Dating throughout young adulthood is an entirely different experience than dating when you're older.
Anyone dating in their 30s and beyond will tell you how different the landscape is from the dating scene in their 20s. It isn't just a matter of environmental changes -- even though you may live in a different city, hang out with different crowds and use different kinds of technology. There are more fundamental changes that result in a very different dating experience.
Understanding the scope of these dating differences can help you prepare for the dating world when you re-enter it after a period of removal due to marriage, career focus, or other circumstances.
1. Your Priorities Are Different
The type of mate you're looking for in your 30s is probably different than your ideal partner in your 20s. While these exact details will vary from person to person, generally, older daters will have a clearer picture of their ideal mate while younger daters have a more ambiguous picture. Older daters also look for more signs of career and financial stability, and are less picky about little personality quirks that might be deal breakers earlier on.
2. You Know the Red Flags
When you're just getting started in the dating scene, you might be stricken unaware with a destructive personality type or some other type of disastrous potential mate. In your 30s and 40s, you'll be much more privy to the red flags.
3. You Have More Responsibilities
Chances are, you have your life together more when you re-enter the dating scene. You might have a demanding career, one or more children or other significant responsibilities in your life. The point is, you're less flexible and dating is never your first priority.
4. You're More Straightforward
Asking someone out on a date when you're young is an awkward, coy affair, but once you're a little older, the whole process becomes much more blunt and straightforward. You're much more willing to be upfront with your intentions, for better or for worse.
5. You're OK With Nights In
When you're young, you want to go out -- and even if you don't, you know everybody else is going out, so you feel pressured to go out. When you're a little older, you (and your potential partners) are all a little more comfortable with spending the night in or turning in before midnight.
The dating world might be different when you're older, but that doesn't mean it's any less fun -- in fact, if you go in prepared, many people find it an even more enjoyable experience. Get involved and live it up!