By the time you reach your 30s, many of your friends will have paired off. Some will even have children. And while family life certainly has its merits, not everyone is ready for it at the same time—if ever. Whether you’re happy to stay single or are looking forward to eventually meeting your match, here’s what’s truly amazing about being independent during this time in your life. And for more great relationship advice, here are the 50 Things Single People Wish You’d Stop Saying.
More Time to Focus on Your Career
In your 30s, “you have a better perception of who you are than you did when you were in your 20s,” says Rori Sassoon, CEO of VIP matchmaking service Platinum Poire. That means you’re probably pretty clear on what you want career-wise, and being single ensures you have the time to put work in toward your goals. “This is a great time to build your empire without the time commitments that come with a relationship.” And for some great advice to help you out, here are the 40 Best Ways to Jumpstart Your Career.
No More Drama
Unless you’re the one bringing it—which is another issue entirely. “Men and women in their 30s have done a lot of growing up,” points out James Anderson, dating expert at Beyond Ages. “They are more mature and less tolerant of the drama that many people in their 20’s enjoy and even thrive on. This creates a dating environment that is more relaxed and enjoyable with fewer games.” And if you’re hot on the dating scene, know the 50 Ways to Be a (Much) More Romantic Man.
You Can Focus on Your Friends and Family
“Often times, people get into relationships and start to neglect other people who play important roles in their lives,” points out Nicole Carl, a licensed professional counselor at Clarity Clinic in Chicago. When you’re single, you can use your time to invest in close relationships and develop even stronger ties with them. Or, focus on broadening your horizons: “Use this time to meet new people and socialize with a variety of different individuals.” And for more on family life, here are the 30 Things Only Moms with Daughters Know.
Your Home Is Truly Yours
“You can take command of your own space,” says Courtney Watson, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. There’s definitely something to be said for not having to compromise on what your apartment or house looks like. “You get to keep your living space however you want. Whether it’s immaculate or a mess, it’s yours and you don’t have to think about the needs of any one else in your safe space.” Plus, your home is completely judgment-free zone. Want to wear sweats all day? No one will ever know. For some killer home decorating tips, check out these 30 Home Decorations No One Over 30 Should Own.
Your Confidence Is at An All-Time High
“It’s common in your 20s to be a little unsure of yourself,” says Vikki Ziegler, celebrity divorce attorney, relationship expert, and author of The Pre-Marital Planner. “But when you enter your 30s, you regain momentum in your ability to exude confidence about decision-making in your life.” The self-assured attitude applies to dating, but also other crucial areas like setting boundaries with friends and family, getting what you want at work, and making lifestyle choices like where you want to live. And for great ways to send your confidence levels through the roof, here are 70 Genius Tricks to Boost Your Confidence.
You Can Differentiate Between Sex and Love
This skill—often developed with age—saves you a lot of time and energy. “In our thirties, we are less impulsive and less driven by sex,” says Keren Eldad, relationship coach, life coach, and founder of With Enthusiasm. That doesn’t mean you’re not interested in sex, but you now have the ability to appreciate a fun, no-strings-attached relationship in a way you maybe couldn’t in your 20s.
You’re Less Reckless
If you got yourself into some sticky situations dating in your 20s, you’re not alone. “Being single in your 20s can be a bit dangerous, as we tend to have that ‘YOLO’ mentality,” says Stacy Karyn, an online dating consultant. “However, in your 30s you are a bit less likely to indulge in risky behavior, such as drug use and unsafe sex.”
There’s Time For A Life Outside Work
“Let’s face it, relationships require individuals to invest a lot of time and energy in them and make it harder engage in leisure activities,” says Carl. “When you’re single, you have more free time to put into your hobbies and self care activities. Eating healthier, working out, taking fitness classes, or even picking up an artistic activity such as painting could be done because your schedule isn’t so cramped.”
You Know Which Red Flags to Look For
By the time you hit 30, “your BS meter has maxed out,” says Allison Perez, a relationship expert and love coach. “You’ve identified the red flags and you see them coming from a mile away.” If you do want to date, now’s the perfect time to put all the dating lessons you learned in your 20s into practice. And if you’re on dating apps, you’re probably aware of the 11 Worst Dating-App Message Mistakes Men Make.
You Have More Intimate Experience
You’re more skilled in bed, and you know how to spot better partners. “You’re not settling for subpar non-reciprocal sex,” Watson says. “You know what you like and you’re not willing to settle for less.”
You Date Smarter
You don’t have time for people you’re not all that into, and it’s better that way. “Since the time to begin raising a family is approaching for many, it’s less likely that you will waste your time on people who are just not right for you,” Karyn says. You also know the 30 Worst Phrases To Use on Your Dating Profile.
Alone Time Isn’t Scary Anymore
Some people love alone time no matter their age, but many don’t learn to appreciate it until their 30s. When you’re single, you have the freedom to get more of it. “You thrive on self-care and time to get to know yourself better,” Ziegler says. FOMO is a thing of the past: “You can sit home with a book and a glass of wine on a Friday night and be 100 percent comfortable with that decision.”
You’re Free to Meet New People
Of course, you can meet new people while in a relationship, but it can be easier to get out and about when you’re flying solo. “You make the most amazing friendships in your 30s,” says Faith Dulin, LMFTA, a relationship counselor. “You find your tribe, your people. Those that get you and you relate to, outside the context of a romantic relationship or ‘couple identity.’”
You Can Travel Anywhere, Anytime
While your friends might be spending all of their time raising their young children, you can do literally whatever you want in your off-time. “No longer a broke 20-something, you can go to Dubai or Accra or Seoul and have the time of your life,” Watson says. And when you’re single, you can pick any destination you want without consulting anyone else first. If you’re considering a trip soon, check out the 10 Best Winter Weekend Escapes.
