I was in a relationship for the majority of my twenties. When it was finally over, I spent about a good two years getting to know myself as a 20-something year old, newly single man. I did some good self-reflective work in those years, but I didn't prepare myself for navigating the dating world. Why didn't anyone warn me?
Well, here I am at 30, and still dating. What no one tells you is that turning 30 does not come with a gift package including an amazing man and a dream promotion. In fact, I would argue that it comes with an indescribable sobering feeling that love may be even harder to acquire. This realization has resulted in my sudden appreciation for a daily glass of red wine.
During these past few months, I have kissed quite a few frogs. I have realized that with my personal growth, came this sense of awareness that will simply not allow me to partner with just anyone. Suddenly, the idea of settling has been replaced with the art of compromise, which entails understanding my needs vs. my wants. Let's face it; we don't have the time to settle for foolishness the way we may have in our 20s. However, now we have the skill-set to let some of our ridiculous "wants" go and focus on what we need in a partner. One would think that this would make things easier, but I am not convinced that this is quite true.
Recently, I went to a panel discussion here in NY hosted by D8able, an LGBTQ matchmaking and date advising company, founded by Tosin Adesanya and Tye Farley. The conversations from that night were interesting and validated a lot of my own findings from my past year of heavy dating.
- Tops vs. Bottoms- This idea of being a pitcher or a catcher exclusively is why a lot of us can't catch a damn break! Our 30s should be a time to (literally) open up or take a plunge into uncharted sexual territory. This can be the one thing getting in the way of a meaningful, substantial connection.
Please be advised that I am still single as well. However, I had to have very real conversations with myself to discover how I was contributing to my reality. Like many of you, I desire to be in a relationship with the right guy. I figure the best approach is to clean house before inviting someone else in. It makes sense, right?
So, to all my single friends -- as we prepare to enter our 30s, and for those of us that are already here, I encourage you to alter your approach to dating. Give the dating apps a break, perfect the art of flirting and meet someone in person. Be less willing to accept invitations to "hang out" in lieu of real dates unless your goal is to have your legs in the air and wave them like you just don't care. Check out some new venues that cater to like-minded men and consider hanging up your clubbing shoes. Although it is super easy to fall into the trap, male-female gender roles do not apply to us, so unlearn that shit quickly. Remember, know yourself and honor the things you need; be willing to compromise; take things slowly and go get Mr. Right. He may not look exactly the way you had envisioned, but he's out there!
Here's Tori Kelly with "Dear No One," a message for my future boo.