Based on the overwhelming response of the prior post regarding dating men in their 20’s and 30’s, I’m doing a follow up of sorts. Related, but indirectly. There’s something else I’ve had in the hopper (you know, half on paper / half in my head.) I have been giving this idea a lot of thought.
A couple friends who I will turn to for advice happen to still be immersed happily in their 20’s. I’m always amazed that their advice, collectively, is much different from what I hear from my friends in their 30’s. Generally speaking, after 30, we become much sharper about dealing with other people, but we also develop an edge to us as well. Some might call that “edge” bitter.
Take for instance the generic plea to friends about any sort of relationship trouble. Inevitably, my friends in their 20’s say things like the following:
- It shouldn’t be this hard.
- It shouldn’t be a guessing game.
- If he likes you, he will be over all the time.
- When so and so and I got together, we were inseparable.
- Or, they make excuses of the “maybe he’s just busy” variety.
But give that same plea to someone who is 30 or older and you get a whole host of other ideas:
- He’s just not that into you.
- Move on.
- He’s dating other people.
- He’s keeping his options open.
So this begs my question – why is it that when we are in our 20’s, we can throw ourselves into a budding relationship head, heart, feet first? How come when I dated a man in my 20’s, we had a starry eyed view of love, and it just seemed so easy? How come now falling head/heart/feet first into love is much more rare at 33 years old? What I confront more often is a commitment phobic man who never throws caution to the wind to hole up at my apartment for weeks on end. There’s no calling in sick to work to lay in bed all day. There’s no staying on the phone for hours on end. Are we really too busy to cultivate love, or have we lost faith? Why am I asking questions like stupid Carrie Bradshaw. (Ugh, don’t even get me started on that show and how it ruined dating for all of us.)
Did staying single for so long make us more independent and more suspicious of jumping 100% into a new relationship? Or are we single in our 30’s because we are incapable of throwing that caution to the wind in full force?
There’s definitely a shift at that milestone of 30. There’s a shift in our perceptions of relationships – both our own and other people’s. I see things happen in friend’s relationships that I would never tolerate. Again, none of these are hard and fast rules. I know you all can pop up with an example of someone in their 30’s who can throw that caution to the wind and fall in love hard and fast. But it’s rare. More rare than it is for someone who is younger.
Something else I noticed is that the number of men in pursuit of Velvet slowed down in recent years. The funniest part of this is that I feel I’ve gotten “better” in many ways in the years since 30. I’m in better shape, I take better care of myself, I’m better off financially, career-wise, etc. As I’ve grown and shaped myself into someone who would be a good, active half of a “relationship,” the men interested in that seem to have disappeared. I wondered if they got married. I wondered if they had girlfriends. I wondered, and still wonder if it is just the city in which I live. I think it’s all of the above and more. I think men pursue women in their 20’s more than an older woman. But why?
Is it because they think a woman in her 20’s will be somehow easier to date? Less commitment-seeking? Not operating off some “biological clock?” Is it because they think a woman in her 30’s is on to their tricks? Is it because a women who is somehow “together” doesn’t leave any room for them to be the savior?
I have no idea, obviously. I’m still trying to figure it out. From 20-30, I can recall so many methods men used to get my attention. I told you about the guy who followed me to work to ask me out. Another ex climbed on the roof of my parent’s house to watch me sleep. (Okay, that is weird, but he was nuts.) Another drove from Connecticut to Miami to see me in college. Countless men stopped next to me at red lights and rolled down their window to talk or ask me out. A man who became a boyfriend met me by pointing at me from across the bar and pushing a bunch of people out of the way to get to me. Another walked up to me with a pitcher of beer and said, “Can I pour you a drink?”
Again, was it due to age? Were my paramours and I all flying by the seat of our pants and hopeful for the promise of love? What is making you men at 30+ so much more guarded? If I’m uglier, please just tell me!! I can take it! I’m a big girl.