Note: This post contains mentions of anxiety and depression, body image issues, trauma, and suicide.
1. "I’m 37, and I’ve never even held hands with anyone. No dates, no kissing, no sex, no sexts, no prospects. It’s just never worked out for me — I’ve never been on the same page as anyone at the same time."
"The older I get, and the more people around me settle down, it gets harder. At this stage, I’m too used to freedom and never having to compromise, so I think I’d struggle to accommodate someone this late in the game, but at the same time, a bit of companionship wouldn’t go astray. It’s just like I don’t exist — if people see me in a romantic way, they don’t do anything about it, and I seem to only fall for people I can’t have. It’s just the way it’s always been, and the way it probably always will be."
2. "I’m 24 and have never been in a relationship. People put these time frames on when you should have your first kiss or first boyfriend or when to have sex."
"I didn’t have the typical teenage experience when it came to dating, and people assume you're so lonely because you haven’t been in a relationship, but really, I’m fine and am fully capable of being happy by myself."
3. "I’m 20 and have never been in a relationship. As more of my friends get significant others, I feel more left behind."
4. "I’m a 24-year-old university student — never been in a relationship; nor do I plan to."
"I decided at age 15 that I never wanted to get married, in part because of the emotional, physical, and psychological abuse I was experiencing and also because of the disaster of a marriage between my parents. Ultimately, it comes down to wanting to feel a sense of autonomy that I don’t think I can maintain if I were in a relationship. I feel content the way I am and don’t feel like I need to change anything about my relationship status to achieve happiness."
5. "I’m in my 50s and really have never been in a 'serious' relationship. Dating is worse than torture for me."
"I have borderline personality disorder, and while I DESPERATELY wanted to find someone, it just got too complicated."
6. "I'm 30 and have never been in a relationship. I've never really been interested, and no one has ever been interested in me, so it just never happened."
7. "I’m turning 30 next year, and I have never been in a relationship. I haven’t dated in five years or been interested in anyone in the last three because I'm so focused on bettering my life and making myself happy."
"I’m plus-size, always have been, and I've healed from a lot of childhood trauma. I’m a firm believer that things do happen for a reason, and we might never know that reason. So I’ve learned to just focus on me, my health, and living life. I do still get asked why I haven’t found anyone yet, and in the past, I would say, 'I just haven't found that person yet' or 'Men suck,' but now I answer with, 'I'm enjoying this time learning who I am, what I want, and what I need.'"
8. "I’m 30 soon, and the main reason I haven’t been in a relationship is because I’m too selfish."
"Not in a bad way. I suffer from anxiety and depression and I’m autistic, so I couldn’t handle thinking about someone else. It wouldn’t be fair to the other person, which is also the reason I don’t plan on having children."
9. "I’m 36 and have never been in a relationship. I’m open to it, but talking to friends and coworkers about their relationships and dating life made me quite happy with my dog."
10. "It's overwhelmingly lonely. I have too-high standards for someone Iike me, and I refuse to settle."
"I came to the realization five years ago that I'll be single for the rest of my life, therefore never truly happy, and I've been fighting depression ever since."
11. "I'm 28 and have never been in a relationship, dated, been asked out, or kissed. There are multiple factors contributing to this; some I'm perfectly fine with and others...not as much."
"I went to a smaller school growing up, and I had no interest in dating people in high school who I had been in school with my entire life. I also learned in my mid-20s that I'm demisexual, so I have zero interest in any sort of casual relationship. Throw on top a lack of any self-confidence or self-esteem."
12. "I just turned 20, never had a relationship, a date, or anything. So far, I don't mind being single and focusing on myself, and I don't feel the need to actively look for a date or relationship."
13. "I'm 29 and have never been in a 'serious' relationship. I’ve gone on dates, but there was no chemistry."
"I feel like something is wrong with me (too fat, too ugly, too short, etc.) and have just thrown my hands up at this point. If I really think about it, I get very depressed and at times have been suicidal, thinking I will be alone forever. Even my dad says, 'Guess I'm not getting no grandkids from you.' I’ve tried multiple dating sites, but it’s the same — D picks and no serious relationship potential. I see other coworkers, friends, and even strangers who have significant others, so I'm not sure why I can't find just ONE person."
14. "I’m in my late 20s. When I was younger, I was obsessed with wanting to be in a relationship."
"I’ve been through chasing prospects who never made the first move or any move. I’ve been through online dating, which seemed nice at first until every guy asked for nudes and wanted to talk less and 'see me' more. It’s all exhausting. Currently, I’m happy not being in a relationship or seeking one; I’m just doing me and have never felt better, to be honest."
15. "I think the reason I'm single now (age 30) is because I feel like there's no romance left, especially when it comes to dating apps — something I've completely given up on."
16. "I’m 23 and I’ve never been in a relationship. I’ve had body image issues since primary school. Also, I have an extreme fear of rejection and being left alone in general."
