Thursday, 6 October 2016

I've Never Had a Boyfriend - So What?

I've Never Had a Boyfriend - So What?

I'm a straight woman, but I've never had a boyfriend. Most people find this a lot stranger than I do. There are a number of reasons why it hasn't happened yet - my sexual assault affecting me badly in my teens, swearing off guys for years after a friend I was into lied to me to get me into bed, and then falling for another friend who didn't feel the same way - but most people assume there's something wrong with me.

Of course, if a straight man had reached almost 30 and had never had a girlfriend, people would wonder about him, too. But there's this idea, in general, that it's more ok for men to be single than it is for women. Women must want and try to settle down, get married and start making babies. It's what women do. Even today, when it's more acceptable than it was for women to enjoy casual sex and just have fun. So if a woman of a certain age is single, eyebrows are raised. If a woman of nearly 30 hasn't ever had a boyfriend, then jaws drop. (Can I just point out how heteronormative this is? Asexual and aromantic people exist. Let's not be offensive, ok?)

I don't see why so many people see this as a bad thing. Sure, I have been lonely at times, and it would have been nice be with someone, go on dates, spend time together, enjoying caring for someone who cares for me, and all that comes with it. But it's not really been that hard. I've not felt like something was missing - that if only I had a boyfriend would I finally be complete. Being single has allowed me the time to figure out who I am and work on my self-esteem. I have a wonderful relationship with myself; I genuinely like the person I've become, and I've grown to love the body I'm in. Sure, I have my bad days, but on the whole, I think I'm pretty amazing. My self-worth doesn't rely on me hanging off a guy's arm. And I've had a pretty great life; I have awesome friends, an incredible family, and lots of happy memories full of laughter. I've been happy without having a boyfriend. Society tells us that shouldn't be the case, but I have been. My life hasn't been lacking for being single. I don't need a boyfriend.

As I've said, yes, I would like to be in a relationship, but wanting and needing are two different things. I've been of the idea that it'll happen when it happens. I'll meet a guy when I meet him, and things will go from there. The idea of actually going out and trying to meet a guy in the hopes that something might happen felt... forced to me. I preferred the idea of things happening more naturally. So I've never gone out of my way to make it happen. But I have been thinking, lately, that I would, actually, quite like a boyfriend now, and waiting for things to happen isn't really working.

I'm a huge fan of Laura Jane Williams, so when I heard she had a new column for Grazia, Would Like to Meet, that's all about dating, I was all over it. Being such a fan of her blog, Superlatively Rude, and her book, Becoming, I'd pretty much read whatever Williams writes. Williams was the draw, not that it was a dating column. But she's got me thinking. Something she said in her first column struck a chord with me:

'"Laura, it will happen when it happens!" they say, and I cringe. Or, "You just need to not want it so much." Oh, please! Tell me more reasons why my marital status is all my fault. I know one thing to be true: the reason that I am single is because I am single. That's it.'
I am single because I am single. And if I'm starting to feel like I don't want to be single? Well, maybe I need to actually do something about that, rather than sitting on my backside waiting for... what exactly? An amazing guy to just appear? So I downloaded Bumble, a dating app that gives women the power, and one Williams herself uses and praises. So far, I have four connections. Those connections may turn into dates, they may not. One of those potential dates may turn into something more, it may not. It's likely going to take more Bumbling (a new word?) before anything really happens, we'll see. But the point is, I'm not trying to change my single status because I've never had a boyfriend and I probably should do. I'd like to change it because I want to. As Williams says, I want, "A witness to my life. I don't need it for validation. I want it because I want it. Because love is nice, and currently it eludes me."

Wise woman, that Laura Jane Williams. So wish me luck, guys. I'm off to message my new connections...

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  1. I love this post Jo! You sound so full of confidence and so sure of who you are. Even your decision to get out and do something about it is full of independence and conviction. It makes me feel like shouting GO ON GIRL! The thing is, when you do meet somebody, you'll have a much stronger foundation for building a relationship because you already know who you are. Me and mine grew up within our relationship which was really hard at times (luckily we survived it) but you're already there which is awesome. Here's to some happy bumbling!

    1. Thank you, Suzy! I do hope I'll have a much stronger foundation. The thing with me is that I'm confident in regards to how I see myself, but not so much in regards to how I'm seen by others. Most of the time, I think, "Screw what anyone else thinks!", but there are certain situations - like dating - where it actually matters what other people think. A second date will depend on what a guy thought of me after the first. And that's where my confidence crumbles a little. But I'm hopeful!

      Haha, I've been referring to it as Bumbling, too. I keep singing to myself, in the tune to LMFAO's song, "Everyday I'm Bumbling"! Haha!