Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Romance and love is all around us — in the media, among friends, with strangers on the internet, and in real life. There is no doubt that romance and love is a huge part of growing up, but how does it feel to watch everyone around you experience love and attraction while you’re left in the dust? 

It doesn’t feel good in the slightest.

In high school, I watched my friends and classmates start dating, getting asked to homecoming, and dressing up and dancing with this person who they thought they were going to marry (many of the couples I knew in high school have broken up now, but that didn’t stop them from believing it in the moment). There is an innocence in a high school romance: you see it in movies and in real life all the time. A high school romance is the time where you can fail at being in a relationship but it’s ok since you’re still learning the ins and outs of being part of a team. 

I grieve this type of experience quite often. As much as I want to experience an innocent, high school romance where it’s ok to fail and not be perfect, where I get asked to the school dance, this is no longer achievable. Which, to put simply, sucks. There is no substitute. Honestly, I think it’s the small things I wish I could experience the most, like relating to break up songs, having someone have a crush on you and trying to do everything they can to get you to notice them. It’s similar to watching your elementary school friends whisper to each other and laugh in front of you, but you’re not in on the joke. Everyone has these shared experiences of their first love, and as much as you want to relate, you can’t. 

When I turned eighteen, I immediately downloaded Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble: what I like to call the trifecta. The validation I got from getting matches and from men texting me first was insurmountable — it was a high for me. The thing no one really tells you about dating apps though is how much they suck. You’ll match with fifty people, talk to ten of them, have a good enough conversation with five, and if you’re lucky, you’ll eventually go on a date with one of them. This process is exhausting, and in my opinion, superficial. In my two years on the trifecta, I’ve only gone on a handful of first dates, even less second dates, and never beyond that. 

Coming to college, I expected a better chance in my love life; after all, there are so many types of people in college coming from all different types of backgrounds. But the story remains the same — I watch my friends and peers fall in and out of love, get the attention and validation I so desperately crave, and watch as everyone goes through these experiences while I’m watching behind the crystal clear glass . The older I get, the more hopeless it seems that I’ll get to experience the love my friends do. As much as I know (or at least want to believe) that I am not the only one without any experiences, it’s definitely very hard to believe that it won’t be this way forever. 

The older I get, the more scared I become too. I’ve been independent and alone for so long that I’m not sure if I know or even have what it takes to be in a relationship:to be a part of a team. I feel as if I’m too old to learn the things my peers did at sixteen (which, again, I know it’s not true, but it’s hard to convince yourself of that). I’m afraid that I won’t know what to do, how to act, how to have sex, and I’m afraid of doing it all wrong and will embarrass myself. 

I go to my friends, complaining that I’m lonely, that I want to be in a relationship and all I hear back are echos of “you’ll find someone someday”,“you just have to be patient”, or my personal favorite, “learn to love yourself first, learn to be alone with yourself.” Someone who has never been in a relationship or experienced romantic interest doesn’t want to hear that chorus of “be patient”. As much as my friends are trying to be understanding and empathic (and I love them for it), they simply just don’t get it. It is an incredibly lonely and isolating feeling; one that doesn’t go away. 


ive been single my whole life and i highly doubt i will ever be asked out #fyp #real #griffrule

♬ not that im anywhere – xerod

In a month, I will have lived two decades of my life without anyone showing prolonged romantic interest toward me. And at a certain point, it becomes damaging to your core self. I’ve spent countless hours asking myself, “Is there something wrong with me?”, and although logically I know that the answer is no, that there is nothing wrong with me, that I am a likable person, the voice is always there. It’s hard to be the chronically single friend and it’s hard to not be anyone’s absolute first choice. When things aren’t going well, there isn’t someone to devote their full attention and love to you. It’s not fun not having anyone to share minuscule details about your day with. 

However, I’ve recently decided that I’m not going to mull over this (at least, not all the time like I used to.) My life is still mine to live, regardless of if I have someone to share it with or not. I will continue to show my love to my friends, because platonic love is just as important, and I will try my best to be okay with my own company. I believe that no love is ever wasted and the love you put out in the world will come back to you one day in various forms. After all, loneliness is still time spent with the world.

Content written by various anonymous CU Boulder writers