"I always told myself that I don’t want to have a relationship because of my mental health issues, but it actually might make them better. I want to be loved, and I want someone to think I’m beautiful, even if I don’t think so myself. But my coping mechanisms are stuck in my brain and I do it automatically. Sometimes I love being single, but when I look at all my friends who are coupled up, I get really jealous, and I wish I could have someone. To sum it up, I do want to have a relationship, but my own mind is keeping me from having one. I sometimes really hate my brain."
17. "I want a serious relationship, but I don’t want kids ever."
"I am young (18), and the boys my age either only want a hookup — or they are looking for a future wife who is gonna give them loads of babies, take care of them, and take on all responsibility while also working a full-time job. At the moment, I have pretty much accepted that I won’t be in a relationship until I am older, and am happy to focus on the rest of my life at the moment (although I am not completely against a relationship if the right person came along)."
18. "Thirty-year-old female here. Honestly, can't be bothered. I'm quite content on my own, liking what I like, doing what I like, and watching and eating what I like with no compromise or judgment."
19. "I'm 36 and would love to be in a relationship, but no one has expressed any interest in me!"
"I haven't been asked out in 10 years. My family, though, never drags me for it. I think they know dating isn't easy for me."
20. "I've been single since the dawn of time, it seems! Never had anyone claim me or had it go further than a few dates or a roll in the hay. I've always wanted to be in a loving relationship, but it's just never happened for me."
"I'm in my early 30s and just don't see what's wrong with me or what I need to improve on. Tired of all the clichés, including, 'If you stop looking, someone will find you.' Spare me! I've been single for so long, I'm not sure how I'd be in a relationship. I've had too much time to myself and wonder if I'd be able to share my life with someone. I've now just resorted to focusing on myself and trying to get my sh*t together — to try and live life and genuinely enjoy it. Can't waste time twiddling my thumbs, waiting on someone to find me!"
21. "I grew up in an immigrant household, where dating was not encouraged in the slightest. God, education, and family were the priorities. The significant other could come after you graduated from college."
"So here I am now at 26, graduated from college and currently in grad school, zero boyfriend to be found, zero relationship to be had. As for now, what I’ve learned through watching friends go in and out of relationships and commit to each other is the importance of self and knowing who you are. Singleness is a season to be embraced and shouldn’t be rushed to conform to anyone's timeline. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, which is great before jumping into a relationship, in my opinion."
22. "I am 34 and have never been in a long-term relationship. I used to think that I was innately flawed, but over the years, I've learned what I actually want."
23. "I am in my late 40s, and my longest relationship lasted a few months. I have never been in love, and it may never happen for me."
"Through A LOT of soul-searching, therapy, and my own research, I discovered that I have significant attachment issues and a clear intimacy disorder. I'm in recovery and have to make an effort every day to keep focused on the idea that not only do I deserve to be loved but someone (or someones) will want to love me. Also, if I never have a 'serious' relationship, does that make me less than, incomplete, or a failure? No. If, at the end of the day, I can say that I no longer run from one-night stands to two-week toxic encounters to yearslong dry spells, all while beating myself up for every decision, then I am living the healthiest life I can."
24. "I’m 30 and I’ve never been in a proper relationship. I’ve never felt anything more than vague curiosity toward having one, but that might be a fortunate coincidence because I’ve also never had the opportunity. I’m not 100% sure why."
"I make friends easily and am conventionally attractive but have the emotional range of a walnut, so as far as I can tell, while guys like me…they just don’t love me. If I don’t reject the guy myself, I seem to average three dates before they lose interest. On my end, I’m pretty sure I’m aromantic; the level of intimacy that separates a partner from just a friend you have sex with is something I don’t want or understand. I’d much prefer the latter."
25. "Eighteen-year-old college student here. Thankfully, my friends and family don't put pressure on me, but there is societal pressure, especially with the media and people from school."
26. "I'm 33 and I’ve never been in a long-term relationship. I get ghosted and lied to by almost every guy I’ve dated because I suffer from borderline personality disorder, chronic anxiety, and OCD."
"It’s impossible for me to maintain relationships, friendships, and even jobs because I can’t control my emotions. I push people away, yet I want them around. I’m trying to work on myself, but having zero friends and having been single my entire life doesn’t make things easy. I have my good days and bad, and I need someone who sees past my behaviors and sees the person underneath it, because it’s just me trying to control my brain."
27. "I am 25 and have never been in a relationship. In high school, I assumed no one would date me because I thought I was ugly. I'm now at a point where I do feel healthy enough to be in a relationship, and I don't hate myself like I did in high school, but it still hasn't happened."
"While it took a while to recognize myself as desirable, it took even longer to realize that my mental health issues, including social anxiety (I truly don't go out anywhere when I can avoid it) and abandonment trauma, have made it hard for me to date others and, honestly, for others to date me. I feel ready, but I also want my first love to be someone special, so I'm patiently waiting."
28. "I’m 28 years old and have always been single for one reason or another. We single people aren’t broken, and there isn’t anything more wrong with us than with people who have been in relationships."
What do you think of these responses? Fellow singles, what's it like to have never been in a relationship? Feel free to share your story in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US and UK from the Crisis Text Line.