I have spent my 20s searching for a partner who meets my specific criteria, and I can confidently say that I have found the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Being an attentive observer of the dating landscape among my peers, I have come to realize the unique challenges that young adults face during this stage of life. Numerous factors come into play when it comes to dating in your 20s. The pool of eligible individuals appears to shrink, navigating relationships while dealing with financial constraints becomes trickier, and the pressure to settle down and get married can become overwhelming.

Many people on social media have noted that it is hard to find a partner that doesn’t have a child, which makes it hard for them to find meaningful relationships as they do not want to commit to people with children. This is true; recently, my friend Asabonga Bam, a 26-year-old single mother, opened up about her struggles with dating. She expressed frustration, noting that it has been incredibly difficult for her to find a partner who understands her situation beyond the assumption that she is solely seeking a father figure for her two-year-old son.

“I used to think it’s because people think I am looking for a father for my child, but I’m not—I want a partner,” Asabonga said. “But I have realised it is more than just that because it’s hard to predict my schedule even on my own because I have to account for my son. Someone understanding parental dynamics is a huge ask, but I’m hopeful there’s a prospect out there.”

Dating someone with a child presents unique challenges that extend beyond the usual complexities of relationships. It requires a high level of understanding and flexibility, as the presence of a child greatly influences scheduling and priorities. For many potential partners, comprehending and embracing these parental responsibilities can be overwhelming, leading to hesitations in committing to such relationships.

Additionally, the challenging economic climate in South Africa adds another layer of complexity to the dating scene. According to Statistics South Africa, an alarming 46.5% of young adults are unemployed, further exacerbating financial constraints for many individuals. In such circumstances, dating becomes costly, even for those of us in committed relationships like myself. Budgeting becomes a crucial aspect when it comes to going on dates and buying gifts. When we take into account these financial realities, it’s not hard to imagine the immense pressure it puts on individuals who are navigating the dating landscape in search of a lifelong partner.

The struggles faced by people in their 20s in the dating scene are complicated, to say the least. Some merely seek casual experiences and enjoyment, while others set their sights on finding a lifelong partner. This dichotomy creates a difficult dynamic to navigate, as individuals may find themselves at different personal and professional development stages. Many feel that their 20s are a time for self-discovery and building a foundation for their future, which can make the idea of marriage less of a priority.

To gain insight into this dynamic, I spoke to two individuals about this dynamic, Wendy Namba and Asandile Langeni – two young people in their 20s, looking to dive in the dating pool. “I rarely struggle with partners having different intentions. I am not dating to marry nor am I dating for fun. I hope to grow, and understand relationship dynamics more and if the person I would be with grows with me, that’s great.” Wendy says. “Currently I’m dating for fun because I am not at that stage of getting married. The dating pool is dirty, but trust me there are people who can make you see it differently. Everyone is bleeding so we all have trust issues. I personally feel like relationship holds the vision. Because when you are in a relationship you have to think about your partner sometimes put them first. So that can hold you back.” Asandile says.

The two answers showed the contrast in the dating pool. People are dating for different reasons, and that clash in intentions makes other people skeptical about dating. However, amidst these challenges, it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dating in your 20s. Each person’s journey is unique, and respecting and honouring individual perspectives and goals is crucial. Some may find love early on, while others may take more time navigating relationships’ complexities and finding the right match.

In conclusion, navigating the world of dating in your 20s can be a thrilling yet daunting experience. The challenges of a shrinking pool of prospects, financial limitations, and differing relationship goals may sometimes seem overwhelming. However, by approaching these hurdles with patience, understanding, and an open mind, you can create a space where genuine connections and lasting relationships can flourish. Embrace the complexities of modern dating, respect each other’s individual journeys, and remember that the pursuit of love and companionship is a beautiful adventure worth embarking upon. So, dear reader, go forth with confidence, knowing that your 20s hold the potential for incredible experiences and the chance to find a love that will stand the test of time.


If you enjoyed this you might like, Date my family here.

Tell us: What strategies or advice would you give to someone navigating the challenges of dating?