I just turned 30 and didn’t start dating till now and I feel out of my element?

I didn’t date all throughout my 20s due to putting all my effort and finances into getting my life together. Maybe it wasn’t the best way, but what’s done is done. At least now I have a good career and a lot of “common checkboxes” ticked that are desirable in the dating world, but obviously that didn’t come without a serious cost (and arguably I could have done both).

Now, I’m just starting to date and I feel like a 20 year old, but the people in my age range have been dating for several years.

I’m not looking at getting married till at least 35 years old, so that is out of the question. Long-term is a possibility, but let’s be honest it’s unlikely that it is going to last 5 years so basically I already know beforehand that I’m just having fun with the possibility of a long-term but probably-not-marriage-material relationship.

I saw one girl for 2 months but she was 29 and looking for a long-term relationship. I could have just not brought up the fact that I’m not looking for marriage and gotten her to sleep with me and then break up with her in 1-2 years, but I just felt too shitty to do that to her and waste her time. I just can’t bring myself to “waste” a year or 2 of these girls time.

It feels to me like what I am doing now would have been acceptable in my early-mid 20s but now I am not so sure.

I’m not sure how to deal with this. Should I be dating younger girls? Filtering girls by being upfront that I am not looking to get married? I don’t want to just come out randomly and say oh by the way I’m not looking to get married anytime soon because saying so without prompt/request seems a little strange to me? Is it even socially acceptable to date without intent of marriage after 30?

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