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I'm dating in my 30s after finding myself newly single. Instead of relying on dating apps like I did in my 20s, I'm trying to meet people in person.

The author on a couch writing in a journal
Cristabelle Garcia spends less time focusing on dating now that she's in her 30s and more time reading and writing.Courtesy of the author
  • I'm recently single and dating in my 30s is new to me.

  • It's different dating now than it was in my 20s. I care more about quality than quantity.

  • I also know what I want now, and I don't spend much time on dating apps.

Being single is not new to me, but being single while in my 30s is. I spent the better part of my teens and 20s chasing boys. Back then, I had a different idea — or no idea — of what I wanted from romance and life. I was hypersexual and craved attention. I also didn't have a passion or something I loved doing for myself. My time and energy went to impressing and seeking validation from boys, men, and man-boys.

Now that I'm freshly out of a relationship at 34, I am experiencing the most placid version of singlehood I've ever known. The focus is more on embracing my individuality and being single rather than doing things to change that. I guess you could say my new dating life involves a lot of non-dating. And when I do date, I prioritize quality far more.

I spend less time focused on dating

While my interest in romance and sex has not evaporated, it has subsided as I've become more attuned to myself. With age, I've created more meaningful bonds with friends and developed more interests like reading and writing. I tend to pour myself into the things and people I love, and dating now occupies a much smaller portion of my time and attention. It's what I do after I've checked items off my list, taken care of myself, and met my maximum screen time.

Spending less time dating also means I go out with fewer people. Before, my selection criteria were broader. I'm more intentional now, and I trust my gut more. When something feels off, or I'm not excited (before or after meeting in person), I don't force it. If the chitchat feels bland or stale, I let the connection go; I wouldn't walk out on a date, but I also wouldn't schedule another one. Moreover, if I'm too busy when a possibility comes up, it can wait. Dating is an activity reserved for the spare time within my spare time.

I care less about looks and more about a connection

I've always cared about the whole package, but now I care less about looks than I did when I was younger. In my 30s, personality and intellect are even more important. These traits are essential for the alchemy of connection.

In my 20s, I would go on multiple dates with someone, even if we had little to nothing in common. I just wanted the distraction. Romance — even if it's casual — now requires more zest. I like to bond over things like humor and philosophy, but I also love the mysterious, mutual zing that comes out of nowhere and you can't pinpoint. It wasn't until my late 20s that I knew what this felt like.

I figured, if I'm a person of fewer, deeper friendships, why should it be any different when there may be nakedness involved?

I take it easy on the apps

I'm only on one dating app (I'm also only on one social media app). Though I've accepted the apps as part of modern life, I also don't want to become engulfed by them. Moreover, I dislike the experience of swiping and can only take it in small doses. Instead, I'm staying open to and engaged with the outside world.

When I do match with someone online, I prefer to meet in person reasonably soon rather than text for eons. Once we establish some shared interests, I would rather spend my screen time on my TV.

I know what I want

While I love solitude, I'm not a loner. I've always known I want to find a lifelong partner. And now, I also know what I'm looking for in a person and their companionship. Among the many things I can think of, individuality is top of mind. A relationship that rests on two strong, independent pillars is a solid foundation for a nurturing and fulfilling coexistence.

In the meantime, the absence of a full-time mate can be a blessing. I know there's no need to rush the end of my singlehood when, for all I know, it is something I may never have again once the right person comes along.

Read the original article on Business Insider