I've Been Single My Whole Life

I've Been Single My Whole Life

And I'm Okay With That

I am a month away from being 19 years old, and I've never had a boyfriend. Well, I've never had a real boyfriend. I dated around in pre-school just like most kids, snagged a few boys in middle school and called them my boyfriends even though all that meant was awkward notes passed in the classroom, and sitting by each other at lunch so we could trade fruit snacks and animal crackers. The closest I ever got to an actual relationship was my freshman year of high school, and since that romance consisted entirely of text messages, 20 questions, and occasional nervous sweaty hand holding at youth group under the watchful eye of our ever-present parents, I don't actually think it counts. I had crushes, was crushed on, and nearly dated (as in I've only been on one date in my entire life) several times in high school, but never have I had a serious, committed romantic relationship with another person. I've also never been kissed, which is another weird (and slightly embarrassing) thing to admit to the world, but it's true and I have a reason for saying it.

You'd probably think to go all these years without a boyfriend I'd either have to have a terrible personality, or just simply not be attractive. I don't think I'm either of those things, and it's taken me 18 years of being single and coming to terms with it to realize that. For the longest time in high school I felt like a boyfriend was right around the corner. I looked at all the people around me in happy, loving relationships and convinced myself that I would find someone. I wasted months crushing on boys who either never gave me a second look, or just always looked at me as a friend and, yes, it affected me. It made me question my looks, my personality, the clothes I wore, the way I put on makeup (to be honest though it probably was not on point in middle school anyway). It was a major part of my massive self image issues, and then one day it wasn't.

One day, or rather, after years of feeling like I just wasn't good enough for anyone to want me, I realized hating myself for not being able to find a boyfriend was a ridiculous thing to do. Part of that realization was the friends I had, some of whom have been and still are eternally single like myself, and part of it was just accepting that my life wasn't always going to take the path I so desperately wanted it to take. I didn't need a boyfriend to make my life worth living, or to prove that I am attractive and smart. In fact, the only person I needed to prove that to was myself. But through all of this, I discovered that I actually like being single. I am who I am today partly because I've been single my whole life, and for the first time I'm actually pretty happy with who I am.

Being single throughout my whole life allowed me to define myself without having to worry about another person defining me. I've watched too many girls get caught up in a boyfriend and lose themselves in the process, and I never even got close to having that experience. I also got to figure myself out and learn to love myself all on my own, and all without having to worry about figuring someone else out and loving them as well. I can't say I've never experienced heartbreak, but I've also never been truly hurt by a person I was in love with, because I've never been in love.

I've learned that platonic love is just as important (if not more important) and beautiful as romantic love, and I've never had to worry about a boy coming between me and my friends. I know how to be alone and be okay with that, and how to enjoy and appreciate my own company. I'm not hating on people in relationships or saying they can't experience these things. I'm just saying that being single, just like having a boyfriend, taught me a lot about myself and molded me into the person I am.

Saying all this doesn't mean I'm not open to a relationship, or that I turn my nose up at people my age who have had plenty of relationships. I'm just as open to dating as I've ever been (probably more so actually because I was not feeling that vibe my senior year of high school), but I know now that I don't need to rush into a relationship just to be considered "normal."

I know that there's someone out there for me, and I also recognize that someone wasn't in my past but in my future. I still believe in true love, and I probably always will. Unless I'm like 70 and still single, then I'll settle for a few cats and a dog or two instead (which, if we're being honest, is the truest form of love there is). Being single your whole life isn't sad, and it isn't something to look down on. It took me a long time to realize that not ever having a boyfriend didn't mean I wasn't worthy of being loved in that way, and I wish I'd had someone to tell me that I was just as worthy as any other girl.

If you've never had a boyfriend, or never been kissed, know that you're not alone and that you really are beautiful and lovable, you just haven't found the right person to fall in love with you yet. My soulmate wasn't in the hallways of my high school and he may not be on the campus of my college, but that's OK. I love being single. I'm not ashamed of never having a boyfriend, and you shouldn't be either. Love yourself, love your friends and your family, love your dog, and don't be afraid to not be in love with anyone.

Cover Image Credit: Jordan Dark

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11 Things NOT To Do After A Breakup, Even If It Feels Like You Want To

Better known as how to be single correctly.

It happens, okay?

You think you're really in love with someone and then you're not, or they're not in love with you, or maybe something horrible happened and it just needed to end. Maybe it's a long time coming or it's completely out of the blue. No matter what, break ups hurt both sides.

Whatever you may do to cope, there are certain things we can all agree you should absolutely NOT do.

1. Get a haircut or tattoo.

Whether you were the couple lovingly posting every month on 'your anniversary' or the couple who nobody even knew you were together, your break up is your business and your business alone. Don't tell your friend's aunt's cousin about it.

3. Pretend you're fine if you're not.

Your friends are there for you, your family is there for you. You don't need to be all Mr. Tough Guy about this. Everyone knows that it sucks, and no one is going to blame you if you just need to cry about it.

