First, let me say that I don’t think you should force yourself to do anything that you don’t want to do. I also think that you are putting too much stress on yourself to be “in a relationship.” Have you heard the phrase, “putting the cart before the horse?” In other words, I suggest that you first become more comfortable with casual dating before you think about being in a romantic relationship.
I also would like to know more about why you are uncomfortable with dating. Are you anxious around all sorts of people, or is it just the idea of dating that you don’t feel comfortable with? Do you have difficulty making friends? Would you consider yourself to be a shy person? Improving your overall social skills and confidence might help you feel more comfortable with the idea of eventually dating, and dating might eventually lead to a more serious relationship, but stressing yourself out about it all will only lead to more anxiety and fear.
It’s also ok to choose not to date and to continue being single. More and more people choose this option these days and being 21 is certainly not an age in which you need to feel desperate. Calm down, take your time and enjoy your life. If you want to continue with the online dating, just make it clear to those whom you meet that you want to start out by looking for friends and taking things very slowly. If you meet guys who can’t respect this boundary, then they aren’t worth your time.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts