Ask Anna: I'm almost 23 and I've never had a boyfriend – is this normal?

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Got a burning question about relationships, sex, parenting, dating or mental health you feel too embarrassed to ask? Qualified counsellor, life coach and Celebs Go Dating’s resident expert Anna Williamson is here to help.

She’ll be answering your burning questions for Yahoo Style UK – find out how to submit them below.

This week Anna reassures one reader who’s embarrassed about never having had a boyfriend at the age of 22, and gives her advice for entering the world of dating.

Watch: Anna Williamson gives advice on entering the world of dating in your 20s

Q: I’m almost 23 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve dated a few people, but not many – is this normal?

Anna says:

Well, I just want to say welcome to the world of wanting to find love.

Firstly, age doesn’t matter at all, whether you’re 16 years old and you’re ready for the dating game or you’re 55 and you’re thinking about dipping your toe into the world of relationships.

The main thing is that you’re feeling like you want to start dating, and that’s fantastic.

You say you’re 23. Well, I don’t think I found my first proper boyfriend until i was in my mid-20s.

It takes time to find the right person you connect with. We can certainly kiss many frogs until we find our prince.

It’s not about quantity, it is about quality and it’s about being in the right frame of mind.

You should never measure yourself against anybody. What is right for one person isn’t right for the next and everybody is wonderfully unique – including you.

Don’t compare yourself to people on social media, reality stars, characters in movies – it can seem like people are falling in and out of love every five minutes, but that isn’t the reality for most people.

a Group of friends enjoying some wine.
Don't compare your own relationships to those of others – everybody moves at their own pace (Photo: Getty)

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There is no right or wrong way to date. Some people really enjoy it and they’re quite fast-paced with it, other people want to take their time – and that, perhaps, is where you are.

I would always err towards the side of taking it slow, because dating and finding love requires time.

You can’t rush these things.

Some people feel in love in the first second or there’s initial attraction – sometimes it is only attraction or lust and that’s what serves the purpose of that particular relationship – but for other people, love can grow over time.

Firstly, you need to work out what you would like in a boyfriend.

Do you want a relationship or are you after companionship? Do you want a physical relationship or just someone to hang out with and have dinners and watch movies.

This will help get you in the right mindset.

Now, there are lots of fantastic dating apps out there.

So when you’ve honed in on what you’re looking for – companionship or long-term love; perhaps you have a specific faith or sexuality or whatever it may be – there are dating apps out there that are designed for every single person; all different shapes, sizes - you name it.

Finger of woman pushing heart icon on screen in mobile smartphone application. Online dating app, valentine's day concept.
Dating apps can help you meet people with similar interests (Photo: Getty)

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Narrow down what you’re looking for and then ask friends or do a good internet search on which dating apps or websites best suit your needs.

You want to be finding like-minded people as we’re more inclined to find love, that ‘one’ person, and to find people we connect with if we share the same interests.

This brings me on to values.

Love really does start with you, it starts at home.

What are your values? What do you stand for? What’s important to you? Is it loyalty, or family and friends? Is it integrity, hard work or wealth?

Once we’ve worked out what our values are, we radiate confidence and self-esteem.

It gives us a solid base for finding love and you can say ‘this is who I am, this is what I’m looking for, this is what I can offer somebody’.

The chances are you’ll find someone who is going to embrace the same values.

Side view smiling biracial woman sitting at table in cafe with caucasian man couple talking in cozy coffeeshop drinking tea coffee. Heterosexual friends romantic relationships or speed dating concept
Find someone who shares your values, hobbies and interests (Getty Images)

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Hobbies and interests can also be a really good place to start when trying to find love or companionship.

What I want you to do, then, in summary, is to work on who you are.

It can take some people a lifetime to work out if they even want to date. It sounds like you’ve decided you do, so well done for figuring that out.

Welcome to the world of dating. This is your time.

Don’t measure yourself against anybody else. Work out what you love about yourself and then go and find that man for you.

Watch the video above for Anna’s full response on this issue.

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Submit your question for Anna

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