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How to date as queer adult: 7 dating and relationship tips for people over the age of 25

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Oct 30, 2023

How to date as queer adult: 7 dating and relationship tips for people over the age of 25

If you are reading this, you might be wondering why dating as an adult is so hard? Whether you are more of a late bloomer or you dated a ton when you were younger, dating can get more complex the older you get. While this can be true for all types of people, I know it especially hits home for all my LGBTQIA+ babes.

You might not have put much thought into dating when you were younger. Maybe you ended up going out with someone because they showed interest in you, went to the same school, or you were the only two gay people in your hometown. So many romcom plot lines are based on young people falling in love, but we don’t often see representations of what it looks like to actively date in your 30s, 40s, and beyond. 

While the narratives still exist out there about high school sweethearts or “finding the one” at the age of 18, the truth is that more adults are choosing not to settle down until later in life. Whether this is because people want to focus on their career or not rush into long-term commitment out of the fear of being alone, it’s safe to say that attitudes about marriage, kids, and dating timelines have changed a lot over the last 50 years. 

Despite this fact, there are still challenges and complexities that come with dating as an adult. Whether you are wondering how to meet other single adults, what it’s like to be in an LGBTQIA+ adult relationship, or how to go about dating over 30 years old, you’ve come to the right place. While it can be hard to date as an adult, it is not impossible! Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about dating later in life as a queer person.

What to expect when dating as an adult

  • You might become more selective and picky about who you date
  • Personality might start to matter more to you than just looks
  • Dealbreakers become a thing
  • You begin to be attracted to people’s values and outlooks on life
  • You take your time getting to know someone

The dating game changes quite a bit once you become an adult. As you get older, you get to know yourself better and gain more clarity on what you want and don’t want from relationships. People in their late twenties and early thirties often start to think about building a foundation for their lives, which might mean that you start being more selective about who you choose to date. This means that your standards and expectations for romantic relationships might change as you age.

While physical appearance, chemistry, and personality can still be important factors while dating, you might start to question whether or not other aspects of your lives are compatible such as what cities you live in, ambitions, career paths, or timelines for settling down. The question of whether or not you both want a monogamous or polyamorous relationship also factors in here.

The get-to-know-you questions you used to think were boring when you were younger might start to become strangely crucial deal breakers in determining long-term compatibility. You might find yourself suddenly getting cold feet about getting involved with someone who doesn’t believe in recycling or is severely allergic to cats! 

You might want to discuss your values and views on life early on so that you can learn about each other and identify any potential conflicts or disagreements that might arise. Taking your time getting to know someone before jumping into a relationship as an adult is okay! While dating as an adult can feel challenging, you also have the potential to build strong and long-lasting connections based on mutual respect, good communication, and a shared vision for your future together

7 tips for LGBTQIA+ adult dating

A woman with long blonde hair laying down on a bed on her iPhone, looking for matches on adult dating sites.

Here are some tips on navigating dating as a queer adult no matter your age.

1. Don’t be afraid to get on dating apps!

There is a common misconception these days that dating apps are strictly for hookups, flings and casual relationships. While lots of people take the no-strings-attached approach to online dating, there are lots of adults on dating apps who are looking for a serious relationship. 

It can be hard to know where to meet other single queer adults your age, especially if you are in your 30s or older. This is especially true if you live in a smaller city or if you aren’t that particularly interested in the nightlife scene. The LGBTQIA+ scene in bars and clubs trends toward younger people in their early twenties. If you are older, sober, or just not into drinking and dancing, it can be hard to figure out how to meet other queer people who have similar lifestyles.

While you can always join an in-person social event or club to meet other LGBTQIA+ people, it can be hard to know who is single or looking for a relationship in those settings. One of the perks of making a profile one a dating app is being able to clarify what your relationship status is, what types of folks are your type, and what kinds of connections you are looking for. Communicating and knowing these things about potential lovers will help you find the right people for you.

2. Be upfront about what you are looking for and know what you want

Two queer women laughing and sitting on a bed with their dogs after moving in together.

One of the best parts about dating as an adult is that we get to be honest with ourselves and others about what exactly we want out of a relationship! Yay! Don’t be afraid to get honest with potential matches about what you are looking for in terms of exclusivity, long-term goals, or relationship structures such as monogamy or polyamory. Some LGBTQIA+ people find it important to be in relationships with people who are out or who have dated other queer people before, while it doesn’t matter so much to others. 

