From Our Readers Confession Time: I’m 21 and I’ve Never Had a Boyfriend From Our Readers

The full title of this piece should really be, “I’m 21 and I’ve Never Had A Boyfriend Before, or Been on a Real Date. But I Have Kissed One Guy so Progress.” In that somewhat long-winded title, you’ve already gotten the extent of the my dating progress. But before you continue you reading, I want you to know that this isn’t a pity party, nor is it an “I don’t need a man, I’m a Single Lady!” piece. It’s just my thoughts on my current situation, which falls somewhere in-between the two sentiments.

When everyone started to get her first boyfriend in middle school, I wasn’t concerned. I remember thinking that there was no point in dating until I could drive. Being dependent on your parents to drop you off on your put-put date didn’t sound romantic to me. So naturally, I assumed that I would start dating in high school. By the time high came around something else happened to me—I became awkward. It was one of those weird times in life where I was plagued with a nervousness that resulted in me being quiet 97 percent of the time I was in school.  I tended to keep my head down and I became one of those quiet, smart girl types who get branded as nice as a default. Needless to say, I wasn’t the type who was popular with the boys.

But honestly, that was fine with me. I never really found that guy, my Jordan Catalano. The only guys I would get crushes on were people I barely knew. And I didn’t pursue getting to know them either. Having a crush was more like something to talk about with my friends. They weren’t really indicative of my internal feelings. You can’t truly like someone you don’t know. By the time my senior year rolled around, I was okay with being 17 and dateless. I knew, just knew, that in college I would find my guy. By that time I had a weird mix of self-confidence and awkwardness. I went outside of my comfort zone and asked a guy to prom, which I guess some people would call a date but it wasn’t in my eyes. I saw it more along the lines of, “all my other friends have dates and I might as well have one too.” To this day, that remains my one proactive move in my love life.

By the time I got to college, I was hopeful about my situation. Here, I would find a guy who understood my sarcasm, went to shows and knew who Wooderson from Dazed and Confused was.  The only problem is that my school has a 60/40 split of girls to boys. The 40 percent of guys doesn’t even account for the guys who are gay or the ones who are in fraternities, something I’m not that into. So really, I’m working with much smaller numbers. I know I’m not the only girl who struggles with the lack of eligible bachelors. When I was a junior, a sensational New York Times article even came out about the dating culture at my school. The article basically said that the only way to get a guy’s attention was to casually hook-up with him and expect nothing more. I’m like that Kelly Clarkson song, “I Do Not Hook Up,” so that’s not in my playbook. The whole article made my school sound super classy.

But I can’t blame my situation entirely on my environment. I know that it’s me too. When I’m in bars and places where you’re supposed to meet members of the opposite sex, my high school awkwardness comes back up. If a guy approaches me, I automatically think I’m standing in his way or he wants to talk to my friend. If I do get past that point, I’m usually confused about what you’re supposed to talk about. The moment it gets awkward, I’m out. Those situations are supposed to be casual but they seem high pressure to me. I’d really like to meet someone through a friend but when my girls are struggling to find a guy as well, there’s not room to help each other out. And I feel like I’m too young to on-line date, so that’s not an option.

But really the thing standing in my way is that I realize I don’t really care eighty percent of the time. I mean how can I care about something I’ve never had? In theory, having a boyfriend would be great. He’d be there to hang out with me, confide in, and snuggle with on cold days. But it’s not like I’m not used to being alone. For 21 years, I’ve lived my life as a single unit and it’s worked out pretty well so far. The twenty percent of the time I do care comes at those moments when my parents, old friends, or some rando asks about my love life. Those are always fun conversations to have that make you feel like a huge chunk or your life. Or have people think you’re secretly a lesbian or asexual, which is just annoying. People like to take it as far as to ask me if I want to get married someday. Getting married would be nice but it’s not the most pressing issue on my mind. It’s not something that will make or break my life either.

