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To Sam

Feeling time slip away, and I’m still single

Hi Sam, Im 17, and going to be 18 in a few months. Over the last two years, throughout year 11 and 12, a lot of my closest friends have gotten into relationships, and learnt and gained experience with dating, romance, all that kind of stuff. Ive tried, and yearned for a romantic relationship, and I feel time is already slipping away. I’ve been pining for one for a year, and put myself out there, but nothing has come of it, and it can feel really horrible knowing i’m missing out on all the romance and dating and love that i desperately desire, and now, especially with uni coming up in only a year, I’m worried time is slipping away, and I’m not going to get a chance to experience any romance before uni. I guess i just want some advice on what to do and how to deal with all these worries ​ Thanks!

Ask Sam


Hi there,

It can feel like there's a lot of pressure to be in a relationship when we see our friends and family finding partners, but it's important to remember everyone's journey is different and there’s no set time that you should be in a relationship by.

It's okay to want to find a partner but you should try not to make that your priority. Your biggest goal should be to focus on you and putting yourself first.

One of the most important things you can do when thinking about a partner is to stop thinking about finding someone else and start focussing on someone else finding you. If you want someone else to love you, you need to love yourself first.

If you’re constantly trying to find someone who will be with you, you're putting yourself below them. Apart from being an unhealthy way to start a relationship, it's also saying to people you're not confident in yourself. If you give off those signals, it's harder for someone to see the real you because all they can see is your lack of belief in yourself.

The goal is to show people they’d be lucky to be with you. Confidence in yourself is more attractive then how you physically look and it will benefit you as well. By building more confidence in yourself, you’ll feel more able to put yourself into new and exciting situations. Looking after yourself first really is the key to a lot of new experiences - some of which will be new relationships.

Another key part of finding romance is to meet lots of people. Once you feel comfortable and confident in yourself, you should try to put yourself out there more. Find new hobbies, join sports teams or volunteer for charities. These are all things that not only add even more to your confidence and self-worth but also expose you to more people.

If you're going to find someone good enough to be with you, who also shares your values, then you need to meet as many people as you can. If you spend the next year learning to love yourself then by the time you go to university you'll be able to jump straight into all of the new experiences that will offer.

If you do both these things - learn to love yourself first by building up your confidence and then going out and doing new things with new people then you'll eventually find the right person, and they will find you.

I know it can be frustrating and feel like time is slipping away but the best things take time. It can take time to find someone right for you - and it should. You're too important to rush into finding someone just for the sake of being in a relationship. You deserve to spend the time finding someone who is right for you.

I hope that this has helped - you can always talk more about this with a Childline counsellor or with other young people on the Childline message boards who might also be in your situation.

Take care


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