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Why it's completely OK if you haven't dated yet

It's February: The weather is getting less chilly, assignments are starting to pile up...and love is in the air. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, the couples around you might be even more noticeable than ever. Srsly, is *everyone* in a relationship these days? (Spoiler alert: The answer is no.)

If you haven't dated yet and are feeling a little down or jealous because of it, DW—you're not alone. For a variety of reasons, so many girls experience pressure to date and find a significant other throughout middle and high school. With basically every teen show and movie featuring romantic relationships for their main characters, it's hard to not feel like that's the norm. Even the most popular music (hi, Olivia Rodrigo!) is almost always about love and dating. So when your IRL experiences aren't exactly lining up with how teens are portrayed in the media, it can be disappointing. Real life, unfortunately, just isn't like Gilmore Girls or HSMTMTS.

But I'll let you in on a secret: You don't need to date to be the main character of your life.

You're not abnormal or weird in *any* way if you've never dated or had a relationship yet. Despite what you might see on Netflix or in your fave books, it's totally normal for people to have their first relationship later on in life. It's simply that love is so widely depicted in the media (and there might be a lot of couples around you) that it can seem like everyone has a thriving love life except you. Believe me, we've *all* been there.

Though it's easier said than done, it's important to remember that you should go at your own pace. This goes for all areas of your life, but it's especially true for your love life! Don't let anyone tell you that you should (or shouldn't) pursue a crush—you know yourself better than anyone. If you don't feel ready for a relationship yet, follow your gut. If you're having no luck with your crushes, remember your worth and that you don't need anyone to "complete" you. But if you feel like you are ready for your first relationship, then that's totally valid too.

Here's the bottom line: you have so much time ahead of you. So what's the rush? Regardless of your relationship status or dating history, you are unique, beautiful, talented and loved—and *nothing* can change that.

And you don't need a significant other to have love in your life! Take time to show love to yourself and your friends and family. Whether you're treating yourself to a self-care day or having movie nights with your besties, you'll find that your life is complete...even if you're not Rory Gilmore.

Looking for more love life advice? Check out these posts:
💖 The 5 pieces of advice every girl with a crush needs to hear rn
💖 How to deal with being single this holiday season
💖 These GL girls share their boy stories...and what they learned

How do you practice self-love? Let us know on Twitter @girlslifemag!

All GIFS via GIPHY
Slider image: @jennazalvarez

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by Jinny Kim | 2/6/2022
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