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I don’t know how to say this, but it feels as though I am facing a crisis. I am 22, I have never had a boyfriend, never been on a date, and it feels as though around me, all my friends are in relationships, getting engaged, getting married, and having babies. I want that too, but it feels as though I will be single and alone forever because no guy has ever approached me, and I don’t know what to do anymore. I was wondering if online dating was a good idea, but that seems so intimidating. And I don’t know if anyone would find me and actually like me anyways. But I really don’t want to end up alone forever. I don’t want to continue burning with lust either. This is very difficult. I want to have a relationship, get married, and have a family and kids, but it seems as though I am totally stuck and hopeless or doomed. Help?
Ok, take a deep breath and relax. There is a lot of panic going on here, and that is actually pretty normal. It seems like a massive percentage of Christians who graduate college unmarried assume that they will never be married. I have certainly struggled with that feeling (I didn’t go on my first date until I was 24 to be honest). The simple fact is, almost everyone gets married, even though it is easy to feel like you are the one person it is never going to happen for.
There are two things that people buy into about singleness, both of which you mention, that don’t make sense when drug out into the light.
The first of those is that more dating experience means you are closer to getting married. While it is true that you can’t get married without having been in at least one relationship (well I guess it’s possible, but rather complicated), it’s not like someone who’s first date is at 12 is more likely to get married by 25 than someone who’s first date is at 22. It is about when you meet the right person and at the right point in your life.
The other lie that people buy into is that getting married younger means you win at…life, or Jesus, or something. Because we culturally associate marriage and parenthood so much with maturity, we tend to see singleness as some kind of indictment of our adulthood. So on top of all the feelings that dealing with singleness breeds, we add feeling like God sees us as immature. Meeting your spouse is not the pot of gold at the end of the spiritual maturity rainbow. God does not work that way.
I am aware that neither of those logical arguments get to the heart of what is an emotional issue. The enemy here is letting your circumstances define your self worth. Believe me that your situation is not an isolated one, there are tons of wonderful Christian gals your age who have not been asked on dates. It is as if an entire generation of Christians decided to kiss dating goodbye…no that is too absurd an idea to even consider. Nothing about this means you are not person worthy of love or desire. Going into a pity party is the worst possible thing you can do, though again, I totally understand the impulse.
The online dating thing is a fine idea, but if you go into with the attitude of “I bet no one will like me, see no one likes me, told you”, then it will probably not be a successful venture. You are correct that it is a good idea to put yourself out there, be that online or meeting new people or just asking a guy you like if he wants to hang out. If, however, you have a defeatist attitude, then it probably won’t go the way you want.
I know you want to be in a relationship. But you don’t just want to be in a relationship, you want to be in an awesome relationship. Panicking about being alone will lead to making bad decisions. If you think being alone sucks, try being in a bad relationship. God loves you, He isn’t punishing you with singleness. This is a season of your life and wasting that season on panic will only create a negative spiral.
So start thinking about what you want (more specific than “a boyfriend”) and start taking a look at yourself and doing some work on yourself. Insecurity will wreck this whole thing faster than any other factor. Make it your goal to establish who you are in Christ so that you can take that identity into a relationship that, believe me, will come in time.
-Matt from The Bridge