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There is a certain subsection of the population that will never find a partner


LightbulbSun

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I will give you a celebrity example of what my current crush looks like. Yes, she looks like a young Cher, dead on, especially in this picture:

 

image removed

 

The other girl, the yoga girl, has red hair and looks like Tori Amos does now, except a 20 year old version of it.

 

Am I aiming too high? Perhaps. But I'd say it's only because I'm overweight; when I was skinny, I had girls who were model worthy who would hit on me and flirt with me. And I don't think I have bad facial features. It's just the fat making me ugly (and even the people who called me ugly at the lonely virgin forum acknowledged that I was attractive when I showed them a picture, before I gained all that weight.)

 

So...what to do now? Should I ask out these girls, even though I haven't achieved my weight loss goal yet? Or should I wait and date someone who's more in 'my current league?'

 

(Oh, and so you know, I've been attracted to chubby girls as well. I don't just like stick thin girls. As long as she has a pretty face, I'll develop a crush. I'm more of a face person than a body person.)

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If I said yes, would you? (sorry to answer a question with a question, but...there it is.)

 

I was planning to throw myself on the fire anyways, so...yeah.

 

I want to start an actual conversation with both of them. I've often been waiting for the class before me to filter out, so we could go in, and my crush has been waiting there (usually right next to me or near me.) I've also had short conversation with her, and she seems nice, but we haven't really gotten to know each other yet (although in a speech class, where you're going up behind the podium and talking about yourself, you're bound to learn a lot about each other that way.)

 

Regardless, if she hasn't dropped the class, I will try to start a conversation with her before next class. If we don't end up as boyfriend/girlfriend, there's always friends (because she seems like the kind of person I'd like to get to know, she seems really cool.)

 

The yoga girl...well, I don't know enough about her to form an opinion. I know I find her sexy as hell, but as far as beyond that, we haven't really talked.

 

Let me ask YOU a question: if you were in a yoga class where there were only two guys and the rest girls, and one guy (who had been checking you out) put his mat next to yours, would you register a red flag? That's the only thing that keeps me from doing that; it wouldn't be to 'eye her up', the whole class is full of pretty girls, so if I was that type of guy I would be doing that anyways with a different girl. It would be to start a conversation.

 

(Although something tells me that I should just stay where I am, and catch her after class and introduce myself then.)

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So you say some girls have been attracted to you. Some have even called you hot.

 

I would like to know as many details as you can give about specific instances of this, who called you "hot", what were they like in all respects, who has expressed interest in you, HOW LONG YOU KNEW THEM AND HOW MUCH YOU HUNG OUT TOGETHER, how close did you get, are they still in your life, etc.

 

I want to know about the women you are passing over, how many of them there have been and the particulars as best as you can recall. You can even give them pseudonyms.

 

Going as far back as junior high:

 

- In 6th grade, there were these groups of girls that would follow me and tease me. I finally confronted them, and told them to stop. I later found out they were doing it because they thought I was 'cute.'

- In 7th grade, I had one of the hottest girls in the class trying to get a date with me. I was so shy that I didn't do anything.

- In 8th grade, one girl started a rumor about me out of malice, after I said that I wouldn't go out with her.

- In 9th grade, I had a few girls call me cute, and I had the head cheerleader having a crush on me.

- In 10th grade, I was with my female friend, and we stopped so she could say hello to her friend. Her friend said, "Who is your friend? He's cute!"

- In 10th grade, I was given a card at a birthday party that pretty much signified that the girl who gave the card (that I barely knew) had a crush on me. It said, "If you ever want to go out sometime, here is my number."

- In 11th grade, I had a girl in my choir class who guys would endlessly tease me about 'her being my girlfriend.' She asked me out, and I stupidly said no, even though I had a crush on her.

- In 12th grade, I had a freshman cheerleader (one of the hottest girls on the squad) flirting with me, after she saw me perform in the talent show.

 

GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL

 

- When I was 19, I had a girl who looked like an Avril Lavigne lookalike (and that I had a mad crush on) who I hung out with in the college student lounge. One day, I overheard her saying, "I really like J, but I don't like how he shakes when he's near me. I wish he would ask me out or something." I never asked her out.

- When I was 20, and working at my first job, my coworker was dating a hot 16 year old girl. She would endlessly flirt with me, and even offered to have sex with me once. I declined, because he was my friend.

- When I was 22, I went back to school. In one of my classes, there was this hot rockstar chick (who looked like a model), who would say, "Hey there, sexy boy!" whenever I entered the room. I did not ask her out, and she stopped saying it.

