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26 years old and never had a boyfriend...

Tagged as: Dating<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (4 March 2008) 19 Answers - (Newest, 30 October 2011)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I am a 26 year old female who has never had a boyfriend. I think I'm a pretty interesting and unique person overall. I'm reasonably attractive (have modelled professionally- 5'8/125), have an career primarily as a musician and occasional indie news writer and also environmental consultant, am not obnoxiously extroverted but comfortably outgoing. I am not a hipster. I more want to get a chance to try being in a relationship than any fear of not ever meeting "the one" that I see a lot of other people have- try anything once, ya know? I'd love to take the easy way out and say I'm picky, but the truth is that no one has ever indicated interest in me other than men much older than me (eg- my father's age) who are either married (and just looking for sex) or recently divorced, or lesbian or bisexual women. I wouldn't rule out an older man but these sort of situations aren't what I want. I have no idea what is behind the women hitting on me, although it seems to happen pretty frequently.

I really am at a loss for something I perceive to be statistically improbable here. My friends don't get it, and when I tell this fact to others they usually are shocked. I am a rather liberal and rational person (these things seem to be mutually exclusive these days!) so I can't say that I have a whole lot of limitations other than a certain level of intelligence and empathy that I look for. I've liked tall guys, short guys, class clowns, painfully shy bookworms, men of lots of different ethnic/social backgrounds, you name it.

I definitely have taken the initiative in trying to start relationships, be it asking guys on dates, telling them my feelings, or even planting the odd kiss. Men just never seem to want to get involved with me that way- either saying that they think of me as just a friend, or I'm not their "type". I've tried several dating sites and nothing has worked out. I've asked friends to set me up but usually they can't think of anyone. A couple of times they did, and in all of the cases the guy was not interested in a romantic relationship. Most of my friends at this time are guys (colleagues from work as a musician). This whole thing isn't a huge deal in the daily course of my life, but it is something that I think needs to be addressed, and I'd really like some ideas on why this may be.

View related questions: divorce, lesbian, never had a boyfriend, older man, shy

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A female reader, Hypatia United States +, writes (30 October 2011):

Wow...

Original poster here...30 now and still no boyfriend. The closest I got was a really pathetic not-relationship (I will call it a consecutive hook-up situation) over 2-3 years with a married/separated dude (he told me he was, but he wasn't. yeah, my bad). I guess it just gets really hard and when you are that lonely and find someone you like, I was weak and not looking out for my own best interests.

As for dates, at the time I had written the post I'd never even been on a date, no one I asked ever was interested and men don't ask me. I still have never been on a date from a person I met in real life asking. I have been on maybe 5 internet site dates in the last few years and another 3 from a matchmaker, all of which were dreadful matches but I figured I'd give it a shot.

Yes, I wear dresses and skirts and subdued makeup (just to look like I have good skin, not very much except when I dress up). People compliment me often on my style so I don't think it's a terrible problem personally. However I have just started seeing a dating coach and she has told me that I'm basically going to have to work on my appearance since I now live in LA (was in Philly before) and available girls my age just do themselves up a lot more. I really don't want to for several reasons but I may have to just to give it a chance.

One thing which I thought people might find interesting relates to an assignment I had from my coach. I had to ask for positive and negative traits in me as related to dating from friends/colleagues. I found it most interesting that not a single one of my male friends would give me an answer (I have several really close male friends, both single and in a relationship/married, this is really very bizarre to me, especially since they know my problem).

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 June 2011):

If women are hitting on you and men do not then there is something about your style or appearance that is a bit boyish. I don't mean that in a mean way. I am trying to help. Do you wear make-up? Do you wear skirts and dresses? Do you come across as brash or dominating? Try to get more in touch with your feminine side, because that's what most guys like. Also, given your description it sounds like you might appeal to a certain type of guy more common in certain parts of the country (large metros primarily). Do you live in a large metro like NYC, SF, or LA? If not, you may cut be too cutting edge for the guys in your town. Take it down a notch.

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A male reader, allhealzondek United States +, writes (14 June 2011):

Fairly interesting forum going on here as this also pertains to myself as well.

LazyGuy I think made a pretty interesting point that if you are "happy and content on your own". Maybe that kind of attitude makes you seem like you are untouchable to whoever you may be trying to pursue. Maybe other person feels like they be with you or that you are too occupied? I don't know for sure.

I feel like for myself on a daily basis I am happy and content on my own, but then I also would like to have a girlfriend. Another point Lazy Guy made, there is a big difference to wanting and needing. What exactly does this mean??

