I grew up in Florida with Bahá’ís parents and siblings. I had a close group of friends and was well liked in middle and high school. I found dating very difficult as a teenager. I wanted to fit in and be appreciated by boys, but the ones I liked never seemed to like me. While I was disappointed not to have a boyfriend throughout my teenage years, my close friendships were more important to me than dating. I saw the pain that my friends experienced from failed relationships and was spared from those emotions.
In my late teens, there were more opportunities—and more pressures—to be physical with boys. But I had already decided to follow Bahá’í law and not have sex before marriage. There were times when I was more intimate with a boy than I had planned. I learned how to recognize those situations and how to avoid them in the future. I eventually trusted that Bahá’í law was there to protect me, but it was still difficult to resist my physical urges. By my early twenties, I realized how much more important my family, friendships, community, and education were than dating. Some boys appreciated me and that was enough.