I used to think I was abnormal but now I’ve met a lot of girls in the same situation.   They have the same slightly apathetic, slightly sad but mostly I’m fine kind of attitude that I do. It’s good to know I’m not the only one. So if anyone out there is in the same situation, welcome to the club. Hopefully, something changes for us but I won’t dwell on it if it takes awhile.

Read more from Tiffany Ezuma here.

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  1. Can I just say WOW to absolutely everything said in this post? MY LIFE. Didn’t get my first kiss until 21 (when I made out with some guy in a bar during my semester abroad in Rome. Yeah, really romantic… though my 3rd kiss totally made up for that!) and didn’t get my first boyfriend until 23, which ended in disaster. I, too, always blamed myself for my lack of male affection, mainly because I am not a size 2 with giant boobs and the poster-child for “introvertism.” To compensate, I threw myself into school full-force and by my last semester of undergrad, I frankly didn’t care about finding a boyfriend anymore because I was swimming in academic accolades. But then there’s post-college. When I met my now-ex boyfriend, I was a recent grad, jobless, but in a local production of “Mamma Mia”, so I still felt pretty good about life because I was singing (my greatest love). I ended up meeting him at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, talked for 5 months, and he asked me out. I thought I finally had found “him”, the “one”. And then he took an emotional cheese grater to my heart and dumped me out of nowhere. It’s been about 10 months since that happened, and I’m still dealing with all those feelings. Doesn’t help that almost every other post on my Facebook feed is friends getting engaged and planning weddings and blah blah blah. And I feel awful. I feel like a failure that my fairytale relationship ended so suddenly, since it took so long for it to come around, and now it’s a rehashing of all those high school feelings of inadequacy. I wish I just didn’t care so much about this particular issue but I guess I’ll just wait it out and see what happens.

  2. I’m 26 and I’m in the same situation, although I’ve also never had a crush on a guy and if a guy were to flirt with me I’d think he was just complimenting me. When I was in junior high I wasn’t really aware that this was the time when girls and boys started dating so I wasn’t bothered by this. I was a little more bothered by the fact that I didn’t really have friends – just the two I’d made in 6th grade (and are still pretty much my only two friends to this day. Long story short, I found out the hard way in college that I don’t really know how to be a friend. Fortunately, these two besties don’t care).

    In high school I was more aware and had my theories as to why guys didn’t want to date me and girls and guys didn’t want to be my friends: I was plus-sized, I was shy and quiet and kept to myself, I didn’t wear the popular styles and brands and designers of clothes, there was something about me that made it clear that I didn’t watch MTV and listen to rap. These theories stayed with me through college, although the clothes and MTV/rap theories have somewhat been eliminated now that I’m at an age where that doesn’t really matter. I feel like I missed out big time on all the firsts that most other teenagers experience by high school graduation (my two younger brothers included).

    I’m not a bar hopper or club goer and I never hear about parties so the best places for me to meet a guy are the grocery store or on public transportation (I don’t drive). Hell, I don’t even like alcohol, which makes me feel even worse about the situation since I’m sure even the non-major drinkers probably still expect their girl to share a glass of wine with them at a fancy restaurant or a beer or mixed drink at a casual restaurant.

    I never get asked about my love life (thankfully!) but being Facebook friends with many of my high school classmates doesn’t help. Many are married and some are parents. While I’m happy for them I do sometimes wonder when it’s gonna be my turn to be that happy.

    I have considered online dating but the thought of going on a date actually feels weird. I can’t really afford the good ones like eHarmony (I know two people who’ve married the person they found there) and I don’t know what I’m looking for to go searching on the free ones. And as I said, I’m shy, so conversations and socializing aren’t really my forte. Which they probably should be if I want to date.

    While this didn’t ENTIRELY make me feel better, it is nice to know that I’m not alone.

