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Why am I not in a relationship?
December 16, 2012 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Almost 21 and I still have not had a serious relationship - what is wrong with me? How can I change this?

Everyone I know is in a relationship except me. I am almost 21 and still fairly inexperienced in this field. I don’t feel that I am particularly ugly but guys are rarely interested in pursuing a relationship with me and I feel like I am falling behind. I do not want to wake up one day, 40 years old and completely alone.

I feel this is largely because I'm quite different from my age group in that I'm fairly pragmatic and I do not have the same ideals that they hold about the world, which probably means I have differing views on what a relationship. I am also different from other girls my age. I think I may seem emotionally unavailable but I'm not even sure if this is something that people can pick up on just from having conversations with me. I have always been very independent. I also have others that depend on me. I am not particularly affectionate and emotional. I don’t like asking for help. I am the only one of my friends that is completely financially independent. I am also fiercely protective of myself and people I care about. I am used to confrontation and standing my ground on things. For these reasons, my friends often remark that I can take on the world alone and I do not need a guy.

That is true to a degree. I do not need a guy to take care of me but I would like a companion that cares about me. However, guys tend to overlook me completely or tell me to my face that they are scared of me and that I would not be someone they would want to mess with. Obviously I don’t want anyone messing around with me but I don’t want people to be terrified of me either.

People remark to me that I’m mature and so the guys my age are simply too immature for me. Is this a lie to make me feel better or is this actually the case? This whole situation worries and saddens me. How do I change this? Should I change? Should I even be worried at this age over something like this? Do girls like me ever end up with someone? I guess I am asking, is there hope or do I need to take steps to adapt to other people's requirements?

Anything you have will help because I seriously have no one that I can go to for advice like this.
posted by cyml to Human Relations (42 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
First, you are totally normal. Second, have you been asking anyone out?
posted by greta simone at 8:51 PM on December 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't know but you sound like me at your age. At 21 I hadn't had a serious relationship and worried that I was intimidating, etc.

At 25 I met a man who digs chicks of my type (his current celebrity crush is Marissa Mayer) but who can hold his own in the sack, and we're super happily married years later, so all I can say is he's out there and don't worry, it's going to be ok, and 21 is really young. Good luck!
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:53 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's nothing wrong with you. A great many 21-year-old women have not had serious relationships. The handful of people you see everyday are not representative of all people.

As a guy, it can be intimidating to approach a girl -- quiet girls even scarier! It's made much easier when a girl helps me engage in conversation, smiles a bit, says something nice, or even touches my arm.

That said, there is something devastatingly sexy about a girl who can handle her own affairs.

I'm sure there are guys who are too immature for you, but there are also guys who are at just the right level of maturity. Go out, find them, and do something to let them know you are interested.
posted by jander03 at 9:00 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You are ridiculously young. Don't worry so much.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:02 PM on December 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I didn't meet my boyfriend until I was 23, and we've been together for 14 years now.
posted by cabingirl at 9:03 PM on December 16, 2012


If you already have this much self-awareness and desire to improve yourself, you're going to be perfectly fine. Being different from other people will matter less and less as more peers realize they are independent adults start doing whatever the hell it is they want.

At age 21, nearly no one has had a serious relationship. And the people that have are few and far between and not necessarily any better or worse off. I am not at all trying to downplay the fact that you feel what you feel, but if it helps, you should be aware that the stuff you are feeling shitty about does not reflect what's really going on. And you will change so fucking much between now and 30, never mind 40, that trying to visualize your relationship-status that far forward is like trying to predict the weather a year from now: speculative and pointless. Concentrate on being fun, and a genuinely good person, and someone who does not put up with being treated poorly. Get those things right and, again, you'll be fine.

And I can assure you that 21-year-old guys and ladies alike are regularly doing things their older selves will cringe thinking about.
posted by griphus at 9:04 PM on December 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


You sound normal to me. Sounds like you matured at a faster rate than your peer group. I wouldn't worry too much, you'll meet the right person in the due course of time.
posted by arcticseal at 9:04 PM on December 16, 2012


Are there any guys around you like, even?

