TIRED of being a virgin!
January 17, 2013 7:00 AM   Subscribe

I'm a 20 year old girl, and I've never been in a relationship. I feel weird about that. Where do I meet guys, apart from school, and how do I get more confidence?

So I commute to a primarily resident school, so it's been really hard for me to get close to people. I'm on the shy, introverted side, with some social anxiety. Furthermore, I'm so busy with school and work that I very rarely go out to parties. I wonder if that's affected the fact that I've never been in a relationship, which I feel super weird about. It's not that I've never been pursued, but the guys that pursue me never seem to be my type.

Sometimes, the fact that I've never even been kissed makes me feel insecure. It's made me struggle so so much with self esteem issues, and on bad days I obsess over whether or not other see me as uglier than I think I am when I look in the mirror. I hate my nose, but apart from that I think I'd rate between a 5-6.5/10, with a lean and decently curvy body... so I think I'm average looking but I guess I can look nice when I try. I see people who are about as attractive (or unattractive, hah) as me in relationships all the time, so what's wrong with me? Maybe I have bad breath? lol
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's not that I've never been pursued, but the guys that pursue me never seem to be my type.

When I hear this, 90 percent of the time, the person saying it means "There must be something wrong with someone who likes me."

What's wrong with the guys who aren't your "type"? Try getting caught every now and then and see what that does to your "type." (Note: "getting caught" does not mean "sleeping with the first person who hits on you" -- it means go out on a date with someone and see what happens.)
posted by Etrigan at 7:05 AM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]

What is your "type" of guy? If you're into guys like yourself, they're probably also shy and therefore hesitant to pursue. Maybe you need to pursue guys you like, or at least flirt more and signal that you're open to being approached.

But, I know how this feels, but you're only 20 and this lack of experience is really not abnormal at your age.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:05 AM on January 17, 2013

You're going to hear this a million times so I'll let others spell it out more but....CONFIDENCE. You're number-rating yourself? Really? Throw that out and realize that you really are SOMEONE's 9-10 (and probably more than just one person's). It's really not about physical perfection, as you've noticed. Healthy men (and women, for that matter) want to be with someone who perceives themselves (and carries themselves) as an awesome catch--whether or not they're a size 18, have "bad" hair, a crooked nose, etc..
posted by availablelight at 7:06 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Honey, you are exactly the same age I was when I finally was first kissed. There is nothing wrong with you or your looks - I mean, you do say that there are guys pursuing you, yes? So you aren't unattractive. QED.

Yeah, it still sucks that the guys who are pursuing you aren't your type, but the fact that they ARE pursuing you means that you can't say "no one thinks I'm attractive." And re-framing the way you think about it that way will be a step towards some self-confidence, which will help you a little.

And as for going to parties - well, do you want to be with a guy who DOES like to go to parties? Then yeah, go yourself. But if you don't like going to parties? Then don't. Yes, you'd meet guys at parties if you went, but you know what kind of guy you'd meet at parties? The kind of guys who like to go to parties. And if that's not the kind of guy you're looking for, what's the point? There are plenty of other places to meet guys; far easier to go do things you genuinely like doing, and then if you meet a guy there you already know you have something in common ("wow, we both like hiking/knitting/cooking/volunteering in animal shelters/comic books! How cool is that!")

It's a drag, yeah, but you're not weird; you're more, like, on the upper half of normal. You're fine.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]

First off, nothing is wrong with you. Nothing at all. I understand feeling insecure and introverted and having social anxiety. I've dealt with a lot of those things, too, just as a guy. But there's no light that shines over our heads that says "NEVER BEEN KISSED" or "VIRGIN". That's all our own insecurity flaring up.

Here's kind of what helped me. I figured the people who would most like me are the people who are like me, the insecure introverts who panic when it comes to talking to someone. That meant that if I did talk to them, then they'd be so focused on not saying something stupid that they'd never think that I was crazy.

So, go where people like you go. Be you. Do what you like. Be like yourself. That is where you will find the awesome introverts that you can chat up. Take the initiative. You're more attractive than you think and, when you make it clear to guys like you that you're available, things will happen.