  3. THANK GOD other people feel this way. Just…..thank you so much for writing this.

  4. I’m a guy, and I’m in the same place, no girlfriends, no dates, and I just turned 24. I feel the same way as the author; fine with it in my own head, but I feel like I am missing out when somebody asks me about it or when I see my friends with their girlfriends. I guess I don’t have any advice to really give anybody, just wanted to agree with everyone here. :)

  5. Nowadays it seems we have to rush every new experience, like it’s a to do list we have to complete as soon as possible. I always think to myself: just take your time and live these emotions with all your heart. I’m in the same situation, and same age, with the only difference that I looked for love for ages, but I just was unlucky, then I had more important things to do and so I didn’t care more… Something’s moving on in this period, maybe because it has to be this way only now. TAKE IT EASY GIRLS! :D

  6. I’m 25, turning 26 at the end of the year, and as others have said, I could’ve written this (minus being kissed, that hasn’t happened). I have been able to deal with it, making excuses- almost no men at my second college (90/10, with 2% being straight men), I’m busy, etc. As you said, it is the awkwardness, and for me, I don’t know if I feel good about myself to be with anyone, yet one of my friends keep trying to set me up with random guys. She keeps telling me that I should do that, or sign up for online dating, and that terrifies me. For me, it has been getting worse as I get older, and people get married, have kids, move in with their boyfriends, and I’m just…here. I hope this will change, and I will meet someone, but I don’t know.

  7. Oh wow, all I have to say is thank you so much for writing this article because you basically summed up my life so far. I’m 20 less than a month shy of turning 21 and I’ve always felt the same way. It’s nice to know that there are others who are in the same situation as me. So to summed it all up I would like to say thank you for writing this because it made my day better knowing that I’m not the only single awkward girl who feels that being in a relationship isn’t my first priority.

  8. Are you writing from my soul or what? No matter the age (which, as I’ve seen in the comments below, opens to a quite wide range), it’s the social awkwardness I’m mostly talking about. In my case, tho, it’s also a question of me being too invested in television couples in which one is literally swept off their feet; guess I’ve become a little too delusional about relationships. I just want the right person, and honestly if I don’t want to “try” in the mean time shouldn’t be anyone’s problem. Plus, did I mention the social awkwardness?

  9. So you’re 21 and have had no boyfriend? I am 33 and have had no boyfriend. Personally I don’t want a boyfriend.

    • “So you’re 21 and have had no boyfriend? I am 33 and have had no boyfriend…”
      –Melissa

      Melissa: double that and you’re me.
      (the gay guy in my early 20′s doesn’t count)
      TreeLady

  10. I’m glad that you wrote this article. Like others have said, I relate to this almost word for word. The only differences are that I’m turning 21 in December, my college does not have Greek life (but that 60/40 split is definitely there), and I’m not apathetic about my situation. I wish I were. Maybe that’s what’s actually holding me back. But it’s comforting to know there’s a good group of us. It’s even comforting to know that there are people who ARE apathetic (if slightly sad, but mostly fine). I think I need to get there.

  11. Hi. -puts up hand-

    “slightly apathetic, slightly sad but mostly I’m fine.” Haha that’s perfect.

  12. I totally relate to this! I didn’t get my first boyfriend until 23. Up to that point, I had gone on, maybe, two dates (one in high school, the other when I was 20 or so), and had a nice, pathetic string of online guys I had talked to. I was the type of emo girl–before emo was “cool”–of the 90s, full-on with the Catholic school repression and guilt, the heavy eyeliner, clunky Hot Topic necklaces….an unstable mess who yearned for a boy to pay her some attention other than just wanting a hook up. So I tried my darndest to get a guy, but after high school, I realized it would happen when it was meant to so there’s no use wasting energy and depending on it for happiness. I met my now fiancé seven years ago, and he was shocked I had never even held hands before! But love (or just a relationship) happens when it happens, no matter how “ready” we may think we are, sometimes we have to wait, and sometimes, it’s worth it.