Is that how relationships happen? Because they need each other, maybe I've missing the big picture. Maybe that is why I'm single. I've never felt I need someone (in sense of needing someone to be), I can handle most stuff on my own. Interesting thought. Obviously we all needed our parents or that person who raised us, or that friend who helped you through tough times, or mother who was there for you when you were sick. If that is all the definition of needing someone then I couldn't be the person who I am, without my mom and dad, my brother, my friends I needed them. I Guess I just haven't needed someone in a relationship yet.

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A female reader, filaka United States +, writes (26 October 2010):

Almost the same situation. I get a lot of dates but it just seems as though I'm not a girlfriend material so to say.

You can't blame me for being picky, for I'm only picky when the offer is off the charts (too old etc).

And, obviously the point on being in a relationship is to be with someone you're compatible with. I'd much rather be by myself than be with someone I'm not attracted to. Does that make me picky? I doubt it.

It just looks like I don't attract my own age-group. The older men are interested but obviously that's not what I want.

It's interesting to see there're other people in the same situation because this looks like a rather unusual case. You have men spinning their heads around, you get complements for being attractive and interesting and all of that yet you're alone.

I don't really see the distinction between a 'you need a partner' and a 'you want a partner' claims, for a partner is not a luxury to be 'a want' versus 'a need'.

Anyway, I'll continue following the blog; maybe someone will come up with an interesting theory.

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A female reader, serena96950 United States +, writes (26 March 2010):

I'm a 29yr old female and have never had a boyfriend. I wonder what is your sign, btw... I know this is odd just springing it, but sometimes personalities just don't click.

I'm a beautiful single female, but I've chosen to be single because the guys who are attracted to me are either too immature, married, or too busy with their career to focus on having a serious relationship. I've never fallen in love, though I've come close to it, but i'm so used to be being by myself, that I feel no one understands me. I do things mainly on my own, and i feel empowered whenever I accomplish things all by myself. yes, i want to love, but i think the hard part about life is that one has to realize that you can't do everything by yourself. i hate being dependent on another person, and maybe if i were more dependent, i would have a boyfriend. i don't know. i just don't want any guy to be dependent on me, too... this is getting depressing.

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A female reader, Hula Girl United States +, writes (13 August 2009):

Well, I have not had a real boyfriend since 2004. My ex cheated on me with this woman who is now his wife. Since then, I tried to look too hard and ended up with men who didn't want to be with me but only to have sex. I have had older men too (in their 50's; i am 28) show interest and I am not. I have been with men who have girlfriends but they never would leave their girlfriend for me (it's a bad thing to do anyway). I don't have friends so I don't go out. So, i guess my situation is different. But I have learned that TIME will meet its course. So, keep on feeling happy and exude positive energy. IF we do this, we eventually will meet someone who will be into us...even if it will be 10 years from now!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (21 January 2009):

Love is emotional not rational, try as much as you can to look at it at that perspective

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A female reader, Saricruz New Zealand +, writes (19 January 2009):

I came across this post.. although I know that it's over 6 months ago.. I just feel like writing here because I'm in exactly the same situation as you.

I'm 20 years old, and never had a boyfriend. To start off with, I'm rather attractive.. had my fair share on complements, and was even stopped on the streets once when someone asked me whether I've been in commercials. In saying so.. I still don't quite believe it myself, I have rather low self-esteem and relies on other people to tell me that I look good. I used to be quite introverted but in these couple of years, I've changed and am more outgoing, more chatty with the opposite sex. But being a late bloomer, I still get uncomfortable at times. I've had people telling me that they think I'm a bit cocky when they first met me.. but after they got to know me, they realise that I'm a fun person with a sense of humour. What also gets me all worked up is I have an almost perfect sister who I find myself secretly comparing to, she's those type of girls who is very very confident, attracts guys' attention no matter where she goes, needs to pre-plan her schedule because so many people are wanting to date her, and gets complements about her attractiveness.. almost everywhere she goes. Since the age of 15, I've been jealous. We have a really close sisterly relationship so it's a dark secret that she's oblivious to. The thing with me is.. it's not even about me being picky anymore, it's because I just don't seem to catch any guys' attentions. Even when I dress up and feel like I look really good, no guys would look my way in a club. It's contradictory from the other comments that I got. So, overtime, I shy away from clubs and pubs, because I know how upset I'd be if no one looks at me. I know that I should just go out and have fun.. but when I think about the zero number of guys who hv asked me out.. I just end up feeling really bad. It seems as if I'm invisible. I used to think it's to do with me being a bit unapproachable.. but after trying hard to be friendly but still got nothing in return..it just left me with a sense of hopelessness.

