Anna Pulley, @annapulley
RedEye's sex columnist
12:48 PM CDT, May 2, 2012
I'm 32, single and haven't dated anyone seriously in the last decade and have only dated a few guys casually in that time. At my age, most of my friends are married and are now starting to have kids. I'm freaking out a bit. I want to get married and have a family, and I feel like time is running out. I haven't tried online dating because I really don't think it's for me, but at this point, I don't know what else to do. Any advice for meeting marriage-material men at this age?
—Ready for Love
I totally know what you mean. It seems like every damn day someone's getting engaged or Instagram-ing a fetus on Facebook. It can be hella disorienting to see your friends going through these major life milestones and to feel like, "Everyone's in the pregnancy club but me! And where's my TJ Maxx gift registry? Someone call the waaaahm-bulance!"
At 32, though, you're still a young niblet. You've got several years before your ovaries dry up and head to a timeshare in Florida. I've had friends who've spawned well into their late 30s and early 40s, so don't close up the Bat Cave just yet. Also, stress is bad for the reproductive organs, so the less time you devote to panicking at the disco, the better.
It would have been helpful to know why you're reluctant to try online dating, but as someone who's done it like a part-time job, I think I can venture a few guesses. That said, meeting people online is no longer a vestige of the creepy weirdoes. (That would be DiaperMates.com, in case you're wondering.) Lots of people meet their significant others that way—in fact, 22 percent of couples met on the Internet, according to a study done in 2009, mentioned in this Association of Psychological Science paper). Still, the most common way to meet a mate is through family and mutual friends, so if you haven't exhausted your pals' cheese-and-gherkin parties, don't stop ‘til the getting's gouda.
I will say that if you're truly on the market, why not have as many avenues available to you as possible? Online dating gives you instantaneous access to thousands of potential partners who you never would've been able to meet otherwise. It's also a woman's game, in that men typically do most of the legwork to find and woo you. Win-win, yeah? Bribe a good friend with a bottle of wine and have him or her spend an hour helping you create a dating profile. Match.com and eHarmony are supposedly where the more "serious" daters go, i.e. those looking to put a ring on it, but if you loathe paying for things like I do, then go to OkCupid or PlentyOfFish.
Of course, the nitty gritty of all this "true love" biznass is that it involves a lot of chance, luck and dirty laundry before you find someone who's right for you. Take heart though, my friend; at least now that you're in your 30s, maybe your sex drive will spike?
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