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Steps to improve your romantic life in your 30s

There's nothing wrong with being single. But the older you get, the more magnified your singledom is. You start to become the odd one out. While you're budgeting for bottle-poppin, your friends' calendars are filling up with couples-only vacations and baby showers. Dating switches from a numbers game to being something you want to get right a little quicker. Think about dating as finding a job: you don't apply to every single open position. You narrow down your search and cater yourself as a worthwhile candidate. Relationships aren't any different.

If you want your dating life to more fruitful, your mental approach to relationships has to change. Dating is supposed to be fun in your 20s. Once you reach your 30s (and maybe a few years earlier), your focus is going to shift to the next level of quality. Many of us have maintained behaviors for years because of its perceived "success". Here's the thing; if you've done the same thing for years and not one relationship has lead to anything beyond you being a placeholder, is what you're doing actually working?

Relationship writers spend their time doling out advice to an audience that's craving pointers on what they need to do or stop doing. Realistically though, only you can decide what works for your dating life. Unlike finding a new job or moving to a new city, there is no step by step list. Although, you can start out simple with these tips

* Date outside your type: Whatever avenue you use, unconsciously, you wind up dating the exact same person over and over it. So be more open-minded and branch out.

* STFU: Guys talk themselves out of sex. Women talk themselves out of relationships. Water is also still wet. New relationships seldom get off the ground because people talk too much about the wrong things. Or they prematurely discuss the right things with the wrong person. Appreciate a fresh dating experience for what it is and let it naturally blossom.

* Determine what you don't want: We all have a list of requirements and preferences. It's expected to fall quickly for what someone presents to us on paper. Although when you're older, it's advantageous to vet potential partners based on the things you don't want; the non-negotiables. When you have clarity on what you don't want, you make room for the people with good intentions.

* Leave sex out of it: Celibacy isn't for everyone. But it's an irrefutable fact that sex changes things. For women, it makes them see and feel things that don't exist. For men, it satisfies a physical need without forcing emotional commitment. You'd be a fool to attach a time limit for when sex is okay when you're dating. However, it can alleviate some pressure by saving sex until you can confidently answer the "what are we doing?" question.

* Only you know the answers: Asking other people for advice on your dating situations can often be futile. I'm willing to estimate that 80% of dating situations in which advice is being sought, the person(s) already know exactly what they plan or want to do. The worst thing you can do as a single person is constantly ask outsiders for advice.

Once your life has settled down and everything seems to falling in its rightful, finding romance is the next thing to pursue. The best learning lesson we take from our 20s is to know that when things don't feel right, you have to step back and see where that person fits in your future. If someone is replaceable in your romantic life (in the sense where you swap them out for a different body but keep everything the same), then he or she don't belong. The best way to begin improve the romantic aspect of your life is to be honest with yourself about what you're capable of giving and what you deserve to receive.