Dates Don’t Have to Be Cheap
Speaking of money… Gone are the days of trying to figure out the cheapest possible date ideas. “You can date at your leisure and get to go to places that are way more interesting because you and the people you are dating have the money to do it,” Watson notes. Chances are, you can splurge on a nice dinner, amazing cocktails, or theater tickets if you decide you really want to impress someone. And since you only have to spend money on yourself, you’re probably better off financially than those who have a spouse and children to support. Chances are you also know the 25 Things You Should Never Do at a Fancy Restaurant.
You’re More Likely to Make Choices That Actually Make Sense for You
“You don’t have any obligations and restrictions when having to consider a partner’s desire,” Carl points out. “Having the liberty to make decisions without having interference from a partner can lead you to making self-defining and spontaneous choices.” Think: moving to another country for work, buying a house because you love it, or ditching a friend group that’s no longer working for you.
You’re Not Going to Encounter Ghosting Like You Used To
“By the time you hit 30, you will have most likely experienced heartbreak and pain a few times,” Karyn points out. “And, because of this recently-collected wisdom, you will be able to enter the dating scene with sensitivity and class.” If you’re dating people the same age, you’ll likely find they’re also kinder than than the people you dated in your 20s.
You Care Less About What Other People Think
Sure, it’s still annoying when your parents nag you about why you’re not married yet, but you’re less likely to take it to heart now. “Being single in your 30s is often seen as a consolation prize instead of the amazing experience that it can truly be,” says Stephanie Lee, a relationship expert and coach. But those who experience it learn that it’s actually pretty fun—and that what other people think about your relationship status doesn’t matter. “Gone are the days when the judgements of your peers sway your days and pull you into a tailspin.”
You Understand Your Own Sexuality
Whether you’re straight, gay, or somewhere in between, you probably have a handle on it by now. By your 30s, “you have recognized many of the negative messages you received about your sexuality and you’ve either shaken then or are working on shaking them,” Watson says. “You re-grounding in who you are sexually and enjoying yourself more.”
You’ve Had The Opportunity to Learn From Others’ Mistakes
Everyone has that friend who got married in their 20s and then got divorced a year or two later. Yes, that could happen to anyone, but now that you’ve seen some of the things that can go wrong in a relationship and how that impacts a person, it’s less likely to happen to you.
You Can Spend Time Getting to Know Yourself
This is something many people who couple up in their 20s never get the chance to do, and it often comes back to bite them later. “If you do not learn to really love you (first, and above anyone else), you will never truly be able to unconditionally love another, needing from them absolutely nothing in return,” Eldad explains. “Our 30s are a beautiful time to practice this. As your career and social circles expand, so will your sense of self and your chance to really explore your most significant relationship: the one you have with YOU. Get coaching, read books, and spend time cultivating you.” Plus, if and when the right person for you comes along, you’ll know exactly how to spot them.
Dating Gets Honest
“Men and women in their 30s have a lot more going on in their lives and are much less inclined to waste your or their time,” Anderson says. “As a result, dating is a lot more direct. Your partners will be more upfront with what they are looking for in a relationship, casual or serious, and that alleviates a lot of the stress of dating.”
You’ve Probably Worked Out Issues Holding You Back
Or you’re in the process of doing so. “We all have scars from childhood—it’s a fact—but most don’t conquer them,” Ziegler says. “In your 30s, you might be in therapy or know that you need to be single and work on your past to make your future life bright. It’s truly empowering and invigorating to conquer your childhood fears and stand tall and proud of where you come from and who you are becoming without a partner attached to you. That is the true sign of growth and empowerment.”
Your Time is Truly Yours
“Wanna do yoga after work? Wanna come home at 3AM? Wanna be in bed by 6PM? You can do whatever you want with your time and not have to consult or consider anyone else,” Watson says.
You Don’t Have to Split Up Holidays
Assuming you enjoy spending time with your family, being single means you get to spend every holiday with them without ever having to compromise. Ask any married person—this is a big deal.
You’re Just Starting The Happiest Years of Your Life
Research shows that for most people, real happiness begins around age 33. If you’re single, that means you can do anything you want—including finding someone to share it with, or not.
Kids Are Still An Option
“If you are dating still in your 30s, the possibility of having kids is still on the table,” says Michela Hattabaugh, a matchmaker with Three Day Rule in Chicago. “While some people never feel a strong desire to do this, that can potentially change once you find a partner who you want to spend the rest of your life with, so it is nice to still have that option. While having kids in your early 40s can still be possible, it’s nice to be in your 30s and not feel the impending pressure of racing against the clock.”
You Know How to Say ‘No’
Never underestimate the power of ‘no.’ “By your thirties, you have amassed a body of life experience, including a heartbreak or two,” Eldad says. “All this living has gotten you real clear about what you don’t want.” When you’re totally clear on things you don’t want to do, it makes saying ‘no’ to people, favors, and experiences you’re not interested in a whole lot easier. “And you know what’s awesome about knowing what you don’t want? It clarifies for you what you DO want.”
You Can Easily Get What You Want
Whether it’s your food choice for dinner, watching your favorite TV show, choosing what music to listen to, or deciding which car you’re going to buy, you can pretty much always get what you want when it comes to deciding how to spend your time and money.
Research shows that single people sleep more than those who are coupled up. Getting a good night’s sleep means you go into each and every day with a leg up on those who have another person’s sleep schedule and habits to deal with. That’s what we’d call a win. For more on getting your best sleep, check out how Eating This One Thing Will Help You Sleep Better.
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