- Also when I was 22, I had a girl in my psych class who flirted endlessly with me, and took my phone once, saying that she would give it back if I went on a date with her. This was the first girl that I was NOT attracted to, and I rejected her.

- Also when I was 22, there was a third girl in another class who would always push her chair up so that we were almost or were touching. She was incredibly hot, and I would often catch her staring at me.

- Also when I was 22, I walked into a bar (came with a group of friends, for salsa dancing), and a strange pretty girl walked up to me, threw her arms around me, took me by the hand and led me back to her friends. She told them, "This is my boyfriend."

- When I was 23, I quit college and went to work full time. There was one girl who would endlessly flirt with me, who looked like a young Lisa Marie Presley (from when she was with Michael Jackson.) I didn't ask her out, and she dated one of my other coworkers.

 

CUE SOCIAL ANXIETY, AND CUT OFF FROM SOCIAL CONTACT

 

- When I was 26, I had a cute Asian girl (looked about 18 or 19) who would endlessly flirt with me and always wanted to be around me. She would lean her head on my shoulder. When I didn't ask her out after a period of time, the affection stopped.

- When I was 27 and just going back to school, there was this hot redhead in one of my classes, who would always stare at me in class. I never asked her out, and we lost contact.

 

And that is it. I guess that's a LOT of missed chances, huh?

 

After reading through this, I feel like a complete idiot. Maybe I AM gay, or asexual. There has to be some reason why I've gotten all these indicators of interest, since I started being interested in girls sexually, and haven't acted on ANY of them.

 

Actually, forget that. I know I'm not gay (don't like guys that way), and am not asexual (I even had to control an erection in yoga class today, around a pretty blond girl.) So it's clear that I am VERY SEXUALLY ATTRACTED to women...but can shyness really make someone avoid the one thing they want most in the world?

 

Is it because of shyness that I never acted on any of the above. Because if it is, shyness hella sucks.

 

-

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Let me ask YOU a question: if you were in a yoga class where there were only two guys and the rest girls, and one guy (who had been checking you out) put his mat next to yours, would you register a red flag? That's the only thing that keeps me from doing that; it wouldn't be to 'eye her up', the whole class is full of pretty girls, so if I was that type of guy I would be doing that anyways with a different girl. It would be to start a conversation.

 

I would expect a yoga class to be 98% filled with women, first. Where the two guys are situated in the classroom would be of no significance to me.

 

You say "if the guy had been checking you out" -- I'm going to assume only you know you've been checking her (me) out. So if I were her, I might be oblivious that you were checking me out, unless you were making other subtle moves and eye contact. So let's say I don't know you're checking me out. If the classroom arrangement had been pretty much established already all semester and everyone always assumed the same places, and you plunked down in Nathan's spot (this guy that always puts his mat on my left), I'd kind of be taken aback, because it would seem obvious that you're just ramming your way in. If this was a loose arrangement though, and it's a sit-wherever type thing, I'd think nothing at all of it. No red flags.

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Well, I always sit at the front of the class, and she sits behind me. So obviously I would be switching spots.

 

But you're free to sit wherever you want, so it wouldn't raise any red flags on just that. She probably would wonder why I was sitting next to her, and not up at the front of the room, however.

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Whoa... that is a lot of chances there. I think you should try and spin it as a positive, meaning that you were and still are very much attractive enough to get beautiful girls interested. Just work on that self-esteem, shyness, confidence, social mannerisms and take more chances in asking girls out. Don't jump to conclusions too quickly and give things time to develop. You are closer than you think.

 

I am pretty envious of your past history, since you had quite a few girls show interest. Throughout my entire life, no girl has ever been interested in me (I'm not an idiot when it comes to signs either, none flirted, touched, gaze/stare, initiate conversation or ever wanted to be around me other than in a group or friends setting and certainly not one-on-one). The part that really makes me kind of sad about where I am in life is that I never have any chances or no girl thus far has been willing to give me one, so you should be blessed. Strangely enough, I am widely considered at least average looking and not ugly at all. I'm not that bad at talking or conversing with girls but if they are aren't interested in the real me, what can I do? Either I have the worst luck or I'm meeting all of the wrong women.

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This might sound creepy, but I just looked her up on Facebook. And not only did she just graduate this year, she has a boyfriend.

 

So...yeah, stepping away now. Might be nice to have as a friend, but probably creepy for even that. I will set my sights on the yoga girl. And see if I can join some community groups, to meet people with common interests.

 

edited for clarity. She is apparently 18, still I don't see anything happening with such a drastic age difference and with a boyfriend already in the picture.

