Written by: Sarah Woehler
When I left my marriage at the age of thirty after nearly ten years of marriage I had no real adult dating experience because I had met my ex when I was twenty. So plunging into the dating scene in my thirties was as exciting as it was overwhelming. It also gave me an opportunity to learn more about myself as I met different types of people, reinforcing qualities in people that were important to me, and also sometimes surprising me to learn that I could be attracted to different “types” of people.
Here are my tips for dating in your 30s, based on my experience
1. Have a Mental List But Keep an Open Mind
It’s okay to want what you want, to be attracted to particular qualities or attributes. But when dating, try not to scrutinize every person by going through the checklist you’ve had since you were a teenager, especially when you’re looking at dozens of dating profiles.
2. Let Go Of Those Height Requirements
Sure, whether we’re five-foot-three or five-foot-eleven, we’re almost always attracted to someone taller. But there are plenty of amazing people out there who haven’t wound up in the six-foot-two club — and that’s totally okay. As I’ve come to learn, there’s so much more to someone than height, such as a great sense of humor, quick wit, and nice hands.
3. Men With Kids Come With Extra, But It’s Not Always Baggage
Dating in your thirties means that they’ll be quite a few men out there who’ve been divorced and may well have children of their own. Instead of viewing this as a negative, look at it another way: People with kids, but men especially, usually become more grounded after having children, making them more responsible and likely less selfish. It’s true that there’s a time commitment that comes with having kids, but that also means a little extra “me time” for you, my independent INFJ.
4. Embrace the Coffee Date
When I was in the thick of dating I wouldn’t think twice about going on three dates in a day. I realize as an introvert that sounds crazy, but it allowed me to get ready just once for a slew of first dates and then to knock them out quickly with a quick coffee date. Give it a try, but here’s my tip: Always tell them at the beginning of the date that you’ve got something within the hour or at a specific time so you don’t catch them my surprise at the end. It’s all about managing expectations.
5. Ask Questions the Right Way
Dates, especially the early ones, can feel like a job interview for both parties. Don’t be afraid to ask certain questions that you want to know the answer, but be cautious in how you ask them. For example, instead of leading a first date with, “Do you want more kids?” Try something with a less direct approach that will still get you what you’re looking for, like, “What do you love most about having kids?” As Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
6. Beware the Ex
Oftentimes, people in their thirties will have been in a significant relationship, including marriage. And while this is actually a good thing (it shows they have commitment, value deep connection, have learned something from a difficult breakup or two), they might have an ex in the picture, especially if they have kids. As someone who is one, there are good exes and then there are not-so-good exes. Learning to navigate the not-so-good ones may be something you’re up for, or not. But if you meet someone amazing, it may be worth it to you.
7. Listen to Your Gut
Dating isn’t always easy for introverts, especially INFJs, because we seek deep, intense, intimate connections — almost without exception. Go into a date or dates honoring that about yourself. Listen to your gut if something feels off. And just because someone feels a deep connection with you doesn’t mean you have to keep seeing them to avoid hurting their feelings.
8. Pace Yourself
It’s true that I’ve gone on back-to-back coffee dates, but I did that because it allowed me the rest of the week to be flexible. That was my own strategy for pacing myself and honoring my need for me time during the week. Find out what kind of dates you’re energized by and what kind of dates you’re depleted by and pace yourself accordingly.
Dating in your thirties as an INFJ can be fun and gratifying so long as you tailor the experience in ways that are true to you. Above all, and I can’t stress it enough — listen to your gut, because as an INFJ, it will never steer you wrong.
Written by: Sarah Woehler
Sarah Woehler is a life and relationship coach, helping people transform their relationships, careers & lives — from the inside out.