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25-11-2020, 21:37   #1
ireland4141
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Relationship advice?

Hello. I am looking for some advice on my current situation. I am a 21 year old male. I have never been in a relationship before and never really thought about it or felt like it was a problem. But recently I find family/work colleagues asking me why I am single or do I have a girlfriend, almost expecting a yes answer. It embarrasses me sometimes as anyone I know my age has been in some kind of relationship before. My usual explanation is that I don't have time. This is not a lie as I work long hours (leave home at 6am and return home at 7pm) and I do on-call work at night time. To be clear, I love my work very much and wouldn't like to change it really.
I now find myself dwelling on this issue in my spare time and getting frustrated wondering why I don't have a girlfriend, when it seems everybody else does and it makes them happy.

I understand I am still very young and there is lots of time in the future to change this. But I feel like if I was in a relationship I would not be able to devote enough time to it and it would just fail.

Possibly I am just better off single?

Thanks for reading.
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25-11-2020, 21:47   #2
 
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Originally Posted by ireland4141 View Post
Hello. I am looking for some advice on my current situation. I am a 21 year old male. I have never been in a relationship before and never really thought about it or felt like it was a problem. But recently I find family/work colleagues asking me why I am single or do I have a girlfriend, almost expecting a yes answer. It embarrasses me sometimes as anyone I know my age has been in some kind of relationship before. My usual explanation is that I don't have time. This is not a lie as I work long hours (leave home at 6am and return home at 7pm) and I do on-call work at night time. To be clear, I love my work very much and wouldn't like to change it really.
I now find myself dwelling on this issue in my spare time and getting frustrated wondering why I don't have a girlfriend, when it seems everybody else does and it makes them happy.

I understand I am still very young and there is lots of time in the future to change this. But I feel like if I was in a relationship I would not be able to devote enough time to it and it would just fail.

Possibly I am just better off single?

Thanks for reading.
Hi,

A lot of my friends in college were in their 20s and never had a relationship. Like you, our workload was intense, so it is hard to balance everything.

It was never anything that was a big deal. The only time it was a problem was when one of my friends let it affect his self-esteem. But he later realised that he was happy the way he was.

There is no right way for living! It is what is the right way of living for you that is key. If you are happy, then you don’t need to follow the dogma. I think it would be far more selfish if you were in a relationship with somebody and you were doing it as a tick box with little interest for that person.

If and only if (it’s a big if) you feel that it is something that you would like to meet somebody, it happens naturally. My friend was 36 when he met his first girlfriend. He was terrified that he wouldn’t know how to act. And he fitted into the role beautifully! And his girlfriend was very happy with him! If you want something and enjoy it, then it comes easily.

People sometimes are embarrassed to speak out about not having had a girlfriend or boyfriend. It doesn’t mean that these people do not exist. You are a lot more typical than you think!

Take care of yourself with all those long hours!!!
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25-11-2020, 21:51   #3
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Well definitely don't get into a relationship anyways, it doesn't sound like you're in the right space for one at the moment and nor should you be! Focussing on work and personal stuff at 21 is absolutely and demonstrably fine.

I think it might help to deal with that question from society as a kind of protocol on their side when talking to you. I think, if you really think about it, they don't give a crap at all if you're in a relationship or not. It's just one of those 5 or 6 questions you'll constantly hear from people who are trying to suss out what's taking centre stage in your life right now. They'll ask about job, college, sports, girlfriends, holidays and family. I mean they like you and everything, but they're not lying down at night thinking about it all. Treat it as a kind of relationship building question. Help them find something about yourself which they can talk to you about. Are you thinking about moving company, planning a trip, considering a career change? Essentially that's all they are looking for. Before you start talking about Tik Tok, and memes, and Billie Eilish and other things they don't understand.
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25-11-2020, 22:08   #4
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Thanks for the replies. Ye are right. I think I just needed to hear it from someone else to make sure I wasn't being weird about it or anything. Currently I am saving for a deposit to buy a house so that is my ultimate goal for the time being. I suppose I could say that I am in a relationship with my job at the moment.
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25-11-2020, 22:26   #5
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Well you don’t have to be in a relationship to enjoy life, it’s not really necessary when you’re 21
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25-11-2020, 23:41   #6
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It isn't a problem you're young and we're in the middle of pandemic with harsh restrictions it's not exactly to meet someone at the moment anyway. Plenty of time to find someone.
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26-11-2020, 13:23   #7
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OP, other posters are right, you are only 21 and still have loads of time - HOWEVER, 21 becomes 25, and 25 becomes 30 quicker than you think. If you think you would actually like a relationship, quite honestly now is the time to put some feelers out (no pun intended) while your peers may also still be young and single. What is your experience so far with women? Have you ever dated, kissed, hung out with someone etc? Do you want to do those things? Maybe concentrate on casual dating, just getting used to the whole concept of sharing your time with someone and feeling things you may never have felt before. Maybe sign up to Tinder or another app/site and see what happens.

