At the risk of sounding like I’m trying to shock, I’m twenty-five years old and I’ve only had one boyfriend.
I’ve also been kissed by only one guy – excluding the peck on the cheek I got from my kindergarten crush (thank you, J.T., wherever you are).
Last year, that one boyfriend, after six years of girlfriend/boyfriending it, became my husband. You read that right: the only guy that I’ve ever kissed, the only boyfriend I have ever had, is now my husband. Assuming that we will life happily ever after, he will be the only guy that I will ever kiss.
In some ways, I’m a bit in shock over this for two reasons: because I never, ever thought I would have only been with one guy (I’m talking both in a relationship and sexually, here); and secondly, because I’m admitting to everyone – well, really just you, the reader, but you get my point – that I’ve been in a relationship with only one person, and have shared my kissing experience with only said person.
I know there really isn’t anything truly wrong with my romantic history. It’s just I’ve developed a bit of a shameful feeling every time it is somehow brought up that my husband has been my only manfriend. It never helped seeing studies that revealed that the average woman kisses 15 people in her lifetime, and will likely have two long-term relationships. Bizarrely, I used to feel that something must be wrong with me. Why hadn’t I had a boyfriend, or even dated, in high school? Why didn’t I have a random makeout session as a teenager? Where did my crazy sex-filled college days drift to?
When it came to the point in the relationship where we were both seriously in love, and seriously committed, a tiny part of me, the part that had audibly whispered “hell no” in a high school class when asked if we were going to practice sexual abstinence while in college, began to lament at the missed opportunities that being in my committed relationship would mean. I wasn’t going to have a one night stand; I wouldn’t feel up (and be felt by) the random guy I imagined myself having danced with at a club; I would have to find my way to a lifetime dream – British citizenship – through a different means then marrying a Brit (sigh).
I also began to realize that I would miss out on what, for many, is part of growing up: looking for love, dating around, and learning from romantic relationships. I’m not at all sorry that I skipped out on heartbreaks and being dumped, and I am mighty glad that I don’t have to use Tinder, or put my introvert self out there anymore than I have to. But every time I talk with anyone about relationships, and they don’t know that I’ve only ever been in the one relationship that I’m in now, it strikes me pretty hard that I can’t usually relate to what they are saying (because a lot of people like to talk about exes or first experiences). But what has long made me feel a bit embarrassed, or shameful, or nervous is how people automatically assume that everyone must have a long romantic history, and have had multiple relationships, or at least hookups – even if the number is only at two.
But I’ve lately been realizing that nothing is in fact wrong with me, that I don’t need to be embarrassed that I’ve only kissed one person, only had one boyfriend, even if that was never, ever what I was planning. I just happened to find the person that I love at an early age. I hadn’t met anyone, before I met my husband, that had piqued a significant interest within me, or at the least, that I even felt right at ease with, like I had with him. Listening to my gut, I didn’t see any point in dating someone if I didn’t already get the sense it would be long term. And before college, I was always too shy and nervous to talk to boys, explaining away why I never would’ve made the effort to have a purely physical moment with them.
It was different with my husband. When I met him, that was it. I’m not saying that the moment I saw him I started to mentally pick out bridesmaid dresses – because that’s not how it happened. I just knew that I liked him, enough for me to invite myself over to his dorm. I may have liked guys before, but in comparison, I was just crushing.
But with him, it was something else: I felt like myself, as if I didn’t have to impress him, and that acted as green light for me. I have no idea what my romantic and sexual path would have taken in college if I hadn’t met him that first semester. Maybe I would have continued to abstain from relationships, until I met someone I really, really liked. Or maybe I would have been super into getting busy with multiple partners.
That’s just not how it panned out, for whatever reason. Instead, at the age of 18, I met someone my gut said yes to, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve finally realized that it’s OK I’ve only kissed one person, and have only had one boyfriend. It might be different, it may still sometimes make me feel a little inexperienced, but it’s my very own romantic history. And I’m content with that.
(Image via Paramount Pictures)