Dating As An Adult Tips

Men's Dating

6 Perks of Dating as an Adult (Tips From an Expert)

Hunt Ethridge

Written by: Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge is the co-founder and CMO of the MatchmakingAcademy.com as well as senior advisor and board of directors at other firms.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!

Many singles learn how to date in high school or college while surrounded by hundreds or thousands of similarly aged folk, with fairly similar lives. When young singles meet each other in these settings, they already have so much in common, they can pretty much jump straight into conversations.  And let’s be honest, when you’re young, horny, and learning, you may just jump into things without thinking about all the consequences.

But now you’re over 30, which means – sorry – you’re officially an adult. You’re (hopefully) out in the workforce, living away from home.  And wow, dating is different! There are fewer group hangs, fewer date options, and definitely less time to devote to dating. Maybe you’ve been focusing on your career and now feel ready for a relationship, but gosh darn it, how does an adult go about getting one of those things?

So if you remember where you were on the 2000 millennium New Year’s Eve and are trying to navigate the dating world, I’ve got some good news. Dating as an adult has a lot of perks and opportunities, if you know where to look.

Perk #1: More Important Discussions

When we’re younger, dating decisions may not be so serious. If someone was hot and or just had a heartbeat, that was likely all you needed to go on. It didn’t matter because everything was fun and light. As we get older, what’s inside becomes much more important. One of the first big conversations is talking about birth control, especially in today’s climate. You can’t just hope or expect to be on the same page – you need to have an adult conversation.

Your values are going to be more scrutinized as well.  When it comes to money, for instance, maybe you like to save it all up and go on a big trip.  Or maybe you like to take your extra money and invest it.  Neither of these is wrong, but with two people with different values on money, it’s going to be tricky.  Having a dead-end job might not matter at 23, but at 33 or 43, that discussion may need to change.

Perk #2: More Time With Just the Two of You

It’s time for actual dates rather than hanging out with friends in big groups. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still all fine and good. It’s just that now you need to carve a little extra time for just the two of you. I love the jovial chaos of big parties and events. But it can’t be only that when you’re a couple. Heck, just last week, my wife took the day off, we sent the kids to school and we went go-kart racing! We wanted to spend a little time by ourselves.

Smiling ethnic woman hugging her husband on the couch from behind in the living room. Middle eastern man having fun with his beautiful young wife on the couch. Mid adult indian man with latin woman.
Adults in a relationship have the chance for a lot of quality time together.

Or go on a trip together. As is true with going into business with someone, not all relationships work well under stress. You can put your relationship to the test when traveling together by coordinating the logistics and budgeting. And you’ll make memories that can build your connection.

Perk #3 Celebrating Adult Milestones Together

When you’re younger, you’re not necessarily thinking about the long term.  I mean, yeah, even I was guilty of writing things on my school books like, “2 people + 2 gether = 4 ever.”  So cringe! But mostly, you’re just in it for the ride and to see where it goes.  As an adult, there will be more thought about the future.  It’s not necessarily that she’s checking off an imaginary list on the first date (though she might be!) But she may be weighing the choices you make against those of a future, hypothetical husband or father.  It was cute in your 20s when you played with her little sister.  But now she sees your interaction with kids and thinks you may be good marriage material.

There’s also the possibility of moving in together.  That is what couples that stay together will do eventually, so it’s definitely something to think about.  Where would that be?  Even before that, you’ll most likely be meeting her family.  Not only are they checking you out, but you’re checking them out.  Is this a family that you want to be a part of for the rest of your life?  What about a pet?  Can you guys care for something together?  These things can all happen at different times, but if you stay together, they WILL happen, so it’s best to start pondering them.

Perk #4: Fewer Games, Much More Fun

I know that there’s probably a vociferous group of folks who will disagree with this, but this is what I’ve found.  “Play hard to get.” “Don’t text back immediately.” “Don’t be too nice.” The three-day rule.  The third-date-is-for-sex rule.  In the younger days, there was a constant barrage of how to play the game and be a player.  

As you get older, you realize that some of these silly things are actually getting in your way of finding love.  If you had a good time, tell them!  If you want to ask her out, do it!  If you’re thinking about her, let her know!

Perk #5: You’re Not in it to Change Anyone

Sometimes we meet someone who is still a “work in progress.”  We think we can see the potential.  They become a project to fix up.  You want to help them finish school, get a better job, lose weight, update their wardrobe.  Once you finish all that, then they’ll be perfect!  It is a fallacy that many of us have fallen into.  The goal is not to find someone and turn them into someone else.  The goal isn’t “You complete me.” The goal is to find someone who is already complete, join forces and take on the world!

Perk #6: Opportunities for Internal Evaluations

If you want a partner in your life, that means that someone is going to be IN your life. While you will gain many things, there will be some changes. Not everyone is OK with those changes or with risking the life that they have built as a single person. 

Young middle eastern couple using digital tablet while sitting on couch and floor. Happy smiling indian woman embracing from behind her boyfriend while watching video on digital tablet at home.
Going from single to a committed relationship is a significant lifestyle change.

Single adults have to ask themselves if they’re ready to stop riding solo and start making the compromises, sacrifices, and important decisions that are essential to life as a committed couple.

There’s So Much to Gain When Dating as an Adult

While it can seem like there’s a whole new rule set, adult relationships become more meaningful and full of potential. There is something exciting in wondering if this is “the last first date” you’ll ever be on.

As we dial in more on the type of person who fits us best, there’s more to learn and discover. And it should be a positive experience. I had a client ask, “How much shit should you put up with in a relationship?”  Um, in mature relationships, there shouldn’t be any shit.  There will always be disagreements, but you want to work on them together, as in it’s you versus the world. 

When you’re in an adult relationship, you have someone to laugh at your jokes. You have someone who will share your disgust of eels. And when done properly, you have someone to troll and tease and ball bust for the rest of your life. It’s fun!