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With the yoga class thing, I think it's fine for you to put your mat next to hers. My point was, unless you were abruptly displacing someone and an arrangement that was more or less set, it would be fine (part of being socially aware is not to make an attempt look jarring, but as organic and naturally-occurring as possible.) I think this is the kind of situation that fosters chances to speak to someone you see on a semi-regular or regular basis, rather than it just being a cold approach where you have absolutely no reference point for starting conversation. This is why all the suggestions about clubs, gatherings, classes, etc. For you this will be crucial. And you can take classes the rest of your life, by the way. You don't have to be matriculating and in your 20's. So, affirmative on the yoga class plan. But let the conversational attempts evolve gradually and start with fun, offhand comments that are more random than pointedly "I want to get to know you" types of comments/questions. Asking her out (if it should ever come to it) should only come when you're getting a reciprocal interest vibe from her, and not before.

 

And judging on your prodigious list (that was brave to write, and must have not been very comfortable for you to write), you have some very concrete positive reinforcement that you CAN command reciprocal and inviting interest from someone. This is not, "I wonder if those were 'interest' signals?" feedback, a lot of it is pretty direct, as direct as women will tend to be to prompt you to do something, to make a move.

 

I think it's really good you wrote up the list, so you can see in black and white that it's not something out of reach for you to have women interested. And that's really, really good news, because that means this is not all something out of your control and you don't have to continue to feel as though "a certain subsection of the population" just can't get lucky, if you really want this badly enough. You are in a subsection of the population who has actually been quite likely to find someone, just based on reactions to you outside your own locus of self-evaluation.

 

I don't know what events might have triggered the degree to which you are phobic -- and I think the severity of your anxiety seems phobic -- looking at this chronology. Because no where in there is a sudden event or traumatic experience that pushed you towards this behavior. Shyness/Extroversion is considered to be one of the pillars of personality makeup that is somewhat hardwired at birth (as an inherent disposition), but imho that's not enough to explain how you became so fearful and lacking in confidence when the environment was feeding you many positive cues throughout your school years.

 

Was there some turning event or negative conditioning (going further back, maybe to early childhood and upbringing) that you are aware of as setting you up to feeling that you would fail if you took any of these encounters further?

 

I'm just exploring...because there may be a rational reason for this, or an irrational one. And one therapist I saw years ago expressed a view I agree with -- that even fears that seem irrational really aren't, because they're usually based on something that actually happened to cause a person to want to flee or protect themselves, and then this response, which was quite natural for a situation(s) then became totally automatic and below conscious threshold of awareness. That's how strong aversions and phobias are born.

 

But I don't see any evidence here that you went through some ordeal with your peers, where members of the opposite sex frightened, bullied or otherwise conditioned you to think your interest in them would be mocked. In fact, it seems even though the most awkward periods -- the adolescent years -- you were getting positive messages from girls. Heck, in middle school, I can't point to a single good experience with boys, it was all uniformly horrible. And I didn't think of boys as "hot" in 7th grade, either -- I was still getting used to the idea that people were starting to want the other sex in a demonstrative way, lol.

 

Looking at this list, I'd say that it's pretty conclusive -- and it should be in a permanent way now -- that you are not ugly to the world or women, and that even gaining some weight, you are not (because after all, as you point out, even chubby does not change a cute face.) And so yes, I would say that even though it's important for you to reach your physical fitness goals and I can't understate that, this history points to the anxiety disorder as being the root issue with why you're not dating. Which is hardly a revelation, but here it's very clear. It's not your looks, it's not your nerdiness or style, it's not any physical trait. So I wonder if you can take that off the table for good, so as to concentrate on where the actual problem lies and streamline your problem-solving on threads?

 

I'm answering your question in the affirmative: yes, I think it's down to the shyness.

 

And then that would mean revisiting the points I made in my first LONG post on this thread -- all the resources you have to deal with the anxiety, and the tactics discussed in the past. There is nothing you should be leaving out of a very aggressive reform plan along these lines. Having diagnosed the problem. Losing weight is the only thing you said you're following through on, as problem-solving. What about continued addressing of the anxiety disorder and all the remedial actions I listed in my post? You NEED to be continuing any and all therapies and life modifications along these lines, since this is central.

