In today’s world of fast-paced technology, mushy romantic-comedies and all-around impatience for, well, everything, many believe that if you haven’t found your soulmate by your mid-20s, you’re behind the curve and possibly destined to die alone. While it’s a great thing to find your true love in your early-20s or your teenage years, it’s not such a bad thing if you don’t find them until you’re nearing, in or past your 30s.
Think about it. During the course of your search for your mate, you’ll likely be dating a variety of people. You may date a lot; you may date sparingly; either way, you’re seeing different people. In seeing those different people, you pick up on things you like and things you don’t like in a significant other that you might consider dealmakers or breakers.
I always said that I would never date a smoker, ever. E-v-e-r. Then I dated a smoker for two years. She gave me two of the best (and worst) years of my life, but it made me come to a decision on smokers: Dealbreaker. She can be nice; she can be beautiful; but if she smokes, I’m out.
Not that I’ve said, “I would never,” but I never thought I would date a single mother mostly because of the fact that I never thought that the situation would arise. In dating the same girl, I came a decision, albeit not a concrete one: Not a dealbreaker. The situation with the girl and the baby’s father would have to be drama-free and she would have to be amazing for me to even consider going down that road again, but I don’t plan to make a habit out of dating single mothers. At the same token, I haven’t completely slammed the door on it. I understand that as I get older, the percentage of running into a single mother increases.
I’ve dated girls of all different ages — anywhere from four years younger to six years older — and through all of that, I’m starting to get an idea of where my ballpark age range would be: About 1-2 years, either way, most likely younger. It’s just becoming apparent that if I ever find someone I’d want to spend the rest of my life with, she’ll probably be closer to my age than not.
Dealmakers: Communication and trust. I can’t stress how important these two factors are in dating or any relationship, really. If you can’t tell me what’s bothering you, what’s on your mind, or anything like that, we can’t work. If you feel the need to ask, “Who’s that?” Any time I mention a person’s name of the opposite sex or glance at my phone when it goes off, we can’t work. I understand that trust is earned, but part of me also feels like, until someone gives the other a reason to not trust them, you should give them the benefit of the doubt in most situations.
On more serious levels, you’ll also learn where you stand on important life events like marriage and children. Some don’t want either; some want to get married, but not have kids; some want both. All are perfectly fine, but if you’re Option B and your mate is Option A or C, it could be a lot more difficult. I know I want to get married and I know that I want to have at least one child, if not two or three. If someone I’m dating never wants to get married or have children, I don’t know if I — or they — could go through with that.
I’m sure it’s great to have found your true love at an early age. Hell, my next-door neighbors, who are a few years older than me, were high school sweethearts and are one of the most adorable couples I’ve ever seen. I would have loved to experience that “Cory and Topanga” kind of love, but it didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean finding someone now or later is a bad thing.
If you dwell on what you “missed out on,” then you’re doing yourself an injustice. Take the experiences you’ve accumulated over the years and apply them to the present and future so that when you do eventually find someone, you’ll know it’s real.