The Mistake of Turning to Romance to Get the Acceptance I Wasn’t Getting at School

sad girl has problem of mockery and bullying at school.

Females are hardwired to nurture, maintain, and enjoy relationships, whether they be friendships, family, or romantic relationships. With teenagers, although family relationships are still meaningful, it is mostly about having close relationships with friends and romantic relationships.

Therefore, if a young girl is not getting those wants and needs met through her peers at school or family at home, she may try a different route to meet her needs.

Sadly, some girls, particularly those who are targets of bullies, think that having a dating partner makes up for the lack of friends and positive relationships at school. I say this because, unfortunately, I was one of those girls with the same mindset. I leaned on dating and romance for comfort.

At the time, being in a romantic relationship felt like such a welcome change, like a soft pillow to land on during a fall. It seemed to buffer my self-esteem from the attacks and take the sting out of the torment I endured.

Having dating partners and suitors gave me a much-needed rebuttal to the daily degradation and humiliation brought on by classmates and a few sadistic teachers. It assured me that I was a great person and worthy of being loved. Male attention was a testament to my beauty and confirmation of my value as a young woman.

I looked to these guys to rescue me. They were my refuge from a cold, cruel world that hated me. Looking back now, I realize how needy I was back then. Around young guys who didn’t know me from school, I acted like a totally different person. I smiled, batted my eyelashes, and flirted my behind off to get their attention.

During school, because I had no real friends, I turned to grown men of late teens and early twenties to get the acceptance I wasn’t getting at school, from people my age. Although I was a gorgeous girl to look upon, bullies and their followers had destroyed my once-good name and with it, any prospects for dating and love among peers my age.

But by dating guys who were already out of high school, I was able to get around my trashed reputation and have opportunities for romance. These college-aged men had never met me, nor were they aware of the falsehoods and labels tied to my name.

I’m ashamed to say that, back then, I felt that my good looks and feminine wiles were the only things I had going for me, and often used them to get what I wanted. I thought I had to use trickery and charm to attain what most others seemed to come by easily and effortlessly. And thirty years ago, underage dating was more accepted than it is today.

I want you to understand that when a person is beaten down for so long, they grow afraid to ask for or pursue their wants and needs the right way. As a result, manipulation and deceit become a way of survival. Realize that this is a person who doesn’t need judgment; they get enough of that already. What they need is help.

For bullied victims, partners are a proverbial band-aid to their feelings of hurt and inadequacy that come with the onslaught of bullies. Sexual partners and activity are a means to feel loved, wanted, sexy, and beautiful. And it works, if only temporarily.

However, this is dangerous because it can easily lead to co-dependency. Relying on a dating partner for confirmation of worth is never good because the person eventually comes to believe that if he/she is not half of a couple, they are nothing and this kind of thinking is wrong.


This mindset only sprouts desperation, and there is no dignity in being desperate for a partner. No one should ever see a romantic relationship as the end all be all. They should never look outside of themselves for happiness. Men and women come and go, and if the person continues to depend solely on them for their fulfillment, they’ll be in for a huge disappointment.

When someone looks solely to a partner to validate them, it’s a sign that the person doesn’t know their worth as a young lady or young man. Potential dates can sense this, and are either repelled or see them as someone they can use and degrade.

The person risks attracting a predatory partner of low integrity, one who will hang around as long as it takes to get what they want before dumping them and leaving them devastated. Also, people of quality and integrity do not want a partner they have to fix or rescue, and if they sniff out the slightest bit of neediness, they will disappear, and fast!

If you are a bullied girl or boy, I can’t stress enough how important it is to fall in love with yourself and with life before you fall in love with anyone else. Love should come from within and never from the outside. A relationship doesn’t complete you, and just because a person has sex with you doesn’t mean that they love you.

You are just as beautiful and whole without a partner as you are with one. Just because you’re dateless doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Single doesn’t mean defective.

In the meantime, do plenty of deep soul searching and make positive affirmations daily. Count all your good qualities, talents, and gifts. Continuously remind yourself that you have value, and soon, you’ll start to believe it with your whole heart.

Be patient. Know that the right person will come into your life when you least expect it, and you aren’t looking for them. And when they do, they’ll be well worth the wait.

23 thoughts on “The Mistake of Turning to Romance to Get the Acceptance I Wasn’t Getting at School

  1. You have made some good points here. Desperation often leads to relationship mistakes. There is nothing wrong with being alone. In fact finding yourself alone is a sign you need to strengthen up from the inside.

  2. I so admire the work that you are doing, Cherie. I was severely bullied throughout school and it took me decades to get my self-worth back. I didn’t turn to many romantic partners, and I was more the rescuer than the rescued, and I’ve always enjoyed my times of singlehood, but I can still relate to much of this post. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge in such a clear, engaging way. It is much-needed.

    • Thank you for this. It means a lot. Know that I feel your pain and my heart goes out to you. It sounds like you were much stronger than I was and I admire you for your strength in being a rescuer.❤

  3. The minute I read the title to this blog post, I took a deep breath because I knew what I was about to read would resonate with me so much. I was also bullied at school, and it’s led to a codependency when it comes to romantic relationships. It took a long time to uncover with therapy but it’s so great to know I’m not alone 💕

  4. It is hard at that age because a lot of times the in crowd is determined by who you are dating. If someone is a loner or maybe has responsiblities at home and doesn’t have time to date, they can be targets. When someone is dating someone bullies will often leave them alone. Unfortunately this leads to a ton of mistakes. Frankly I think most kids are better off not dating until they are 16 and preferably older and at 16 it should be casual. You shouldn’t be in serious relationships when you are still a teen.

    • Mostly, that’s true. However, when I was 16, I was dating a college-aged guy (22 years old). Back then, stuff like this wasn’t frowned upon like it is today.

      My classmates upped the bullying when they found out I was in a relationship with a college aged guy who was out of high school amd had a full-time job.

      They called me a gold-digger, a money hungry whore, a cheap slut, money-grubber, all kinds of horrible names.

      I’d walk away from them and they’d follow me, sometimes shove me from behind. It was as if my dating this guy pissed and they didn’t even know him. But he and I were talking about getting married so I continued to see him.

      Thank you so much for your comment.

  5. So I suppose I’ll throw my hat in here I was severely bullied but I also had no friends either. So, what I did was reinvent myself I neither needed anyone to date nor anyone as a friend. I learned to be happy without either in my life. Now, that isn’t to say that I didn’t have family when I needed them but I seldom did. I know guys can live alone happily but I’ve yet to meet a woman that can but I know they are probably a few but when I mean alone (I mean no friends or family nada). But either way good message to put out there.

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