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Just need to get this off my chest, I suppose.


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I'm a college student, 23 years old. My last serious relationship ended when I was 19. I'm doing great overall; wonderful grades, lots of social contacts, many hobbies. Should anyone ask me if I'm happy, my answer is a definitive yes, and for the past few years I've genuinely been living my best life. The only thing one could argue that I 'lack' is a romantic relationship.

 

As I've learnt, I can be perfectly happy without one. And when not confronted with it, it's not an issue. But recently, I've had friends enter into relationships left and right, seen many beautfiul (glorified, I know) relationships build up in films and series, and heard bunches of cheesy love songs on the radio. Yes, I'm fine without it -- but I can't deny it's started gnawing at me.

 

In those past four years, I haven't met anyone I'm genuinely interested in. For a long time I was convinced I had developed a crush on one of my best male friends, but I still see him lots now and I've noticed that the feeling has completely disappeared. I recently reconnected with an old friend that I'm physically attracted to, but found out there's really nothing beyond that. I've started my master's studies this month, gone to meetups, even tried a local singles group, and met so many new people overall -- but there's just no one I feel interested in.

 

See, to be completely fair, I feel pressured to find someone. Not just from outside influences, but internally, too; and I can't exactly pinpoint why. Maybe because I feel like I merely blinked and suddenly I'm 23, and the clock continues ticking. The idea that the pool grows smaller with every year I continue waiting. Or maybe because I've seen all these happy examples and I know I deep down want to have something like that. Because of course I do; I'm no exception.

 

My day-to-day schedule is usually packed. University takes up all my weekdays, and the evenings and weekends I spend with friends. Different friends everyday, and already without trying to squeeze in extra evenings to meet new people I find myself frequently having to choose between one activity or the other. I could go out of my way to put some of them on hold just so I can attend an extra meetup, or visit that new association in town.. but fact of the matter is I really just don't want to. I meet plenty of new people already and all I do it for is to find someone I could perhaps, maybe, one day be interested in, with no success. I'd rather just continue enjoying my time as I do now.

 

The three previous people I've been in relationships with I've all met while not searching actively. I just so happened to run into them while I was visiting my usual conventions, campings, you name it. I didn't need to search, I just found them. We clicked, and we went from there. Which makes what I'm trying to do now feel all the more pointless.

 

Yes, there's certainly a few guys that I met who are handsome, but I just don't feel much for them otherwise. And while you could argue that's because I don't know them well enough yet, I find myself just not having the time or energy to go out of my way to chase them. I just don't want to. And again, from experience, I know it's very well possible to find someone you don't have to "create" a click with. Someone with who it's just naturally there. But every time I choose not to give chase, I feel guilty afterwards. Like I've just been lazy; like I've let an opportunity slip away, and this is exactly why I'm not finding anyone.

 

Sorry for my rambling. I sound more frustrated with it than I really am, I promise, but it's certainly bothering me. Should I be trying harder? Should I be going with a different approach? Should I drop it? Quite frankly, I just don't know what to do with all this.

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You are making yourself way too busy...you commit to your studies, then you commit to your social life...how is anyone to date you unless you make effort to free up your time? You need to make yourself more available. If I were you, I would slow down, and give dating a chance. If you don't find them interesting enough, that's fine move onto the next. When you put yourself out there you will eventually find some one. How about trying online dating? not a magic bullet, but it's a start. And yup welcome to dating as an adult....

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Moon, you're only 23 years old. You have a WHOLE lot of time before you have to start worrying about not having a mate. At your age, you should be having fun, looking out for yourself, doing things you want to do, enjoying life.

 

You're not emotionally ready for a relationship, I think. Too many things have priority in your life right now.

 

How long will you be in the University? Not forever! When you have your degree and an established career, you'll get to meet new people and your life will look dramatically different from how it looks right now. Don't be in a hurry.

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I actually wished I'd waited until I was in my late twenties to get serious with anyone. Many, including myself, have leaped far too soon into longterm relationships, including marriage, without having more life experience before being able to choose more wisely.

 

I'd rather just continue enjoying my time as I do now. Do just that, then. Don't let what others are doing at the moment influence what is right for you.

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The three previous people I've been in relationships with I've all met while not searching actively. I just so happened to run into them while I was visiting my usual conventions, campings, you name it. I didn't need to search, I just found them. We clicked, and we went from there. Which makes what I'm trying to do now feel all the more pointless.

 

I find that the best romances start just that way. When you aren't looking and they just find you, taking you by storm and knocking you off your feet. But when you are constantly searching or wanting it, you only make yourself more depressed. Everything seems like a sign that you'll be alone forever while everyone else is having these amazing loves. Even if you know that's not true, it's hard to escape the feeling. So you try harder, desperate to avoid being alone. And when things don't work out, you're even more hurt. It can be a vicious cycle. Instead, try not to worry about it. Be happy with your life, do what you love. When you are fully embracing yourself and having fun on your own, those moments of doubt become less and less. And eventually, that relationship will find you.