  13. This article made me smile, not because I found humor in it, but I can relate to the author. In high school I had crushes, like any girl would. It was always the guys that would have little interest in me, but I couldn’t help but think about how I wish I could have a boyfriend with such looks (I apparently valued looks more than character. . .geez!). College was much like high school, but there were guys that seemed interested but never asked me out. I was very socially awkward and still am a bit, but have improved since my college days. That’s been nearly seven years ago (I’m almost 29 now). My first date was fall of last year and I was so delighted to be asked out by this particular guy. I didn’t know him well, but we were on friendly terms. Things seemed to be going great. He was patient with me, probably sensing that being in a relationship was not something I was use to. I was in a really happy place or at least thought I was. My family teased me about how long it took me to find a boyfriend. They loved him. One afternoon after I got off from work, he decided to take me out to dinner so we could talk. I expected the worse, thinking he wanted to break up with me. It was too soon in the relationship to be moving in together and we hadn’t been intimate, so I assumed the worse. The bombshells he dropped were unexpected and some I laugh about now because there were signs that should have told me something wasn’t right. I had a hard time accepting his confessions and we broke up. It was really tough, when he was someone that I had liked for a very long time and had wanted to ask out. Some of my family was bitter about the breakup and thought I had lost my mind, only because I never told them what ended the relationship. It was our private business and I wanted it to remain that way. The funny thing is, after the breakup I realized how much happier I am by myself. . .at least for now. I didn’t shed a tear when our relationship ended. . .I wasn’t as into it as I thought I was. Do I wish I was in a good relationship? Sure, but I’m in no hurry. Someday I’ll find a nice guy that’s kinda sorta normal. :P

  14. I’ve never had a boyfriend either and I have only been with 1 person I actually liked. I’m 22 and I used to think it was seriously just me. I think I’ve dwelled too much on it, so I’m hoping if I just appreciate being myself and understanding I’m not alone, it’ll all work out. This article has made my day :)

  15. Wow. This literally sums up my life word for word. Except I’m 20, turning 21 in August, but aside from that…yep, sounds like me. lol.

  16. The story of my life: “I’m 21 and I’ve Never Had A Boyfriend Before, or Been on a Real Date. But I Have Kissed One Guy so Progress.” (exp the one boy was gay)
    but then I stopped caring and very shortly after my birthday I went on my first date, got my first boy friend, and my first non gay boy kiss. Its worth having never had it before.

  17. I wish I read this three years ago. I’m 24, never been kissed or had a date.
    People are surprised to find I haven’t done anything, despite being Art major.
    (Because all art majors do drugs and go crazy in college… -.-) I, however, graduated college a lot more drama free than many of my peers who did do that and know myself a lot better. I’m hoping in graduate school, I’ll meet a guy who understand my love for art as I’m going to art school. If not, it’s not the end of the world. :)

  18. There is no point in rushing it. Take your time.

  19. I’ll be 30 in October, and I’ve never had a significant other or been kissed. I’ve been on all of two dates. If anyone feels like an odd duck…….. ;)

  20. I love this! I’m 18. Never been kissed, never dated, no boyfriend. Most of the people I hang out with are attractive, so I always assume that they’re going to get the guy, and I could just be protective of my girls. The riskiest thing I’ve ever done with a boy was tell him I liked him. This was when I was 7. In Sunday school. I saw him for the last 4 classes and then never again. But I rather like the relationship I have with guys. I just came back from a camping trip with my family, and my cousin took his friend who was pretty hot. My girl cousins are the kind who are really popular with the boys, they take care of themselves physically, and get a lot of play. So I just took a step back and decided they were more likely to end up with than I was and I would just be nice. Well, none of us got him to like us. But he did tell me that I was cool and funny. Idk It’s a difficult time to be a woman on the hunt for a man. You have to be the whole package. Beauty. Body. Brains. Personality. Etc.