Wait, You’ve Never Had a Boyfriend?

You heard right, ladies and gents. In my nearly 21 years of existence, I, Jocelyn Lim, have never had a boyfriend.

Though I never used to put that much thought into my perpetual singledom — it’s always just been that way — I’ve met a handful of people over the past couple of years who regard this fact as an anomaly. “How do you do it?” I’ve been asked. “…why?” inquire others. A noncommittal shrug and some variation of “I don’t know, it just hasn’t happened for me” serve as the ingredients of my typical reply.

In actuality, I have A LOT of mixed feelings on the matter.

So, dear reader, I’ve decided to put all of those feelings in the form of a Q&A featuring the top three questions I receive (and have increasingly asked myself) about my lack of experience in the realm of relationships. Can anyone else out there relate?

Q1: OK, so you’ve never had a boyfriend… why?

A1: You should know, first and foremost, that being single isn’t an active choice. Think of it more as a default, which in and of itself is pretty complex. There are multiple facets and layers of my being that you could interpret as having some sort of role in the reason I haven’t yet experienced a romantic relationship.

For one, I’ve been focused on a ton of other things.

Cliché? Yes, though it’s incredibly true for me. Family and academics have always been my priorities.

During high school and even now in college, the desire to perform the very best that I can in everything that I do was and remains my big driving force. I constantly create a high standard for myself that I seek to achieve and eventually surpass. In the process, I rely heavily on reflection and introspection that have helped me in shaping and understanding my own identity.

When I’m not studying, I like taking different dance classes, reading, journaling, or having some sort of T.V. marathon. Thinking about it now, I suppose that solitude happens to be a running theme throughout all my activities. I never thought much of it – I just know what I like and I stick to my guns.

Naturally, the idea of a boyfriend never entered the equation. I’ve never really looked for a relationship. By the same token, no one has ever asked me out.

Ok, I’ve been asked out once – kind of. Back in the days of middle school, a strapping, peripubescent 12-year-old boy courted me through AIM messages and iChat video calls spent silently doing homework as opposed to actually talking to each other. On one occasion, my suitor mustered up the courage to ask me out to the movies and I responded with an emphatic YES.

A day later, he called to say, “Actually, I need to rethink this.”

Ah, young heartbreak.

I suspect that I may have sub-consciously embodied an attitude of “Boys are not worth the time and I am not putting myself through that again” because of the experience. In any case, high school came pretty soon after. At that point, my mind was on academics, extracurricular activities, maintaining old relationships, building new ones, and all that jazz.

Q2: Aren’t you worried that you’re missing out?

A: Yeah, I do. I experience instances where I really, really wish that I were in a relationship. Those moments don’t last, though.

I wonder what it would be like to meet that special someone who makes your head spin and your heart beat 1,209,809,745 times a minute. The fact that love, lust, infatuation, and everything in between inspire so many songs, poems, stories, movies, and more makes me feel as if there’s something missing from my fundamental experience of the world.

The frequency at which I have those fleeting ‘I wish’ moments has only increased over the past couple of years. That probably has to do with the fact that I’m in a small college surrounded by people my age who seem to consistently pair off. More often than not, I’m left feeling: Wait, what about me?

I’m also aware that I don’t totally understand what I’m missing out on. Though I can hypothesize all I want about what it would be like to be in a relationship, I wouldn’t be able to fully imagine or relate to that particular experience — after all, I’ve never had a boyfriend. Ultimately, and for the time being, I’m content with being by myself.

Q3: What’s stopping you now?

 A: Nothing really.

In fact, I’m now attempting to enter the fray (Read: I joined an online dating site. But I’ll save that topic for another day.)

On a more serious note: The idea of being in a relationship actually terrifies me.

You know how I mentioned that I’m a solitary person? Well, I think that my propensity for solitude stems partly from the satisfaction that I feel in my emotional independence. I seek validation in what I choose and how I act from only myself. Having been there for girlfriends during times of major heartbreak, I’m scared of what being in a relationship might do to change that.

I’m notorious for running away from a guy if I have even the slightest inkling that he likes me. Investing in a relationship and allowing oneself to fall head over heels in love takes courage.  That courage is something that I don’t have quite yet.

At the end of the day, I’m not in a big rush.

I’m still young, people. I’ll enter into a relationship when I’m ready; or, maybe love will smack me in the face at one of the most unsuspecting moments of my life. All of these thoughts that I have on romance and relationships will inevitably evolve with the new experiences I’ll gain. In the meantime, please: No more questions about being single. Once a boyfriend happens for me, you’ll know.

Photo feature: Verrone Liu

Jocelyn Lim