My social media feed is full to the brim of articles about things only newly single people will understand or the best techniques to mend your heart after a breakup. While I can vouch that eating chocolate and ice cream is comforting, I don’t relate to the relationship advice given, because I’ve never had a boyfriend.
I haven’t achieved the life milestone that the majority of women my age passed in their pre-teens. For the longest time, I believed this made me strange, and it damaged my confidence and self-esteem.
I started to feel the pressure to be in a relationship, even at a young age. I’ve always noticed and had crushes on boys from school. It’s a rite of passage for a typical schoolgirl.
But those crushes never really went anywhere.
As I progressed through primary school to secondary school, there was a stark difference between those who had a boyfriend and those who hadn’t. The ones who did were confident and mature and everyone envied them. Including me.
Of course, I was jealous. I was 16, and I’d never had my first kiss or a boyfriend.
When it came to family interrogations, I avoided conversations about boyfriends and ‘having my eye on anyone’ like the plague. It’s one thing having my friends know I am forever single, but to have my family know was twice as embarrassing.
For the next two years, I struggled to progress any friendship into something romantic. I was out of luck. It wasn’t until I discovered Tinder in my first year of university that I found my chance to date and possibly find a suitable boyfriend.
My first date with a guy from Tinder was going well until he asked about previous relationships. My body froze. I had two options, pretend I had a long line of ex-boyfriends or admit I had never been in a relationship before.
I chose the latter.
He was taken aback by the response and fired questions about being single for so long. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole as I tried to defend myself for not being in a relationship.
After the date blunder, it came to a point when I was no longer having fun on dates and meeting new people. The irrational fear of having to reveal that I’d never had a boyfriend was starting to have an impact on my self-confidence. I believed I wasn’t good enough for anyone.
I’d had enough of trying to find a boyfriend. It was impossible because it doesn’t just happen overnight. In order to combat the unrealistic ideal of finding love, I deleted Tinder and stopped trying to rush into a relationship.
And it worked. The time I had spent swiping left and right and talking to guys I wasn’t interested in was used more wisely. I was a lot happier and even my grades were better.
In that time I realized there’s not a time limit to achieve a milestone of having your first boyfriend. Now I sleep peacefully knowing it is not the be end and end all. It doesn’t matter when it happens because there’s no rush. I may have a boyfriend in the next week, month or year.
I may still be single and writing down my feelings about my non-existent love life.
And if I am still single and not ready to mingle, I will remind myself that it’s ok not to have a boyfriend.