“I have never dated anyone. What’s wrong with me?”
Happily, nothing! Having zero dating experience is more common than you might think.
From spending your 20s building a successful career to devoting your energy to self-improvement, there are a number of reasons you may not have made dating a priority in your life so far.
That is totally okay!
Today we’re going to talk about why it’s not a bad thing if you’re just starting out on your dating journey.
In this post, we’ll be…
- accepting that plenty of introverted men tend to prioritize things besides dating,
- diving into several reasons that getting a late start on your dating life is perfectly fine, and
- figuring out whether switching up your mindset might give you a jumpstart toward having more dating success.
Before we get started, however, let’s examine why you might be feeling down for having zero dating experience so far.
Why is having zero dating experience a concern for some guys?
We, as humans, like to feel confident and capable. It feels good to know you understand a situation and can handle things well, no matter what curveballs may hurtle toward you from time to time.
This is true even with smaller issues, but it hits especially hard when you’re facing the biggest, most impactful scenarios in life, which include:
- Building your career and managing your finances
- Dating and finding a life partner
- Maintaining your mental and physical health
- Providing for your loved ones
So if you consider that one of these major life scenarios feels completely unknown to you so far, it’s no wonder that you might be feeling a little bit nervous about dipping your toe into the water.
There is awesome news though!
All the valuable life experience you’ve gained during your other pursuits?
You can use that toward starting your dating journey.
Now, let’s jump into the reasons your lack of dating experience up to this point says absolutely nothing bad about you! ;)
First, remember that many of the reasons you might have zero dating experience are completely valid.
It can feel like everyone else has a ton of experience going out on dates and having relationships.
However, you might be surprised how many people feel like they are also “behind” their peers when it comes to dating, careers, education, or any other life accomplishment.
That’s because finding a partner is only one priority in life out of several that you may have to choose from in various seasons of life. And everyone makes different choices along the way.
As you grow in years, it becomes clear that everyone is at a different point in their life depending on which priority you measure.
If you haven’t started dating yet, it most likely means you have just been focusing on other areas of your life.
What puts you “behind” in terms of dating may put you way “ahead” when it comes to your financial situation or personal and emotional development through challenges. All these are good, and none is inherently better or worse than the other.
If you see yourself in any of the following quotes, rest assured.
These are some of the most common (and in some cases, even admirable!) reasons men list when asked why they haven’t focused on dating yet:
“I’ve been focused on pursuing my education and building my career.”
“I wanted to make sure I was financially independent before I settled down with a partner and started a family.”
“When I was younger, my family had very strict rules about dating. Rather than dating through high school and college, I was encouraged to develop well-rounded hobbies and get good grades.”
“I used to suffer from poor mental health and low self-esteem. I wanted to work on myself to make sure I could be a good partner rather than wanting someone else to fix me.”
“My family member was in poor health, and I put off dating so I could be around to help.”
“I excelled at sports (or art, music, etc.) throughout school. At the time, I got swept away by my passion for it and didn’t care much about dating.”
“I have strong values and beliefs about waiting for “the one” and haven’t yet sorted how to do that instead of dating casually.”
As you can see, this list is not exhaustive. You may have another completely valid reason that you haven’t dived into dating yet.
The key takeaway is that a lot of people have also made similar choices. You’re not alone!
Regardless of your basis for having zero dating experience, here are several reasons it’s okay.
You may have taken any number of paths to wind up where you are now.
And no matter how you got here, you’re reading this post because some part of you worries that you may be at a disadvantage from getting into dating later than you might have planned.
“Will a potential girlfriend think something is wrong with me if I have never dated anyone before?”
“What if I don’t know what I’m doing? Will she be able to tell?”
“Have I missed out on valuable lessons that would help me find a meaningful relationship?”
These are just a few of the concerns echoed by men across dating forums everywhere.
The worries might be universal. But thankfully, they are also often unfounded.
1. The right woman for you won’t care how much dating experience you have.
If she does care, then she isn’t the right woman for you.
If this concern resonates with you, we recommend reading the following posts, which go into more depth on the topic:
- Do Women Care About Dating Experience?
- “I don’t have much dating experience. Will women judge me for this?”
2. Plenty of women are in the same boat!
Just as dating websites are teeming with men nervous about getting a late start, the same is true on the women’s side of things.
Women also have careers, family situations, personal values, hobbies, and other reasons they may not have begun to date yet.
Especially if you are open and honest about your situation, you might be surprised how many women will relate and share their own similar stories.
The best part is, if you match up with a woman who is also getting a fresh start with dating, you can learn to navigate relationships and grow together.
3. The dating pool changes as you grow in years.
When someone jumps into dating in their teen years or early 20s, their experiences will be much different than the experiences they will have dating in their mid to late 30s and beyond.
Skipping the years of partying and casual relationships likely won’t have much impact on your dating life in later years because the “practice” you get from experiences like that don’t necessarily translate.
