It’s always there, lurking in the back of your mind, a constant nagging hum, the backtrack of your life.
Why aren’t you in love? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? Why HAVEN’T you been in love? What if no one ever loves you? Why? Why? Why?
The truth of the matter is it is okay that you’ve never been in love.
Just because every tune on the radio is a love song and every movie tells a love story it doesn’t mean you are any less of a person because you haven’t felt love like that firsthand. You know what love feels like. You feel it every time you watch Meredith Grey and Derek Shepard fall for each other. You feel it when you listen to Elton John’s “Your Song”. You feel it with your best friends. So what if it isn’t falling in love with someone? There will always be time for that.
I’m 18 years old and I can honestly say I have never been in love before. For so long, I felt like there was something wrong with me. I never had a high school sweetheart; I didn’t even go to prom with a boy I liked. It always seemed like everyone around me was in love or working their way to it. A girl in my senior class told me that she was moving in with her boyfriend after graduation and they would be married in a couple years. This guy I grew up with told me he’d “finally” met his soulmate. I, on the other hand, had barely decided where I was going to college in the fall.
I always knew the people questioned me for my “lacking love life”. Time after time, I’d be asked “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” or “What are these boys not seeing in you?” Truthfully, those questions are offensive. It isn’t that boys aren’t interested in me or that I have never had a boyfriend. In fact, I was with a boy for a long time, on and off. I know what it’s like to have a boyfriend; I just didn’t love him. So why is it such a crime that I’m not currently dating anyone and I’m not in love? It is my choice after all, even though others make me feel like less of a person because of it.
That girl I graduated with? She is basically living with her high school boyfriend at home while getting her associates degree. I’m living in a cramped college dorm, hours away from home, with people I met less than three months ago, struggling to graduate so I can go to med school. That boy I grew up with? He gave up the chance to attend his dream college so he could stay home for his girlfriend. I left home and cut ties with anyone who tried to ground me. And my on and off again boyfriend? He went to college, mostly because he thought it would make me happy, and in the process met another fantastic girl who was ready to fall in love.
For me, I’ve learned to be very content without ever being in love. I’m still a child, extremely ripe to this earth, with thousands of other things I still want to experience. I believe I will fall in love when it’s right for me. I’m not done yet. I’m not ready to be tied down or give myself solely to another person.
The media, our relatives, and our peers are constantly immersed in a world where “being in love” and knowing that feeling is one of the first things people are judged by. I know how hard it is to be the only one in the group to have never been there. I know what it’s like to be tagged as “cold-hearted”, “unlikeable”, or “too picky”. But please, do not let these names haunt your sleep. Keep dreaming of the things you want and if love isn’t one of them right now, I need you to know there is nothing wrong with you.
Being in love with yourself is enough love for now.