So, you’re in your twenties and surrounded by friends who are enjoying the dating scene, getting engaged, or talking about babies.
You’ve never been in a real relationship before or dated much, if at all, and you’re wondering where to go from here.
Luckily, we’ve got a whole bunch of advice to help you remember that this is perfectly normal, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you, and that good things are coming your way…
1. Age Is Just A Number
Whether you’re in your twenties or making your way through your thirties, it’s important to remember that your age is just a number.
It can be all too easy to get caught up in societal expectations…
…you ‘need’ to have done certain things by certain ages.
…you ‘should’ be settling down and planning a family.
…or you’re still at the stage of your life where you ‘ought’ to be having fun and experimenting!
Either way, we’re constantly being fed images and stories of what we’re expected to be doing each year of our lives.
Try to remind yourself that these expectations don’t actually apply to individuals – you’re definitely not the only one who feels like they’re not living the way they should be!
Some people date a lot before they settle down, some people meet the love of their life in high school, and others hit the romance jackpot in their 40s.
There is no set timeline for life, especially when it comes to relationships.
Remember that, while there are people out there who are ‘ahead’ of you in terms of dating and relationships, they may not actually enjoy that aspect of their lives.
It’s easy to look at other people and feel envious that they’ve had several serious partners while you’ve not dated at all…
…but their relationships might not have actually been all that healthy or enjoyable.
Just because other people have done certain things by a certain age, doesn’t mean you need to measure yourself against them.
It’s always better to take things at your own pace and enjoy them, rather than force them for the sake of it.
Better to be single at 35 than in an awful relationship or with a horrible dating history!
2. Put Yourself Out There
If you feel like you want to date more, or simply try for the first time, it’s up to you to put yourself out there.
We’re not saying that you’ll find instant love that way, but you need to at least take responsibility when it comes to meeting people.
You have to get out and about, whether that’s trying speed dating, joining local sports groups to meet like-minded athletes, or just heading down to the local bar more often (soft drinks are allowed so you shouldn’t feel excluded if you’re not a drinker).
If you want to ease yourself into the world of dating, you can always opt for online dating or apps.
Bumble is a great alternative to some of the more ‘aggressive’ dating apps out there, with more of a relationship in mind than something casual.
That said, it depends what you want to get out of enhancing your dating life!
Dating website can be great, as you can find people who match your profile in terms of interests, age etc.
It can be really hard and scary to get out there, but nobody is going to come knocking on your door (hopefully!)
Remind yourself that you’re in charge here and can choose who you want to see again, if you want to leave a date halfway through, and if you want to take a breather and try again in a few weeks’ time.
Ask friends to set you up with their other single friends – you’re not alone or weird for being single at any age, and people worth your time won’t judge you for it.
3. You Can Teach Yourself Confidence
Of course, if you’ve never been in a relationship or dated, it can feel incredibly daunting to put yourself out there.
Remember that just because you’ve not found the right person, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
Try to see your experience (or lack of, depending on your situation) as a filtering process, not a rejection or missing out.
It can be very easy to convince yourself that you’re unattractive or unlovable because you’ve not been in a relationship with anyone before.
In fact, you’ve just not found anyone who’s worth your time just yet.
It’s all about reframing the situation and putting a positive spin on things.
Becoming more confident is a process, and it works differently for everyone.
Some people find that going on lots of dates with different people gives them a confidence boost – they may enjoy getting compliments and feeling interested and desired.
For others, confidence builds when someone shows a prolonged interest in them over the course of a few dates.
You can use dating to your advantage and work on feeling more confident in the best way for you.
Mindfulness is a fantastic practice when it comes to building confidence.
You’ll have the time and space to process your emotions and anxieties, which will help you feel more prepared for when you do choose to start dating.
You can also practice reciting mantras to yourself every day – it may feel silly at first, but it can work so well in the long-term.
By telling yourself how great you are every day, you’ll start to believe it. It might seem unlikely, but it works – subliminal messaging and all that…
You may also like (article continues below):
- 8 Reasons For Optimism If You Worry You’ll Never Find Love
- 6 Key Differences Between Loving Someone And Being In Love
- How To Escape The Friend Zone And Be More Than Just Friends
- How Long Does It Take To Fall In Love?
- The 7 Types Of Love A Person Can Feel In This Life
- Should You Change For Someone You Love?
4. Have No Regrets And Be Prepared
This is a tricky approach to adopt for some people, but so worth it.
Try to remind yourself that you’re single by choice and that you shouldn’t have to feel guilty or annoyed about it.
This applies once you start dating, as well.
Sadly, not all first dates are quite what we want them to be!
That doesn’t mean they’re awful, it just means that you might not meet your soulmate within a week of being on the dating scene.
It can be hard at times, especially when you feel so ready to meet someone special.
Try to control your frustration and accept that some bad dates make pretty funny stories, if nothing else.
By going into dating with a positive attitude and not pre-worrying about things going wrong, you’re less likely to experience those feelings of regret or disappointment.
Being realistic is key – keep your standards high, but try not to go into a date expecting a marriage proposal.
And, if things end awkwardly or you’re not interested, laugh it off. Dating’s meant to be fun, after all.
5. History Doesn’t Always Repeat Itself
You may be single now because of a bad experience in the past.
Whilst it’s normal, and somewhat healthy, to use past experiences as a guide for future ones, don’t hold on to them too tightly.
Everyone is different, so one person’s behavior in the past doesn’t reflect on every person you’ll meet in the future.
If something happened to really put you off, it’s worth confronting what that was before you open yourself up to dating again.
Everyone has something they carry with them, but it’s nice for you, if no one else, to limit that baggage.
Go into things with a fresh mind and remember that things will be different this time if you want them to be.
You have an element of control that you need to remind yourself of.
You’re not just a pawn in the game of dating – you can have a say over what happens, to an extent.
If you don’t want something to repeat itself with someone new, you can find ways to control your own behavior and that may shift things hugely.
Of course, you have to trust your gut! If things are feeling a little bit too familiar, listen to what you know is right for you and look out for yourself.
6. You Will Find Someone
It may feel impossible at times, especially if you’ve never been in love, but you will meet someone special.
It might be taking longer than you’d hope, but love will come into your life.
As with most things, it’s all about perseverance and positivity.
Just keep going and keep imagining that something great is going to enter your life.
We’re all about the power of positive thinking, so manifest your dream partner, stay out there, and keep looking.
7. Second Chances Do Exist
While we think it’s very important to trust your gut, it’s a good idea to get some perspective every so often.
If you’ve wanted to meet someone special for a while, there’s a chance that you have potentially unrealistic expectations of what they’ll be like.
We’ve all done it before (“they eat with their mouth open so I’m never seeing them again”) and it feels justified at the time.
Remember that some people get nervous on dates and may not be their true selves on the first date.
Unless things have gone horrifically, it may be worth giving people a second chance.
You may find that when you’re more open-minded, you notice things about them that you actually really like.
Initial disappointment can stem from so many things, from what shoes someone is wearing (“my soul mate would never wear brogues”) to an expression they’ve used that you don’t like.
Giving someone another chance will make them feel good about themselves, so they’ll be more confident and are more likely to be themselves – which may just be someone you could fall in love with…