11 Ways Relationships Change Between Your 20s and 30s 

STYLECASTER | Relationships in 20s vs. 30s
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Like a fine wine gets better with age, so do relationships…at least according to some. We are more carefree in our 20s, so may put the idea of long term relationships and marriage on hold. But when your 30s hit, relationships often take a major turn. In general, women may know more about what we want, but often have less time to date around and find it.

Here are some other ways relationships change between your 20s and 30s—plenty of which are worth looking forward to.

You Don’t Pay as Much Attention to Height 

In your 30s, you might start to (hopefully) realize that height does not determine compatibility. “If you give men/women a chance who are under 6’0″ you might be surprised to find love where you didn’t expect it,” says Stef Safran, relationship expert and founder of Stef and the City.

You’re More Open to ‘Baggage’

In your 20s, maybe you cared if people you dated had major relationship history—e.g., been engaged or divorced. That can be more of a turnoff when you’re young and expect everyone to be as carefree and easygoing as you are. The older you get, the easier it is to look past those things. “Some great catches have a past, but you might be their future,” says Safran.

Argument Topics Evolve

In our 20s, we may not approach arguing in the most mature way, using name-calling, the silent treatment, etc., leading to much “on-again, off-again” type drama.  “As we age, we argue in a way that is more productive, says counselor, Erin Parisi, LMHC, CAP.  “In our 30s, we’re more rational, we prioritize things that really matter, we think big-picture and long-term, and we learn to let some things slide for the greater good.”

MORE: 15 Ways to Stop Settling for Less in Relationships

The Future isn’t Abstract—it’s Real

In our 20s, the future seems far off and finding a partner isn’t usually a priority. In our 30s, we start thinking marriage or something more long term. Finding the right person when you’re in your 30s can become a fixation.  Like, if you don’t find someone this decade, you may never.  “Here’s when we start looking more at quality of partner,” says Parisi. “Maybe financial stability, family relationships, mutual interests matter more than looking good naked or willingness to spend frivolously on dates.”

You’re Less Judgmental About Education

Maybe in your 20s you wouldn’t have considered someone who went to community college or wanted more of a “brand name” school.  “In your 30s, you start to realize that college doesn’t always guarantee success, people can be successful regardless of where they spent the immediate years after high school,” says Safran.

Dates Get More Personal

In your 20s, the ideal date might be getting hammered with a hottie at a nightclub.  In your 30s, not so much.  You care more about being able to hear what your date has to say, which helps you determine if they’ll be a good match.  Also, “In your 20’s you group date in the beginning, opting to see the person you’re dating while spending time with friends to get their approval first before taking it further, explains Steven Ward, CEO of Master Matchmakers. “In your 30’s you date one-on-one first until you feel confident your friends will approve.”

MORE: 10 Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship

Rejection is Whatever

“There’s a great saying. Confidence isn’t about everybody liking you. It’s being okay if they don’t,” says Amica Graber, a relationship expert and dating blogger for TruthFinder.  “Getting rejected by a date may cause weeks of sorrow in your 20s. In your 30s, you bounce back from rejection ten times faster.”  They were nothing special, anyway.

It’s Easier to Spot Red Flags 

Many women experience an abusive partner in their 20s.  “According to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, women between the ages of 18 – 24 experience the most intimate partner violence.  Verbal, emotional, or physical abuse is never acceptable no matter what your age is, but young women are especially vulnerable to abuse,” says Graber.  “In your 30s, you tend to recognize the warning signs of an abuser very quickly compared to your twenties.”

You Know Self-Love is the Best Love

In your 30s, you know more about what you like and what you don’t like in relationships. You’ve had your heart broken (several times) and have lived to tell about it.  “As a result, you stop changing yourself for your romantic partners and refuse to compromise on what matters to you.  When you embrace your true self and walk into the world with an attitude of self-love and acceptance, everything changes,” says Graber.

MORE: 6 Couples Share How They Make an Open Relationship Work

Sex Becomes More Meaningful

Physical attraction is an important aspect of any relationship, but especially for twentysomethings. “Driven by hormones and peak fitness, there’s often an eagerness to jump into the sack and seek out new positions and practicing different techniques,” says Alex Reddle, a dating expert and relationship blogger.  In your 30s, work commitments and increased responsibilities can impinge on your sex life.  “The upside is that when you do get some alone time, you are more likely to make the most of it.”

You Become More Patient

Couples in their 30s won’t be throwing in the towel at the first sign of friction, whereas in your 20s, when a partnership shows the slightest hint of becoming stale, one party might get fidgety and consider moving on.  “Dating in your 30s, couples will be far more willing to sit down and talk through issues rationally, seeking areas of compromise. One eye will always be firmly fixed on achieving a positive result so the relationship can progress,” says Reddle.

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