You can be married and alone at 40, you know.
posted by discopolo at 9:06 PM on December 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Concentrate on being confident, fun and...
posted by griphus at 9:10 PM on December 16, 2012


A LOT of what you say could also describe 21 year-old me. There is nothing wrong with you, just as there was nothing wrong with me. There is probably also nothing wrong with the men around you who are scared of you. You just haven't met the right guy. Or maybe you have, and you are not yet compatible with each other.

Just my two cents: I was that girl who's never had a boyfriend all through my teenage years and my early twenties. I met my now-husband when I was 17 and yet we didn't much register in each others world until years later when we transitioned from so-so friends into official boyfriend-girlfriend. I was 25 when that happened. I'm happily married now. On the other hand, my friends who had boyfriends since their teenager years had a bunch of failed relationships and I'm now happy to have skipped that "part" of life. It turned out to be quite nice to start a relationship once I was more mature and knew what I wanted, and not much earlier.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 9:13 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Agreed that what most people think of as a 'serious relationship' at 21 or earlier will later be considered a regrettable relationship. Not universally true but often true. Worry less, enjoy life more.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:26 PM on December 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Agree this is quite normal, but if you desire emotional intimacy in your life and don't have it, there are things you can do to make this more likely to happen.

All of us carry walls around us to protect ourselves, but I'm getting from your description that yours may be particularly thick. Lowering your defenses and approaching someone in a desire to grow closer, by letting them know you're romantically interested etc, is a difficult thing to do, because it makes you vulnerable to pain - of disappointment, rejection, or even worse, humiliation. Most people will therefore do this tentatively, peeking out from behind the wall to see if it's safe, looking for a sign of encouragement, and then slowly carefully walking out unarmored into the dangerous frightening warzone that exists in between two people, hoping to see a kindred soul carefully walking to meet them. Faced with a blank wall, or a ferocious armored warrior charging out to meet them, people scurry home. It's telling that people tell you they're scared of you. It is true that many people in their early 20s are still very skittish and timid in such a space.

The words you've used to describe yourself are armor. Fiercely protective, independent, confrontation, standing ground, not affectionate/emotional -- it's clear you're a warrior. These can be qualities that will serve you well in many ways. I don't think you should try to change who you are in order to adapt to people's requirements. But there are steps you can take to make that person who you are easier for others to connect with. Taking a more active role in flirting with people you're interested in and asking people out is a good start, as this gives people something of a sign that it is safe for them to come out from behind their own walls.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:31 PM on December 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


It sounds like there is nothing wrong with you. I don't think you should change or worry. One of my good friends sounds similar to you - smart, confident, independent. She didn't meet her future husband until she was 23 I think. She and her husband are one of my favorite couples. I would be most concerned at 21 with building good friendships. Boyfriends can come and go but friends are much more important.
posted by kat518 at 9:31 PM on December 16, 2012


Personality-wise you sound similar to my 2 closest female friends. One has been in a great relationship for five years. The other has never been in a relationship at 30. What's the difference? 99% is timing and luck. Two things you can't change. But Friend 1 did two important things #2 won't do. She put her neck out and asked men out regularly. She also gave up any notion she had about "type" or how a relationship should look. #2... sometimes I wonder if she is waiting for a visit from the Husband Fairy. Ask guys out. All sorts of guys. Date guys in their mid to late 20s who have their shit together (your friends aren't lying, btw). And don't sweat it too much. Lots and lots of people with great relationships didn't meet their other half at 21. My only other suggestion is this: take time to imagine living an amazing, happy life without a partner. Some people never find a partner for reasons beyond their control or don't get to grow old with someone. It's so important not to look to partner to fill in the gaps
posted by peacrow at 9:32 PM on December 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


The idea that 21 is an old age to have never been in a serious relationship is absolutely absurd. The idea that being single at 21 is a good predictor for being single at 40 is equally absurd.

A lot of things you seem to take some pride in are things that make me think that you don't really want a true relationship, you want a relationship as a marker of life success:
I think I may seem emotionally unavailable but I'm not even sure if this is something that people can pick up on just from having conversations with me. It is something people pick up on.

I have always been very independent. I also have others that depend on me. Your potential boyfriends/dates are also likely very independent, and aren't looking for someone to take care of them. On the other hand, they - like you - probably also like the feeling of being dependable for someone else. Good relationships usually have partners who depend on each other. This is good! It is okay for you to depend on someone.

