In high school, dating consists of being home at 9:30 p.m, group dates to ice cream shops, and awkward nights at the movies–unsure if you should even make a move. In college, we graduate to coffee dates, attending college events together, and the occasional late-night trip to your favorite quick-eats spot. Then, freshly indoctrinated into post-grad life, dating in your early 20s leaves room for bar hops, cocktail dates, and other nightlife activities.
But now, you’re in your mid-20s. Away from school sporting games, fraternity formals, and city bar life, you might be craving more of a serious connection. Perhaps you’re at the point of thinking about marriage, kids, and an overall future—and you’re interested in sharing that with one other person. Or maybe, you’re just bored of the standard practice of casual dating. Regardless of your reasoning, there comes a time when dating becomes less play, and more permanent.
This transition can be extremely awkward, and even confusing. However, it’s completely normal to want to take dating more seriously, especially in your mid-20s. Luckily, there are some simple tips in mind when it comes to dating in your mid-20s.
Tip #1: Make Sure You’re Ready To Get Serious
Like we said before, your mid-20s serves as the transition between casual dating to serious relationships. With that in mind, it’s of the utmost importance that you’re ready to take the plunge.
More often than not, the journey to your mid-20s hasn’t been an easy one. Between the perils of high school life and the stress of college and the workforce, these past few years have been eventful, to say the least. They’ve also been years of your life dedicated to growth, both professionally and personally. And while growth can be scary, it’s necessary for setting you up for the rest of your life…and dating, too.
When you’re dating in your mid-20s, it’s important to take a step back and really look at yourself personally. Are you ready to commit? What does serious dating look like to you? Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, and thought about your answers, you’ll be able to figure out if you’re ready to grow up romantically. This will not only benefit you, but will also save your partners further heartbreak.
Tip #2: Find The Balance Being Picky And Having An Open Mind
If you’ve been in the dating game for a while, with no real successes, you’ve probably heard the jeers of your friends: “You’re just being too picky.” However, we’d argue that there’s nothing wrong with being picky. If you’re looking to date someone seriously, they should be everything you’ve ever wanted and more, right?
Well, kind of.
There’s a power in knowing exactly what you want in a partner. By doing so, you’ll be setting yourself up for certain expectations within a relationship. Ideally, this is heaven in the dating world. But, what happens when those expectations aren’t met, and your dream person turns out to be anything but that?
Dating in your mid-20s should be a time to explore different types of people, and open your mind to things (and people) that might be different from what you’ve experienced in the past. You know what they say, sometimes, opposites attract. So, be willing to open your mind to possibilities. You might just be glad you did.
Tip #3: Be Considerate Of Your Time (And Your Date’s, Too!)
Dating in your mid-20s is different from your earlier years for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is this: your time is more limited now, and you have to be more aware of it. Between work, friends, and your own personal self-care, there is only a set amount of time that you can dedicate to dating. And that also goes for the people you’re dating.
Your time is precious, don’t waste it. Be clear about your intentions in relationships and always stay considerate of your free time. You, and the people you date, will thank you.
Tip #4: Explore Your Options
As mentioned before, it’s essential to keep an open mind when it comes to what you want in a partner. But there’s also an importance to explore your options beyond just one date at a time. In short: don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Until you find that one person that you want to explore things further with, don’t be afraid to see other people! As long as you haven’t had the “I want things to be exclusive” talk, you’re able to date freely and get to know different types of people. Who knows? Maybe one of these people will be your forever, and if you hadn’t kept your options open in the dating stage, you would’ve never known.
Tip #5: Don’t Compromise. Period.
And finally, when dating in your mid-20s, keep in mind this one thing: never compromise. Ever. Whether someone is asking you to compromise something as simple as making more time for them (that you may not have), or making you feel like you have to compromise your morals, stay true to who you are. As dating becomes more serious, it’s more paramount than ever to stay true to yourself. No matter what, end of story.
Set boundaries with the people you’re dating, but also with yourself! If this is your first time seriously dating, consider taking things a bit slower than you usually would have. And if this is something you’re committed to, don’t let anyone try to change that. Because if the person you’re dating wants to change you, or overstep your boundaries in any way, they may not be the person for you. There is no shame, and nothing wrong, with letting people go that do not make you feel good about being yourself…especially in relationships.
So, as you start dating in your mid-20s, keep these tips in mind. Whether you’re looking to find a forever partner, or even just get started in your first serious relationship, dating in your mid-20s is an entirely different experience than that of your earlier years. So, enjoy it. Have fun, be yourself, and don’t let the pressures of dating life get to your head.