 

You are also 23. You have plenty of years left for love. I never even had someone show interest in me until 22. At 37, I'm still waiting for that special someone. But I have faith it will happen someday. So you are doing well for your age. You deserve someone you really connect with, someone with whom it will be natural. Don't feel bad for not trying to give chase or force something when you don't feel the spark. Like the song says, "You can't hurry love."

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You're only 23. You might be sick of people saying this but in the grand scheme you're still way too young. My greatest love affairs were in my thirties and forties. Stay true to yourself and your studies, put in that time and effort and it'll pay off later. You never want to find yourself dependent on a partner for any reason, especially financially. If you're looking for companionship there are options but you sound like a smart woman and it takes more than that to pique your interest. Keep it that way and stay busy. Don't let the lulls between study and exam periods get the better of you. You are NOT missing out on a lot in relationships in your twenties. The quality is usually very low as connections come and go and others your age are also finding their footing.

 

Give yourself a chance to grow fully and you'll blossom and find someone on your level.

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Hello Moon,

Whenever you feel like you don't fit in with the behaviors of those around you, consider them to be lovely ducklings, even while you're busy embracing your inner swan.

 

This doesn't disqualify anyone else's dives into relationships. It only points out the differences in your focus.

 

People who couple up young either do so through a connection they've found organically, OR, they work at it. They devote the time to making connections and seeking dates through those, or they use apps or whatever it takes to invest their TIME in finding a partner.

 

If you're not willing to do that, then that's perfectly fine, but don't work against your own happiness by straddling a fence between wanting romance versus an unwillingness to work toward that beyond having it fall into your lap.

 

Nobody else can tell you what you want. But just like the law of gravity--it is what it is. If you want something enough, you'll invest in finding it. If not, then don't trick yourself into believing that you want it more than you actually do.

 

Head high, and avoid deliberate misery. You'll thank yourself later when you have more clarity.

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First, Kudos on continuing your education, setting yourself up to be independent. I wish more 23 year olds would do that. Second, my daughter just got married at 31. There is still time to find that right person to click with, start a family, etc. I do believe in listening to your gut about other people and if it's not "clicking" for you, then that person is likely not the one. I agree with letting it occur naturally. Those relationships tend to last longer because they weren't forced. While it's true some find "the one" sooner than others, that may not be life's plan for you right now. I encourage you to focus on school and enjoying your friends. The one for you will come when it's time. Prayers for peace and the ability to discern when the one comes along.

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  • 5 months later...

Thank you all so much for your replies. I realize I never responded to this thread again, but I did read all your answers at the time. And they helped. Hearing that 23 is still considered very young, that there's nothing wrong with focusing on friends and studies instead. The things I suppose I just needed someone to tell me. Even now, I sometimes come back to these replies just to read them again. To reassure myself, in a sense. So thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts.

Most of the time since then, I've been able to just focus on living my best life and putting these concerns aside. For all the times I did still feel like I was "missing out" on relationships, I have been able to identify a pattern. It either always seems to happen on quiet days (which occur more commonly now, unfortunately, with covid, lockdown and curfew) or whenever I find myself confronted with someone I used to "have a chance" with -- people I previously dated, broke up with, or simply people who were interested in me -- who have now happily moved on and are in a healthy relationship with another.
It's a certain kind of restlessness, I suppose, when I learn they have found that which I have not. The classic "I could have been with them, but I let them go, and now they found someone else while I'm still alone". As though it was a mistake not pursuing anything, while I'm fully rationally aware they weren't the ones for me, anyway. It's a toxic thought, really.

On 9/8/2020 at 11:19 PM, Rose Mosse said:

Don't let the lulls between study and exam periods get the better of you.

On 9/9/2020 at 7:23 PM, catfeeder said:

don't trick yourself into believing that you want it more than you actually do.

This really hit the nail on the head for me. When I evaluate my situation, I really don't see the need for a relationship right now. It all seems to come forth from comparisons to other people and the fear of being "too late". That's why on one hand I'm not motivated to work towards finding a partner, but at the same time feel stressed out every time I'm reminded of it.

I suppose my best course of action is just to continue doing what I enjoy, as many of you have suggested. 🙂 Having identified the root of the problem helps to calm these thoughts at least a little bit. It's days like today (just found out someone I used to date now lives together, second pattern as mentioned above) that stir things up again a bit. That's just when I need to pause and remind myself I'm not running out of time, and that it's completely ok to focus on other priorities if that feels more natural at this point in life.

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