We've come a long way since Carrie Bradshaw and her squad complained about how there were officially no eligible guys willing to date a woman in her thirties over brunch on Sex and the City.
Actually, being a thirty-something who’s playing the field and maybe trying to lock down that ride-or-die life partner isn’t the horror show our culture (or a SATC binge) makes it out to be. While there are a few kinks (literally and figuratively) that come with dating after your twenties, it also has its perks.
Here are 11 realities about dating as a grown-ass woman that we definitely didn’t get the memo about.
Usually folks are actually coming from a good place with this—the subtext is supposed to be, “because you are so amazing!” This just in: You can still be amazing and not be in a serious romantic relationship. Can somebody please notify the Aunt Megs of the world?
We are pretty much fully formed by our fourth decade on the planet. So even though you know you want a serious relationship, the thought of sharing your bathroom or your late-night snacking habits with another person can be terrifying. Hands off my Flaming Hot Cheetos, boy.
You are confident in your own skin and know what you like in bed, so another human body isn’t a magical mystery tour. Having said that, old habits die hard, and people can be a little less malleable (see #2). In other words, you’re not sure how to handle a guy who can only come when he’s blindfolded and you tickle his feet for 15 minutes.
When you’re a legit grownup, you have to be prepared to date someone who’s already experienced some major life stuff, like divorce or the death of a parent. The good news is that everyone’s done some self-reflection and are a more evolved version of themselves since said life event. That makes them a way better potential partner who doesn't need all that breaking in. Score? Score.
There’s no romance killer quite like coordinating a date around soccer practice and dance rehearsal. But such is life when you’re dating at an age when one or both of you could have already procreated with somebody else.
By 30, hopefully, your recreational preferences are slightly more sophisticated. Getting hammered at a The Shark Tank because they have $1 Buds on Thirsty Thursday isn’t the road to a love connection. (Also, let’s get real, you’re in your thirties, you’re at home watching Netflix on a Thursday night and in bed by midnight on weekends.)
He’s doing a sober January and you’re on a clean-eating bender. You’ve got serious acid reflux and he’s lactose intolerant. And whether or not he’s active is important. Bottom-line: Nobody’s a footloose and fancy-free twenty-something anymore. You gotta factor self-care and other old people sh*t into your dating regimen now.
While the term “cougar” makes your skin crawl, there is some truth to the rumors that young dudes love a confident older woman. While you appreciate their attraction to you and their boundless, youthful optimism, there is no way in hell you're sleeping on a futon on a regular basis. You're on to bigger and better mattresses, girlfriend.
The internet can a nightmare for anyone—full of way too many dudes doing bathroom mirror selfies, no matter their age. But you've adapted. You can tell whether a guy is actually a potential man-friend or just a hookup in under two seconds. Swipe away, girl. Swipe away.
Sorry, childless women over 30 are not hard-core obsessing about making babies. While we are aware that a biological clock exists, we also know that modern technology is helping lots of women get knocked up later in life. Please feel free to fake bad cell reception when your mom calls to remind you that you’re “running out of time” to give her grandchildren.
By now you firmly stand by what you will and won’t tolerate, and more importantly you know and love yourself more than ever. You might have dated assholes and stoners in your twenties, but thankfully you didn’t end up with any of them. Thirty-something you would be so pissed at you if you did.
This article originally appeared on Womenshealthmag.com.