If you’re thinking about starting a long distance relationship in your 30s, you might have noticed that there’s not a lot of info online about LDRs for the over-twentysomethings. A lot of the stats on LDRs seem to come from research on couples who are mostly college students (one reason why is that academic researchers often recruit study participants from their own universities, but also because many students find themselves going long distance when their partners go to another college).
With all of this focus on the under-30s, you might have wondered if a lot of the standard LDR advice can work for you. And what about the general relationship advice for people over 30 – does that still apply if you’re dating long distance?
For the record, there’s nothing about turning 30 that means that your priorities have to drastically change. That said, most people’s direction in life does start to shift in this decade and LDRs might be quite well-suited to these new priorities.
Here are 8 good reasons to consider a long distance relationship in your 30s and beyond.
1. Your intuition is stronger in your 30s
Long-distance relationships require a lot of perception. You lack the normal physical cues about how your partner is feeling, so you need to be excellent at communication and very good at picking up on the subtle signals of their emotional state.
Most people find their instincts about relationships growing stronger as the years pass. By the time we reach our 30s, we’re normally much better at reading people and situations than we were at 20.
Even if your interactions are limited to texting and FaceTime calls, chances are you’ll be better at navigating the relationship than you ever would have been at a younger age.
2. Travel will be more affordable
Long-distance dating can be expensive, and although there are things you can do to make it more affordable, there’s no denying that it’s a challenge for many twentysomethings at the start of their career.
In your 30s, you’re likely to be more financially secure, not to mention more sensible about spending!
3. Things move more quickly
Any relationship needs a clear direction, especially long distance ones. Once the feelings get serious, it’s time to talk about long-term plans – such as whether you eventually want children or not – and to think about a rough timeline for the major milestones, like moving in together.
But in your 20s it’s notoriously difficult to bring that stuff up. Without a lot of experience, you may constantly wonder what the ‘rules’ are and if you’re going to damage things by trying to move too fast when you’re both still ‘figuring things out’.
Once you hit 30, those critical conversations get a lot easier. Many of your friends will be at a similar stage of life and you’re much more likely to feel confident about discussing structure and future plans.
4. You’ll know pretty quickly if it’s not for you
At the start of my dating life, I had no idea what I wanted. Pretty typical for a twenty year-old, but it meant that I stayed around in relationships long after we should have ended things because I didn’t know if the source of my dissatisfaction was a lack of compatibility or down to something I was doing wrong.
If you’re the same, chances are good that you’ll be much more decisive after 30. You now know what you want from life and love – and if a LDR just isn’t for you, you’ll probably figure that out pretty quickly!
5. You know how to give each other space
When you first start dating, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy balance between nurturing the relationship and having your own time. In your early 20s, having a first date might have meant clearing the whole evening for someone you’d never met before, just because you didn’t realise it was reasonable to schedule an end time. Even in a LDR, it’s really difficult to put the phone away and stop talking at 2 a.m.
In your 30s, you’re much more likely to respect each other’s time and space. Each of you probably has a lot going on in your life and will have likely developed a routine that works for you. You’ll be much more assertive about closing off your texting marathons at a sensible time and getting some shut eye (or working on something that inspires you).
6. You get the best of both worlds
There are loads of articles online about why it’s great to be single in your 30s – for example, you can indulge in solo travel, your place is your own, you have more energy for your career… but all of that is achievable in a long distance relationship as well.
LDRs give you the time and space to explore your passions and interests in your own way, which is important at any age.
7. You’re more resilient after 30
Heartbreak is very real at any age, but at 30 you’re also much less likely to pine for relationships that just weren’t compatible in the first place. What felt like the worst thing in the world at 21 is now something you recognise as a temporary setback that you can recover from. So if you do end up going your separate ways, you’ll be back on your feet before long.
Also, in a LDR, you’re very unlikely to run into them in the grocery store afterwards – making it much easier to move on!
8. It’s not as important what your friends and family think
Long distance relationships are occasionally met with disapproval by friends and family, who sometimes don’t accept that you can have a committed, loving relationship with someone you don’t see every day.
In your early 20s, you might really care what others think of it, especially when it’s so important to be ‘seen with a partner’. Less so in your 30s. Also, your friends are more mature at this age, so they’re less likely to question your choices as much as they might when you’re fresh out of university.