Milestone meanings

If we could embrace the emotion of our teens, the fun of our college years, the ambition of our mid- 20s...

Milestones  (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Dating means different things at different age milestones. From teens to mid-life, your mindset concerning dating changes drastically, and you need to take the age of your dates into account to make sure you sync up.
Successful May-December relationships are the exception, not the rule. I know a few couples who are more than 10 years apart, but in general, you’re going to have the most in common with those who are closer to your own age.
When you’re a teen, you have a romanticized notion of love. You think you’re going to marry your high school sweetheart, and that whatever it is you’re feeling is “true love.” Heartbreak is the end of the world, and you can’t imagine living. Eventually you do get over it and realize there are many more fish in the sea.
College-age is time to have fun, and at 21 you can start meeting people at bars and clubs. Alcohol is introduced as part of dating and in your early 20s, dating is more akin to partying as alcohol allows you let your guard down, sometimes too much.
From the age of 25 through your late 20s, you start to take dating more seriously as you look for a mate and not just a date. You’re moving forward in your career and are looking to start a serious relationship. You start to make your list of wants and needs in a mate and that list is probably, not possibly, unrealistic.
The daunting age of 30 is quickly approaching. You always thought you’d be married by 30! You sign up for online dating, accept blind dates, go to the Jewish singles events, and basically do everything you said you would never do – and thought you would never have to do – in your early 20s.
YOU START to think much more seriously about what you want in a spouse.
Your list was long and no one could meet your standards; but once you hit 30, the race is on.
You realize certain traits are not quite as important as others, and although you may have become a bit desperate, you realize how much you’ve accomplished in other areas of your life, and are proud. But you also start to question what is wrong with you instead of what is wrong with your dates.
Introspection leads to independence.
By 40, frustration becomes a huge part of dating. Where are all the singletons, and why aren’t you meeting them? Your preferences now include divorcees and a much wider age range than you ever imagined. You start to come to the conclusion that you may never get married, you may never become a parent, and you convince yourself that that is okay, even though deep down inside you are mourning the life you thought you would have.
This mindset allows you to date people who may not have the genetic pedigree you preferred earlier in life since you’re not necessarily looking at someone in terms of reproduction.
At 50, you’re now at a place in life where you enjoy what you have and are no longer dwelling on what isn’t. You travel, you have close friends, you are successful, you are independent and you are happy. You would love a companion to share your life with, but the standards by which you judge someone are no longer as stringent or superficial as they were half a lifetime ago.
You are looking for someone you get along with, who also has some similar hobbies but is just as willing to try new things as you are. You aren’t thinking about a huge wedding with a white dress, but rather of someone whose life can blend with yours to create something magical and comforting.
Regardless of age, we all deserve to find someone to love, who loves us in return, but knowing what someone in a different range age may want could help in altering your expectations and making them more realistic.
I believe we can learn from the general expectations of each phase of life.
If we can each, no matter what our age is, embrace the raw emotion of our teens, the carefree spirit of our college years, the ambition of our mid-20s, the introspection of our 30s, the acceptance of our 40s and the enjoyment of our 50s – then we would be more well-rounded and open, and most likely no longer single.
Try to remember who you were in relationships from the age milestones of your past, and pull from those the person you liked being in those relationships.
Then picture where you would be in life if you were to still be single for future age milestones, and take from those the positive attributes you hope to encompass.
Hopefully you can instill those traits into yourself now and, in turn, become better at dating – so you can stop dating.