You’ve tried everything to find a boyfriend. Dating apps. Single bars. Blind dates.
Yet, you’re still no closer to finding a man to settle down with. You have no idea why.
After all, you’re a genuinely nice and attractive girl.
So why can’t you find a boyfriend?
What is it about you that is causing no man to commit to a relationship with you?
That’s what I hope I can answer for you in this article.
You see, I’m a woman myself, and I’m not afraid to admit that I was single for 10 god damn years before I hit 30. (You can read more about my story here)
There were various (albeit complicated reasons) I was perpetually single, but now that I look back (I’m 35 now and happily married) some of those reasons weren’t so obvious.
Before we start, it’s also important to realize that being single doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, or men don’t like you for who you are.
In fact, it’s more likely to be an attitude thing that is of your own making. That was certainly the case for me.
The good news?
Once you can identify why you can’t find a boyfriend, then you can work on rectifying it.
So here we go.
Here are 20 reasons that can explain why you might be a little unlucky in love (and after that, I’ll give you 9 tips to help you find a boyfriend).
1) You don’t actually want a boyfriend.
Many single women complain about wanting a boyfriend even if they seem to be enjoying themselves as they move up in their career, travel with friends, or take care of pets.
If this is you, you really have to question at some point whether or not you genuinely want to have a boyfriend.
For some people, they’re looking for a guy because they are lonely or they are experiencing societal pressures and don’t want to miss out.
After all, when you hang out with married friends or see engagement photos on Facebook all the time, you might begin to feel a little conscious about your own single life.
This is a normal, universal experience but at the end of the day, you might not actually want to open up to a new person and become vulnerable with them.
Ask yourself if you really want a boyfriend so badly that you are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to cultivate a relationship with someone new.
And if your life is already fulfilling, you should also ask yourself if you need a boyfriend at all.
2) You have high standards
Growing up, your experiences might have developed a voice in your head that is always looking for perfection.
Whether it’s because you had overly critical parents or because culture and media paint an unrealistic picture of what love looks like, you might not be willing to settle for anything less than your dream man.
Standards are generally a good thing but if you uphold them too closely, they could be unrealistic barriers between you and someone great.
Even if you find someone interesting and kind, you might break it off with them because they didn’t meet all the criteria of your ideal partner.
Eventually, you may even convince yourself that the right person for you doesn’t exist at all.
You don’t have to let go of all your standards, especially if you’re looking for someone with certain values or good qualities because standards help you avoid someone completely wrong.
However, you should recognize when you’re unfairly limiting someone because they don’t fit your expectations based on how tall they are, how they dress, or how much money they make.
Allow yourself to look for romance in new places and find great, imperfect people you haven’t met yet.
Even if something doesn’t work out romantically, you may open doors to brand new friendships, connections, or opportunities that are good for you.
3) You don’t know how to get into the dating scene
When trying to get into the dating scene, many women make one of these two mistakes:
The first is that you go around bars and clubs, hoping to meet someone there. However, the odds of meeting someone of quality while bar-hopping at midnight is pretty low.
The second mistake is that although you really want a boyfriend, you would rather stay at home and watch Netflix on Friday nights.
You rarely accept social invitations and are reluctant to leave your comfort zone.
And when you do go out, you can’t usually tell you when a guy is flirting or just being nice.
If you can’t find a potential boyfriend where you normally look, it may be time to try finding one elsewhere.
The key to finding a boyfriend is getting to know people and knowing people means going to appropriate places.
You have to say yes to new opportunities, strike up conversations, and take initiative.
Try joining more activities with like-minded people; visit your gym regularly, sign-up for a club or a volunteer group, and agree to go on blind dates every once in a while.
You may not find who you’re looking for but you’re sure to leave with new friends — who may know someone great.
4) You don’t know what men want
Perhaps you have been dating some guys, but for some reason, the relationship never seems to stick.
They pull away from you before you get a chance to express to them how you really feel.
That’s exactly what happened to me.
I had flings with many guys, but all too often, it lasted for a few dates and nothing more.
It was frustrating. But now that I look back, the reason was simple:
I didn’t understand what men want.
Look, the truth is, I’m an independent woman. And to some men, I come across as quite an intimidating and strong personality.
But this can sometimes turn men off when they realize I have my own life on lock.
And this all made sense when I read about a new psychology theory called “hero instinct“.
