Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

                                                              So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

                                                              Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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                                                              2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

                                                              Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

                                                              Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

                                                              • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
                                                              • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
                                                              • Answer a few Superpower Questions

                                                              Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

                                                              3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

                                                              Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

                                                              The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

                                                              You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

                                                              Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

                                                              Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

                                                              4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

                                                              The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

                                                              Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

                                                              To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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                                                              This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

                                                              5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

                                                              Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

                                                              Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

                                                              • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
                                                              • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
                                                              • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

                                                              The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

                                                              Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

                                                              6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

                                                              I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

                                                              To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

                                                              Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

                                                              A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

                                                              Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

                                                              Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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                                                              7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

                                                              Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

                                                              Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

                                                              What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

                                                              Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

                                                              8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

                                                              Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

                                                              Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

                                                              What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

                                                              These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

                                                              9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

                                                              Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

                                                              This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

                                                              Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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                                                              “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

                                                              10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

                                                              Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

                                                              Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

                                                              You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

                                                              You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              Eleanor Roosevelt said,

                                                              “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

                                                              Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

                                                              By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

                                                              If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

                                                              This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

                                                              Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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                                                              Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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