Your time in this life is precious and limited and the older you get, the less interested you become in game-playing or time-wasting. It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for right now, but one of the best things about being an adult is being able to have the maturity to be clear about that. If you have an idea of what type of connection you are looking for—whether that’s a life partner, friends with benefits, or a co-parent for your dog or future kids—be honest and upfront with your dates about that. 

Some great advice for dating as an adult is to make a list of things you are looking for in a partner, including the need to have, the nice to have, and any hard no’s. This will help you articulate the qualities that you are looking for in a partner and can be useful to reference when meeting or dating new people.

3. Figure out what amount of contact and communication feels good for you

A queer redheaded woman lying by a pool in a striped shirt wearing sunglasses and talking on Facetime.

One of the most stressful parts of dating is undoubtedly the early days of getting to know each other. During this time, you are likely getting to know each other and building chemistry and trust as you deepen your connection. It’s good to know what types of communication you are looking for from a partner as you navigate the early stages of dating. 

We’ve all stayed up way too late waiting for a text from that one person and gone through the agony of fear and doubt when they don’t respond right away. As adults, it’s important to know that people have lots of different things going on in their lives including work, hanging with friends or family, or self-care days. 

Don’t be afraid to communicate about what types of contact feel good and which ones don’t, including texting, talking on the phone or on Facetime. Make an effort to see each other in person and minimize the amount of texting or DMs to leave space for the connection to develop organically and in person, and try not to take things personally if someone doesn’t respond to you right away.

Pro-tip: if you are avoiding texting someone back because you just aren’t feeling it, break things off! Another perk of being an adult is that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, but you do have to have the decency to let people know what’s up.

4. Meet and spend time with their friends and/or family 

Two black friends laughing and hugging at the beach with the seashore behind them.

There are many relationship firsts when dating as an adult. If you’ve been dating someone for a while, it might be a good idea to spend some time around their friends or even consider meeting their family. Getting to know the people who play an active part in your partner’s life will give you a good idea of what it would feel like to spend significant amounts of time together in a long-term way. You will learn a lot about a person by building relationships with the people who they surround themselves with. 

If you get a chance to meet their family, you can also gain a lot of context about who they are and how they were raised. Whether or not they have a good relationship with their family, it is important to spend time with the people in your significant other’s lives. Showing a desire to integrate your partner into your life and introduce them to your friends or family can help them feel secure in your relationship and future together.

5. It’s okay to be selective and take your time getting to know someone

A close-up photo of two queer adults on a date, one woman’s hands around the other’s waist, intertwined.

Dating as an adult can come with all types of unwanted pressures. It can be frustrating to be the only one of your friends who is still single. You might feel like jumping into a relationship for fear of ending up alone. Remember that it’s okay to go slow and give yourself space to build a connection with a person over time. This can especially be true if you are dating with kids or if you’re still recovering from a previous relationship.

Try your best not to force things and learn how to relax and have fun while dating. Sometimes starting with a friendship and seeing where things go can help take the pressure off. Don’t be afraid to take the time to do some self-work and learn how to love and cherish yourself in the meantime. Just know that whoever is meant for you, won’t pass you by. 

6. Listen to your intuition and trust yourself 

Two queer LGBTQIA+ butch people with short dark hair, one is resting their head on the other's shoulder.

If you start to feel like things are imbalanced or the relationship dynamics start to feel weird, don’t be afraid to listen to yourself and end things before they progress much further. So much of dating as an adult is having the wherewithal and discretion to say hell yeah when it’s a yes, and thank you, next when it’s a no. Make sure to check in with your own emotions and wellbeing and stay committed to yourself no matter who you are dating. 

Aging is sexy. Maturity and good communication are hot! Remember that you are worth it. Keep aging like a fine wine, and never settle for less than you deserve.

If you’re looking for the best LGBTQIA+ adult dating app, look no further—HER is here for you.

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Dusty Brandt Howard is a writer & a fighter. He is a trans masculine cultural narrator who builds worlds with words. You can follow his thirst traps on Instagram, his writing on Substack, or find him at your local queer bar in northeast LA.

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