Why You Need To Start Being Selective When Dating In Your Early 30s

by Piper Penderhall

"We're just not on the same page." We've all heard this, and we've all probably said it a time or two.

I always thought it was a bullsh*t, vague answer that meant you were just not interested in someone, but you thought this was a "nice" way to say it.

Once upon a time, I was young, dumb and carefree (aka drunk). Finding someone on the same page was easy.

"OMG, you breathe oxygen? I breathe oxygen. Not to mention, you're in my econ class. We have so much in common. Let's party."

Easy, right? I took that ease for granted.

Dating in your early 30s is exponentially more difficult. People have varying work schedules. Some people even have children, which adds a whole different level of complexity on its own. Most of us have some baggage we drag around with us, and we collect more as we go along.

It's rough. It's challenging, and God, is it complicated.

I'm a single, never-been-married, childless 32-year-old woman. I have a career. I have a loving family, and I have the best damn friends anyone could ask for.

I have some emotional scars from life, sure. But all things considered, I think I'm packing pretty light in the baggage department. But finding someone who is on the same level as me is almost impossible.

I've been pretty open with my dating pool. I'm optimistic about the fact that you never know who you could end up with. I've been willing to date men with children, older men, divorced men: you name it. All this dating has opened my eyes to the fact that I'm struggling to really connect with someone.

In all honesty, part of it has to do with not being able to deal with everything these men represent. I don't want to date someone fresh out of a relationship because he'll have a lot of unsettled emotions.

I know this because I've been in this situation millions of times. I don't want to be a rebound. I took a bit of a dating time-out to settle the emotional turmoil I was going through. I've worked through a lot of my issues, so the idea of going through it on the other side doesn't seem all that enticing.

Men with children are tricky. I don't mind dating someone with children in theory. What I do mind is when someone wants to introduce the children into my life from the very beginning. I need to know if we click on our own, before family is brought in. I'm not looking to become an instant stepmom.

I'm a product of a divorce. I had a relationship with someone who had a child, and the breakup was much harder on me.  I had to break up with both of them, and it was heartbreaking. I don't want to go through that again if  I can help it.

Men who got married in their early 20s, and are only now getting divorced, are a breed of their own. They want to go out on weeknights, party at night clubs and take shots on Saturday afternoons.

I did that. I did that for years. Now, going to a night club is the last thing I want to do.

I want to go to a nice dinner. I want to grab a couple of cocktails. I want to see a movie. I want to go to a wine tasting. Those are the things I'm about.

I have an 8 am yoga class on Sunday mornings, and I want to hit up Trader Joe's before the after-church crowd buys all the kale. I don't want to be chugging Pedialyte and inhaling food from Taco Bell to beat my hangover. I don't want to be slamming shots of tequila, or have 21-year-olds sweating all over me in some sticky night club until 3 am.

I understand wanting to experience those things. I really do. I had a blast doing those things when I was in my early 20s. I danced on tables, kissed girls and drank enough vodka to last me a lifetime.

Knock yourself out, love. I'll be at home, reading. Namaste.