Hi, I'm Sarah Joy, I'm 22 years old, and I've never been in a relationship.
(This is where I expect a chorus of "Hello Sarah Joy" from the other attendees of Virgins Anonymous.)
There are a myriad of reasons for this lack of boyfriend in my life, but it seems like the underlying interpretation, no matter what I may say, is "She couldn't land one."
As a society, we tend to cling to this idea that having a significant other is not only important, but a necessity. And it's true in a sense—we weren't created to go through life alone—we're meant for relationships. But the nature of that relationship being romantic is not exactly necessary.
And to be expected to have had at least one romantic partner, if not during high school then surely by college graduation, is a little bit stupid.
But we don't really recognize this expectation as stupid, so instead, when a member of society has never had a significant other, it's surmised, however subconsciously, that there must be something wrong with them.
All of this could easily be brushed aside as the rantings of a bitter single woman, but I'm not. Ranting, that is. I'm definitely bitter.
I'm bitter because people low-key seem to think something's wrong with me when they find out about my romance situation. And whether that's just me projecting my insecurities and self-doubts onto others or not, I think it reveals a problematic belief we hold as a society about individual's worth being tied up in their love lives.
Being in a relationship makes you feel great about yourself. You have someone who loves you and likes you and wants to be with you. You matter, and there are reminders every day of how much you're worth to someone else.
Obviously, I don't personally know but, like, that's what I've heard.
Not only is having a romantic partner a huge ego boost, but it proves to others that you're worth something. It's a declaration that you're hot enough, nice enough, witty enough, good enough to land someone.
This, of course, implies that we only possess a certain characteristic—or that it only matters that we possess a certain characteristic—when we're connected to someone else. As if our only value lies in us being defined in relation to someone else.
It's this line of thinking that creates the female character who solely exists to propel the man's plot forward. It's why we try to get men to stop raping, going to see strippers, or watching porn because the woman featured is someone's wife/sister/daughter/niece/friend rather than because she's a person.
This lie that we believe is, as with most lies, rooted in a seed of truth.
We are not meant to be defined by our relationship with anyone, but with Someone.
Each person was created in God's own image and is His creation, therefore intrinsically having value. But each person was also loved enough and valued enough by a holy and yet intimate God to be murdered for. Jesus sacrificed Himself for every person on the planet—past, present and future—out of His great love for us, even though we were His enemies. Even though our sinful nature meant we didn't deserve it.
Whether you believe in God or not, you are loved and you are valued. The state of your love life will never change that. You are not suddenly worth more because you have a boyfriend; you've always been worth dying for.
So when we ignore that and decide instead to find our worth in anything else (career success, possessions, achievements, significant others, etc.), we miss out on so much. And when we force this idea that you're only worth something if you have a romantic partner, we step way out of line.
If someone hasn't had a significant other or had sex by any particular age, they are not worth less than those that have.
There is nothing wrong with not having a boyfriend or even never getting married. Let's destroy the "old maid dying alone with her seven cats" trope as if singleness is the worst cross to bear.
Being single is great, and you have Someone who loves you and likes you and wants to be with you. You matter, and there are reminders every day of how much you're worth.