Does attraction grow over time? How do relationships work?

So i've never had a boyfriend before or have ever been on a date. I really think it's time to reevaluate my life and what exactly im doing wrong.

I dont think its me necessarily. I think its my bad habits and fear that keeps pushing people away and I need to stop this before i end up forever alone. Its not that im ugly or have a bad personality. People around me including coworkers and classmates tell me how much they love me and tell me im funny, and adorable, and cute, etc. And lately, i've noticed that i keep getting hit on by strangers and even guys i've known forever. i'm not used to this attention.

The only thing is that I always have one complaint. The same thing I always whine about and why i've been single all these years. The guys I like never like me back, and I don't like the guys who like me.

So i've been observing my friends and they tell me about who they are crushing on. For example, one of my friends at school liked a guy at her job for months, and then she told me another guy ended up asking her out and now they're in a relationship and she's so happy.

I have noticed this pattern among other people. They're really into someone, and someone else asks them out, or if they're guys, they ask a different girl out, and then they get into a relationship. No one ends up with their crush, but they are happy.

So does this mean that I need to stop waiting around for these guys and date the ones i dont like? I dont want to feel like im settling but then at the same time, i feel like i've been missing out on a lot. im 25. i have wasted so much time and i'm not getting any younger. the thing that im afraid of is what if i date a different guy and it turns out the guy i like liked me too. this is all so confusing.

So for those of you in a relationship or have been in relationships, how this happen? was it the person you were lusting over, or did you somehow end up with someone else? Did you not like them in the beginning and the feelings eventually grow?
Does attraction grow over time? How do relationships work?
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