We’ve written dozens of articles for and about single girls, coupled-up girls, girls trying to get over past relationships, and girls looking to get into a new one. But NBSB girls—girls who have had “no boyfriend since birth”—are in a different league altogether.
We got nine NBSB girls to spill what it’s really like never having a significant other: the reasons, the failed romances, the unfair judgments, and why they’re actually fine on their own, no matter what you think.
Each NBSB girl has her own reasons for holding back on the love front.
While a common reason for being single among the girls we talked to was that they tended to overthink relationships even before they happened, other factors also get in the way.
“Breadwinner ako ng family; it is the least of my priorities,” says Vee, 25. “I don’t think I can commit 100 percent to a relationship.”
“I’m scared of getting emotionally attached, especially now in this hookup-crazed culture,” admits Jessica, 23.
Being sociable is a problem for Princess, 25. “I don’t go out so much, or when I do, I stick to my group,” she says. “I tend to be awkward with the opposite sex and I often put up a wall that prevents me from opening up to a person right away.”
Kylie, 32, has no problem being sociable, yet to guys, her cues are off. “A guy friend told me I’m hard to read,” she says. “If I like someone, minsan mas seemingly uninterested and aloof pa ako. And I have too many guy friends so sometimes they can’t figure out if I treat a guy like a normal friend or if I actually like him.”
Chins, 24, blames her singlehood on all the rom-coms she watches, which have given her clichéd expectations of romance. “I tend to perceive things to happen exactly like they do in the movies,” she says.
Maria, 33, has been told that the reason she’s still single is because she’s “choosy”—which she doesn’t deny. “Maybe I’ve become choosy over the years,” she admits. “At my age, there are many things that are harder to compromise especially if you’ve already lived pretty much on your own all your adult life without having to answer to anybody.”
Their attitudes toward dating vary, too.
About half the girls we talked to go on dates when the opportunity comes up.
“I got tired of waiting,” Shar, 31, says. “It paid off, too, because now I have more concrete ideas about what I want and don’t want.”
Conversely, the other half prefers to wait it out until a promising prospect comes along.
“I don’t go out on dates because I haven’t met anyone with whom I can see myself in a relationship,” says Jessica. “I’d rather wait for the right person than waste my time with anyone else.”
Chins shies away from dating because to her, it just feels too forced. “I can never picture myself trying to impress the opposite sex in a choreographed scenario where we put our best foot forward just to see if we can potentially become a couple,” she says.
Maria has gone on the online dating train, but with no results. “I’m quite bored with it, to be honest, so I guess I’m just waiting it out,” she says. “I wouldn’t mind if friends or relatives introduce me to other single guys. I’d go out with anyone as long as I think I can have a decent conversation with that person.”
They’ve had promising romances that either ran out of steam or didn’t take off at all.
“It happened so fast, parang no dating or courtship at the start, and then we just started spending time together,” Princess relates. “It lasted for two months. Then he just left, told me he needed space and time to find himself.”
“I really thought we were headed down that road because we enjoyed each other’s company and we were very attracted to each other,” Shar reveals of her own failed love story. “In the end, he got cold feet because he didn’t feel good enough for me, seeing as he considered himself ‘damaged goods’ next to me who had a spotless relationship record. He was also going through bad times back then. Sometimes I think maybe he just wasn’t that into me.”
Michelle, 28, held back in her own almost-relationship because she was too scared to admit that there was something going on between her and a friend—which could potentially jeopardize their bond.
Chins blames timing for keeping a friendship with great chemistry from developing further, and describes their situation as “mala-Love, Rosie mixed with One Day with a little bit of When Harry Met Sally ang peg.”
Maria has her own tale from the friend zone. “There was a guy whom I thought I had a thing with,” she shares. “We’d talk the whole day every day, talk for an hour every night, go out once a week, talk about each other’s plans. But it turned out we were just friends.”
Kylie, meanwhile, dated a guy who eventually did the slow fade. “Medyo confused and feeling lost ‘yung guy at the time we dated,” she reveals. “One day, hindi na siya masyado nagparamdam and then during one of our get-togethers with friends, I found out that he was dating a new girl.”
Almost relationships aside, being single rocks—take it from these girls.
More focus on self-improvement, more time for career and family, no hangups over exes, and being the master of your own life—these are just some of the things the girls love about never having a boyfriend.
Chins is proud of the independence she has gained over the years. “For me, NBSB equates to independence because we don’t care about societal pressures and the norm that at a certain age a woman should be in a relationship, or that beauty has something to do with whether or not one is in a relationship. Having no boyfriend, especially if you are doing well in your life, is empowering, inspiring, and just goes to show that you’re a woman with substance—whether with or without a partner.”
Carmel, 33, says, “I feel like I’ve matured into who I really want to be, and not into someone who has to please a guy. And now that I’ve gone through life without really having a boyfriend, I already feel like I can live without one. For me, having a boyfriend is already not a need but a bonus in life.”
But no matter how great their lives are going, they always get judged for being NBSB girls.
One common assumption people have about NBSB girls is that they have high standards. To this, Vee clarifies, “Single people want to be taken care of too, be cuddled, and have someone checking in on us apart from our parents. Life just puts us in a situation where we can’t say yes to a relationship.”
Shar gets insulted when people who’ve been in relationships assume that NBSB girls can’t understand nor handle relationship issues because of their lack of experience. “We’re just as human as they are,” she says. “We’ve felt what they’ve felt, but just in different situations and circumstances. It doesn’t mean we’re not capable of processing these emotions well.”
Other common misconceptions about NBSBs that the girls brought up? That they are “boring,” “lonely,” “incomplete,” or that there’s “something wrong” with them.
Carmel is quick to dispel these views. She says, “Some people think that NBSB girls are pitiful, when in fact, we are not. We are strong, independent women who simply choose to live life on our own.”
All the shit people tell NBSB girls? They’ve been hearing it on the reg since forever.
Princess shares, “I’m always asked, ‘May boyfriend ka na ba?’ or ‘Kailan ka magkaka-boyfriend?’ As if I know when!”
Shar has been told, “But you won’t know happiness if you’ve never been in a relationship!”—as if there were nothing more to life besides relationships.
Kylie lists lines she often hears from well-meaning peers and relatives: “It’s okay, the right man will come along,” “In God’s time,” and “When you least expect it, it will come.”
This comment that’s been told to Maria takes the cake: “Kawawa ka naman.”
They still believe that the right man will come along, but in the meantime, they’re good on their own.
The younger girls we talked to still believe that there’s someone out there for them—and he’ll be there when they’re ready.
A hopeful Michelle is still holding out for “someone who respects and understands my decisions and aspirations, accepts my imperfections, and will stand by me no matter what.”
The older girls, however, have a more sober view of their romantic future.
“Wala pa naman akong boyfriend, so I’d rather be happy with my situation now without expecting anything. [I'd] be happier in the future kung meron man darating,” Kylie says. “I’d rather do that than subscribe to beliefs like ‘He will come in God’s time’—only to be disappointed eventually because I expected it too much.”
Maria, who has had her share of heartbreak despite never having a boyfriend, says, “I used to think there should be someone out there for me. But now, I think a life of ‘having somebody’ may not be a life for everyone. I do believe ‘may forever;’ it’s just that it’s not for everybody."
Carmel remains hopeful, but at the same time, she’s been on her own long enough to know that her love for herself will never fail her. “I’d like to hope and pray for someone to come along,” she says. “But if I had to choose between having a troubled relationship and being single forever, I’d choose the latter any day.”
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