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I’m going through a bit of a transition lately. I recently lost my job, and I’m living with family. I’m in my early 30s, and up until this point, I’ve been really career-driven. Although a lot has been up in the air, I’m still interested in dating and meeting people. And now I have more time! Do you think dating is still possible for people going through a bit of a rough patch? I guess the main thing I’m worried about is how honest to be about the situation — and how early I should share my whole story? I’d love your advice on how to handle.
Hey there, Disaster Dater!
This is such a good question! Thank you for writing in. Now, this question is kind of like a gobstopper of a question — because there’s layers to this.
Major life transitions in your 30s are like somebody blew up your five-year plan with a FOMO bomb. And I mean, like your new five-year plan, the one you had to create after the Great Recession decimated the first one. The only difference is that then you were in your early twenties and you didn’t know shit about anything, much less how to make it. But you DID make it. Now, you’ve been cruising along for a few years and everything’s going great for you and probs for your friends too! Then kablowiiiiie! You got blown off course and everyone else’s life is chugging along without you.
Or, at least that’s what it can feel like. Or, at least that’s what I felt like when I decided to move back to Kentucky from California after grad school and then, loooolz, Trump got elected. I was living with my mom. My job sucked in the most major way. I spent a lot of time in bed staring at the ceiling or flicking through Instagram jealous of all the fun in the sun my Cali friends were having in their big blue liberal bubble. Sigh. Then, I realized, well shit, if I was going to be crashing with my mom anyways, I might as well take some risks. And that’s when I quit my job and became a full-time freelance writer and made way more money than I would have if I had stayed and subjected myself to being treated terribly.
Now, although I was thankful to have a mom I could stay with basically rent-free, I was really relieved when the time finally came for me to move into my own place again because I’m a grown-ass woman. And while I’d been at my mother’s house, I just felt so weird about dating. There I was in my early 30s, not sure how to tell a dude about my living situation. Not sure what the protocol was around not coming home (and uh, he was def not going to be coming back home to mom’s with me). Even though, I knew I was lucky and was at my mom’s so that I could establish my own business, I was still just holding this rock of shame about it.
And it was my shame.
I didn’t really have any guys who seemed to be judging me over my situation or lose interest after I told them what was up. In fact, one of them had his mom living with him, and the other actually moved back in with his, shortly after we broke up, to go to grad school. So, it’s a thing. And if you’re holding that same shame rock, I suggest you set it down somewhere. Just let your story unfold naturally. Anyone who isn’t understanding of your transition period isn’t someone you should be dating right now anyways, because they just aren’t going to be a good source of support. And that could be for a variety of reasons -— good or bad — and that’s OK.
Your current situation is just one more in any number of factors that could or could not make you the right match for someone. Just be honest and upfront. Just as you’d want them to be with you. If you feel like you’re ready to date right now — and you’re clear on where you’re at emotionally — it’s probably because you’re looking at this time as a little life time out and using it to explore some different paths. I think that’s a great perspective. In addition to dating, use some of that extra time to invest in your dreams and desires. I think that will remove some of the pressure that can build up around dating when all you’re doing is checking your Tinder messages 900 times a day or to keep yourself occupied while they’re at work and to have something interesting to talk about when they’re off work. Good luck!