How to make the most of different dating life stages - Christian Connection dating advice

How to make the most of different dating life stages

If you’ve been single for a while, you’ll have noticed your dating and relationship priorities might have changed. The chances are, what someone is looking for in their early twenties is quite different from what they’re looking for later on, into their late twenties, thirties, forties and beyond. We all change as we get older, and our priorities when it comes to dating and relationships are likely to change too. So, how might what you’re looking for in a life partner change over time? What might you encounter at different dating life stages? And how can you plan for an amazing future no matter what your age?

There are certain realities as we move through the possible dating life stages, and that that come with getting older. What you might have considered your ideal future may no longer be a possibility, and sometimes this can be difficult to deal with. It can be disappointing as someone – male or female – who has ‘waited’ for marriage since you were young, to realise that the ideal you had in mind is no longer a possibility. However, you can still have a fantastic future with someone, and it doesn’t have to feel like settling for second best.

Late teens and twenties

How to make the most of different dating life stages - Christian Connection dating advice (Image: Unsplash)In your late teens and twenties, you might just be starting out in dating, and may ideally be looking for someone in a similar phase of life. Someone with similar interests, who has never married or had children, who you can start and build a life with from scratch. You might be thinking about how many kids you want to have, and what someone does for a job – now or in the future – might be important to you. If you want to travel and see the world, you might want someone you can do this with.

Chances are, you haven’t been married before, and perhaps haven’t had much experience of dating and relationships. You might also be keen to meet someone around the same age as you – depending on the age gap, someone in their thirties or forties might seem really old to you!

I remember when I was in my twenties on a dating site and being contacted by men much older than me (forties); I was mortified! Now, I’m closer to that age group it doesn’t seem that old to me and I realise that age, as they say, is just a number. If you’re single in your twenties, you still have your whole life ahead of you. My advice would be to embrace your singleness and just enjoy life. Don’t put your life on hold waiting for ‘the one’ to show up, just live your life and see where it takes you.

Thirties and forties

How to make the most of different dating life stages - Christian Connection dating adviceAs you move into your thirties and forties, your priority might be different. For women, if you don’t already have children, this is usually the age where if you want to, you may feel like this is your last shot at making it a reality. You’ll likely be keen to meet someone that also wants to have children (maybe quickly!), who has a stable job or career, and has pretty much figured out what they’re doing with their lives.

You don’t want to date just for dating sake. Whilst this is completely understandable, it is important to not let the pressure to settle down (especially to have kids) get to you and force you into a relationship that isn’t right for you.

One great thing about being single in a different stage of life is that you’ve had the opportunity to come into your own, are more mature, secure in yourself and you know what you want in a life partner. You may have been in some failed relationships or be parenting alone, but are less likely to make the same mistakes in dating as you might have done in your late teens and twenties.

You’ve also experienced a bit more of life to hopefully be able to detect red flags that may come with dating. The freedom and security that comes with being in a stable career – or having changed career – perhaps having more disposable income and in general just being more settled in yourself means that being single in your thirties and forties can be an exciting time and this is something to embrace.

Fifties and beyond

As you reach your fifties, that desire for companionship and marriage may not have gone away, but what you’re looking for in a partner might again change somewhat. When you once were perhaps looking for someone to start a family with, the realities of age might mean that this is no longer possible, especially for women.

How to make the most of different dating life stages - Christian Connection dating adviceIn the dating pool, you might be coming across people that have been married before, some widowed (although this can happen at any age) and some with children from previous marriages. Whilst for some people this might not have been their ideal situation, it is worth acknowledging and accepting this reality. This is not about lowering your standards, but about accepting the situation as it is.

If you can trust that God still has great plans for you when it comes to marriage and relationships, you can even find joy and embrace this stage of life, to avoid missing out on what God might have in store for you. My advice if you find yourself in this stage of life would be to be open-minded, and willing to embrace difference.

If you’re privileged enough to get older and enter your sixties and beyond, your priorities for a partner could become less about raising children (as any potential children are likely to now be adults themselves) and more about companionship and someone to spend time with. This isn’t to say that adventures can’t be had in later life, of course. But meeting someone with a similar mindset and understanding would be paramount.

In whatever stage of life you’re in, there are joys to be found if you can let go of previous long-held desires, accept your reality, and open yourself to whatever God has in store for you.

How have you navigated different dating life stages and how have your priorities changed?

Enjoyed reading ‘How to make the most of different dating life stages?’ Read stories from couples who met on Christian Connection: ‘“Be encouraged and keep going!” – Christian Connection couples share their stories‘ 

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