You do work long hours, and while that's fine now, it could be a stumbling block for dating or relationships. And unless you work with women, you are also unlikely to meet someone naturally working those hours unless you play hard as well as work hard. If possible, could you finish work at 5 a couple of evenings a week, and (once the pubs open again) head out for a couple of pints with mates or join some sort of group that interests you, where you might meet someone interesting?

Finally: take it from someone who has never had any luck with relationships: the longer you are single, eventually the less you will have in common with your friends who are having relationships, and further down the line getting married and having kids etc. Also, the more awkward those 'are you single?' conversations will become. Don't panic or start obsessing about it, but if you are thinking about it now, then NOW is the time to start dipping your toe in the dating pool and seeing how you feel about it. Be proactive, and don't leave it TOO long.
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26-11-2020, 16:28   #8
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Sounds like you have your head on with regards your career but you dont want to look back at wasting your younger years purely on work and studies and not having any fun... Most people at your age have boundless amounts of energy so you should be able to burn the candle at both ends at least until your late 20's so I'd advise you push yourself out of comfort zone with regards this issue and not use the work as an excuse too much

Last edited by TheadoreT; 26-11-2020 at 16:38.
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26-11-2020, 20:51   #9
 
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Originally Posted by ireland4141 View Post
I suppose I could say that I am in a relationship with my job at the moment.
Don't ever be married to your job. If anything happened any single one of us, our employers would just replace us and move on.

Sure, work hard, focus on your goals, move up the career ladder etc. All of that is admirable but just make sure it's not at the detriment of everything else. Make time for friends, family, relationships, hobbies, holiday, fun etc.

It's not the same for everyone but every failed relationship has taught me something and made me know myself better. It doesn't even have to be a serious one. I know it make sound ancient saying this but live while you are young. Do stuff, make mistakes etc. It'll all benefit you long term.
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26-11-2020, 21:25   #10
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Thanks so much for the replies. It's interesting to see the somewhat polarizing opinions on this.
I know I definitely need to socialise more as it's something that I've just never (ever) taken part in and probably why I've never found myself meeting anyone.
I suppose I have adapted to being alone a lot of the time and I am pretty happy that way too. It's just something that I need to work on. I am lucky enough to be working in a field that interests me and I meet great people every day, however I work in a male dominated industry.
Currently I am funneling all my energy into work and don't think I could cope with other stresses at the moment, nor do I want to compromise work projects because of personal issues.
But looking into the future, once I have achieved (hopefully) some of my goals, I think I need to build more of a life outside work, friends, relationships, etc.
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26-11-2020, 22:09   #11
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OP you definitely need to socialise, even if only a couple of times a month, especially as you work with mostly/all other males. Otherwise your chances of meeting someone (ever!) are basically nil, and like I said in my previous post, time doesn't be long passing, and you'll find yourself realising that you're being left behind in terms of life experiences. I have personal experience of that.

If you don't have a group of mates to go out with, please join some sort of group or team activity where socialising is part of the deal. GAA, hiking, drama group, anything where you really get to interact with the other participants.

As cannotlogin said above, your job would replace you in a heartbeat if you left and your name would hardly be mentioned after a week had passed. You are just a number there. Don't make your entire life revolve around work, no matter how much you like it.
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27-11-2020, 00:50   #12
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But looking into the future, once I have achieved (hopefully) some of my goals, I think I need to build more of a life outside work, friends, relationships, etc.
The only thing about this approach is that I’ve often read threads here about people saying they’ve found it difficult to form friendships by late 20s/30ish, because people are already in established friend groups, and often have partners or are socialising less due to thinking about future financial commitments (saving for a house), or a few years later starting to have kids.

I haven’t really found that too much myself, but I’ve read it a good few times here, so maybe something to consider.
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28-11-2020, 16:01   #13
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Wife hasn’t talked to me in 3 days. It’s not all its cracked up to be kid..

Enjoy being single.
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29-11-2020, 00:23   #14
ireland4141
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Wife hasn’t talked to me in 3 days. It’s not all its cracked up to be kid..

Enjoy being single.
Reflecting on this, and having spoken to some people recently, you may be right. I will carry on as I am. If I happen to meet somebody in the future, so be it. If not, that's okay too. In reality I can be happy and single. As they say you can't miss something that you never had. I think I just momentarily wanted to be "normal", whatever that is.
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29-11-2020, 00:36   #15
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Reflecting on this, and having spoken to some people recently, you may be right. I will carry on as I am. If I happen to meet somebody in the future, so be it. If not, that's okay too. In reality I can be happy and single. As they say you can't miss something that you never had. I think I just momentarily wanted to be "normal", whatever that is.
You’re very young still. Go out there and make friends. The friends you make now will be much more rewarding than forcing yourself to get into romantic engagements for the sake of it and you never know who you might meet along the way who becomes more than just a friend
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