Are you seeing a therapist still? (Excuse me if you've mentioned this and I've missed it). I think you've said you see a man? Perhaps you should see a female therapist, and do role-plays with her, where you simulate situations you might get into. Using this list. Even if you're not nervous because you don't have the hots for the therapist (but a younger, hotter therapist would be a good choice, lol), this practice would be useful. For example, you'll take the situation where the girl was saying, "Hey, sexy boy!" -- and then where do you take it from there? Flesh that kind of thing in. Because it seems that where it all grinds to a halt is where conversation has to start in earnest, past a nod or a "hi." I think it would be helpful for you to have a surrogate (in a therapist) who you bounce conversations against so that you get a "feel" for what might run smoothly. It's like practicing anything. And I also think that events in your life that have played into this, the messages you got growing up should be further understood, because clearly you were feeling this way from an early age. It's part genetics, part part learned behavior, and you need to approach it on both levels with someone who can work with optimizing your chemistry (with meds, until the behavioral changes have "taken", and then you can toss the crutch of the meds) as well as helping you on a consistent basis to desensitize you to the triggering events that make you clam up at those pivotal moments. I've said this before on your threads, but you have to continue with more/other/different effective therapeutic techniques, if the ones you've tried are not cutting it.

 

I do believe given this history that there is a lot of good news, and that your problem is quite plastic, and maleable -- it's not just "fate" as your thread title would suggest. It's about learned behavior, it's about conditioning, it's about working more aggressively with fears. And looking at this list and saying, "If these situations presented NOW, today, what would I do differently and how?"

 

And then putting that into practice, even if you epically fail the first few times. Your best shot is getting into situations where these kind of prompts from women come up again, and then knowing you've got the green light, which will make it easier for you to initiate. Avoid totally cold approaches, make yourself as healthy and desirable as you can feel, and have some mock practice with a therapist/coach so that you can run with the ball when it's come your way.

 

Look at this list as inspiration, not as something to down yourself about. Look at it as something that promises a future that doesn't have to repeat this past.

 

That said...nothing to stop you from making an effort in yoga class, as I said. You can start anywhere. The only problem I see with it is that you need to take baby steps, and the least intimidating thing is the best to start with. You don't jump into the deep end of the pool when you can't swim. So that means, if you want to start feeling comfortable talking to women that intimidate you, first start by intending to make this just practice. If you are going into this with the idea that the pressure's on, and rejection could follow, this might keep reinforcing the cold feet/freezing up problem. Whereas if you simply set out to make a period of your life devoted to practicing conversation with women without an agenda, you'll be telling your subconscious mind it's safe to try this. Safety, safety, safety, non-threatening, non-threatening: this is the fare you need to be feeding your brain. The more safe you can make yourself feel in your first attempts, the more you can build confidence slowly and surely, without it backfiring. So my feeling is that in your case, it's too drastic to make conversation a means to a phone number. If that happens, great, bonus. But right now you've got water wings, so I would strongly suggest you not go the route of planning to ask pretty women out before you first feel comfortable making them laugh and enjoy your company -- and when you are able to initiate a conversation regardless of what they look like without freaking out, and can sustain a conversation feeling relaxed, then you know you can push it a little further and be bolder to proposition them. These are the signs you should be looking for, and how you should be feeling.

 

If you combine that newfound confidence you've practiced and learned with some of the situations you have in your list (where women naturally are prompting you), you'll have it made.

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This might sound creepy, but I just looked her up on Facebook. And not only did she just graduate this year, she has a boyfriend.

 

So...yeah, stepping away now. Might be nice to have as a friend, but probably creepy for even that. I will set my sights on the yoga girl. And see if I can join some community groups, to meet people with common interests.

 

edited for clarity. She is apparently 18, still I don't see anything happening with such a drastic age difference and with a boyfriend already in the picture.

 

I think you need to take it one step at a time. Try looking for female FRIENDS right now and just get comfortable with doing that. And then AFTER you are comfortable with that, then you can start looking for a potential date.

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Also, I'm going to remind you of something I said on another thread of yours some time ago. About meds.

 

I think you should have propranolol (Inderal) in your aresenal, which is a beta-blocker, to use before anxiety-provoking situations. It's a lot safer to use as needed than an anti-anxiety medication like xanax or klonopin. What it does is reduce the adrenaline affect that causes shaking and other nervous system fight-flight reactions. It's used for stage fright. It's one of the things that has helped me the most to get through my own phobic encounters (and that would be public speaking.)

 

You mentioned in one of these items on the list that you overheard a girl saying, "I wish he'd stop shaking", so to me that indicates this medication could help you. I don't shake, tremble or swallow my tongue when I've taken that 15 minutes prior.

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Thanks for that message, ToV. I agree with every word; now that I've put it into perspective, it's clear that it's anxiety that is stopping me from getting a partner. I don't think I realized all that happened over the years with girls, until I wrote it all out and looked over the list.

