You’re a strong, empowered, successful woman who lives by her own rules and is unafraid of the world’s challenges. In other words, you’re exactly the kind of person other women aspire to be. The only glitch? You’re single. And not just that, you’re part of the NBSB group—No Boyfriend Since Birth.. While this is not an issue to you, your friends and family may be scratching their heads and going, “Is there something wrong? Why are you single?” In this day and age where independence is just as valuable as being in a healthy relationship, should women still have to justify singlehood?
Read this article to see what relationship experts have to say.
NBSBs come in two forms: those who don’t date and those who are known as serial daters. Irene, a 31-year-old entrepreneur, is both.
“I’ve never had a boyfriend and, honestly, I’m fine with it,” she says. “Sometimes I wonder about how it feels to have one, but I think it’s really because the ones I like don’t like me, and the ones who show interest are not interesting to me.”
But other people don’t seem to find it alright. “I even bought the book NBSB by Claire Betita. The boyfriend of one of my friends said, ‘Tell Irene not to read it in front of other people.’ There’s even a stigma.”
Irene feels that’s most likely because of her serial dating habits. She cringes when she’s asked why she doesn’t have a boyfriend, but it’s other people’s turn to be scandalized when they find out that they were wrong in assuming that she has never been kissed or is a virgin. It’s a far cry from her younger days.
In her 20s, Irene recalls she was more of a manang who hardly went out, had no hobbies or sports interests, and whose social life was limited to a small group of friends. “It was hard when they started getting married. One by one, they were leaving and I was getting left behind.”
These days, however, marrying off her friends is no longer a source of distress for her. “I even enjoy dressing up for their weddings and meeting up with long-lost friends. I‘d like to get married and have children myself, but I’m honestly fine with staying single, too,” she stresses. “That way, I can still enjoy my youth. There are still so many places for me to explore and things to try. I’m more confident in a way that I wasn’t when I was 25. I’m more open and also more financially capable to travel, try out new things--whether it’s a new sport or a new restaurant. It also helps that now there are songs, shows, books for and about being single. I feel sort of empowered by them.”
Irene says she tries not to pressure herself into getting into a relationship. She’s had some instances when she thought she might have met The One, but she doesn’t let herself get too excited “(because) if it’s someone who just doesn’t fit the bill for whatever reason, I won’t force it. Never mind, I’d rather be single.”
THE EXPERTS SAY:
“In our society, the pressure to get into a relationship can be quite intense,” says Psychologist Stella Dizon of the Health and Wellness Center in Quezon City, “as if there’s something wrong with you if you’re not in a relationship or married. It’s the stigma of the old maid.” For serial daters, Dizon says, a double standard applies—male serial daters are sometimes seen as the unattainable cool guy, while women are labeled as whores. “In both cases, it doesn’t have to be a problem. What’s important is that you start or continue to live your life to the fullest.”
“Focus on what’s important to you,” adds Dizon. “Knowing that you can be comfortable with your own company can be a great foundation for building self-confidence that may, in turn, draw you and The One to each other when you least expect it.”
“Take calculated risks. Make dating mistakes and learn from them,” says Irma Mutuc, a therapist at the Living Free Foundation in Makati. “You need to establish your personal benchmark, and you need to start somewhere, so start!
Practice won’t make dating perfect, but it can make it better,” she says.
Read the first part three parts of FN’s Mature Girl’s Dating Guide series:
- Mature Girl’s Guide to Dating: 3 Things Every Woman Should Do before Entering a
- How to Deal When You're Single after a Long-Term Relationship
- Single Mom Looking for Love: When to Tell Your Guy You’re Part of a Package Deal
*Names have been changed.
(First Published in Marie Claire Philippines, Features section as “The 30+ Dating Guide” in February 2009; photo by Niccolo Cosme; adapted for use in Female Network)