Dating for the Over 30’s – What’s Different?
There are several reasons why dating for the over '30s is different from what people do when they are younger. What do we mean by the term senior dating? How does the process differ and how can we give ourselves the best chance of success as it does require modest financial commitment and, very often, considerable emotional reserves? What implications does it have for finding a partner? These and several other questions are answered....
What do we mean by Mature?
Slightly different from ‘senior’ which has more of an age implication, though the two terms usually apply together. We don’t in general mean people who are looking for a partner much older than themselves (this is relatively unusual and a specialised dating area).
By ‘mature’ we mean people who have reached a stage in life (which may not be age related ie senior) when they have experienced one or maybe more serious long term relationships – they probably have children, and very probably a divorce (or two, even more) in their history. They have worked for a living and learned the lessons of the workplace – indeed their career might still be continuing or even ended. They are looking for a partner who is round about the same age or of the same generation and they have a fairly well developed idea of the kind of person they are seeking – their attributes, habits and interests – eg tall, blue eyes, own teeth, likes travel and clubbing and so on.
In terms of age they are probably over 30 and maybe a lot older, though bear in mind that there are people who can be mature (using our definition) even in their mid twenties.
So, they have a rich collection of ‘baggage’ – lessons learned, a seam of good and bad memories, probably family and established community relationships and networks.
Contrast this with people who are generally younger and still looking for the ‘right’ person. Their career might not yet be established, and with social and community networks being less set in stone they are more able (and probably more flexible) about moving home and trying out new ideas. They probably have less well-defined ideas about what they are looking for in a partner.
How is Mature Dating Different?
Usually, mature people engaging in the process have relationships which have ended, and quite often with pain attached. This pain will have bred caution and a natural desire to avoid similar situations again. For example – boredom in a relationship, infidelity, addictions of one sort or another (drugs including alcohol, gambling, sexual addiction even sports), unpleasant personal habits, lack of shared interests. Quite often there will also be a desire to avoid people who remind them of their ‘ex’.
Also, we have the simple fact that getting to know someone really well takes time – there is so much more personal history to exchange. It can be quite wearing meeting a new person every week and listening to their painful divorce history and about their family issues takes energy. Taking that forward further, we come to the point where two family networks are being melded – that is a lot to absorb and manage.
Further, as we said earlier, mature people tend to be older and see life as more finite and probably ‘passing by’ more quickly. Therefore there can be a pressure to ‘get on with it’. This is in conflict with the caution bred out of pain.
Some mature people may have a sense that they have already experienced the ‘real love of their life’ and this could get in the way of a successful new relationship because the standard by which it is being measured (ie their ‘real love of their life’).
Finally, there is availability of time. With family and social networks on both sides, it can be challenging for some to find time for the dating process and developing a new relationship. This can be extremely frustrating for some people, and if you are serious about finding a new partner then you will have to set aside serious amounts of free time. This means that you may have to reconsider your priorities in other areas. After all, showing flexibility is about demonstrating a positive attitude to a potential partner and the importance of that desire to find a partner, in your life.
(c) 2010 Phil Marks