A: I’m a junior in high school and I’ve always struggled with the fact that I’ve never had a real boyfriend, but recently it’s been bothering me more than usual – especially because all of my friends have one. I’m not sure why I can’t get a boyfriend and it’s really been affecting my self-esteem lately. I’ve always wondered if maybe God knows I’m not ready to have one, or maybe guys just don’t like me.

Q: You’ve never had a boyfriend? You’re probably supposed to be a nun.

I’m kidding! Mostly. Maybe you are supposed to be a nun, how should I know?

I am sorry that you’re struggling with feeling alone. It can be incredibly frustrating and tough to handle, when it seems like all your friends are pairing off and entering into dating relationships, and you’re just, you know, hanging out over here by yourself. Just you and your cats… Your self-esteem can definitely take a hit. What’s wrong with me? Why isn’t it my turn? Am I missing something here?

You’re not the only person who isn’t dating in high school – I know it! I have known so many brilliant, fun, healthy, attractive people who choose not to date in high school, many who even choose not to date in college, because they’re just too busy being awesome. They’ve got school and sports and clubs and family and faith – those things take up a lot of time. And when they know how precious their time is, they certainly don’t want to waste any on a relationship that isn’t worth it. They’ve seen the drama and heartbreak that shallow relationships can cause, and they want no part of it.

But what if your single status isn’t by your own choice?

Those lies – you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not interesting enough, doing something wrong – those are from the evil one, who wants your worth to hang on a relationship and not on God. I’ll let you in on a little secret: the happiest people in the world aren’t the people in committed romantic relationships. They’re the ones whose self-esteem is based on the love of the Father. That is the ONLY constant in this world – and the only thing that can give us real confidence and self-worth.

Sports seasons come to an end. No one is going to ask you what your GPA was when you’re 75. Relationships come and go. Our looks change. All these things have an expiration date, and when our self-esteem hangs on them, it’s easily broken. But when our primary source of confidence is simply the fact that we’re loved by God, and have a relationship with Him, nothing can mess with it.

We all want to be wanted – and the good news is that we ARE all wanted. God wants a relationship with you more than He wants just about anything else. Think about it: God created the universe, then created humanity. Humanity chose death, so He sent His Son to redeem humanity and set up His Church, which enables Him to have a great relationship with humanity. Then His Son died with you in mind, He created you, and now He wants to know and be known by you.

And chances are good that He’s trying to use your time as a single person to get your attention. He knows that without a serious romantic relationship in your life, you have way more time to spend on Him. Do you see that time as a gift? Are you wasting that gift, or using it to its full potential?

If the only goal is ‘having a boyfriend’ – and not having the right boyfriend – then I’m glad that you’re single. A relationship isn’t a prize or a reward. It’s a commitment to holding another person’s heart in your hands, and letting them hold yours in theirs. It’s about a person – and it better be a GREAT person, one who cares about you, wants to know you better, wants to protect you, wants to make you laugh, and most importantly, wants to help you know God more.

Chances are good that dating is in the plan at some point in your future. If God is calling you to married life one day, it HAS to be. And dating will come with its own set of challenges, trust me. So lay a solid foundation, now, with your single time. Be rooted in prayer, and grounded in the sacraments, and committed to chastity. Use your time as a single person to fall more in love with the greatest Person in the universe. Everything else will come, in His time. Because your Heavenly Father knows what you need (Matthew 6:34; Luke 11:9-13) – and we know He has great plans for you (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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Do you have a question about dating and relationships you’d like to ask David and Rachel Leininger? Email them at [email protected] and your question could be the next blog post!

About the Author

Rachel Leininger

I work for a retreat ministry called the REAP Team, where it's my full-time job to talk about sex, love, dating, and chastity (which can sometimes lead to some awesomely awkward moments). I love being Catholic, my bearded husband, watching movies, and browsing antique malls. The only thing I have against winter is the fact that there's no baseball. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @raleininger

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