 

I believe now that I do have BDD. Maybe I am fat, maybe I need to lose weight, but I was this fat when that Avril Lavigne lookalike was crushing on me. The only difference is I'm 9 years older, but I still am and look young.

 

As far as traumatic experiences...I was teased for being small and skinny, and for looking effeminine. That is my biggest obstacle, because I feel like I come off as a girl, and that girls don't want feminine men. This is deeply rooted in my childhood, because I was teased in Kindercare for being shy...and as a result, I've always been shy. And I was teased in high school for looking like a girl. I think somehow the rejections combined with the teasing, and I assumed that I was being rejected BECAUSE I looked like a girl or was ugly.

 

I actually am able to carry on conversations with older women, because I have no interest in dating them. I don't know how old my yoga teacher is, but I'm able to carry on a full conversation with her before class. And I'm able to talk to my female professors. It's only when it's a cute teenage girl that I choke...but when it comes down to it, what do I really have in common with an 18 or 19 year old? Besides the possible virginity, I'd get along better with someone a little closer to my own age...and would probably feel less anxiety, too, because they would be more mature and less likely to stab me in the back.

 

I'll look into getting a female therapist, but I don't want to give up my male therapist. He's really been there for me, and helped me over other bumps in my anxiety disorder. He just can't seem to help me over this particular one.

 

I will, next Monday, just start off talking to people in both of my classes. Men, women, whatever. Old, young, whatever. I think I just need to talk, and talk, and talk until I'm over the fear of talking...because that is what is stopping me. The fear of approach. If I didn't fear approaching someone or anyone anymore, then I wouldn't fear approaching cute girls in class.

 

I think you need to take it one step at a time. Try looking for female FRIENDS right now and just get comfortable with doing that. And then AFTER you are comfortable with that, then you can start looking for a potential date.

 

Completely agree!

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I'll look into getting a female therapist, but I don't want to give up my male therapist. He's really been there for me, and helped me over other bumps in my anxiety disorder. He just can't seem to help me over this particular one.

 

I will, next Monday, just start off talking to people in both of my classes. Men, women, whatever. Old, young, whatever. I think I just need to talk, and talk, and talk until I'm over the fear of talking...because that is what is stopping me. The fear of approach. If I didn't fear approaching someone or anyone anymore, then I wouldn't fear approaching cute girls in class.

 

I think getting a female therapist might really help you. Helps you get over the fear just that much more. Start off just having female friends and hanging out with them. You can start by asking them to hang out, not making it a date, but just real casual. Then you move on from there. Baby steps. It won't happen over night, but you'll get there. I used to have a hard time with the idea of be romantic with a guy. I grew up with brothers and a lot of guys and had no idea how to be a girlfriend. lol. It took some time to get over that fear. I did it by just slowly easing into it. Go as slow as you need to. There is no rush.

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I'm glad you feel the listing process helped -- it IS very striking. It even surprised (and impressed) me.

 

See it as your friend, that list.

 

I agree that the teenage girls are not a good bet for you. As other posters have also wisely pointed out. This is not an age where girls are thinking in a mature manner, and many would see you as too old for them anyhow. Conversationally, socially and mentally, a girl more your age who you cull from one of the circles you get involved in, to increase your chances, is where your sights should be set.

 

I'll look into getting a female therapist, but I don't want to give up my male therapist. He's really been there for me, and helped me over other bumps in my anxiety disorder. He just can't seem to help me over this particular one.

 

I know how you feel about being loyal to your therapist. What you should do is tell him that you'd like to work with a female therapist for this specific reason -- that you'd like to do some role-play that simulates situations more closely, and ask him how he might still see you as well. Sometimes insurance doesn't allow you to see 2 therapists at once, but if she is used as a special consultant, or for a period of time, I think this is a therapeutic priority. If he can't help you in this area where someone else might, you have to seek the help that's most likely to work. You're not seeing him to just see him, you're seeing him for help, so if he can't help -- see what I'm saying? But I understand your need for continuity since he knows your history. So tell him you want to stick with him but also feel you'd like to try a female therapist to work in this way, and see what can be worked out. He'd probably have some good names of people specializing in anxiety/phobia issues.

 

I will, next Monday, just start off talking to people in both of my classes. Men, women, whatever. Old, young, whatever. I think I just need to talk, and talk, and talk until I'm over the fear of talking...because that is what is stopping me. The fear of approach. If I didn't fear approaching someone or anyone anymore, then I wouldn't fear approaching cute girls in class
.

 

Great plan. I hope you follow-through with this. With me, what I do with my life/work is pretty solitary much of the time, so I don't get the needed exposure to practice my public speaking as much as I'd need to feel "this has become effortless, I know I can hack it." I'm so far from that goal. And that's because I'm not exposing myself.