I'm those kind of people who loves being alone and doing things that I like, because it's something that I really enjoy. It's just that, there will always be something missing

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (21 June 2008):

I'm not that far off your situation except that I'm 30 now.

I think maybe we are a closet group that is probably growing larger than anyone expects. Modern life has made it more feasible to pass all the way through our youth without doing the dating & mating rituals than ever before.

I never dated when I was a teenager because I wasn't ready for it at all. But now that I'm a little more ready for a decent relationship, I feel no connection to anyone near my own age anymore when it comes to dating. They're all on the far side of about half a dozen adult relationships already. And it seems like all of them have a ton of emotional baggage to show for it. I don't want anything to do with that.

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A male reader, LazyGuy Netherlands +, writes (20 June 2008):

LazyGuy agony auntHard to say what is wrong.

You don't sound conceited, seem fairly together, don't make insane demands.

One impression I get is that perhaps you are one of those people who is actually rather happy on their own. You certainly seem busy enough. Sometimes people get their single lives so full there really just isn't any space for another person.

The guys in your life might be getting the feeling "what would she need me for" and/or "will she have any time for me".

It also sounds, especially from your update that you are not into one-night stands. Do you want only serious relationships? Nothing wrong with that but it again it is part of that "happy on your own" thing. You don't need a partner, you want one. Big difference.

If you are after "true love" not just an affair for the sake of it then I suggest you just continue with your life, be happy and content and someday someone might come along. Just make sure that you are not so busy being happy and content that you let him pass you by.

One thing you might want to think of, could you be sabotaging yourself sub-conciously? Some people, through trauma's from the past, deliberately pick the wrong kind of people so they don't have to actually risk committing to a real relationship. Common example, girl falling in love with a respectable old man who would NEVER go for young girl so she can fancy him and flirt with him without having to worry about it getting out of hand.

What might be the reasons that the guys you asked out ALL said no? It seems unlikely because from what you told of yourself I can't think of any reason most men would turn you down. Are you perhaps asking gay/married men, men you know are not interested so by asking them you don't have to risk getting in a relationship?

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A female reader, Kiita Brazil +, writes (20 June 2008):

Ok, my story is just the same. Only I don't get hit by other woman. Recently I found out that being in love and trying to seduce man is someting that really works. Man are somehow stupid. If you dress your best and feel like everything is possible, you get their attention. Then there is the eye contact part. Then, if they come to talk to them, just try t entartain them. That's what they want. Tell jokes, make witty comments, flirt. Do not make compliments about him. Let him make compliments about you. Looking your best and having a sexy attitude is what makes the difference between making a friend and trying to get a date. And yet, I've never had a boyfriend. In my case, it's not fear of relationships, I think it's about being picky. I'm trying to have a chance with this guys I'm interested in, but the most I try the most their friends fall for me. What's the matter??? There are some people who are naturals at the romance scene, and there are others that just don't

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (22 April 2008):

I am in the same boat as you. And, I guess the older you get the more uncomfortable it is initiating a relationship! Glad to hear there are other people out there!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2008):

I guess this is in reverse order.

Ammenna: No, I'm not gay. I figure I would have figured this out by now. Honestly, I've wondered, since I've been hit on so much by girls and so little by guys, but I honestly just don't feel sexually/emotionally attracted to women. I wish I was in a way, it would probably make things easier! Ha.

I would let men come to me, but they just don't. I've never even been asked out on a date, for crying out loud. Seriously. If anything, in the past I may have waited too long to make a move (twice a guy was into me, didn't make it obvious, and I didn't know. Then I liked him a couple of months later and they didn't feel the same anymore).

Jaq: 40 is definitely okay. A lot of older guys are hot (and grey hair is TOTALLY sexy). What I mean that is not okay with older men is when they are my parents' age (55- I'm 26) AND married or just divorced. I'm a pretty open individual, but I don't want to have an affair with someone, and I'm just not ready to deal with someone recovering from a failed marriage when I haven't even dated anyone. I think there are enough single guys out there that this is reasonable to expect.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2008):

Don’t try to hard cause men can sense that and they will run very fast. Just take things one day at a time. No hurry to get hurt.

Take care of yourself and the right man will eventully come along. I’m still waiting after 5 years.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2008):

Hey, I'm a 26 yo male, and I've never had a girlfriend!!

