Why You Shouldn't Feel Pressured To Be In A Relationship (From Someone Who's Never Had One)

never in a relationship in 20s never had a boyfriend falling in love single forever
Love, Self

I am a 23-year-old woman and I have a confession: I've never been in a relationship. 

Yes, you read that right. I just don't do relationships — and I'm fine with that.

Most people would die at the thought of being single but I’m here to say that the small percentage of single-life lovers like myself do exist.

When I tell people that I’ve never been in a relationship before, I always receive looks of disbelief and confusion. Their eyes widen even more when I tell them my age and they blurt out the obvious — “So you’ve been single for 23 years?!” Apparently, it’s rare for a 23-year-old to be single, let alone to be a young female who has never been in any sort of relationship before.

For most of my adult life, I have constantly been bombarded with questions about my love life by my friends and family. Am I interested in anyone? Why don't I have a boyfriend yet? Don’t you think it would be good for you to have someone to love? Doesn’t it get lonely?

The answer is like most relationship statuses on Facebook: Complicated.

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I’m at the age where most of my friends are in long-term relationships (some with several kids) and they talk about marriage all the time. And then there's me.

Truthfully, it does get lonely. I constantly feel left out when I arrive alone to a social gathering where all my friends come in pairs linking arms with their significant others. I get a tad bit jealous when I see my friend’s partner go the extra mile to buy her tacos from her favorite restaurant or drive 30 minutes back home because she forgot her jacket on a cool day. I want to feel like someone cares for me, too.

But as I grow older, I've realized everything is about timing. I've learned that you shouldn’t force something to happen if it makes you uncomfortable or if you have second doubts.

One guy I really liked confessed his feelings to me right before I was shipping myself away to college. When he asked me to be his girlfriend, I chickened out and said no because I didn’t want to deal with a long-distance relationship. Maybe if he had asked me at the start of summer, I would’ve said yes. But the truth of the matter is that he didn’t and I had a lot of doubt the relationship would’ve worked out.

I've also realized that being alone is not a bad thing at all, especially when I see what my friends go through when a relationship isn’t rainbows and unicorns.


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Maybe it’s the Sagittarius in me speaking but I can’t ever imagine being sucked into a relationship just to argue about if my skirt is too short or what color I should dye my hair to appease them. I know relationships are all about compromising and that you have to learn to pick your battles but I’d rather wait a little longer before I throw myself into all of that mess.

I also realize that I am 23 and that is still young.

I shouldn’t feel pressured to live my life by society standards or follow what my friends are doing. If I’m not in a relationship now or five years down the line, it’s OK. If I don’t get married and have kids by 30, it’s OK. It just means I haven’t meant someone I truly feel comfortable enough to commit to yet and that’s perfectly fine because I shouldn’t “settle” for someone I’m not compatible with.

The single life is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I get to date around, make friends, and understand what I want or don’t want in a partner. Besides, If I wait a little longer, I probably won’t have to settle for anyone less than my soulmate.

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Amy Le is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.