4. Communicate with your new ex.

It's only been a few days, or a week, or a month and you're "having thoughts" about the break up, the reasons why, an inside joke or returning their stuff. But, this is you time. When it doesn't cause you anxiety, maybe recruit a friend to help you talk to your ex.

5. Rebound.

You need time to heal by yourself. You need time to be by yourself. Have fun in ways that don't require a boo. Rebounds also end very quickly, and it's not fair to you or the other person to go through another round of pain.

6. Cyber stalk.

Posting about lunch with a friend has no meaning. Being tagged in a photo has no lasting repercussions for you. Do you really want to do this to yourself?

7. Abuse substances.

Don't say you're going out to 'have fun and forget.' It's basically saying you're going to drink too much. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

8. Complain too much.

Give yourself a period with your friends to grieve and complain all you want. After that, you stressing on it is only you making it worse for yourself.

9. Start seeing/dating/hooking up with their friends.

Why would you put yourself in the situation to be connected to them in any way? You're only seeing their friend so that you can still be close to them and you know it. Don't ruin a friendship just because your relationship ended.

10. Compare yourself to their new bae.

Okay, so they moved on. They may have moved on quicker than you would have liked. Maybe new bae is better looking than you or went to a better school or something. But, they are not you. They have never been you. They never will be you. Just because you and old bae didn't work out does not mean that you need to be unhappy because of their new happiness.

11. Give up on yourself.

Your life isn't over, your relationship just is. You're still a total catch and a badass, and you cannot believe that this is the end. Your social life, your career, your family doesn't stop. Be the best you, and get out there in a bit!

Cover Image Credit: NBC Universal

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Dear Future Soulmate, I Am A Crumpled Dollar

A message to my soul mate, whoever you are.

To Whom It May Concern:

When I was younger, I was in a rush to meet you. To be honest, up until this past month I was still frantically searching for you. I looked for you in all crevices and open spaces. I looked for you in friends, classmates, and the cute guy at the gym. I looked far and wide for you.

I was in such a rush to meet my soul mate that I sped past all the other beautiful things in life because I wanted you to be the only beauty in my life. I forced the idea that specific people were you because I wanted so badly to find love already. I was obsessed with the idea of high school sweethearts and I regret forcing so many relationships that were not full, whole love.

However, I’m writing this to you because, despite my misfortune in romance and relationships, I believe that you’re still out there. I believe that my timing is just not right and that when I am fully in love with myself, I’ll be able to fall in love with you.

Maybe you’re in a relationship with someone else or maybe you’re just like me and you don’t know if you’re ready for love just yet.

Maybe you’re trying to learn to love every part of yourself and discover new sectors of yourself that you never knew before just as I am. Maybe we are both discovering ourselves and who we truly are before we discover love.

I am a crumpled dollar. I have been worn down; thrown on floors, crumpled up in pockets, with even some tears on the edges. I’ve been in the hands of those who didn’t care about my worth and in the hands of those who did. I’ve been forgotten in secret compartments of wallets and given away for useless things. But despite all that I’ve been through, I still carry value. I still have something to offer.

Now, I don’t expect you to deal with all the trauma that others before you have caused, but I do expect that you realize that these trials and tribulations that I’ve been through create the person I am today. With all the hurt I’ve been through, I am still worthy of love. I am still valuable. This is a lesson that I’m still trying to learn to this day.

Love of my life, there are really only two things I ask of you: to value me and to encourage my personal growth. It seems really simple, but there are many factors and steps to be able to accomplish these two tasks.

As a crumpled dollar, I ask that you do not crumple me again. I am constantly trying to straighten myself out. My color has faded and I do have tears. I am run down. I’m not asking you to fix me, but rather I am asking that you value me. I ask that you value my worth and appreciate what you can get out of a dollar. I know my worth and I will not let someone treat me less than I deserve, or at least not anymore.

I ask for respect when we butt heads, for empathy when I hit a bump in my own individual road, for kindness when my know-it-all attitude doesn't really know it all. I ask that you laugh at my jokes when they aren’t funny and understand that not everything is guaranteed. I ask that you realize that love is a choice and that you realize that I am worth it.

Secondly, I ask that you encourage every hobby, every career aspiration, every goal that my crazy, persevering self comes up with. I hope that you support me trying to be a better me each day and that you do the same. I hope that we both search within ourselves to find talents that we can contribute to the world and give the world as much love as we can.

As selfish as it sounds, I don’t want you to hold me back. I don’t want you to feel inferior because of my education or because of my career, but I want you to jump into every day with the same excitement and vigor for life just as I do or even motivate me when getting out of bed is just a little too hard that day. I want to conquer the day together. I want to grow together, rather than grow apart.

I don’t really know what you’re up to right now or if I’ve already met you. However, I’m not in much of a rush anymore to meet you because I know that this time in between hurrying to run into you and actually realizing who you are is such a formative time for me. This is a time for me to be able to fully and wholly love myself.

It’s a time for me to be my best me for me so that I can be my best me for you; to realize that I am not only capable of giving love, but of receiving it. So to the love of my life, whoever or wherever you are, our time for love will come. But I'm very, very excited to meet you.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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