Dating in Your 30s
This is part two of a four-part series, “Conscious Courtship,” in which we chat with professional matchmaker Amy Stevens and licensed marriage and family therapist Alisa Snell. In this post, we’ll discuss a few insights into dating in your 30s. This is a supplementary discussion from an episode of Mormon Channel Daily.
What would you say to people who are in their 30s, single, and claim to be disillusioned with love?
Snell: When someone is disillusioned, they talk about all their fear, anger, frustration, and bad experiences. That’s really unattractive and it repels people. It creates and maintains this negative view and focus. They could also act disengaged and passive. The important thing is to change the way they think—to become faithful, hopeful, and optimistic.
Stevens: To change their mindset starts with changing their language. So have a language of faith. Listen to the words coming out of your mouth, and if you’re saying, “I’m never going to get married; nothing ever goes right for me,” that could become true. Your perception becomes your reality, for positive or negative. Say, “When I get married,” rather than, “If I get married.” The fact that it hasn’t worked out to this point has nothing to do with what lies ahead. Being able to talk yourself off a ledge is a skill that will benefit you for life and definitely for dating.
Do you have any thoughts for the women who think their professional success may be intimidating to men and therefore the cause of their singleness?
Stevens: Sometimes women who are successful forget to be vulnerable and feminine. Even if he knows you’re an attorney, you don’t have to act like you do in the courtroom—you can be more fun. When women are being told they’re intimidating, they usually are being intimidating, just in general. There are things they can change about their approach.
Snell: It’s not their success that’s intimidating—it’s their behavior.
Stevens: A guy is going to love if you’re easy to talk to, and he’s going to be even more impressed if you have a professional skill set. It’s easy to say, “Well, I’m intimidating, so that’s why I don’t date.” When really, if you were willing to open yourself up more, you would see a difference. We see that also with women who may be overweight—“I’m overweight, so that’s why I’m not dating”—and while that can be a factor, it’s not really the reason. It’s sort of a symptom.
How does your relationship with God play into dating, particularly in your 30s?
Snell: If they’re in a healthy place and they’re deepening their relationship with God, usually singles can become more and more available to the world and life experiences. When they’re not deepening that relationship and their faith, they tend to be more closed and limited. I would encourage singles to experiment upon that principle. I want people to love with more faith, rather than with fear. I would hope that as people get older, they develop more skills in letting things go and that they have more faith and trust.
Stevens: Anytime after 30, people generally become frustrated if they’re still single because that’s not where they thought they would be. They want a family and children. Some are motivated by that frustration. Others struggle with their testimony and correlate their situation to God’s love for them or their own righteousness. They often feel very alone and don’t realize that they’re not the only ones experiencing that.
Snell: I think that when people don’t feel the powerful emotions they think they should feel in dating, it’s because sometimes God doesn’t use powerful emotions like that to motivate us. God uses a still, small voice and correct principles. Understanding that means people take more personal responsibility in the journey—instead of being acted upon, they take action.
Don’t miss next week’s post in this series, where Stevens and Snell offer similar advice and insight into dating after divorce. And check out last week's post, Dating in Your 20s.