 

In this case, the poison is the cure.

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LBS, I think Sidehop hit the nail on the head about you. He said that you lack a male role model. I never got the feeling that you had a father or a brother who provided you with a script on how to interact with women or just around other people in general. I remember watching this women who dressed up as a guy in order to find out what's it is like to be a guy. What she realized is the fact that guys bond with each other much more differently than women bond with each other. While women like to talk about their friends and relationships and support each other, guys will bust each other balls and goof around. These guys will tease each other and talk about sex. When these same macho guys see a woman that they like, they don't have any problems flirting with her and seducing her. I think it is bad idea for you to look for female friends. You are already as sensitive as you can be. The only thing these women will teach you is to become ever more passive. It is time for you to hang around guys who go after what they want. Women don't want to date guys who are girly like them. If they did, women would be chasing engineers and computer programmers rather than the jocks and the athletes.

 

I believe you when you say that women have shown interest in the past. What I think is happening is that you never developed the killer instinct to shamelessly go after what you want. You remind me a little bit of this guy who used to post here. His name was Carmine. Women would go home with him. However, when he failed to seduce the women, the women lost all interest in him and started dating other guys. I think all these women who showed interest in you didn't want you to take them out for coffee. Those women wanted you to kiss them and seduce them. This is something that a women cannot teach. Working on your conversationals skills is important. However, she is going to lose interest if you can't take things beyond the platonic level.

 

I also member that you mentioned that your problem is motivation. I think you need someone to hold you accountable to meet your goals. From your posts, I don't know if your male therapist is holding you accountable. Then again most talk therapists don't focus on accountability since their focus is on feelings and thoughts rather than behavior. I think most talk therapists focus on self-acceptance rather than trying to change your lifestyle. Earlier in the thread, I think that you were headed in the right direction when you talked about goals for yourself like losing weight. I think that's what you should keep doing. Set up specific goals for yourself. Keep track of your progress in meeting your goals. You should discuss your progress on this forum so that other people in this forum will keep you accountable. TOV mentioned something about how you should find a therapist who could teach you how to flirt through role-playing excercises. My problem with that advice is that flirting and dating is outside of the cirriculum for aspiring therapists. I don't think it is realistic to expect a therapist to teach you how to work on your "game" when the therapist has no experience dealing with someone who is struggling with dating.

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What about making male and female friends? Right now, I don't have any female friends in my life...so it's clear that it's not their influence that is leading to my passivity.

 

I have two male friends....however, they assume that I'm gay or asexual, and I don't discourage this notion. Why? Because admitting that I have no game with women is akin to me ripping my soul out and eating it. I don't want that on public display.

 

You're right in that I had no male role models when I grew up. I was raised by a single mother, and have a sister...no brothers. I can relate better to female emotions than male emotions, even though I am sexually attracted to girls. It's like I've said before: I'm a male lesbian.

 

Bottom line, getting more friends, male, female, whatever, is what I need to do. Sitting alone in my apartment on the computer all day is not leading me anywhere but misery.

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I have two male friends....however, they assume that I'm gay or asexual, and I don't discourage this notion. Why? Because admitting that I have no game with women is akin to me ripping my soul out and eating it. I don't want that on public display.

 

I wouldn't randomly put that notion out to people, nor to the women you are interested in, but I don't think admitting it would be a horrible thing to male friends. If they are actual worthwhile friends, they would try to help you out..as many male friends try to do if you have trouble with women. Sure, they might poke fun as well at times, but that comes with the territory.

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I wouldn't randomly put that notion out to people, nor to the women you are interested in, but I don't think admitting it would be a horrible thing to male friends. If they are actual worthwhile friends, they would try to help you out..as many male friends try to do if you have trouble with women. Sure, they might poke fun as well at times, but that comes with the territory.

 

Well, let's see:

 

Male friend #1: Is a bit of a player and womanizer, a bit introverted but extroverted enough that he's very sociable, always has women stopping by, has been dating since he was a teen (and is now in his mid-30's)

 

I don't think this friend would understand, because he can't relate. He's good with girls. Trying to explain it to someone like me is like trying to explain a hard math problem to someone who has never done math before. My therapist would know better to explain it than this guy, because all he would say is "be confident." Like I haven't heard that a million times before.

 

Male friend #2: Not good with girls. Has never had a girlfriend, and is 2 years younger than me.

 

This guy can't relate to me, or can he? He certainly can't help me out here, because he's in the same miserable loop I am.

