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

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.

Featured image via.

  • Ashley Mouton

    Hey girl, I’m totally in your boat, but a few years down the road. 27 and dateless is a little more difficult than 21 and dateless. But I just wanted to say that I’m proud of you for not bending to social norms. I’ve been called a lesbian by people I’ve considered friends more times than I really like to count, just because I don’t hook up with people and I’m not suzy date-a-lot. Those people, they aren’t really friends. I’m just keeping my head up and my eyes peeled. That crazy nerdy guy who gets my sarcasm and jokes is out there, and so is yours! :-)

  • Ashley Walters

    Holy smokes. This article is exactly my life. 21 and never had a boyfriend. My roommate is a guy and people are always shocked that he and I aren’t a couple. Everyone always asks why I’m still single, and I don’t know what to say other than “I don’t know. I guess I’m not really looking.” But the truth is I’m okay. If I were meant to be in a relationship, I would. Anyway, I’m glad I’m not completely alone in this!

  • Jennifer Dinsmore

    I feel like I just read an article about my life at 21! I never dated in high school, and only got my first kiss in gr. 12, years beyond all my friends. I always thought being in a relationship would be nice but was too shy to approach anyone and those who approached me were guys I really only considered friends and had no interest in. To date them would have been unfair. In college, I slowly gained some confidence, made some new friends and through them met their friends, which led to me meeting my boyfriend of six years (and counting!). People sometimes ask why I didn’t play the field more but it just wasn’t me and I learned pretty fast what type of guys I didn’t want to date through my friends, or attending parties and such. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m grateful I was single for so long because by the time my BF came around, I knew what I did want and was comfortable in my own skin. Own it, and things will work out when they are meant to!

  • Jess White

    22 never had a boyfriend… never been kissed, so you beat me there 😉
    Not in a hurry for any of it. I have bigger fish to fry, like finishing my 2nd degree.

  • Imani Spence

    I’m 18, and I just had my first boyfriend this past semester, and I hated it. I didn’t hate the boy, he was really nice and cared about me etc, but I didn’t like the fact that I now was defined in terms of another person.
    I think the fact that more women are ok with being single (not including the women who prefer casual hook ups) just shows how much progress we’ve had as a country. At one point the only way to be considered “happy” was to be married, with children. Now there are so many ways to be happy, that the traditional way is just one!

  • Veronica Gerace

    Ah, others of my kind! I’m 20 and I haven’t even kissed anyone. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I was raised in a very small community where you were friends with people but hardly ever dated. Then I went on a year-long missions trip. No luck in that scenario. College has not been looking promising either; we have a 3:1 ratio of women to men. I’ve only ever known the single life, and recently I went through a lot of self-improvement, so I am okay most of the time. But it’s not like I don’t want somebody! My dad, just a few weeks ago, went so far as to suggest (to someone else!) that I wasn’t interested in dating. That is the wrongest thing ever. It’s not easy in today’s world to try to be a strong woman, AND want a chivalrous man to come along. Will someday my prince come, or is it up to me to find him? I wish I had the answer.

  • Annie Beckel

    I feel as if I wrote this article! This is my life! Sometimes I get embarrassed or nervous when people ask me about my love life. Mostly because I know that people judge me as the super awkward girl that is either still trying to “find” herself or too picky. I am just waiting until I find that person who is worth dating. So in conclusion, I think you are very COURAGEOUS and STRONG to write this on the internet. Because I don’t know if I could do it!! Thank You for starting the 21 and never dated club! :)

    • Katie Sholty

      I feel like you just wrote my response!!! I only feel bad about being single is when people start discussing me in front of me. Everyone starts asking each other if they know any good single guys. I’m like, “Hello. Do this on your own time!” Sigh. I still like being able to take off for two weeks on a road trip and not have to worry about anyone. Or staying out as late/early as I want. I still love not have in a guy and kids. I’m selfish. I like my sleep and my quiet me time. Sometimes I think I must be weird to relish in my independence. I just don’t want to end up as the crazy cat lady. LOL.

  • Jenny Lonussen

    23 and in the same boat, aren’t those conversations with relatives and random people the best? My battle song concerning this is ‘When I Fall In Love’ by Nat King Cole haha! In reality it’s probably more accurate to say that it’s a mixture of my believe in that song and the fact that I’m nowhere near emotionally ready for tying my life to that of someone else -in this particular way. Like that Fergie song “myself and I we’ve got some straightening out to do”. Anyway I know it gets awkward but you’re not definitely not alone in this and I hope you can keep owning your life and life choices as amazingly well as you have in this article! You go girl!

  • Em Milling

    I’ve been reading articles lately that point to the fact that young women don’t necessarily even want to be in long term relationships. We’re not all running out our parents’ doors, falling in love and getting married like we used to. We’re taking charge of our careers, and *SURPRISE* sometimes not even getting married.

    I think humans have a built in desire to not be alone, but I don’t think that it needs to fit the classic “husband/wife” profile. Your partner in life could be a parent, a sibling, a friend. Some people even get by with a pet.

