Dating After Your 20’s

You’re a working, middle-aged male—but you’re single. Many of your friends may be married and have children. But before you panic and start taking long, hard looks at your ‘ticking’ biological clock, I’m going to go ahead and debunk the societal school of thought, or the voice in your head, that’s telling you, “You should be settled down by now.”

If you’re thinking that you can’t find a woman who wants to settle down just yet, you’re probably right. Back in the 1940s, my grandparents were married, had 6 children, divorced, and remarried—all before turning 30. Now, however, most women aren’t even thinking about marriage until they’re in their mid-20s, with the ideal wedding date set somewhere in their late 20s to early 30s. This is because, unlike in generations past, modern women are given more opportunities to advance in their careers, and they’re taking advantage of these opportunities.

There are many advantages to dating and getting married when you’re well out of your twenties. First, the woman you marry is more likely to be independent and know what she wants. She won’t beat around the bush like younger women do, which eliminates communication problems experienced by many young couples. You’ve both had time for self-discovery and will, to a degree, be able to maintain the independence that you earned from it. Independence is one of the most important values in a healthy relationship (second, of course, to trust). Young couples tend to rely too much on the other for their happiness, which ultimately leads to disappointment and loss of self.

See? You have absolutely nothing to worry about. Your friends may have dated and married 20-somethings, but you’ll get the real prize: a mature, sophisticated, independent woman.

I’m going to leave you with a few dating tips, though, because, no matter how comfortable you are with yourself, the impression made on the first date is very important. I used Twitter to find out what women’s biggest peeves were about men on the first date, and here were my top three responses:

1) “Same siders.” (ryan_kamp)— When it’s only the two of you, sitting on the same side of a booth or table on a date is either for really young couples or really old couples. If you fall somewhere in between, I advise that you sit on your own sides. Not only does this give you the chance to look your partner in the eye while you talk, it also gives you your own space, which is symbolic of the space needed in a relationship. And, let’s be honest, no one has a good side profile.

2) “Worst – tell you all about themselves and literally have nothing in common with you.” (ameliejune)—This one’s fairly obvious, but we’ve all made the mistake. We’re excited to be on a date with this person, so we want to impress them. Talking about yourself too much can be a hindrance in any relationship. People, especially women, like to know that you care about what they have to say, too. Be a good listener, and I guarantee she will be impressed. (You obviously should be sharing things about yourself, as well. She will be a little freaked out if you just stare at her, waiting for her to speak.)

3) “Talk about their awful recent break-up and cry about it or get really angry.” (Chexlubeskie) —Talking about past relationships on a first date is absolutely taboo. You simply don’t do this. If you inform her right away how terrible your ex was, she’ll wonder what you’ll say about her after the date is over. And, if you still seem upset over it, no woman wants to become involved with a man who has feelings for another woman.

By Hayley Lyons

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