Why I Didn’t Have a Boyfriend Until I Was 22

Plot twist: It wasn’t by choice

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Photo by Chen on Unsplash

Ah, young love. It’s foolish, playful, innocent, exciting… just enough to make those who have it smitten and those who don’t wish they did.

I was the latter. I was a hopeless romantic growing up. I had crushes, but wouldn’t dare talk to them. To throw another wrench into the mix, I’m a triplet. That meant my brothers collectively were friends with most guys in our grade. So yes, I’ll admit it, I often had crushes on my brother’s friends. In the end, I was single all of my young adult life. I hadn’t kissed anyone until I was a college senior, and hadn’t dated anyone by the time I graduated college.

Now I’m graduated, in a healthy relationship with my boyfriend, and glad I was single for so long. So for anyone who may be slow to jump on the relationship train, here are some reasons I took my time.

They say “it’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all”, but I think it depends. When you’re young, do you really know what love is? Most likely, it’s going to be a different kind of love than adults experience. For those who married your high school sweetheart, I commend you for finding your soul mate so early. For the rest of us, I’m sure we can think back to people we liked in high school who we wouldn’t dare swoon over today.

In short, you’ll save yourself from a lot of heartbreak if you stop thinking about finding a partner and enjoy the single life.

You can guarantee your friends will be at your wedding, but the bride/groom? Not so much.

Relationships come and go, but friendships can last forever if you’re willing to put in the effort. Let me be living proof of that. I’ve had the same two best friends since Elementary school. While we’ve been through a lot with each other, our friendship became its strongest during one pivotal year: the year all of us were single.

Because we were more focused on spending time with each other than a significant other, we grew closer. We went shopping, had slumber parties, planned trips together, and were always there for each other. By learning how to prioritize my friendships during that time, I created strong friendships in college. Now, I have about 15+ friends that I keep in touch with regularly, despite being long distance post-graduation.

I’m not saying you can never have a significant other and friends. I’m saying you should learn how to create a solid friendship before creating a solid relationship.

Selfishly, this was my favorite perk of being single. Yes, when you’re dating someone you’ll have things paid for and receive gifts, but if you’re a good partner you will also be doing those things in return.

To be candid, I cringe when looking back on how much money I spent this past year on my boyfriend. We ordered food a lot, sent gifts to each other, and went all out on anniversaries. But when I was single? I didn’t even need to check my bank account.

Listen, it’s nice being showered in gifts and surprising someone with them, but you’re only young once. Specifically, you can only be young and selfish once. At a young age, most don’t have much to spend anyway. For that reason, I highly recommend making the money you have count towards something that will benefit you in the future. Like nice shoes, a car, or a savings account.

Have you ever started telling a story on a date and realize halfway through that an ex is in it? I haven’t, but I’ve been on the receiving end and it’s not attractive. In early relationships, it’s common to spend all your time with your significant other. But what do you do when you’re on a date 5 years later and realize you spent the last few years watching Netflix with your ex?

It is painfully easy to lose yourself in a relationship and sadly, it’s not seen until the relationship is over. So if you’re in a young relationship, try spending time with yourself. And if you’re not, please enjoy this time to do things you enjoy. I spent my single life going hiking, painting, learning guitar, and even playing a month-long game of tag. And while I sometimes made an idiot of myself, I realized that it was the best time to do so.

So while it’s easy to feel embarrassed, worried, or weird for not dating until your 20s, let me be the first to say it’s totally normal and you’ll be grateful you waited. You never know who will enjoy hearing the wild stories about your single life.

Amateur painter, guitarist, and emotional cheese eater.

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