    Overall, if you don’t feel it, don’t do it. Stick to what’s important to you and make changes in the traditional formula – we don’t always have to listen to our “level-headed” parents way of doing things. (Obviously not applicable to all people, but you know what I mean!)

  • Shelby Marie-Joan Anderson

    I feel like I just read my journal… This is crazy. I am 19, never had a BF, and I am pretty cool with that. I always just attribute it to my laziness & my, mainly sarcastic, sense of humor which prove difficult for a lot of people to catch on to. Its truly not my main concern to have a guy at my side right now, I am much more concerned with my schooling and figuring out what in the sam-hill I am going to do with my life.

  • Madeline Rainwater

    My sister just turned 26 and she’s in the same boat pretty much. Just try to ignore people. No matter what the situation, people will try to push you to that next step in life. Oh, you’re dating! When are you going to get married? Oh, you’re married! When are you going to have kids? (That’s where I’m at.) People ask me all the time if I’m pregnant yet. I’m not at all over weight. They just want me to have a baby! People can’t just mind their own business!

  • Diane Zeno

    23 and married with a 3 year old, here. I love my family a lot and my husband is my bestfriend. However, sometimes I wish I had been able to do things like have my own apartment, or even live with a couple of gal-pals, I started “Dating” at 14 and had my first serious boyfriend at 16, which I think is pretty standard, but I feel like I’ve been continuously dating someone my whole life, and sometimes I wonder if I would even know what to do if I was truly single, because even when I was SINGLE I was always kind of dating someone. I wish I had taken some time out of the dating world for myself. Cheers to the other side of the quarter. Enjoy the single life which you have it.

  • Nadia Medellin

    I love reading things like this! I can totally relate especially the marriage thing and people thinking you’re a lesbian haha!

  • Jaime Hammer

    I think this is becoming increasingly common in our society. :) A lot of women have other things higher up on their priority lists than dating or finding a husband. Relationships, even good relationships, can keep people from doing things that they want to do. I just got out of a long term relationship, and part of the reason it wasn’t making me happy anymore is because I want to travel, and I want to do it by myself. So I’m going to put off getting into another long term relationship at least until after I do that. I might come up with something else that I want to do and put off a relationship even longer, and that’ll be okay. :) We have so much time, more than women (or men) had 50 or 60 years ago. So let’s enjoy it and spend it how we want to spend it. :)

  • Betsy Becker

    Girl, I get it! I’m 26 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I mostly date guys for two or three weeks until they give me the fade away, for whatever reason. Sometimes that makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me, but for the most part, I feel like you. I’ve been single for 26 years so I’m fine with being alone and honestly, it freaks me out a little to think about being with someone all the time.

  • Richard Pimenoff

    It’s very refreshing to see a woman in a similar situation as myself. I’m almost 21 and I’ve been through the whole “Maybe in high school”, “Maybe in College” and now it’s, “Maybe in College a second time!”. Unlike you I have dated two people for a very short time and my expectations never seem to align with reality (Yes a fitting quote from my favourite Z.D. Movie). However that being said I’ve never had a girlfriend. Yes, I do desperately want one. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to ask every single woman I see on the street in pursuit to gain the chivalrous title of boyfriend.
    No, I’m not picky.
    No, I’m not shy (Although someone asking me out would honestly make my year).
    No, the woman of my dreams does not look like the one you see plastered on every billboard and magazine.
    And no I’m not gay (Yes I’ve gotten that one too)

    My point being is that regardless of your orientation or gender. Just start actively pursuing things you want and what happens is that you’ll start running into other people who are doing the exact same thing. And those are the people you want to be with!

  • Alexandrea Ybarra

    I was 26 before I had a serious relationship. It lasted less than 2 years and he cheated on me. We are actually still friends though. I have been in one other relationship and it also lasted less than 2 years – I broke up with him because we were basically just friends that were trying to be intimate and it was not working. I have been single now over 4 years (I am 33 now) and don’t really think about being in a relationship much. I just live my life and if someone comes along, great. If not, maybe it isn’t in the cards for me. The important thing is to try not to think of it as a negative. It isn’t that no one “wants” you, it is that no one has been lucky enough to find you yet.

  • Eileen Hogan

    I wanted to get married when I was 14, but I was 22 before I’d even kissed a guy. And I always felt totally weird, until I started to meet all of these other girls, some way older than me, who were in the same situation. It is totally not uncommon!

  • Catrin Morgan

    I’m in the exact same position with the exact same thoughts on the matter just a couple of years older. Kind of happy to see to I’m not alone!

  • Fateen Taradiddle

    Wow your case are exactly like me. I’m turning 21 this year and never ever been in a relationship before. I thought I would get one in my college years but my university, just like you, there are more female students and it does decrease the chance. So I passed my school years, college years and now aiming for my second degree or maybe I will find someone when I finish study and got a job. Actually I don’t mind being single because I am the kind that enjoy solitude, but yeah, I don’t know how to approach a guy. I find it very awkward every time I tried to.

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