I am not particularly affectionate and emotional. Relationships are built on affection and emotion. If you're unwilling to provide affection or emotion, why would someone want to be in a relationship with you? More importantly, if you don't want to give or receive affection or emotional care, why do you want to be in a relationship?

I don’t like asking for help. Helping others if often the way that people show each other they care. Provide others with help and let them help you.

I am the only one of my friends that is completely financially independent. This is only relevant if you make it relevant. Do you look down on those who aren't financially independent? Do you have an ego about it?

I am used to confrontation and standing my ground on things. Is this code for being argumentative, stubborn, or jerk-ish??

Think about how much holding on these things matters to you, compared to how much being in a relationship matters. Because they will/may hold you back.
posted by Kololo at 9:33 PM on December 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


You've yet to go through The Great Post-College Shakeup/Divorces when everyone starts breaking up and getting their first divorces, probably around age 23 or so.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:38 PM on December 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Are there specific guys you're interested in? Ask them out. If they don't exist, maybe you haven't met the right guy yet.

Or maybe you need to open yourself up and give someone a chance. If you approach this as "I want any relationship," it won't work. But keeping up towering emotional walls won't work either because that will make it hard -- too hard -- for anyone to build affection and emotional intimacy with you.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:41 PM on December 16, 2012


You have so much time. Enjoy being you. One day someone you love will come wafting through your front door and then you'll be stuck. :-)
posted by mcav at 9:41 PM on December 16, 2012


I didn't have any kind of romantic relationship, let alone a serious one, until I was 30. Not for lack of wanting; mostly for want of trying, thanks to a pretty severe self-confidence issue stemming from being very fat. Married at 39; she was 29. Still very happily married and raising kids.

Despair not!
posted by flabdablet at 9:59 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am 23 and have never been in a relationship. I feel pretty great about this.

So much of society places a huge emphasis on being in a relationship, with the perpetual implication that being in a relationship is 'better' than being single (because that means you've found somebody who can love you, which means you're a worthwhile human being, etc.) And although I would like to end up in a relationship with somebody I love, and I've been taking steps to that end (asking guys out, online dating, all of that), I am also totally happy by myself and unwilling to enter into any kind of relationship with somebody I'm not genuinely into.

It seems like you might be thinking of the holy grail as 'being in a relationship' rather than 'being with somebody I love and connect with'. You aren't falling behind - don't worry about that. You're fine. (Though, yes, if there are guys you're interested in - ask them out!) But there's nothing that makes being in a relationship innately superior to being single, especially if it's not with somebody you actively want to be with.
posted by littlegreen at 10:14 PM on December 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


You are really, really, REALLY young still - I am sure you hate hearing this (I did, when I was single at 21), but it's true. You have a lot of years between now and 40. Also: being single at 40 is not the very worst thing that ever happened to someone. It's a cliche, but you know what is more controllable than romance? Yourself. Make lots of good interesting friends, have a fascinating, fulfilling job, engrossing hobbies, and build a strong relationship with your family and you WON'T be completely alone at 40 even if you are single.

That being said, if you want a relationship, you need to put yourself out there emotionally as a person a little more, perhaps. I am also independent and hate asking for help, so I am really sympathetic to you, but it's okay to be more vulnerable with people who care about you and who you trust. That's how people bond, sometimes.

But you have so much time. SO MUCH TIME. Don't worry too much.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 10:15 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Totally normal. Also the next few decades will involve so many surprises and course-changes that there's little point fretting. Everything will change completely, randomly, repeatedly.
posted by ead at 10:39 PM on December 16, 2012


There are lots of advantages to being single; it's not a death sentence!

Also, you are young, young, young.
posted by bearette at 11:21 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


1) Ask your parents for $50.
2) Buy these two books: The List and The Rules.
3) Follow the advice given religiously.
4) Stop worrying.

MeMail me if you need anything, ever. I'm always here for fellow ugly ducklings who turn into beautiful swans.
posted by lotusmish at 12:04 AM on December 17, 2012


Based on your last question and this one, I really have to ask if we are the same person. I'm also 21 (almost 22) and haven't been in any sort of relationship.

