Ever felt like you woke up one day and every girl you know has a boyfriend? Your best friend does, your frenemy does, and even that weird girl in your chem lab seems to be cuddling up with some cutie in between classes. What gives?
To all the collegiettes out there who feel perpetually single, don’t worry! There are plenty of reasons why you’ve never had a boyfriend, and there are an infinite number of reasons why it’s totally okay that you haven’t.
1. You’ve been focusing on your studies and extracurricular activities.
You rush to your 8 a.m. history class, and then you go to three more classes, a working lunch for a group project, two club meetings, a quick trip to the gym, your on-campus job, a 7 p.m. bio review, and then the library to do homework. By the end of the day, you’re exhausted and just want to head to bed. Where in your schedule would there be time to keep up with a boyfriend?
Putting your energy into every aspect of school (academics, extracurricular groups, or work) is great! However, it’s important to make sure that you strike the balance you want between academics, activities, work, and being social. But “being social” doesn’t always have to include a boyfriend, and you definitely shouldn’t feel pressured to tack a guy onto your life unless you know you have the time and emotional energy for him.
Leslie*, a recent graduate of the University of Florida, found herself single amongst her friends, but ultimately decided that academics and her extracurricular activities were more important. “I spent dozens of hours every week on schoolwork, and I’m also really involved in theater as well as singing,” she says. “I didn’t want to give either thing up, especially because there wasn’t any specific boy I was trying to pursue.”
Leslie’s friends felt like she was spending too much time hitting the books instead of going out and hanging with guys, and they kept pushing her to find a boyfriend as a way of being more social. “Honestly, I didn’t really see how those two things had to be related. A boyfriend is a person you have a connection with. It’s not like a hobby you can just sort of pick up. Relationships are a huge commitment,” she says. “My priorities differ greatly from some of my friends. Taking school and extracurricular [activities] seriously is awesome, and I’ve found that not having a boyfriend shouldn’t make you feel somehow inadequate.”
Leslie’s bottom line? “Live your life by your own terms, and let other people do the same,” she says. “If you love schoolwork or some hobby or anything, don’t sell yourself short! Decide on your priorities and stick to them. A boyfriend doesn’t have to be on that list.”
2. You’re not a huge fan of your current dating pool.
Let’s face it: guys can be immature, annoying, rude, hard to read (or too easy to read), and every other problematic adjective in between. These all can be unappealing reasons to date for many collegiettes, and it could be why you’re having trouble finding someone to call your beau. Guys do eventually change (sometimes), so if the guys in your class year or at your college just aren’t cutting it for you, remember that there’s always hope for the future!
Kate Masters, a collegiette from Wesleyan University, found several guys at Wesleyan who she liked, but never felt like they were boyfriend material. “I had a couple of flings here and there during my freshman year, but I never felt like anything really clicked,” she explains. “Either the guys weren’t looking for a relationship, or I wasn’t looking for a relationship with them. I just got frustrated and decided to take a break from the whole ‘finding a boyfriend’ ordeal.”
From her experience, Kate has one piece of advice for her fellow collegiettes who don’t like their college’s dating pool. “Don’t lower your standards! You’ll know when you’re ready to take it to the next level with someone physically as well as emotionally, and you shouldn’t rush it,” she says. “Trying to alter or completely change your preferences leads to a lot of awkwardness and backtracking later on.”
Kate says she feels that when you lower your standards, you’re just being dishonest with yourself. “A boyfriend isn’t worth changing who you are,” she says. “If you don’t feel comfortable with your school’s dating scene or your relationship prospects, that’s fine. Love is not one-size-fits-all, so keep being yourself and wait for someone who meets your standards.”
3. You just don’t want a boyfriend.
Ellie*, a student at Wesleyan University, realized that she’d had several steady hook-ups over the years but never an actual boyfriend, and that began to worry her. “A lot of my friends started getting into relationships during my sophomore year, and I started feeling insecure,” she says. “I mean, to me it was like, ‘How am I supposed to become an adult without ever having an actual relationship?’ I had never really wanted a boyfriend all that much, but I just felt like I was doing things all wrong by not wanting one.” She felt like she was missing a crucial part of the “growing up” process.
However, after some experimenting, Ellie soon changed her mind. “I tried pursuing a relationship with a guy I didn’t really like, and I just felt so emotionally exhausted after the whole thing. Hook-ups and casual dating work for me in college,” she says. “I’m positive that in the future I’ll be more ready for a relationship, but a steady boyfriend is just not what I’m looking for right now, nor do I feel ready to take that on anytime soon.”
Ellie feels like some collegiettes often get pressured into having boyfriends, but they definitely shouldn’t pursue a relationship unless they want to. “The moment I stopped apologizing for not having a boyfriend and considering myself weird for not wanting one, everything became a whole lot better,” she says. “I don’t want a boyfriend right now, and that’s absolutely okay. Boys can be stupid and moody and annoying, and I’ve chosen to take myself out of that equation. It’s my business, and I’m happy to finally realize that boyfriends are not the be-all, end-all of college life.” You go, girl!
4. You’re still trying to figure yourself out, let alone a whole other person.
Every college movie shows young adults trying to “find themselves” in some way or another, and while Accepted might not be the most accurate depiction of college life, the overall theme rings true: college students are still figuring things out. This can definitely include your likes, dislikes, and everything in between, and it also could be why you may not have had a boyfriend.
Rachel*, a recent graduate of Florida State University, felt absolutely lost during her freshmen year of college. “I just had absolutely no idea what was going on and who I wanted to be,” she recalls. “Looking back, I had so much to learn about myself, and not just dating-wise. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was confused about my academics (choosing a major is so stressful!), my eating and exercise habits, and my social life.”
Rachel also felt herself becoming increasingly anxious over the fact that she hadn’t had a boyfriend yet. “I just felt like I wasn’t being a ‘cool college kid’ if I didn’t have a boyfriend,” she says. “But then I realized that I couldn’t possibly care for another person if I didn’t first care for myself. Until I figured out what I wanted, I wouldn’t be able to communicate that to another person, nor would I be able to tell what they wanted.”
Ultimately, Rachel found a major she enjoyed, an exercise schedule and food plan she could stick to, and friends she loved. Around the beginning of her sophomore year, she met the guy who would eventually become her boyfriend, Steve*. “I feel like I wouldn’t have even noticed him or gotten to know him had I not gotten my own life in order,” she says. “In cheesy metaphor terms, I had to sort through my own emotional baggage before checking someone else’s luggage.”
Just because you’ve never had a boyfriend doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you! College is about self-discovery and deciding what you want for yourself. As Leslie pointed out, your priorities might not include a boyfriend, and that’s perfectly fine. In addition, not wanting a boyfriend doesn’t make you weird; it makes you smart because you’re focusing on what’s best for you. Think about the balance you want in your life. Your happiness should come first!
*Names have been changed to protect identities.