Why It’s OK Not to Have a Significant Other Until Your 20s (Or Any Age for That Matter)

Me with my significant other, being equally ridiculous trying on the sunglasses at a vintage shop.

Confession time. I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 19 — and it’s ridiculous that this is actually something I feel like I have to confess. For a long time, I was made to feel ashamed that I didn’t have a boyfriend, and I think that shame actually went a long way towards making me not get a boyfriend. Let me explain. The shame that people consciously and unconsciously made me feel for never being involved with anyone knocked my confidence, and no one (as far as I could tell) was interested in me romantically until I started to feel confident enough in myself to accept the idea that someone could be attracted to me.

I remember one incident in particular from secondary school (equivalent to high school) that has stayed with me. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I think it was probably around the age of 13 or 14. I remember some of the people in my class — who were what I would call the “popular” students — asking me if I had ever kissed anyone, and their tone suggested that they didn’t think I ever had. I mean, after all, who would kiss her? I surprised them by saying that I had. It was a lie. Once I got older, I was able to be more comfortable and say that I hadn’t. No one had come along that I had particularly wanted to kiss yet, but back then I was scared, and I lied. I didn’t want to be ridiculed. I didn’t want it to spread around the school. They made me feel like there was something wrong with me if I hadn’t. That’s why I wanted to write this piece.

For the people out there of all ages who want to be romantically involved with someone but for whatever reason have not been yet: There is nothing wrong with you. You are beautiful. There is someone out there who will show you that when you are ready.

And you know what? I’m glad I waited. I was able to discover who I was as a person first. I went travelling. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else. I still don’t know exactly who I am as a person, but when I did meet my significant other, I was confident enough to hold my own. And he was worth the wait. I’m also lucky because my first significant other has always made me feel special, wanted, and loved. So please don’t worry that it won’t happen to you. You might be younger or older than me and worrying about it, but trust me when I say that someone out there thinks you’re pretty damn awesome.

If I hadn’t met my significant other, I’m fairly certain I still would not be in a relationship right now. I’ve finally gotten to the point in my life where that would be okay, and I hope I can make whoever needs to hear this feel the same. When I was younger, I remember reading an article in which the writer talked about the fact that they didn’t have their first kiss or relationship until their 20s, and it made me feel so much better about myself. I wasn’t the only one. I wasn’t abnormal.

So, I hope my story can comfort whoever is reading this in that same way and can help you realize that it does not matter how “old” you are when you have your first kiss, first relationship, or first sexual experience. It just matters that you are ready and want it when it happens.


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