This comes as a surprise to most people but I’ve never had a boyfriend.
I don’t know why it surprises them or why I’m still surprised when people react this way, but it’s true. In all my 21 years of existence, I’ve never had a boyfriend. It’s not something I’m proud of nor is it my most confidential secret; it’s just a fact of my life.
I’m a pretty private person, so this isn’t something that I scream off the rooftops or share with every stranger I meet, but every once and awhile it comes up in a conversation and people’s reactions tell me that it’s more than just an objective fact. These reactions often fall into the following categories: disbelief (“You’re kidding!”), curiosity (“Why not?”), or a mix of both. As as bonus, the reactions have gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older. After getting this reaction one too many times, I started to wonder the same thing myself.
There’s no doubt that the people closest to me have their own theories about why I’ve been single my entire life. I’ve had my best friends tell me that my standards are too high and my little brother ask me if I have trust issues, but I had never thought of these theories on my own. I’d consider myself as a trusting, almost naive, person as I always try to see and bring out the best in others. And despite my obsession with Timothee Chalamet, I don’t think my standards are impossibly high.
So why not?
In high school, I attributed it to my hectic athletic schedule and lack of social life. Spending the same amount of time training at the pool as I was studying at school, I simply didn’t have time to have a boyfriend. That’s not to say that I didn’t think about boys (my friends and I spent countless hours giggling over our crushes), but I never really thought about relationships seriously in high school. I couldn’t even get a prom date back then. Now that I’ve left my Phelps-esque dreams behind (and realized that my 5’2 stature was not going to send me to the Olympics), I have time. But guess what? Still no boyfriend.
Queen’s was a fresh start for me. I quit the sport I had dedicated half my life to, chopped my hair off, and moved across the country. Overwhelmed by the number of attractive men sauntering down University during Frosh Week, 17 year-old me thought I had set myself up for inevitable love-life success. Boy, was I wrong. (Note to self: Surrounding yourself with ridiculously good-looking people when you, yourself, are a very sub-par looking human is a terrible dating strategy). I’ve met the most amazing people and made the most genuine friends, but three years later and my relationship status has yet to change.
It’s gotten to the point where even my mom thinks I’m lying about my chronic boyfriend-less-ness. But the truth is: I don’t really know why I’ve never had a boyfriend. I know that I’ve always been shy and a bit socially awkward, but that hasn’t prevented me from developing meaningful friendships with both guys and girls. I am relentlessly career-driven, but I also dream of having a fairytale wedding and family of my own someday. And it’s not that I hate relationships either. I have no reason to. My parents are high-school sweethearts and a picturesque example of #couplegoals. I’ve never experienced heartbreak (obviously) nor had any trauma that would result in any intimacy or trust issues. If anything, I’d love to have a boyfriend. I’d even go as far as to consider myself a hopeless romantic, in love with the idea of being in love.
There are days when I think that there must be something wrong with me, that I must be too ugly/boring/dumb for anyone to ever fall in love with me. Being single isn’t all free drinks and self-discovery, as some might suspect. Honestly, at times, it puts me in quarter life crisis-mode. It can be lonely, and sometimes you just want someone to cuddle with. But I also know that being single has allowed me to explore my interests on my own volition and travel the world without feeling tied down. And maybe it is true, that I have some fatal flaw that makes me undateable to everyone. But even if that’s the case, I refuse to have a pity party for the rest of my life.
So if any of you are in the same boat as me, or feel as though you’ll never find “The One”, here is some advice (from someone who has no experience with relationships and has no authority to be giving relationship advice).This is a reminder that you don’t need a relationship be whole. In fact, if you’re looking for a relationship to complete yourself, you’re looking for the wrong reasons. This is a reminder to be patient. You’re 21! Go have some fun! See the world! Follow your dreams! Kiss some cute boys (or girls if that’s what you prefer)! There’s no rush to settle down, that’s what you have the rest of your life for. Finally, this is a reminder that even though you’re not in a relationship, you’re still surrounded by love. The love from your family and friends should never be taken for granted so be sure to cherish it with all your heart. And if none of this has made you feel better about your singleness, just remember that there are some bomb-ass single people (ahem, Rihanna) out here still thriving.
Mariana Uemura is a contributor for MUSE. Want to submit? Click here.