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Galaxy, I think you (and sidehop) have a point about the OP having missed out on a proper male role model. I do think that's important for a man.

 

But I don't think that should dictate who he makes as friends. And furthermore, there are men on this board who have had phenomenal male role models, and they've struggled with very similar problems as LBS.

 

While it's true that women do want a man who isn't "girly", sensitive isn't necessarily girlie. Tons and tons of women love a sensitive man, and this is actually in my opinion one of the OP's strong points for a large segment of the female population. Women like to feel that men are in touch with their emotions, by and large -- not at the expense of having testosterone in their veins, too, and taking charge of things in an assertive way. But you can be assertive/masculine and sensitive at the same time and neither have to be compromised. I think the men who can only be assertive/aggressive/masculine and are alpha males end up in relationship problems quite a lot because they don't know how to communicate. And some women don't put this high on their priority list, they're more interested in a man showing he's tough and macho...so that's a type of woman this OP will not be with, but he'll have his pick of the types of women who prefer men who don't radiate this element.

 

Women don't want to date guys who are girly like them. If they did, women would be chasing engineers and computer programmers rather than the jocks and the athletes.

 

Well, there are a lot of women married to engineers (my sister is, my mother was), many women chase artists, many women love a male nurse in scrubs, many women go for a fellow scholar with walls of books. There are as many tastes in men as there are women. So you can't broadly say, "women chase jocks and athletes, not this or that." Some women chase jocks and athletes, some don't. I like a man who has some athletic inclination myself because it's healthy, but I don't need or want AN ATHLETE. And it's a good thing, because I don't attract them anyways. So I am glad to have my pick of non-athletes; thank goodness there are guys like the OP so I don't have to worry about rock climbing and doing triathlons together because that'd kill me.

 

As for working on conversation, no woman who is worth having a relationship with wants to cut through the conversation at the beginning and just get to the sex. So the OP has to not put the cart before the horse here. He can't get it on with someone and kiss them when he doesn't even have the nerve to speak. This is something he needs to get comfortable doing as a life skill before anything else, or he will stay socially crippled.

 

TOV mentioned something about how you should find a therapist who could teach you how to flirt through role-playing excercises. My problem with that advice is that flirting and dating is outside of the cirriculum for aspiring therapists. I don't think it is realistic to expect a therapist to teach you how to work on your "game" when the therapist has no experience dealing with someone who is struggling with dating.

 

Flirting and dating is outside the curriculum for therapists because they're not supposed to flirt with their patients or date them. But I don't know what you mean by a therapist having "no experience dealing with someone who is struggling with dating." This is probably some of the most standard fare for any therapist -- relationships and obstacles, and anxiety disorders are the bread and butter for therapists. And role-playing is an accepted method in therapy -- I've had it myself. Not as extensively as the OP should be trying to get, but it's a legit method for ANY situation in therapy where the patient is struggling with what they are going to say, how to say it, what they'd like to say, and rehearsing that. At first it feels a bit contrived and removed from the real life situation, but I think that this type of work could replicate enough of a real conversation so that the OP could test out ways to appropriately respond to a woman he is nervous talking to. Therapists are trained to work with impediments in relating, so their job is to fluently lead a patient through motions that may be uncomfortable. Hopefully, he will find a therapist who is skilled in this and has a dramatic flair. Like anything else, it's a talent. But I've done this as a mentor with kids. When they are nervous and scared about facing someone. It's a method that can apply to any difficulty.

 

And I don't think the OP should deselect women as friends, because women can also tell him where he's going wrong, since women love to trouble-shoot about relationships and male-female dynamics. It's our forte, ha. (And some might unexpectedly blossom into relationship potential.) Not that he shouldn't also ideally have male friends as well, he should have a range. He needs a social life makeover in general, but he doesn't fear talking to men the way he fears talking to women. So the more he does that, the better.

 

He should be seeking out friends of any age, any gender, any orientation because life is just a whole lot richer that way. I think he has a good idea about roundly increasing all social contact. Again: no romantic agenda until levels of ease and fluency have increased incrementally.

 

But I do like the idea of being accountable to someone -- I would hope though that the pain of feeling this way will be incentive for him.

 

It's like I've said before: I'm a male lesbian.

 

Believe me, as a male lesbian stuck in a straight chick, I hear you.