Even people who want to settle down early are often urged by friends and family to play the field and keep things casual in their early 20s. Those same people can feel pressured in their 30s and 40s to find a spouse and have a family.
The whole structure of dating changes as your age does, and your earlier experiences don’t necessarily inform the later ones.
Even if you get a “late” start, in some ways you’re even more likely to find a mentally healthy, financially stable partner who is ready for commitment at this later stage in your life than you might have if you had started dating a decade or two ago.
4. You have more relationship experience than you think you do.
If you have close friendships or a family member you’re close to, you already understand what it feels like to be emotionally connected and dedicated to someone else’s wellbeing.
And if you’ve ever had a crush (even if it was unrequited!) you also have had practice with the romantic or physical side of your feelings.
You may not have had the chance to put these lessons to use, but you have probably had several years of observing other people and applying your own feelings to their situations.
If you’ve ever looked at a friend’s relationship and thought something like…
“I would handle that situation so differently. Clearly his girlfriend is only asking that he understand her point of view,”
…then you have gained dating experience.
It still counts even if it’s from the outside looking in! You can definitely apply that wisdom to your future relationships.
5. Everyone walks a different path.
Every person has different things about themselves that they need to learn in order to grow.
As long as you have learned from your past (regardless of what happened or didn’t happen), you have gathered valuable life experience.
Your path is your path for a reason. You made choices and emphasized priorities based on what you needed at that point in time.
Maybe one of your friends started dating super early because he felt he needed a partner in order to feel whole. His path might have included a few painful breakups before he realized he is a whole person on his own, regardless of his relationship status.
And perhaps you didn’t feel the need to start dating early on because you were working toward a great career. The things you’ve learned…
- financial stability,
- self-esteem based on career accomplishments instead of dating accomplishments
…have served you well so far and will continue to serve you in a relationship.
Maybe the next part of your path is to start dating and integrating your “single self” with the version of you that can also tap into your emotional side and learn how to be there for a partner day in and day out.
You and your friend both traveled different paths and learned different skills at different times, but no one can argue that one way is better than the other.
What happens if you feel like the above doesn’t apply to you?
If you’re right now thinking…
“But I didn’t CHOOSE to put another priority first and forego dating. I TRIED to date; it just never happened for me…”
…that’s okay too. It just means you (like everyone else) have some room for growth.
Can you isolate a reason, or a few reasons, that you suspect you have been unsuccessful with dating so far?
Think about it before you scroll down and continue reading.
Did you think something along these lines?
- “I’m not good-looking enough.”
- “I am not the kind of man women find attractive.”
- “The women near me aren’t what I’m looking for.”
- “I have nothing to offer a woman.”
Dating forums are chock full of guys offloading complaints like these. These feelings are common, and it’s okay if they run through your mind sometimes too!
But let’s stop and think about it for a second.
Under the surface, what is the undercurrent running through every single one of those thoughts?
A negative mindset.
According to the relationship experts at eHarmony, negativity hits the top 5 on the list of the biggest turnoffs that turn prospective matches away from a potential partner.
Happily, this is something you can overcome, but it will take some effort.
Reframing yourself in a positive way on a dating profile or even just in your own head to start (!) might take all of 5 minutes.
You can change, “I don’t have a whole lot going for me,” into, “I’m working on meaningful priorities right now: getting into shape and developing an emotionally rewarding career!”
Reframing your self-esteem in your own mind will naturally take some work, as does anything worthwhile in life. And with good focused work, the payoff is so rewarding!
Also, making an effort to be positive invites further positive things into your life.
A lot of guys talk themselves out of trying to make real changes because they already feel so “behind” since they’re getting a later start than their peers.
However, imagine yourself in ten years.
Would you rather have spent that time working toward a goal and making incremental improvements?
Or would you rather make no changes and end up exactly where you are now (or worse, because of the toll that comes with years of not supporting yourself)?
That time will pass anyway, whether you choose to do anything with it or not.
So, how can you get started right now?
If you feel like this step resonates with you and you’d like some help improving your self-esteem and seeing the positivity within your life, check out this post on how to feel more confident as an introverted man.
Conclusion on why there’s nothing wrong with you for having zero dating experience:
Now you understand why it’s no big deal to start dating a little later in life than you may have originally planned.
The right woman for you is out there, and you have the life experience to help you recognize her when you meet her.
So, let’s recap. We decided that…
- choosing life’s priorities isn’t always straightforward and doesn’t always happen in the same order for everyone,
- having zero dating experience doesn’t work against you as long as you recognize all the things you have going for you at this stage, and
- keeping your mindset positive is one of the strongest things you can do when it comes to dating successfully.
If you’re just getting started with dating, you might be looking for some extra help and valuable advice. Download our free ebook, “Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead,” and start off on the right foot.
And if you’re ready to take a running leap getting your dating life going with good momentum, consider our flagship program, Launch Your Dating Life.
That way, we can equip you with a strong gameplan and 1:1 feedback on your own dating journey. We would love to support you with that! Learn how it all works here.