Dating in Your Twenties - Bubblegum Club

Dating in Your Twenties

Roses are no longer red and violets don’t gleam the same shade of blue in this dating era. Dating as a Gen Z has become hazardous. Everything has become hyper-focused on money, sex and ego. Ghosting has become the norm, while message responses are strategic instead of romantic and honest. Social media has allowed us to see celebrities receive rooms full of flowers resulting in too high expectations of people. Vague situationships and unclear intentions are normalised and we are no longer accountable for our actions. 

My girlfriends and I are all in our twenties and while the freedom of living by ourselves, and getting to go out on the town every now and again is one of the highlights, there is always that voice at the back of our minds wondering when will we finally meet “the one”. 


Here are a few accounts of what dating as a twenty-something female looks like today: 

Dating in my twenties has been a total rollercoaster ride. I mean, with all these dating apps, randomly meeting people when I’m out and about, and dealing with exes, it’s been one wild journey. And let me tell you, it hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. I think part of the reason is that I’m still kinda hung up on my ex, which totally messes with my ability to connect with new people. 

It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The type of guy I’m into is basically a mythical unicorn – super hard to find. And when I do meet someone, they’re either already taken or not interested in getting into a relationship, which puts me in a really sticky situation. Plus, I must admit, my fear of commitment doesn’t exactly help my messed up “dating life.” It’s a whole mess. 

  • Lerato 24 

I experienced a love that I once considered a forever kind of love until it ended. Navigating dealing with a breakup and trying to get back into the dating world is a lot harder than the option of just going back to an ex.  However, I feel like it’s beneficial to get to know other people so you can get a better understanding of what your deal breakers are rather than settling for the first person to give the bare minimum. Personally, I’d love to date around but there is no one around to date! 

  • Samantha 25 


I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to dating, no one taught me any of this stuff. Being a black child, dating was not allowed for the longest time, and then all of a sudden my mom is asking when she will get a son-in-law. I love films, and I am a big fantasy reader, so I can admit my head is a little in the clouds when it comes to romance, but is it silly to want to skip the dating part and just meet the love of my life? It is easy to be in a situationship or to hook up with a random guy, anyone can do it. What isn’t easy is being in a relationship, being vulnerable, and allowing yourself to fall in love, that’s why it’s worth it. I don’t want easy, I want true love

  • Grace 23 

I’ve been in a relationship for about two and a half years with a man that is two years younger than me and at first, I was a little weary but I figured let me give it a shot because we’d clicked so well and age hadn’t been an issue in our relationship yet, and it was the best decision I ever made. Dating a younger man has allowed me to grow and learn more about who I am in a relationship because there is no pressure to get married or to take the next step. Instead, we’ve both decided that we’d allow our careers to take off first before we made a decision like that because we don’t want to rush anything. 

So many people these days rush their relationships to reach these societal “life milestones” that have been set by certain ages and then it doesn’t end up working out, so we’d decided that we’d learn, understand and grow together, and separately, as much as we can before putting a ring on it. Recently, we’ve had the trials and tribulations of long distance, and it does get tough but by communicating exactly what I need from him and vice versa, we’ve created a system that accommodates both of us and works. This is the first man that I’ve been with that I can say wholeheartedly, I think he is the one.

  • Beatrice 24


I do not want to sound like a pessimist, but BIG MAN TING, it is not looking good.  Last year, the only men bothering me were people in-between relationships with very questionable morals. I played along, of course. There was nothing better to do (the books gathering dust on my shelf would be offended right now). Where I am now with dating is that I am very strict with the people who I hang around. I do not compromise on what I want or apologise for it. If someone feels like they are not able to give me what I want, they are probably right.  With all of that being said, I may be single today but that’s why I love tomorrows.  

  • Boipelo 23 

I stopped going out to places I did not like and started investing in my femme friendships as well as myself. In my last relationship, I truly felt like a shadow of myself. There were accommodations that I made simply to keep that person happy or interested in me. That self-erasure was something that deeply affected my relationship with myself. I was a chameleon, adjusting myself to their moods and their expectations. That experience opened my eyes to a bitter truth: maybe relationships are not what I need right now. I used to believe that there is a part of myself that was neglected due to the inability to exercise that sensual muscle or what the TikTok girlies call your Feminine Energy. So, my relationships with many men felt like a lot of emotional work. That my place in their lives was to hold space, nurture, and in essence, mother these people to love themselves. This was conflicting because I could do that for them but not myself. 

  • Jade 26 
After five seasons, Lawrence (Jay Ellis) and Issa (Issa Rae) get back together in the “Insecure” series finale.

Dating in my twenties has been interesting. It has had its ups and downs but I have learned a bit. I had one official relationship with my high school sweetheart who came back into my life when I was 22 years old only to exit again when I was 23. I guess it was just a trial to see if something was still there or maybe the right person at the wrong time. But turns out the second time is not the charm in my case. Jokes aside, he showed me, real love, from when I was still innocent at the age of 14 and now when he came back. I know how it feels to be treated like a queen and the lengths I would go to for the man I love. But now that we have broken up I have realised a couple of things; I will not date a man who is not financially stable, I will only accept princess treatment, and I will not do anything 50/50 with a man because I believe in the traditional way of dating and love. The list goes on but I will not settle for anything less. 

  • Thobeka 25


Being single feels like I’m missing out on something, it’s boring. I miss feeling butterflies for someone! When I see my friends in a relationship and in love I really wonder what that feels like, what it’s like to be loved, and that lack of feeling makes me feel lonely, sometimes… most times. I am constantly questioning myself and wondering if I’m the problem when deep down I know I’m not. It’s just that I’m picky, I know what I want and look for in a man. Oh and let’s not forget the pressure I get from my family and friends about the subject which makes me really anxious but at the same time, it’s not as if I have control over it. I mean where is HE? So… I stay patient and leave it in the hands of God for love. Until then I’ll keep focusing on myself and my work. Love will eventually happen.

  • Gigi 24 

While for some love may not live here yet, one thing that is great about being twenty is the sense of hope and optimism. #Couplegoals may not be a reality for many of us, but goals are meant to be achieved, and someday soon, all the single ladies will be drunk in love. 

Disclaimer: The names of the people in the article have been changed.




Images courtesy of Internet archives

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