Sometimes it feels like we live in an age of constant comparison: How big is your apartment? How much money do you make? How many people viewed your last Insta Story? While a degree of comparison can be healthy and motivating, it can also provoke anxiety. If you're looking to your friends and peers to sort of gauge your general progress in life, you'll likely find yourself comparing your dating exploits and romantic adventures against theirs, and you might wonder if your love life is normal.
I had a serious boyfriend through all four years of college and once we graduated and parted ways, I remember feeling a little insecure that I'd never really dated. While my pals were dating pros, I didn't even know how to go on a first date — what should I wear? What should I say? What should I do with my hands? We all have different priorities and paths and if you're a serial monogamist or a lone wolf, that doesn't make you a weirdo. (Many other things might make you a weirdo and I personally love me some weird!) While you might feel anxiety or even shame around certain dating experiences, or lack thereof, take comfort because you're not alone.
After a breakup in college, I was happy to be single but then it went on and on and on until I realized I hadn't had sex in, like, almost a year. Everyone else seemed to be doing it left and right and I felt like something was wrong with me that I wasn't. I didn't just want to just hook up with anyone, but I also wasn't over my ex, so... dry spell central."
— Kim*, 23
Being the only single person in my crew was fine until the check would come at dinner, each couple would throw down one card and I'd be like... 'Guess we have to do math now to figure out what I owe.' Even worse than that was when someone's boyfriend would take sympathy on me and offer to pay for me.
— Harper*, 24
I never had a boyfriend in high school and then when I got to college I was super busy with, well... college, so I never lost my virginity. I dated on and off but never found anyone I really liked so I graduated college still a virgin. At that point, I had waited so long that I wasn't just going to have sex with anyone, but my V-card was really weighing me down. I was the only virgin in my friend group and I thought something was wrong with me.
— Miranda*, 26
Every guy I ever dated ended things. Even if it was after a few dates, they stopped texting back, or even a proper relationship of a year or so they'd break up with me. I have friends who bragged they'd never been dumped and I'd only ever been dumped, so that, of course, felt terrible.
— Alyssa*, 23
In high school, I remember thinking I was gay, but also thinking girls were beautiful and fun. But then I'd make out with girls and get turned on and think, 'Hey, I’m not gay! All of my stuff works!' But at the end of the day, I knew that the butterflies in your stomach feeling didn’t happen for me with girls, only with guys. It made dating really complicated, obviously.
— Terrence*, 26
In my early 20s, I wanted a boyfriend because I wanted companionship. I thought hand-holding was much more intimate than sex, I wanted someone to talk to, and wake up next to. I wasn't really that into sex, whereas it seemed like all my friend's relationships or dates were so passionate. I felt like maybe I had a chip missing, but I didn't think a relationship had to be all about sex.
— Emily*, 28
I was wary of getting too serious with a guy because I was really insecure about giving blow jobs. If we were hooking up, I'd just want to have sex because I (honestly) was awful at BJs. I'd shy away from that kind of intimacy which I guess got in the way of progressing. But one guy I really liked ended up being my boyfriend and I just told him about my insecurity and he made me so comfortable and I finally figured it out.
— Sara*, 25
I had literally no interest in dating all through college and my early 20s. Not that I was anti-dating or a man hater, I just literally didn't care about it. I had tons of friends, so much work to do, and I was super happy and busy. I didn't need a boyfriend. At times I thought I was weird because I didn't want to date, and my friends always gave me sh*t about it, but it was just not something I wanted at the time.
— Erica*, 27
As you can see, everyone has a different approach to dating, we all have our hurdles to leap over emotionally and mentally and that makes us not strange or unlovable, but human. And hopefully after reading this, you'll realize your experiences are totally normal and you're not alone, you delightful weirdo.
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