So, you've never been in a relationship. Sure, there might've been an almost-relationship or even a casual encounter but never one person who you considered a partner. There's also a possibility that you've just never been able to connect with a crush in that way before. Have you ever wondered why?
Cosmopolitan spoke to relationship coach Aileen Santos about people who've had no boyfriend since birth (NBSB) to get to the bottom of this dating dilemma.
One of the main reasons why people struggle with dating is because they never developed their connection skills. Aileen says, "Just like financial skills, there's this misconception that people just [know how to connect]." But all skills have to be learned. One's upbringing also comes into play. Your parents may have stressed the importance of focusing on your academics—so much so that you never built friendships or had interactions with single men.
Going back to connection skills, even when it's not a date and you're just hanging out with one guy, there are women who never learned to look for specific signs or how to continue a conversation enough to make a real connection. Aileen adds, "Especially now with social media, it feels like you're connected to so many people but really, [if you put] these same people in the room together, there's no guarantee that you'll have anything to talk about."
Accordingly, some people in their 40s still have the connection skills of high school students. What does that mean exactly? Aileen shares, "For example, they still get kilig over shared looks or other shallow signs. They don't know how to dig deeper. Another example is if you still are at that stage of asking, 'How do I know if my crush has a crush on me?' If you're interested in one person, how do you communicate with them so you find out if this person has qualities that make him a good partner?"
People who focused on their academics and as a result, in their careers, and have never really dated, find themselves realizing that they haven't given their personal lives a chance: "They never thought about it before but [began realizing] that it's [also] and important part of life. It comes a shock that relationships don't just magically happen," Aileen says.
But what should you do if you realize that you are ready to start dating.
Think about your current routine: Does it involve going to work and then going home? Maybe you have dinner with friends once a month, but that's it? If so, you need to expand your network. You can't expect to meet anyone if you stick to what you've already been doing.
Despite what you might think, it's not as easy as going to a bar and meeting a guy there. If you meet someone at a bar, the only thing you'll probably have in common is that you want to relax after a stressful week.
Aileen suggests finding out what your hobbies and interests are and work from there: "Make 'common interests' the basis of your dating—not location. Join groups [that cater to your interests]. It can't be one-shot deals. You have to encounter these people and have a reason to mingle and communicate with them on a regular basis."
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