Dear Daisy: I’m 24 And Never Had A Boyfriend

Dear Daisy: I'm 24 And Never Had A Boyfriend

dear daisy

by Grazia |

Dear Daisy is our agony aunt column, where Daisy Buchanan answers all of your big questions, from how to be more assertive to how to move on from sexual assault. Daisy's first job in journalism in her twenties was on the problems page at Bliss Magazine. This week, she answers a reader who's never been in a relationship, and feels left out.

Dear Daisy,

I'm 24 and I've never had a boyfriend. In fact, apart from a string of one-night stands and some underwhelming dates, my life has been romantically barren. I seem stuck in a perpetual cycle where the people I like don't feel the same and I don't like the rare few people that do show an interest!

I've asked guys out only to be met with rejection or be ghosted after one or two dates, been swiping on Tinder for what feels like half a century, asked friends to set up me up to no avail, joined groups/clubs, tried to stop caring, tried to stop looking because 'you'll find it when you least expect it', read every self help book going and I'm feeling a little bit stuck. I can't say I'm lonely, crying myself to sleep every night, or massively insecure, I just would really like to meet someone and don't know what else to try.

I know I'm far from being a spinster yet but realise that the older I get the more 'unusual' the fact I've never been in a relationship becomes.

Any ideas because I'm out of them?

Thanks

L

Dear L,

I’m so sorry that this is happening to you. I think the very worst thing about love is the way that it makes us feel so very left out. It brings about more negative comparisons and toxic life-envy sessions than any amount of promotions or posh handbags or holidays ever could. You don’t just feel alone because you’re without a plus one - you’re separate from every pair of people you see. From where you’re standing, it’s all kisses and cuddly toys and M&S £10 Meals For Two.

But I promise it’s always better to have no boyfriend than a terrible boyfriend. I’m 30 now, but when I was 24 I had the worst boyfriend in the world. One of my sisters mysteriously spent the first part of her twenties ‘seeing’ a Czech guy who spoke no English, had no job and, for some reason, was obsessed with butter. Another friend, at 23, had a sexy but sneaky guy in her life who she’d been seeing for six months before she caught him with another woman.

Friend: “Who are you?”

Other woman: “I’m his GIRLFRIEND! Who are you?”

Boyfriend (to other woman, about my friend): “I have never seen that lady in my life before.”

Bad boyfriends abound. That said, I believe in love, and I’m certain it’s absolutely out there waiting for you. I think you’re being incredibly proactive, and definitely doing all the right things. I’m also aware that I’m giving you advice as a person who was last single before the invention of Tinder. The app has changed the landscape of dating entirely, and I think we’re still recovering from its reverberations. Dating has become easy and cheap, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. It means a generation of people who are single and looking have to deal with brand new problems like ghosting, and endless rejection. We might be getting laid more but I think it can make us like ourselves less.

This is the reassuring part about your letter. You’re not lonely, or crying yourself to sleep. The hell of internet dating in 2016 has not broken your spirit. This is good, because the revolution is coming! That might sound a little overdramatic, but this month the New York Times ran this story on how the single men of New York were tired of Tinder culture, and sick of being alone. And, last year, Vanity Fair’s Nancy Jo Sales wrote about how app based romance had brought about a ‘dating apocalypse’.

Culturally, we’re all in the middle of a big reset - it’s as though we’ve just discovered all-you-can-eat buffets, and now we’re working out why it’s not a good idea to dine at them three times a day. Mindfulness has been a huge lifestyle trend in every area, and I predict that it’s about to hit dating hard. This means that over the next year or so, you’re going to meet people who want to take the time to get to know you instead of behaving like bratty children who won’t sit still to watch a TV show for more than five minutes in case there’s something better on the other channel.

I’m hugely reassured by the fact that you’re already practising mindful dating. You’re discerning enough to spot when someone isn’t right for you, and you’re not going to pursue anyone just for the sake of being in a relationship. Our generation is always being accused of fussiness. We are fussy, and I think we should be proud of it. We won’t coast along, and we demand a lot from our careers, lifestyles and relationships. We settle down later, because we don’t settle - we wait for something serious. Being perpetually single at 24 might feel a little bit difficult now, but I promise that it’s totally normal and it’s only going to become more normal.

Simply put, I say don’t worry, be happy. I don’t think you could possibly be doing more in your search for love, or changing your approach. But it might be beneficial to take a step back and think about your life holistically. Has meeting someone become a total focus, or are there other areas you’d like to change? Does dating make you feel excited, or has it become a chore when you’d rather be with your friends or at the cinema? Don’t overthink your single status, and focus your energies on the parts of your life that come with rewards. The happier you are as a single person, the more magnetic your pull and the more likely you are to draw the good dates to you. I cannot overstate this - it is so much better to be still single in your situation than it is to be stuck with a bad boyfriend.

With love,

Daisy

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