As awkward as it is to constantly third wheel or get bailed on by friends who are spending time with their boyfriend/girlfriend all of a sudden at your expense, it actually isn't that bad. I, too, scare the living daylights out of guys (multiple guy friends have confessed to being attracted me at some point before they knew me very well. They're great guys but can't imagine dating them, ever). Guys also find me very physically intimidating now since I'm starting to lift much heavier weights than they do. I'm able to do more "manly" tasks around the house on my own, can move an entire apartment on my own, and hate having guys help me just because I'm a girl. I know I can come off as very stand off-ish, but that's mainly because most people bore the pants off of me.

I'd much rather spend time by myself or with friends and enjoy it rather than putting myself in a relationship for the sake of "having a relationship" and being miserable. Being in a relationship does not automatically make you a more superior being.
posted by astapasta24 at 12:23 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those "serious relationships" are not that serious. Trust me. If you want to feel out of place in a coupled up world, wait until you're in your mid-to-late twenties and everyone is shacking up.

I doubt that you are "too mature" for guys your age. Assuming that you're still in school, there's a huge gap between people still in college and those who are out of school and in the world. So, yeah, it's mostly a lie. Like, "I'm not ready for a relationship" or "It's not you, it's me." That having been said, guy friends have told me that I'm "hot but intimidating" and similar bullshit for years. It's frustrating, but I've learned to not dwell on things people say that don't make sense.

But still: Maturity is not a linear thing. I am like a fucking wise old owl in some ways, and I am a messy, fucked up child in others. Trouble with emotional intimacy is a sort of immaturity, I think - I have problems with this sort of thing myself. So, you are probably very put-together and mature in some ways, and less far along in others. I.e., you're probably a normal, high-functioning young adult.

Try to find things that you share with those around you and stop dwelling on the differences. We are all individual special snowflakes.

Also, if you like a guy, ask him out! Let him know that you're interested. "The Rules" and all the other bullshit is just that: bullshit.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:23 AM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay I'm am extremely relieved. I asked this question in a moment of what-is-wrong-with-me panic after all my friends got into relationships within the past three months. The conversations often went like, "We're seeing each other seriously," followed up by, "What are you doing with your life? Get out there!" Plus, I'm feeling a bit lonely since I don't get to go on the double dates they have set up with each other.

A lot of you are right in that I'm not really looking for a relationship - I was mostly scared that I will never be in one because I'm already the last of the pack. It's also starting to feel like I need a boyfriend to be in this social group which was distressing. However, after reading through your answers, I decided that I truly like where I am right now and getting into a relationship isn't really my idea of fun at the moment. I haven't asked anyone out yet but it's not because I am afraid to or think that a girl shouldn't. I just haven't liked anyone enough to do that but I'm content with waiting for someone that I like to come along.

Thanks a lot everyone!
posted by cyml at 12:49 AM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


2) Buy these two books: The List and The Rules.

Nuh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh, unless you actually want to meet a guy who thinks like it's the 50s. In which case, go ahead.
posted by jacalata at 1:29 AM on December 17, 2012 [22 favorites]


Do not read The List or The Rules. They are god-awful and would likely stand in the way of forming relationships.
posted by PCup at 2:39 AM on December 17, 2012 [18 favorites]


I suspect the only place you'd see either of those books in the wild would be in the grasp of an MRA, who's pointing to them excitedly and shrieking "You see! You see! I told you! They are like that!"

I didn't get into anything like a relationship before 21 either so I'll support the contention that it's not unusual (though, that said, there was quite a lot wrong with me, so I'm not a useful data point, really).

The longest lasting relationships I know of are between people who simply enjoy each other's company, don't have expectations (especially unspoken ones) about each other, and don't theorise about The Relationship rather than getting on with their mutual life. So you could try making opportunities to spend time with people whose company you enjoy without expectations or theory. Perhaps a relationship would emerge, but if not that doesn't sound like too bad a way to live one's life anyway.
posted by Grangousier at 2:58 AM on December 17, 2012


2) Buy these two books: The List and The Rules.

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD idea. These books are insane and will hinder, not help. Please hold yourself and your future partner to a higher standard than these books would suggest.



Aside from that, you are totally normal. Like someone said upthread, what almost always happens is that a huge percentage of the serious relationships/marriages that happen at your age end, usually in their mid/late 20's. And THEN people start getting in to the more grown up healthy relationships. (Or at least this is what I have observed). As an example, I didn't do much dating in my early/mid 20's so I thankfully skipped that whole thing but I watched much of my age group go through it. I dated some, and my longest relationship was ~7 months with a guy I knew I wasn't well suited for. Most of my 20's was spend single while all of my friends were married/in long term relationships. Frustrating. It wasn't until I turned 30 when one of my friends got a divorce from his wife (whom he married when they were in their early/mid 20s... see?) and he and I be came involved romantically. Now we're engaged and getting married in september.

So seriously. You're good. And relax some. Yes, relationships are great when it is with the right person, but there are costs as well. Just be happy and enjoy the joys of singledom while you can.
Have marathons of your favourite tv show/movie.
Pee and poop with the door of the bathroom open.
Sleep spread eagle in the middle of your bed.
Have a week where you do something different with SOMEONE different every night.
Buy a jar of Nutella and bask in the knowledge that no one else is going to eat it.
Make plans without having to check with someone first.
Enjoy being able to spend a day cleaning something and knowing that it will stay just as you left it (vs. coming back later to find that someone needed to find something so they tore it all apart and made a big mess in the process)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 4:20 AM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Take this time in your life to enjoy who *you* are. Really. Knowing what you like and dislike now means that when a relationship does happen (and it will - so stop worrying about that it hasn't and enjoy what you do have - and that's freedom) you are less likely to lose who you are in exchange for becoming a "we."

Seriously. Don't worry about it. There does come a point where as things balance out, some guys swap from wanting to be the protector and savior to all womankind to wanting a *partner* in life. That's when independent ladies like you shine. The white knights always will be attracted to the broken birds, and as it doesn't sound like you want a white knight, you'll be fine.
posted by skittlekicks at 5:53 AM on December 17, 2012


2) Buy these two books: The List and The Rules.

Of all the advice I have ever seen on AskMe, this is in the top 10 of MOST WORSTEST EVER. You're 21 - relax, have fun, date people casually, and stop measuring your relationships or lack thereof with everyone else's rulers.
posted by elizardbits at 6:18 AM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Don't let the Serious Relationship Crew get you down. I was 27 before it happened to me. Girlfriend of mine (C) just got engaged last night (age 35).

The thing is, C and I know each other via a friend in common. The I'm In A Relationship I Am So Happy Person Number ONE. We'll call her A. Steady boyfriend (a couple) in college. Every time she brings someone home to her parents, marriage is imminent, we're so happy, blah blah blah.

Don't get me wrong, A is married now (ultra-smarmily, as you can imagine) and I really want her to be happy. But don't you think it would have been kind of exhausting to have X many Serious Boyfriends along the way? And wait...wait for it...C and I got there, too, so she can just suck it.
posted by skbw at 6:20 AM on December 17, 2012


One further piece of advice. When I was single and miserable all those years? Surrounded by guys who would never have given me the time of day? Wrong. They would have given me the time of day. And I should have fucked every single one of them, twice. This doesn't sound like "late"-to-start-a-relationship advice, but trust me, it is.
posted by skbw at 6:23 AM on December 17, 2012


You're fine.

You seem like you really have your shit together. Other folks in your age group are just testing the waters. Sure it sucks when everyone is all Noah's Ark on you and they suddenly start leaving you out. That just shows you how childish your friends are.

You might want to hang out with an older crowd. I have a friend who's 20 years younger than I am, but she's just super-mature. You might find that you have more in common with those in their 30's than you do with folks in your age group.

Perhaps you can become more friendly with people at work, or with neighbors. Join a club around a hobby that interests you. Broaden your circle of acquaintance, you'll be amazed at all the cool single chicks there are out there. And when they get into a relationship, they don't just drop you, or ignore you because you're not in a relationship too.

I met Husbunny when I was in my late thirties and we got married when I was 39. I had been in a couple of relationships, but they weren't very good. (I didn't think they were that serious).

When you are picky and have your head on straight, you don't jump into a relationship. Your friends may have lovely boyfriends, but I doubt seriously that they'll be with them in 2014.

I'm just sayin'.

Everyone is different, has different priorities and is in a different place in life. You have things they envy, I'm sure.

You have my permission to not have a boyfriend until you find the most awesome guy there is!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:40 AM on December 17, 2012


what is wrong with me?

You are 21. That is your problem. Good news: it is a condition that clears up with age!