I wish you good luck. :)
posted by inturnaround at 7:09 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's not that I've never been pursued, but the guys that pursue me never seem to be my type.

You know, I recently thought to myself (in a sad mopey way) "Why have I only had three girlfriends? Why don't women like me?" Then I started actually counting the number of women who pursue me, and I realized that holy crap, I actually get quite a lot of female attention. It's just that most of the women who pursue me are people I'm not interested in, and so they were effectively invisible to me until I actually stopped to think hard about my situation.

Based on what you are describing, I respectfully submit that perhaps you may be the victim of a similar cognitive bias. In other words, you're not doing anything wrong, you're simply very selective. This is something you should be proud of, not embarrassed by.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:15 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]

Maybe you should consider going out with those guys who ask you out, but whom you think are not your type. If you took a survey of all the people in happy relationships, I bet you'd find that in a huge percentage of them, at least one of the partners did not initially think s/he'd be attracted to the other. People can grow on you over time. People can become more physically attractive as you get to know their awesome personalities, and people whose personalities you think you don't like might turn out to have non-obvious awesome personal qualities.

I think dating lots of different kinds of people can be the best way to figure out what your "type" is. And for someone like you, dating more, including dating people you're not sure you'll like, is a great way to broaden your social life. People you go out on a date with and don't want to date longer-term could turn out to be great friends who can introduce you to more friends, and possibly even introduce you to someone you can fall in love with. I know it's really hard, especially when you're shy, but I think the best thing for you is to really put yourself out there.
posted by decathecting at 7:36 AM on January 17, 2013

I commute to a primarily resident school, so it's been really hard for me to get close to people. I'm on the shy, introverted side, with some social anxiety. Furthermore, I'm so busy with school and work that I very rarely go out to parties.

I mean, basically, the combination of all these three things at the same time is going to mitigate against making friends at college and meeting new people, particularly people you would want to date. If your priority is meeting someone that you would want to date, you're going to have to shake up your social routine so that you meet a lot more people.

I'm a "don't look at what people say, look at what they do" kind of person. You say you want a romantic relationship, but you still live with your parents while going to college, don't go to parties where you would socialize with your classmates, and aren't interested in any of the men who are interested in you. If you don't socialize, you can't meet people. If you can't meet people, no one will ask you out. If you don't accept the overtures of people who ask you out, you will never go out on a date. If you never go out on a date, you're not going to find a relationship.

Quite possibly you're not at a place in your life where you have room for a relationship right now. Plenty of people don't start dating until after they finish college.
posted by deanc at 7:46 AM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]

I have a friend who's in her mid-20s. To my knowledge she has never had a boyfriend, or been kissed, or even asked out. She is the coolest, friendliest, most fun and gorgeous person I know, and I just *know* that when she does find someone, it's going to be someone amazing, because she is that amazing. I have wished many times that I could be like her -- so sure of her own mind and what she will and won't accept from people, that she's never fallen into relationships for the sake of it (like I have), or accepted less than she deserved because being in a relationship is what everyone 'should' be doing (as I did).

In short, it's nothing to do with your looks, and all to do with not having found the right person yet.

If there's a club at school you can join where you can be part of a committee -- club committees at my uni were notoriously incestuous. The combination of regular contact with people with similar interests + bonding through stressful situations fosters closeness much more quickly than, say, just turning up to rehearsals (I was on a music committee). That's one suggestion, though of course I understand you may not have time for it. In which case, as people have said above, my only advice is to prioritise meeting new people and date as much as you can, with as many different people as you can -- even if it's scary and you have a gazillion awkward moments, and you end up never again speaking to that one guy who kept trying to sing you the songs he wrote.

Also, please please stop picking yourself apart. From personal experience, the whole "I would be loveable if only X feature was prettier, or if I didn't have Y" is an obsession that is never-ending. You don't need to be superficially attractive to be attractive. That numeric rating scale is baseless, ridiculous and needs to be banned.

