I’m 22-years-old, and dating is really hard for me. Most guys I have texted, talked to, or hung out with always end up just wanting sex. I’m afraid that if I don’t hook up with them, I’ll always be alone, but then I do and nothing else happens. Why is dating so hard? I feel like guys in their 20s don’t want anything serious. I can’t find someone who wants a relationship and I don’t know what to do anymore.
Here’s an unfortunate truth about dating in your early twenties: it… sucks. Sure, there are people who find their ~soulmate~ and live happily ever after, but for most people, it’s a time of self-discovery that doesn’t always translate to romantic success. I think that most of us spent a lot of time in high school thinking about how dating would be so much better and easier in college and when we got older, because we think that, as official adults, we’ll all be more mature and serious about it. This isn’t true.
There has been a ton of discourse about how today’s twenty-something set approaches dating, and I am sure you’ve read about it on the Internet already. Maybe you read about it in something like The Washington Post or The New York Times, where someone muses endlessly about why millennials don’t want to commit to each other anymore. Maybe you’ve read a whiney essay on something like Thought Catalog or Elite Daily about how romance is dead and guys don’t want anything serious and why can’t a GOOD GIRL just want find someone who wants to do more than have sex. Maybe you’ve seen studies about how we’re all getting married older and not having kids when our parents did. This influx of information can be overwhelming, and, quite frankly, depressing. And while I (clearly) don’t agree with all of it, I can agree that it can still be frustrating out there in the dating world.
Here’s the thing: your early twenties is a time to explore, discover new things about yourself, try new things, figure stuff out. For many people, this type of attitude does not translate to “be in a serious relationship.” For many people, it means, “do you.” I can’t say this is bad advice – being single and doing your own thing and having fun is SO great when you’re in early twenties, and yes, I’m speaking from experience. But it can be frustrating for someone who really wants to date someone in a serious way.
I know it feels like there is no guy out there who wants more than just sex. Girl, I’ve been there! But two things to keep in mind: one, that is not true. And two, obsessing over it isn’t going to help you. Searching for a relationship comes across as desperate. Even if you think you’re not being obvious about it, other people can probably tell. Coming on too strong is a turn-off for both guys AND girls. You don’t need to play the hard-to-get game, but you do need to take the pressure off. Don’t look at every single person as your potential serious long-term bae. Let things flow a little bit more.
Here’s my advice: start adapting the “do you” attitude and stop pressuring yourself to be in a relationship. You don’t need to be in one. You don’t need to rush to be in one. If you can’t find a guy who will treat you well, then treat yourself well. Eventually, someone might come along who wants what you want, and then you’ll watch things fall into place. I know we don’t always want to wait, but sometimes we have to! In the meantime, don’t force things, don’t let yourself feel bad because someone doesn’t want to date you, and don’t hook up with guys just to feel less lonely – only hook up if you really want to. Get a different perspective. Being alone isn’t as bad as it seems if you just think in a more positive way!
Maybe this isn’t the advice you want to hear, but trust me – it’s what you need. You are never going to be able to change what other people want, you can only change how you think and feel. I can’t give you advice on how to get a guy to want something serious, because you can’t change that! And I don’t want to give you advice on how to attempt to find someone who wants something serious, because it might not work, and also, you shouldn’t be spending so much time focusing on that. So, good luck, do you, have fun, and try to relax out there!
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org