I'm intelligent, good-looking and I have a good-personality, and a GSOH. Actually, you're story sounds very similar to mine, including the part of getting hit on alot by the same sex, and many people (including myself) wondering whether I was gay or not (I'd say on the Kinsey scale I'm a 2 or sometimes a 3, but I've always been attracted to women way more strongly than men - to clarify, emotional connections to other guys can arouse me slightly, but simply looking at any physical female excites me). I lost my virginity when I was 18. I've had proper sex with one girl, and been to a handful of prostitutes when I was in my early twenties.

I went to an all-boys school, and I never managed to get into the 'getting to know the opposite sex' thing, even at dances; the few dances I attended.

My parents divorce effected me very badly, as did my father's second divorce, and I see my sisters marriage souring. I know it sounds lame to blame my parents divorces for any inability to even ask a woman out or respond to her advances, but I think it definitely has something to do with it. I'm not interested in short term relationships, and excluding the times I've been to prostitutes, I've never had a one-night stand...I've had one girl, with whom I suppose you could say I had a relationship, but it was very short lived and it was an absolute train-wreck of an affair.

I'm terrified of a relationship. I've gotten used to being alone and I'm just doing my own thing. Studying. There's a girl I fancied in one of my uni classes. When I was alone last night, I constantly was thinking about her. When I saw her today, I just couldn't/ didn't-want-to extend anything to her beyond friendship. I mean, something just stops me.

From my point of view, relationships just don't work. They don't work, and for me they don't happen. I am lonely sometimes. A handful of times I've met girls off of dating sites, but it's always been a huge disappointment. My standards are pretty high. Which is a good way to stay single, but I'm not ever going to lower my expectations. I like to have female friends, but there's always this sexual tension, which results in some mild flirtation but eventually sours, and she usually ends up acting all spiky towards me...which I don't care about because nothing happened and I gave her no reason to expect anything from me.

I don't know how this could possibly help you, but perhaps there are a lot of decent guys out there who have seen their parents divorce and not gotten over it. That's just my opinion, or perhaps it's a suggestion, just something to ponder. Whatever.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2008):

Hi Hunny

Kawika has a good point to make, plus some guys are scared of beautifull women (not all guys before I get hate mail)and can feel threatened maybe you come across this alot love as a beautiful intelligent young woman with so many interests and wonderfull goals they may think you are to good for them..just a thought I read an article once and it said just that with so many men been asked a certain question. Time will tell hunny and maybe somewere someone is waiting for you so like Kawika says, Let fate slowly take its course, As for the lesbians and bi sexuals well take it as a complement I always had loads of women after me at one point its like when you want a bus theres not one in sight but if you dont need one there are ten... TAKE IT EASY HUNNY AND TAKE CARE OF YOU WITH LOTS OF LOVE AND PRAYERS MANDY XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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A female reader, jaq Ireland +, writes (4 March 2008):

jaq agony auntyou've gotta put yourself out there, show them you that your not a regular model stop being picky who you want the age you want because wat if your meant to settle with a man in his 40s or a man 19,it seams to me when you think of a boyfriend you really want a man for life go out there date people you like just cause you dated a 40 yr old dont mean its a longterm commitment unless you want it to be

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 March 2008):

The first part of your letter sounds like an ad for a dating agency! You seem to be very sure of yourself, which in general is a good thing, but I would guess that this gives you a tendency to take the lead. You want all these men to realise how amazing you are. May I suggest a more subtle tactic - occasionally let men come to you.

How do you come across on these dates? Do you go in for the kill early on? If so, I can tell you that it's not appreciated! No-one likes to be intimidated. You mentioned that you've modelled professionally, so your looks could be a factor: it's often the case that men get a bit tongue-tied around pretty women. You're only 26, it's ok to date a few people before having a serious relationship. I didn't find the one until I was 27 and I've only now just got engaged at the age of 30.

You say that women hit on you, is there any chance that you could be gay? If you're not interested, just tell them that thank you, but you're straight.

It's a cliché but I do believe it's true - love will come when you're not looking so stop looking!!

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A male reader, Kawika United States +, writes (4 March 2008):

Kawika agony auntUnfortunately, I'm going through the same situation. I've run into many dead ends with my relationships. It seems at times I am jinxed. While I see others smoothly enter into relationships, I often think to myself "What am I doing wrong?". The sad part about it is that these guys I know are jerks. They fool around all the time and they treat woman as "objects" rather than people. Oh well, I guess that's just life. But in a sense I also feel an intuition that the reason my relationships have fallen short is because there is that someone special out there waiting on the horizon. I'm starting to believe that everything happens for a reason. We just need to let our "fate" slowly take its course. Like they say..."Love is like a butterfly. The more you pursue it, the more it eludes you." But, if you are calm and still it will land on your shoulder. Thats my take on this. I am hoping things will work out for you...and me

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