Are you a teenager who’s never dated and who is struggling because it seems like everyone around you is in a relationship? Are you impatient, wondering when your turn is finally going to be? If you answered “yes”, rest assured that you are and will be fine.
First of all, let’s define the term “dating”. Dating simply means spending time with a special someone that you like romantically. This can take many different forms, from going to the movies together, holding hands, texting after classes, to just enjoying each other’s company with or without other people around. Typically, the goal is to get to know the other person well enough in order to determine whether they are right for you (and vice versa). Once the two of you decide that the stars are aligned, you can then enter into an official relationship. You become a “couple”. But usually, people employ the term “dating” in a broad sense, encompassing both the “getting to know each other” phase and the “relationship” one.
This all sounds great to you, and yet, you’ve never experienced it. As a result, you are left questioning whether there might be something wrong with you, or even if you will ever have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Here is what you need to know.
A deep longing for dating in adolescence is both normal and natural. In fact, as you come of age and your brain starts releasing more hormones in your bloodstream, many changes take place, both physically and emotionally. This is what we call “puberty”. During that time, you may suddenly become more interested in romance. You begin noticing and understanding love stories in basically every movie you watch, and on top of it all, you also have more opportunities to meet new people as you get invited to new events. All of a sudden, it’s as if your entire world has acquired new flavors and your emotions are on fire. The truth is that everyone goes through a similar experience. And there is nothing abnormal in wanting to love and feel loved in return.
Think everyone is dating? Think again. According to science, 64% of teens aged 13 to 17 have never been in a romantic relationship. And even among those (35%) who report having “some type of romantic experience”, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything serious. They may have dated briefly, but it’s not uncommon for young people to break up only after a couple of weeks spent together, if not a couple of days. So yes, everyone around you might be talking about dating, but it doesn’t mean that they are for sure. And if you feel like you are seeing couples in every corner, perhaps you are just suddenly paying more attention to it than before.
Besides, the quality of a relationship is another important factor to consider. Indeed, a bad relationship might “create dysfunctional relationship schemas that negatively impact mental health” in the future. For instance, a toxic relationship or a broken heart during adolescence, when the brain is actively developing might affect one’s ability to trust other people considerably. As a consequence, that person might enter multiple relationships only to repeatedly break them because they are unable to fully trust anymore. With this in mind, a lack of dating during your teenage years may not be as bad as it sounds?
Waiting does not have to be boring. There are actually several things you can do while you wait for prince or princess charming.
As a conclusion, yes, you are normal, no matter how old you are. When it comes to dating, everyone is different and has a different pace. The fact that you are still single may simply mean that you haven’t met anyone that is right for you yet. Or maybe you are not as ready as you might think. No matter what the reason behind your lack of dating is, you will find someone to date when the time comes (as frustrating as it sounds, it is true). And speaking from personal experience, you may very well be the last one of your group of friends to date and the first one to marry.