If, like me, you’re in your 30s, the chances are your thoughts on love have changed multiple times over the years.
From Shakespeare’s portrayal of love to Disney romance, most of what we’ve been taught about this complex emotion isn’t indicative of real-life relationships.
And unfortunately, most of us learn this the hard way. As I always say:
Your 20s are for making mistakes. Your 30s are for learning from them!
So, here are things you should already know about love:
1) Love shouldn’t hurt
In our late teens and 20s, love can be pretty turbulent.
We’re still learning how to manage our emotions and expectations, all whilst navigating the complexities of relationships.
I don’t know about you, but I often saw love being portrayed as something beautiful, but also painful. Like being hurt comes as part of the package.
Suffering at the hands of a partner who isn’t right for you, but doing it out of love, seemed to be accepted.
“He drives me crazy, he never listens to me. But what can I do? We’re in love.”
Errm…hold on a minute. Real love is about respect, honesty, and communication.
By 30, you should have had enough experiences to know that love and pain shouldn’t go together. If you’re constantly hurt by loving someone, they’re not the right person for you.
2) Love isn’t displayed through extreme jealousy
Another misconception I often hear is people claiming their love for someone drives them to become insanely jealous.
I hear women say, “If your man doesn’t get jealous whenever you talk to another guy, he’s clearly not in love.”
Again – this is wrong.
Some jealousy is normal. But restricting your partner comes from insecurity, not love.
In fact, I believe the highest form of love is allowing your partner to be free, trusting them enough to know they’d never go behind your back.
In my mid-20s, I had a couple of relationships where jealousy played a major role. Looking back now, I realize just how toxic those partners were.
In my 30s, I’m all about healthy, balanced relationships. Jealousy takes a back seat when you really focus on building trust alongside love.
3) Love isn’t about being stuck at the hips
I used to think that couples in love spend every waking minute together.
In fact, I probably ruined a few relationships in my 20s because of this misconception…I’d get annoyed if a partner wanted to spend a day apart or go on holiday with friends without me.
But now, in my 30s, I crave independence and alone time.
I love my husband more than anything, but if the man doesn’t give me 5 minutes to decompress alone after a day of work, I end up getting snappy.
And this works two ways – I also respect his need for space. For time spent alone with his friends or family.
You see, love doesn’t mean you lose your individual life and become “one”.
It’s about two individuals who come together, enhancing each other’s lives. Not completing each other, as you should be complete by yourself.
4) Self-love is crucial
Another thing you should know about love in your 30s is the importance of self-love.
I think it’s pretty normal that in younger years, you’d have focussed more on giving your love to others rather than pouring into yourself.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
But as you grow and learn about yourself and the world around you, there comes a point when you realize that the biggest gift we can give to ourselves is respect and care.
And there are so many ways to achieve this:
- Setting strong boundaries to protect your peace and energy
- Looking after yourself through good hygiene, sleep, and healthy food
- Being kind to yourself when you make a mistake
Think about it this way; if you don’t set the standard, the precedent, how will anyone else know how to love you the right way?
5) Love changes with time
Love isn’t static.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that love changes and evolves, even within one relationship.
When you’re in your 20s, it’s easy to imagine that love will be this exciting, rollercoaster experience where you feel butterflies in your tummy whenever you see your partner.
But by 30, you should realize it’s not quite like that.
Sure, when I met my husband at 27, it was all of that, but 6 years down the line, love has become comforting, safe, and peaceful.
And I prefer it that way.
Those initial feelings are great and all, but emotions evolve and deepen the more we get to know someone and experience life with them.
It’s also unhealthy to think that love should stay exciting and thrilling, 5 or 10 years down the line. Instead, we should appreciate that it matures into a more profound connection.
6) Love requires compatibility to work
How many times have you been in love, tried desperately to make it work, only for it to entirely fall to pieces?
In your 30s, you’ve probably come to realize that without compatibility, love alone can’t sustain a relationship.
Instead, things like:
- Good communication
- Similar values
- Compatible life goals
- Respect and commitment
Are what build long-lasting relationships.
Without those, love can only take you so far! It’s easy to overlook this though when you’re young and the chemistry is wild.
You think that you can overcome any obstacle as long as you love each other. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but one we all go through at some point.
7) Loving someone requires work
And finally, even if you have all the boxes ticked on the compatibility front, loving someone still requires effort and work. Daily.
I believe it’s a choice to keep loving someone through their flaws, disagreements, and problems that come with relationships.
It requires patience and dedication.
Notice how even the most solid couple can end in divorce or separation, much to everyone else’s surprise?
They didn’t break up because they fell out of love or weren’t compatible. Sometimes it’s because they started to take each other for granted and stopped making an effort.
Or they stopped prioritizing healthy communication.
Real love takes sacrifice. It’s not all roses and kittens.
But when two people choose to prioritize their love for each other, beautiful things happen as a result.
So, if you didn’t know the above by your 30s, now you do!