Why dating over 30 is so much tougher – and what to do about it

PHOTO: Lubabalo Lesolle
PHOTO: Lubabalo Lesolle

It definitely isn’t something that bugs me – far from it. But it seems to bug other people.

With many of my friends as well as older and even younger family members finding their partners or tying the knot . . . believe me, the pressure to do the same is building.

My family WhatsApp group (don’t you just love those?) is frequently filled with comments like, “Sooo, Shanaaz, when are we meeting your special person?”

And whenever I’m at a wedding, baby shower or the like – one gets invited to a lot of them at my age – I will, without fail, be asked by another guest: “So, when is it your turn, Shaz?”

I’ve even had some joking-but-not-really questions from my dad about when he can expect his first grandchild.

But the problem is, dating just isn’t as easy as it used to be – at least not for me.

READ MORE: Over the dating scene? You just might be a 'super single'

For one thing, with age comes wisdom. My friends say I’m too fussy, but there’s no way I’m settling for average. I’ve dated my fair share of duds: and I know exactly what I don’t want.

Another issue: much of my time is spent at work, so finding a prospective suitor at a club or pub is highly unlikely. Gosh, just finding me at a club or pub is unlikely, to be honest.

Yes, I can practically hear you thinking, “Tinder!” But I’m old school, guys. Dating platforms aren’t really my thing.

So where do I even start?

Well, there’s one thing I do have in my favour when it comes to figuring this out: I’m a journalist. I know how to get answers.

Enter your dating experts. I called on Johannesburg relationship expert and author Paula Quinsee to get to the bottom of my tricky dilemma.

Why is dating when you’re over 30 so much harder? And how on Earth do you go about it?

It’s all about challenging yourself and doing things a little differently, Paula tells me.

READ MORE: "I haven’t gone on a date in 5 years" - why my biggest nightmare isn't late marriage

Here’s her list of do’s and don’ts.

1. Know who you are

Know what makes you tick and what you’re looking for in a life partner. If you don’t know what you’re looking, how will you recognise it when it arrives? This also gives you a clear idea of what you don’t want, Paula says.

2. Know your deal breakers

Be sure of your own romantic boundaries, Paula advises. Can you date a smoker? Someone who travels often? If you’re not clear with yourself on these issues you might compromise yourself and end up in situations or relationships that aren’t necessarily positive for you.

READ MORE: “My first date ever was speed dating - here’s how it went down…”

3. Be wary of online dating

When meeting people virtually, remember that they all have their own reasons for being on dating platforms – some of them are just looking for hook-ups or a bit of fun, while others may have more sinister motives, Paula warns. Your personal safety should be your priority, whether you’re dating online or meeting someone. Always trust your instincts.  

4. Get out there

“If you have an open mind and are willing to explore outside your comfort zones, go to new places, meet new people and have adventure along the way, there’s no reason you can’t be having fun at the same time,” Paula says.

* Do you have dating stories you’d like to tell? Whether they’re of the cringeworthy or fairytale kind, we want to hear them! Send your story to web@you.co.za.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24