Simply put, men want to be your hero. It’s a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about. And it’s a desire that goes beyond even love or sex.
The kicker is that if you don’t trigger this instinct in him, he will stay lukewarm towards you and eventually seek out someone who does.
And perhaps because I was intimidating to some men, they weren’t attracted to me because I was never going to trigger this biological instinct.
Now I’m not saying that you have to be more passive and lose your strong woman qualities. Not at all.
But by understanding this concept, you can understand what makes a man tick and you can use that to your advantage while completely keeping your authenticity and strong personality.
5) You haven’t tried dating apps
A cultural shift happened in the dating scene when technology became involved. Dating apps and sites have garnered a bad reputation for promoting hookups and cheating.
On the flip side, some people do find good matches on them and the relationships lead to a greater commitment like marriage.
Dating apps are effective because you come across way more people that you ordinarily would not meet in real life or find more guys who share your interests.
The trick to getting the most out of a dating app experience is to have fun with it.
Avoid putting an unfair expectation on someone and look at the app as a way to meet with new, interesting people.
As a bonus, think of each date as an opportunity to visit a trendy place or eat a fantastic meal.
This way, you would have done something you enjoyed without regretting the time you invested if your date turned out to be a not-so-great guy.
6) You’re just waiting around for someone to come along
It is a sad fact of life that boyfriends do not fall from the sky, ready to take you out on a date when you need one.
If you’re waiting around for the perfect person to come along and sweep you off your feet, you’re bound to be disappointed because you’ll be waiting for quite a while.
Relationships require a lot of time, effort, and acceptance.
You need to invest time and effort in getting to know someone enough so you can work on building your connection to each other.
You also have to accept the person for who they are, warts and all — unless they are toxic or abusive, of course.
If you really want to be with somebody, stop waiting around aimlessly.
Be more purposeful in expanding your horizons by cultivating hobbies, focusing on working, or exploring your city.
This will help you meet someone along the way and if not, you don’t lose anything because you’ll become a more knowledgeable, balanced person after.
7) You’re too invested in an old relationship
When you enter a relationship with someone, you either break up or last forever. The break-up outcome is difficult for many people to handle emotionally.
Even though some say that time heals all wounds, your past can bleed into present (and even future) relationships if you don’t actively work to process and let go of the baggage.
Maybe you realize you’re not actually over your ex-boyfriend and you find yourself comparing a potential new guy to them all the time.
Or maybe the experience with your ex left you to adopt negative beliefs about yourself or about love that lead you to unintentionally self-sabotage.
If this problem is happening to you, it’s time to bring up all your unresolved issues to the surface and look at them with an objective lens.
Try to identify your old wounds and look back to see if you might have unconsciously picked up a faulty belief about yourself.
Take the time to correct them and learn from them because it will definitely pay off in the long run.
Recommended reading: How to get over someone: 17 no bullsh*t tips
8) You aren’t emotionally available.
If you were traumatized sometime in your life or during an earlier relationship, it would be difficult to navigate a romantic relationship.
Your capacity to love and trust may be hindered if your trauma was not addressed in a compassionate way.
You might find yourself suspicious or incapable of trusting the new people who enter your life.
You might be repeating traumatic patterns — accidentally or on purpose — because you feel like you’re stuck in a dysfunctional cycle, so you don’t bother trying.
This could lead to unhealthy dynamics that turn each relationship into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Before you embark on a new relationship, you need to untangle the harmful thought processes which cause you to drive people away.
The best thing you can do is to remind yourself that each prospective boyfriend is not the same person as the last.
They have different histories and life experiences which bring the valuable, unique qualities you could love and appreciate.
9) You seem unapproachable.
You might not realize it but you could be unconsciously pushing people away.
Even though you don’t intend to come across as unapproachable, your body language and non-verbal communication skills may be giving your potential suitors that you’re haughty or uninterested.
Some signs that you may look standoffish include:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Forgetting to smile
- Never looking up from your phone
- Using negative or pessimistic language
If this is you, it’s time to work on how you present yourself to the world.
People are attracted to other people who are naturally charismatic or positive.
They want to converse with people who are responsive and engaging, plus they’re more comfortable around people who have vulnerabilities — just like them.
Get into the habit of uncrossing your arms and putting on a smile.
When a guy you want to know better is talking to you, meet their eyes and react to what they say so they understand that you’re interested in the conversation and in them.
