I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I might as well start this blog with that out in the open. This used to make me feel like there was something wrong with me. I felt trapped, thinking “I’ve never had a boyfriend, and no guy would ever date a girl in her mid-twenties who has never had a boyfriend, so I will never ever have a boyfriend”.

Now I’m (relatively) okay with this fact about me. I don’t feel stuck. It’s just where I happen to be now.

So how did I come to be in this situation?

I grew up in the Unification Church. Children raised in the church were not allowed to date. Even friendships with boys were frowned upon. Instead, members had their marriages arranged for them, either by the founder of the church or by their parents. I never felt quite content in the church and after a few failed attempts at “matching1” in my early twenties, I finally admitted to myself (and eventually, to my parents) that the church wasn’t for me.

At 23, I found myself at a crossroads. I  knew I wanted to have a happy life- partnership and kids one day, but I didn’t want to go the arranged marriage route expected by my family to get there. I had absolutely no dating experience and was, by every definition of the word, a complete virgin. I had hardly been friends with a guy, let alone kissed one. My lack of experience, coupled with the fact that I was extremely shy and insecure, left me feeling doomed for a lifetime of being begrudgingly single.

Overtime, I began to feel less hopeless about my situation. I’m a goal-setter at heart. I had a list of typical life goals, including things like buying a house and living overseas, that I was working toward. The goal on my list that felt most important to me was to get married and have kids, yet at first, I felt as if I had no control over it, like I had to leave it up to fate.

At some point, I saw the stupidity of avoiding focusing on the goal that was most important to me in my life. I started looking at it like any other goal, breaking it up into do-able pieces. Asking a guy out on a date was still miles beyond my comfort zone, but maybe I could make eye contact with a male cashier. (Yes, I was that shy.) I was still too embarrassed to actually ask people for dating advice, so I started reading up on it.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned a lot, but I still have a long way to go. In this blog, I hope to share the insights I’ve had so far and  help other inexperienced daters feel less alone, while also motivating myself to keep working on my relationship skills. If any of that sounds interesting to you, I hope you’ll follow along.

1. Slang for having your spouse picked for you.

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