You seem like a relatively self-aware and intelligent person, with a bit of confidence you'll do alright for yourself. Good luck.
posted by cucumber patch at 7:53 AM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]

First: America focus too much on relationships/the timetable of them, and 'X age is TOO OLD, ENd of TEH WRLD' etc. This is untrue, and, in fact, I believe the average age of 'first X' has been increasing steadily. Stay calm and be accepting and forgiving, and relax, this stuff is fun (if sometimes awkward)

I think just about every lady I know consistently under-rates herself in the looks department. I have bordering on unhealthily overweight friends who carry themselves very well and get lots of attention.

Anyway, dating takes time; if you can't make the time you can't date. I'm a big fan of online matchmaking; also find clubs/groups/events in your area that are interesting and go to them.

Finally, if you go to X club/event, say, 5 times, and a person there catches your interest, don't be afraid to ask them on a simple date. Being asked is flattering and takes a lot of the pressure off them.
posted by Jacen at 8:02 AM on January 17, 2013

There is nothing wrong with you. Full Stop.

With that said, shyness and introvertedness are often misread by other people as a lack of interest. What other people said about putting yourself out in social situations is a must. If you never socially interact with anyone then you'll never date anyone.

Alternatively, online dating would be perfect for you because it gets you over the hurdle of signifying that your single, available and wanting to change that. Your shyness in public probably makes it hard for others to approach you but in an online dating situation everyone on the site knows everyone is looking for a date so that barrier is removed.

Good luck...
posted by mmascolino at 8:20 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

You've probably heard it many times before, but when you're insecure/think you're ugly/think you're worthless, other people DO pick up on that. I cannot tell you how many parties I went to before I had self-esteem where I sat there, hanging back and waiting for someone to talk to me, not smiling or approaching anyone because I was so concerned that I was too awkward to be bothered with (and then being treated as such, when no one did actually talk to me...or, when someone talked to me and was turned off by my aloofness because I didn't want to say anything to make me look weird, so I ended up contributing nothing and losing their interest).

Work on accepting yourself as you are. You see people who are as attractive as you in relationships all the time? Good! That's a start, that you recognize that you are as physically attractive as a lot of other people -- some of us struggle to even get to that point. Keep going, but focus more on your insides. Why would a guy be lucky to have you? Own those great traits.

And I just want to say that being insecure about being a virgin and being tired of not being in a relationship are two different things. Which you know, because you're selective, but especially when your self-esteem is fragile make sure that you don't do yourself more harm than good by jumping into sex just to get it over with. My first experiences of sex (which happened after the age of 20, btw) and several after it were with guys who didn't respect me much, or who lied to me, or who just didn't make me feel good about myself except for when they wanted to fool around again. I could tell, but I was attracted to them and wanted to make up for what I felt was being behind the curve, so I had sex with them anyway. But now that I know what a healthy emotional experience of sex is, and that it can be found even outside the context of an exclusive relationship, I would have been happy to be a virgin until I was 25 in exchange for what I know now.

Don't let your shame about being a "late bloomer" make you give up any of your standards. It is nothing to be ashamed of, anyway. Get to know and love yourself, keep your head high, be proud that when you do start kissing and having sex you will be looking at it with a mature eye. You'll be ahead of the curve in that way.
posted by houndsoflove at 8:49 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]

Try starting by hanging out with people more generally, doing things you want to do. Successful relationships tend to emerge more from friendships and social connections, not random hook-ups at parties.

And I'm also nthing the "quit being hard on yourself, judging yourself pointlessly, etc." comments above.
posted by SMPA at 9:07 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Consider online dating. If you decide to, under no circumstances go out with anyone over the age of 23.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:17 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

Online dating is a good idea, as is actively pursuing people you're interested in.