It’s far easier to ask someone out on a date if they are likeable, after all.
Recommended reading: “Why do I push people away?”19 reasons (and how to stop)
10) You feel that you’re undeserving.
Self-worth and self-esteem are interesting concepts that have a surprising effect on our dating lives.
One study has found that people tend to date people who they think are close to their own perceived level of income, attractiveness, and education.
Let’s say you think you’re unattractive. Whenever someone compliments your appearance, you dismiss them.
On the other hand, if someone says something negative about the way you look, you use their comment to fuel your original belief.
All of those negative comments feed into your self perception and bring up feelings of inadequacy.
You may end up thinking you’re undeserving of romance or you become perpetually drawn towards other people with low self-esteem.
This could spiral into a vicious cycle of rejection and the belief that you’re unworthy.
The trick to overcoming this problem is to adjust your system and learn to treat yourself kindly.
Appreciate what you have to offer the world and keep track of the good things that inspire your gratitude.
Recommended reading: How to love yourself: 16 steps to believing in yourself again
11) You’re too busy working on yourself
Often, women ask themselves what kind of man they want to date. However, you may be missing a more important question: “Do you want to date yourself?”
If your answer is no, then maybe you don’t have a boyfriend because you’re still in the process of becoming girlfriend-material.
The rule of thumb is that if you want a certain kind of guy, you need to become a certain kind of girl in order to attract them.
You have to work towards becoming your best self before you find the best partner for you.
By learning to become the very best version of yourself, you’ll draw in someone who is working hard to improve and grow as well.
12) You want someone who doesn’t want you
Suppose you are interested in a man who doesn’t want to have a relationship with you.
Maybe he is taken or single but emotionally unavailable.
Maybe he is too busy to think about his love life or he’s simply not interested in you.
You have two options: wait for them to come around (which could take forever) or do something to move on.
When you go for the first option, you do yourself a disservice because you’re wasting your precious time and energy pining after someone who can’t appreciate you.
The second option is hard but it’s the healthier decision for you and that person, who may feel burdened by your affection because he can’t reciprocate it.
You can overcome your feelings by minimizing contact with him and slowly processing the truth of the situation.
By acknowledging your feelings and his feelings, you can slowly move on and hopefully open yourself up to other sources of love.
13) You haven’t asked for help
Unbeknownst to you, you might have people dying to set you up on a blind date.
Maybe your friends are tired of hearing you complain about being single or a family member who knows someone who might suit you.
In any case, you only need to ask for help and you shall receive.
There is no harm in asking because the people in your life know different people than you do. They may have acquaintances or connections who you wouldn’t mind meeting.
Or maybe you need another type of help, like polishing your social skills for dates.
Friends who are married or dating might be able to give you pointers on how to meet, flirt, and talk to guys.
There are plenty of things you can learn from more experienced (and successful) friends.
Of course, even if the people around you have good intentions, they might not fully understand your situation.
They could also be drawing from a perspective that’s different from yours.
Listen to their advice but make decisions based on your own instincts and judgment, because no one knows you better than you know yourself.
14) You come on too strong
There is nothing more unattractive to guys than someone who is needy for love and attention.
Even if you might be doing or saying desperate things unknowingly, men can sense it and feel an unwanted pressure towards commitment.
Insecurity and need for constant reassurance can come from many places so if you haven’t worked on those issues yet, jumping into a relationship could harm you further.
You may experience rejection and feel constantly devalued if you date guys to fill up a void inside you.
A man also wouldn’t want to be in a position where you’re just dating him because you need him to feel better about yourself.
Both people in a relationship should be there because they see and appreciate their partner for who they are.
Recommended reading: How to stop being clingy in a relationship: 22 no bullsh*t tips
15) You’re not great at communicating
Communication is an essential part of dating because you will need to negotiate and compromise all throughout the relationship.
There will be arguments that need resolution and misunderstandings that will have to be cleared up.
Unfortunately, if you’re not a good communicator to begin with, it can be hard to get a boyfriend at all.
It may be because you can’t seem to say what you want directly or you’re coming off too aggressive and it’s turning guys away from you.
Balancing the way you communicate may be the solution you need. You can practice better communication with your friends and loved ones.
Try to ask them where you could do better and work on improving your communication skills from there.
16) You’re facing too much pressure
The pressure to find a partner reaches its peak when your biological clock is ticking.
