10 Sep, 2020

Never dated

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.

Wanting to date is normal

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. 

But not dating as a teenager is also normal and more common than you think

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?

In the meantime

Waiting does not have to be boring. There are actually several things you can do while you wait for prince or princess charming.

  • Focus on schoolwork: I know you might be thinking “what a bore and a cliche thing to say”, but there is no doubt that people who do well in school are more likely to be successful later in life, both on a professional and personal level (which includes relationships). 
  • Become the person you would like to date: you certainly don’t want to date someone shallow, do you? The same applies to the person who will date you. Therefore, be proactive in this season of waiting. Develop your interests and your personality. Learn to play an instrument, become an expert in trivia, try to solve your anger issues and so on. 
  • Spend time with friends: they may not be as appealing to you right now as a brand new romance, but at that age, they will probably last longer.
  • Get to know new people: try to socialize without any ulterior motives. But even if being friends seems too uncomfortable right now, know that it will most likely get better as you grow older.
  • Know why you want to date: Is it because you are genuinely interested in someone, or do you want to have a boyfriend/girlfriend to gain confidence? The reality is that dating might make you feel better about yourself for a time, but it is not going to solve all your self-esteem issues. You can read more about when to date right here

Not dating in your teens does not mean you will end alone

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.

Resources:

How to Survive Puberty

Unveiling The Secrets Of The Teenage Brain

Basics Of Teen Romantic Relationships

Measuring The Value Of Education

The Link Between A College Education And A Lasting Marriage

When Am I Ready To Date