Dating for the over 35s
Year on year, the average age for marriage continues to steadily rise. But for Christians, marrying relatively young is much more the norm, something that can leave those who don’t pair off early on, feeling left behind.
Churches with large student populations see flurries of weddings post-university, aided by the ample socialising opportunities provided by Christian unions, church student fellowships and dedicated student pastors making introductions much simpler. Many churches hold regular events for those in their twenties and early thirties too – but what happens when you reach an age where this is no longer suitable for you? Or when you don’t feel you fit in to these circles anymore, but still want to find a mate?
Mind the gap
It can be difficult to know how to go about dating if you’re a single Christian (or suddenly find yourself newly single) from your mid thirties. Perhaps you’ve watched friend after friend settle down, get married and have children, and now you lack a peer community of friends to hang out with. Maybe you’re finding it tricky to meet a prospective spouse because church programmes are geared toward those who’ve followed life progression from student, to young married, to nuclear family.
It might feel like you’re left out or have somehow missed your chance. But there are actually many benefits to meeting someone a bit later in life that aren’t talked about enough.
There’s still a gap in the church when it comes to singles (there are fewer single people in church than in wider society, in the UK at least), something that Single Friendly Church is campaigning to change. However, online dating makes it possible to meet people who share your interests, passions, values – and even age. While churches may at times struggle to meet this need, niche markets can thrive on the internet. So for those struggling to find suitable people to date via the ‘traditional’ social methods often geared to a younger crowd, dating websites (and search filters) are an invaluable tool.
Older, but wiser
Dating can feel tougher the older you get, especially if there’s a smaller pool to pick from. However, the good news is that the wisdom that comes with maturity equips you to make better decisions, decreasing your chances of marrying the wrong person. We tend to develop better patience, understanding and empathy as we develop and mature, qualities that bode very well for a happier marriage. Plus while the pool you’re searching in may be smaller, you’re a bigger fish in that pool!
Live long and prosper in love
From a practical perspective, a major difference in this age bracket is that you – or many of the people you’re dating – may have children, be divorced, or widowed. Again, these life experiences and circumstances can do a lot to enrich a relationship and helps you know exactly what you’re looking for now. And as we’re living longer than ever you can still look forward to a very long union, even if it begins ten, twenty or even thirty years later than you’d hoped.
Age is a very personal thing. You may feel much younger or more mature than your chronological years and peers, and want to expand your search to encompass this (although this shouldn’t be based on simply wanting someone who looks younger). Every season of life brings its own riches – there’s a great freedom in leaving your twenties and thirties behind and embracing being a fully fledged grown-up! Love doesn’t discriminate, so keeping going on your journey toward finding it, knowing it may be found at any age or stage.