You’ll know when this happens because your family will always ask you if you’re seeing anyone and all your friends are in relationships.
All this external pressure just drives you frantic, trying to ignore the feelings of fear, hopelessness, or even shame. And this pressure can actually paralyze you from finding someone.
However, you need to understand that these reactions belong to the pressure itself and not to you.
Examine your thoughts in relation to this pressure: do you feel like you’re less of a person because you haven’t found a boyfriend?
Are you only looking for a boyfriend because everyone is indirectly telling you that you need one?
Once you’ve found your answers, repeat them to yourself when you feel overwhelmed.
It’s always good to remind yourself that you are a complete human being who is lovable, whether or not you’re dating someone.
17) You aren’t relaxed enough
Guys are usually more attracted to outgoing, confident girls but so if you appear too shy, awkward, or nervous, he might lose interest.
Learning how to relax when you meet new people is the key to letting them know the real you.
Here are some tips you can try out when you want to be more relaxed around strangers:
– Focus on the topic at hand: Instead of picking at your nails and wondering what other people around the table think of you, listen intently to what they’re talking about. Not only will this distract you from being self-conscious, but you’ll also remember the conversation better and bring it up the next time you meet them.
– Remember that they don’t have to like you: Confident people can act the way they do because they don’t really care what other people think of them. They are assured of who they are so they aren’t desperate for other people to like them. If you’re always thinking that other people are judging you, tell yourself that it’s okay because they aren’t required to like you. You can totally do your own thing.
– Be more honest: A little bit of honesty never hurt anyone. Being more honest about yourself helps people see that you’re sincere in trying to know them because you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable. And being authentic can really help in establishing a meaningful connection with the other person.
18) You don’t know how to flirt
Flirting can definitely be an impediment to dating, especially if you’ve never flirted before. It’s not a skill anyone can easily practice so it poses difficulties once you have to try it.
Essentially, flirting is how you not-so-subtly convey your interest towards someone.
If you have never learned how to flirt before, guys may not know you’re interested in them and that could be the reason why you don’t have a boyfriend.
When you have the time, read more about ways to flirt and practice it — whether by yourself or with a friend.
You can simply try out what you want to say and laugh it off if it feels a little silly. At least then, you’d have a good idea on how to act when the opportunity presents itself.
Recommended reading: How to flirt like a pro: 27 incredible tips
19) The timing is bad
What if you have everything under control, from a good self-esteem to a dating history that didn’t affect you negatively, but still you’re waiting for an opportunity to manifest?
What if you’re a great catch now but nothing seems to align for you?
Timing is a frustrating matter because it’s one of the few things that is out of your hands at this point.
Maybe you’ve actually met someone great already but nothing romantic has worked itself out yet.
Or no matter how much you want a boyfriend, there’s no sign of one coming along anywhere.
The challenge is to exercise patience. Patience doesn’t mean sitting around nor does it mean throwing yourself at anyone who shows some interest in you.
In this situation, being patient simply means you’re okay with singlehood for now and you’re doing things you enjoy.
With this perspective, you still live out a fulfilling existence even without a partner and you may find that you’re comfortable with being single after all.
How to find a boyfriend
Life doesn’t always give you what you want, but if you focus your energy and follow the tips above then finding a boyfriend becomes a much closer possibility.
With this kind of can-do mindset I wanted to also write down this 9-step “pre-boyfriend checklist.” These are 9 action-oriented tips I have for getting a high-quality boyfriend as soon as possible.
Think of this as a “pre-flight” checklist.
1) Master the art of flying solo
As much as it might be a cliche, before finding a great boyfriend be a great partner to yourself.
Being truly content being alone and making the best use of your time solo will prep you for the kind of guy who is doing the same.
Learning to “get into flow” the right way will also go a long way to making you a prime candidate for romance.
As you develop your own passions, you’ll find that love starts coming your way.
You will be ready for a relationship when you have love and stability to give from your own overflowing reserve of proactive energy and enthusiasm.
2) Dig deeper
When you’ve been alone – especially for a while – it can be easy to be swayed by hormones.
You see a good looking hunk and you’re ready to follow him to the ends of the earth.
But if you want to be really ready for a high-quality boyfriend you need to dig deeper.
This can sometimes mean putting off temporary pleasure in order to find a long-term purpose.
