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Stacey Springob is 20 years old and never has had a boyfriend.
For some young girls and women, that fact would be painful to admit. Springob, however, recently wrote and self-published a book about that very topic: "What I've Learned from Never Having a Boyfriend."
Springob, who will be a junior this fall at University of Wisconsin-Stout, not only isn't consumed by the stigma of not having any romantic relationships but believes she's become a stronger, more complete person without them.
In the process of working her way through adolescence and young adulthood without a boyfriend, she realized it's an issue not often discussed in social circles. That led her to write the 212-page book, which she plans to use as a message for motivational speaking.
"A lot of teenagers need some guidance. It's something people can relate to and a subject schools don't address," she said.
"It's about who you are before you invest your time in someone else. There's a lot of value in learning who you are," said Springob, who is majoring in professional communication and emerging media.
Springob has discovered that life — especially at a young age — is much more than about seeking and having relationships.
To that end, Springob has been practicing what she's preaching. A native of Spencer, in central Wisconsin, she spent her sophomore year in college in 2013-14 as an exchange student in California and New Jersey.
Traveling the country by herself reinforced the thesis for her book.
She started writing the book in January 2013, before she began her exchange program, and spent much of the next 15 months writing, revising and researching how to publish it. The book, which is available at Amazon.com, came out in April 2014.
A process of self-discovery
After going through her first couple of years of high school without a boyfriend, Springob began to realize something: the experience was making her stronger. Her insecurities faded, and she began to rely more on herself and develop leadership qualities, which others picked up on.
She was a straight-A student and became a leader in many clubs. "By the last couple of years in high school, I felt respected by my peers," she said.
In a small town like Spencer — her senior class had 60 students — that wasn't always easy. "Boys are pressured to have sex and drink in high schools, but girls are more pressured to just have a boyfriend and fulfill that role. I have friends who are already married. Sometimes that works. Most times it doesn't."
Springob says she's dated but never has been asked to be someone's girlfriend. Still, she hasn't seriously pursued relationships in high school or college. "I've been close, but for various reasons it didn't work out," she said. "I've had success in every other department in life except romantic love."
Not having a boyfriend has, at least in part, been her choice. "People get scared of the idea of being single and having to face themselves. I've overcome that fear," she said. "You can be successful in other things besides a relationship. I want to be in a relationship, but at the same time I won't rush it."
Springob has received many positive reactions to the book since it came out, she said.
One reader on Amazon.com complimented Springob on her message and writing style. "One of the things I enjoy most about this book is how open and honest her writing style is. It invites the reader into her own personal experiences. I enjoyed Stacey's witty sense of humor and the way in which she incorporated relationship advice with life advice. It is obvious she has wisdom beyond her years," said Faythe Bauer.
The book has chapters such as "They Won't Be Perfect," "Don't Rush Toward Marriage," "Love Yourself," and "It's OK to Say No."
She had numerous friends — married, divorced and single — read the manuscript and provide feedback during the revision process.
Springob says the book is neither about being single nor a manifesto on relationships. She prefers to think of it as a conversation-starter about relationships. "I want the reader to say this might be valuable for me," she said.
Book dovetails with career aspirations
Springob, who always has loved to write, learned much about writing, publishing and marketing while doing the book, she said.
She also has worked hard to build a social media following, with more than 1,500 followers on her various sites. She posts multiple times daily on Facebook and Twitter and writes a blog.
Last fall she studied at California State University-San Bernardino. For the spring semester she was at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.
With her major in professional communication and emerging media, the book is a professional achievement, one that she hopes eventually will lead her to the television industry as a writer.
She took advantage of her exchange study locations to scope out the TV industry, attending talk shows in New York and Los Angeles and taking studio tours. "I got a lot of experience and made a lot of contacts. If I want to live in the New York or L.A. area, I need to see what it's like," she said.
Top: Stacey Springob, who will be a junior this fall at UW-Stout, has self-published a book, "What I've Learned from Never Having a Boyfriend."Bottom: Springob holds a ticket for the "Ellen" show, which she attended while studying as an exchange student in 2013-14. She hopes to work in the television industry.