I do agree in theory with people who say "try to go out with someone who isn't your type," so go for it if you can. In my case, though, I could never bring myself to date someone that I didn't feel attracted to (physically, intellectually, emotionally), and so I waited for someone I actually was interested in, and asked him out. It took a while, and I felt kinda bad that I didn't have the dating experience that so many people around me did, but it worked out in the end, and I'm glad that I didn't go on a bunch of mediocre dates in the meantime.
posted by mlle valentine at 10:02 AM on January 17, 2013

I think the advice to date someone who isn't your type depends on what "not my type" means. Does "not my type" mean "someone who doesn't match up to what I think I'm looking for in a partner" or does it mean "strikes me as weird or possibly slightly creepy"? I had plenty of attention from the latter in college. Some of whom, I admit, grew out of their weird/creepy phase a few years later, but who drove me nuts at the time.

My advice, stemming from my own awkward, lonely years, is to find a core group of people you like hanging out with in some sort of structured situation. I had the Society for Creative Anachronism in undergrad and a couple of years after that, until I left for grad school, and eventually met my husband in a science fiction club that sponsored conventions I staffed years later. It will give you the advantage of cultivating friendships with people who can introduce you to others (and who you can ask to introduce you to possible romantic partners), give you a structure and something to do while socializing whether it's meeting and playing games, watching movies, discussing politics, or whatever floats your boat, also expand your social horizons and help you gain confidence.
posted by telophase at 3:02 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm also a 20 year old girl, and while I've dated a bit, my relationship experience is pretty limited. I've only had two boyfriends and not for very long. A few months ago, I was really hard on myself like you are, for being single for more than a year. I had the same train of thought- what's wrong with me, why do only (insert type) guys like me, will I be forever alone?

Since then I've changed how I felt about being single. It came in accepting various truths:

1) There ARE guys into you. Sure, they may not be the men you fantasize over, but that doesn't mean there's anything inherently wrong with them OR YOU. If they ask you out, go out with them. If it doesn't work out, make your intentions clear. You have nothing to lose. Remember that if you were in their shoes, you'd want the person to at least give you a chance. And just because a man pursuing you doesn't seem like your ideal guy doesn't mean that the next guy, or the tenth guy isn't your heartthrob in disguise. You won't know until you get to know them.

2) Go where you like to go. I go to a tiny liberal arts college, and I work and sleep and study. That's it. I realized I barely had time for extracurriculars, and thus, understood that I technically wasn't really putting myself out there. I suspect it's the same for you too- you're not putting yourself where people like you are. If you like books, hang out at a book store to study. Like music? Go to a coffee shop with an intimate open mike. Like cooking? Go to the farmers market. Like exercise? Run at the park. Etc. If you really question how you spend your time, I'm sure you'll find avenues host to people like you.

3) What vibe do you project to the world? I'm an introvert as well, and I keep to my friends . Heck, a smile to strangers is a hassle. I look down, don't initiate conversation, and am very aware of it. But I didn't ever connect it to being single and having a limited social circle. If you want to meet more people, you have to look more open and confident. Fake it, and I promise, it will feel real. Stand up straighter. Smile at strangers you walk by. Talk to that cute guy- I swear, he (unless he is in that .1% jerk population) will be flattered/pleased.

When I finally understood these three things I stopped questioning why I was single. I didn't put myself out there, I wasn't looking to join new groups or activities, and I'm picky. It was obvious that I wasn't, and am not, really looking for a relationship.

Ask yourself if you REALLY want one. If you do, then you will need to change some things in your life. If it's really not worth the change and extra effort...singledom is a good option too.
posted by flying_trapeze at 11:32 PM on January 17, 2013

I didn't have my first kiss and first relationship until age 20, and now I'm 26 and my (fourth) boyfriend is about to move in with me. There is nothing wrong with you.

Nthing online dating. I met three out of my four boyfriends this way because I had a lot of the same social anxiety/not on campus enough issues that you do.
posted by anotheraccount at 5:26 AM on January 18, 2013

One of my close friends won the Ms Fitness Israel competition recently, and she was a virgin till only last year. (I'm not oversharing: this is something she publically admits to). So I am Nthing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, nor does this mean that you are unattractive.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:22 AM on January 18, 2013

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