A roll in the hay is nothing compared to years of partnership, and as you start honing in on the deeper connection you’re looking for you’ll also attract the kind of guy who’s looking for something more as well.
Recommended reading: 207 questions to ask a guy that will bring you much closer
3) Flex your patience muscles
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers clearly get it. The late legend wasn’t just an incredible guitarist and vocalist, he was also a super talented songwriter.
Their 1981 song “the Waiting” talks about the difficulty of patience but how it pays off when you meet someone you really want to be with:
“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you get one more yard
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
Well yeah i might have chased a couple women around
All it ever got me was down
Then there were those that made me feel good
But never as good as I’m feeling right now
Baby you’re the only one that’s ever known how
To make me wanna live like I wanna live now.”
That’s it right there, straight from Petty. Waiting can be a real drag, but when you meet the right person you’ll realize it was all worth it.
4) Know what you want
One of the most important things to remember for how to find a boyfriend is knowing what you want. It’s all too easy to imagine an idealized guy out there who’s going to be perfect for us but then find out that in reality, he’s actually an annoying jerk.
Physical attraction is certainly important, but think on a deeper level of finding a boyfriend who will really “get” you and who you, likewise, will really “get.”
There’s no need to be a perfectionist, but it’s also fine to have a fairly specific idea of the kind of guy you’re looking for. If you end up meeting and falling for a man who’s the exact opposite at least you’ll be getting a pleasant surprise, so there’s really nothing to lose.
Recommended reading: What to look for in a guy: 25 good qualities in a man
5) Become a social Suzy
These days it can be tempting to just stick your face in your phone and tune out.
It seems like everyone else is doing it anyway, right?
In many cases, that’s honestly true, but half the time they’re thinking similar things to you: what the hell does a guy have to do to get a girl in this town?
They’re wondering how to strike up a conversation, but they don’t want to come off awkward or like some kind of desperate creep.
This is where I highly advise becoming a social Suzy – whether your name is Suzy or not you can still do it. Chat to strangers and people behind the store counter. Ask someone how their day is. Say good morning to the bus driver.
Try it out.
One of those guys might end up being your boyfriend in a month or two. He might have just been waiting for someone to crack his hardened shell with a simple “hello.”
6) Seek out like-minded clubs and groups
While some people will urge you to start downloading the apps, joining the sites, and making friends online through social media, I’m a little more old-fashioned.
I believe that the connections we make in our day-to-day life are more likely to blossom into real and lasting romance that’s good for us.
I encourage you to seek our clubs and groups that reflect your interests and passions whether it’s a chess club, volleyball, hiking group, or a place for those who share your political or religious beliefs.
It can be true that opposites attract, but it’s also true that finding someone with shared interests who you can really talk to and enjoy spending time with is a lot more likely if you spend time in places that you’re already interested in.
7) The power of networking
The power of networking should never be underestimated. As you open yourself to the possibility of a boyfriend, take a close look at your friends.
They can often be the best ones to introduce you to someone you’d hit it off with.
Friends and family are the ones who know us best, and sometimes their opinions and introductions can be the best way to meet a boyfriend you’ll actually like and want to be with.
It might seem like you already know everyone connected to your friend circle or family, but then one day you meet your friend Kyle’s cousin Adam who’s over for Thanksgiving weekend and things are never the same again.
8) Find your best look
Like I wrote, looks really shouldn’t be the focus of finding a boyfriend. But at the same time, it’s 100% normal to want a guy you’re attracted to and find hot.
The same goes for him.
For this reason, I recommend developing your own personal style that highlights your beauty and good features and presents the kind of image you want of yourself in the world.
This can include choosing colors, styles, fabrics, hairstyles, and accessories that accent your overall appearance and will attract the kind of man you are looking for.
Recommended reading: How to be sexy: Everything you need to know to look and feel attractive
Much like joining clubs and groups that share your interests, volunteering brings you into contact with people who care about what you care about.
Whether it’s helping out in the soup kitchen or going to help build schools in South America, you will have incredible life experiences while also making close friendships and potentially finding romance.
There’s nothing that brings people together like serving as volunteers and making deep connections in the midst of that.
Following the above “pre-flight” checklist won’t make a boyfriend arrive at your door like a new Amazon gift box.
But it will move you a lot closer. And it will also make your life better overall.
Just remember that your self-worth and future is never determined by someone else or by having a partner.