You do realize that humans remain half-baked until they're about 25, right? You really don't want to date someone who is under 25. Like, ever. Also, nobody should want to date you right now. (Don't worry butterfly, you'll come out of your cocoon soon enough!) That post-graduation shakeup/breakup period is crazy times, and while it correlates to graduation, I suspect it has a lot more to do with the fact that everyone wakes up at 25 and realizes "omfg I'm a completely different person than I was a year ago." Focus on growing up and being the best you can be.

(Also, do not under any circumstances buy those books. What complete garbage.)
posted by jph at 6:46 AM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here are a few anecdotes from me, a guy who wasn't in any relationship until he was in his mid-20s:

In junior high, a casual friend was surprised that I hadn't ever dated anyone yet. Relationship expectations can start early.

In high school, I pined for a relationship, but had a group of good friends, and no nerve to ask anyone out, for fear of ruining whatever friendship we might have had.

In college, I was like you, surrounded by people in happy, fun relationships. I was shy and lacking self confidence, but not a wall flower. But I was happy with who I was, so I wasn't too bothered. I had good friends and we had fun, so when a girl asked me out, it was great, but not like my life had gone from meaningless to purposeful. That relationship didn't work out, and we ended on good terms. Ice broken! Let's try again!

I ended up finding a great lady who has been known to scare people with her self-confidence and sarcastic wit. We were in our late 20s, and we knew enough of ourselves and knew how to be happy on our own that we didn't start dating because we needed a relationship, but because we had fun together. We've been married for five years.

My wife and her sister were kind of like you - self-assured and they didn't need anyone else to be happy. They were comfortable with the idea of growing old together, just the two of them and their cats. Me and my brother-in-law-to-be are sometimes referred to as "Plan B," where Plan A was happy spinsterhood.

In short: if you find someone you like, be outgoing and ask them to coffee or lunch or something. If they say no, try again with someone else who seems nice/ interesting/ good. You don't need to change who you are.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh I'm always asking this question when I see people on the street, my colleagues, my friends - I'm way over 30 by the way - and can count the number of dates I've been on a hand - and the answer is always the same:

It's not what I want out of life. *For now*.

If you want to be partnered, make the change, then go for it :)
posted by TrinsicWS at 8:00 AM on December 17, 2012


Plus, I'm feeling a bit lonely since I don't get to go on the double dates they have set up with each other.

Ugh. I have a version of this problem right now, but it's not so bad, and most of my friends are in their late twenties and engaged and/or living together. And I'm still mostly welcome to hang out with the couples, and my awkward feelings are my personal hang-up. I'm mostly sad that my social life is less wilding out and more veggie plate and a movie, and I'm actively trying to make some fun single friends. Being excluded from social gatherings because you don't have a date is shitty, and it's super shitty if it happens a lot.

College is not a time for double dates; it's a time to stay up late and have drunk sing-a-longs, or whatever else you think is fun. I'm bummed out by your friends' need to play house and divide social gatherings by gender.

Maybe it's time to branch out socially?

People who feel the need to have an even number at every social gathering or only socialize with other couples are boring.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:13 PM on December 17, 2012


but guys are rarely interested in pursuing a relationship with me

start approaching guys instead of waiting for them to approach you
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:39 PM on December 17, 2012


I can't tell you why you haven't had a relationship, but I can tell you why I didn't start dating until 22:

1. My parents had a tumultuous marriage that, quite frankly, put me off relationships entirely. It also made me independent, and a little aloof.

2. Like you, I was also financially independent and taking care of others (my siblings), and dealing with stuff that made it hard for me to relate to your typical undergrad. I had fun in college, but there was never a time when I felt carefree. It was all I could do to keep my life together, and I literally could not handle another relationship. It didn't help that my view of relationships was one in which I "took care" of someone younger, weaker, or otherwise less capable, with very little in return.

I did eventually get into a (disastrous) relationship and ironically wound up repeating some of the patterns I tried to avoid. In the aftermath, I got therapy, sorted myself out, had a few short affairs (on my terms), just to explore who I was and wanted to be as a partner. At 29, I ran into an old friend from school at a bar. 4 months later, we were living together, and we're expecting our second child next year.

There's probably no reason other than luck and youth that you're single. But if you're worried, I'd look at your parents, and the nature of the relationships you've witnessed, and see if there's anything there that makes you uneasy.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:13 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


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