Brutally Honest: To Find Love In Your 30s When All Your Friends Have Settled

Kristina Akhrarova
I’ve had enough of being lectured on it by people who met their partners 10 years ago the old-fashioned way.

Meet Rose Gallagher, in an article written for GLAMOUR she shared her experience of venturing into the world of online dating at the age of 33. Having faced heartbreak in her earlier years and dedicating her time and energy to building her social media and beauty career, Rose confessed that she simply hadn't been actively seeking love, and it seemed that love hadn't been seeking her either. Despite her friends settling down with their partners, homes, and children, Rose made the conscious decision to dive headfirst into the realm of dating apps, determined to find her perfect match.
HappinessPhoto byAdobe Stock

I’m less affected by rejection now that I’ve done a fair bit of it myself

Rejection has always been challenging for me. Most heartbreaks revolve around someone choosing another person. I get caught in a detrimental cycle of comparison. But dating has taught me something. I've encountered remarkable individuals without a connection. Like Thomas, warm and kind. Dinner was pleasant, but I didn't want a further relationship. Now, when I'm rejected, I remind myself that I'm their version of Thomas. Just not the right fit. And that's okay.

Age gaps are more controversial than any kink you can imagine

After several swipes, I noticed a common trend among the guys interested in me. They were all around 27, while I am 33. I saw this as an opportunity to relive my fun years, between 28 and 30. However, I never expected the reaction from my friends when they found out. During a Sunday roast, I mentioned my upcoming dates and their ages in response to questioning. Their feedback included jokes about curfews, going to a children's play area, and doing homework. Despite being the subject of their amusement, I am excited to be in my "Jennifer Coolidge White Lotus" dating phase.

I needed to nurture the love between my friends

As I entered my thirties, I was struck by an unforeseen sense of isolation. Despite my firm belief in not wanting to have children and my lack of success in romantic relationships, I had always taken solace in the richness of my friendships. However, I soon discovered that many of my friends were entering into settled relationships or embracing parenthood, leaving me feeling increasingly detached. The amount of time I now spend with them has noticeably dwindled. I needed to be open with my friends about wanting alone time as adults. My personal circumstances changed this year as I've been caring for an unwell family member since February. This has left little time for socializing. When I do have social time, it's difficult to have uninterrupted conversations because my friends' children are always around. It's not anyone's fault, as I know they also crave friend-time. However, I had to request some adult time for myself as I felt stuck between being depended on at home and not being heard when I socialized. This loneliness felt never-ending. I have taken to gently seeing if there is a child-free day to meet so that we can just be together as friends.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Considering all factors, there came a day when an irresistible desire overwhelmed me. It was an urge to spend an afternoon with someone completely unfamiliar with my current circumstances. Seeking a chance encounter, I found myself on Hinge, where I happened upon a gentleman named Oliver. His appealing appearance, coupled with his ability to make me laugh, caught my attention. Interestingly enough, he happened to be in the maternity ward, awaiting the birth of his sibling's child. This unconventional conversation opener proved far more intriguing than the mundane inquiry of "how was your day." (This inquiry, particularly when one has spent the day wide awake in a hospital waiting room, editing makeup videos as a means of passing the time before being transferred to another ward, can be soul-crushing. The tales I could share regarding the disparity between my Instagram presence and reality this year are numerous, but I digress.)

Shortly after, I went out with Oliver. We shared many common interests and had a lovely time. We had day drinks, planned our second date at our favorite restaurant, and talked a lot the next week. I had a strong feeling he was a good person.

Received a lengthy message saying he couldn't meet this weekend due to a family issue, but claimed to still be interested. Friends were skeptical, as they had received similar messages before. Ignoring their doubts, I assured him it was fine. Following week, he responded to my Glastonbury photos on Instagram, expressing excitement to see me upon my return. However, subsequent attempts to reach him were met with silence.

I felt disappointed, not because I wanted a lifelong commitment or children, but because I wanted a vibrant social life. Would I be without a companion to join me at the pub or for enjoyable dinner outings? I had shared two wonderful evenings with him when I needed them, and for that, I am grateful. But he made me realize that dating is unappealing if meeting someone like him is my best prospect.

Through my dating experiences, I've learned the value of being honest and kind in expressing my intentions. Many men enjoy discussing themselves. However, I now prioritize my friendships and have realized that a rich social life is more important than seeking a romantic connection. This shift in perspective has empowered me more than any man I've met through dating apps.

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