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First of all, ToV has given you some tremendous advice. I hope you stick with it. I'm not certain about the female therapist angle. You've mentioned that you have no problem talking to female professors, yoga instructors, etc., that you have no romantic interest in. It's when you are interested, you put them on a pedestal and anxiety rushes in. I'm not sure practice flirting with a (paid) therapist will help that much, because regardless of how hard you try not to, you will subconsciously know two things: 1. I'm not romantically interested in her. 2. I'm paying her to do this. She won't trigger your anxiety. You can do the same thing with your yoga instructor (or any woman you're not interested in) for free. That's one of the reasons I suggested earlier to practice walking up to random people and saying something humorous. It will help you ease your overall social anxiety and increase your confidence. Remember...baby steps.

 

Here's an idea. You said you found out one of your crushes has a BF. Perfect. She's taken. Do you feel your anxiety about talking to her falling away? Good. This is what you need to do - talk to her. Do it, do it, do it! This is one of those rare therapeutic moments that can change your life. As ToV mentioned, our phobias all come from somewhere. Either one single event, or a series of events in your past that your subconscious has taken huge note of and made into a button. Your subconscious is trying to protect you from further harm. Sure, this little brain feature worked great when our caveman ancestors ran into a saber toothed tiger, and has little use in today's world, but it's still there, just the same. Whenever that button is pressed, you go into panic mode. (This is another reason ToV and I have suggested you learn to control your negative internal dialogue. It feeds and reinforces these buttons.) So, what would happen if you talked to your taken crush now? Your subconscious button probably won't be screaming anymore, because she's suddenly has no more romantic potential for you than your female yoga instructor. But wait...it's the same woman. You can just stroll up to her, anxiety free, and be yourself. Make a joke. Make her laugh. And walk away. Do you see how profound that event can be in retraining your subconscious button? This would be a big baby step.

 

I also think you should open up a bit with male friend #1. Why not? You can use him as your pseudo male role model. If he is a total player and somebody you would never want to be, you can still pick and choose certain characteristics that you can try to emulate. You don't have to have a deep conversation with him about your issues. Start by arranging something where you can go out with him and observe his interactions with women. And who knows, if you tell him you're in a slump, and if he really does have a lot of female friends, maybe he could set you up with one of them. Okay, so it may not be someone you're interested in, but hey, it's a date. Think of it as a practice date - it will get you back in the game. And yes, this is what friends are for. There you go, another baby step.

 

There will be no light switch moment when this all goes away for you. It will go away slowly, in the same way it came in. Your persistence in counteracting your button, stretching yourself, pushing your envelope, quelling your negative internal dialogue, is what will make your phobia realize, regardless of what event(s) spurred its existence, that it simply isn't needed anymore.

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Richpart, the points you make about the possible ineffectualness of the therapy are well-taken, for the reasons you mention. I thought of those, and having phobic situations as I mentioned with public speaking, I know I can practice and practice with a tape recorder at home to feel "watched", but underneath I know it's just a machine -- and that when any group of eyes is focused on me and people are listening, that's when I will freeze up.

 

Having said that though, even if the process imperfectly replicates the actual situation, there is an element of feeling that I'm at least rehearsing how I wish to deliver what I will say, at which points I should pause and breathe, which are moments to look around and ask for questions to take the pressure off myself. I also practice how I will introduce this, and often I have incorporated a delicate way of stating to my audience that I'm nervous, so I feel I'm being real -- which is one of the most powerful antidotes (like, "Gee, what a crowd! I didn't expect such a turnout, this'll keep me on my toes!" -- which buys me some time to feel I've swallowed an emergency 'loosen-up' pill.) I rehearse a few ways I could make the audience laugh, to start, again, to buy myself some time to get more fully okay being in my skin just standing up there, or I throw out something a bit inconsequential to start to remind myself, "Even if this bombs, I'll walk out of here into a sunny day and life will be totally inconsequential and blah and normal again. This isn't a big deal to anyone, this talk." So I can experiment with ideas that demystify and de-throne it, and these things are registered in my brain somewhere. So even if I'm not in the situation itself, I can start to play with ways to put myself verbally at ease more, to engage with the scary "judge" in front of me (in my case, the audience, in LBS's case, a pretty woman). And it's really quite remarkable how the brain can incorporate these little "hooks" of conversation, these details as a strategic fall-back, that if you practice with, your brain will reach for automatically just because the neurons have already made those connections once before. They are new "choices" in a "menu" that you're giving your brain, and true, it might freeze up anyway, but I've found that if you feed your brain a few possibilities, it does shelve these away and when you're facing the situation, they sit in your back pocket.

 

No mock conversation is going to be the real thing, no. But I sense that the OP has some difficulty figuring out what runs smoothly as small talk and what's a non-creepy way to jest or talk. The way he talks to a professor or yoga instructor is quite a practical, dry and professional type of dialogue, it's not shootin' the shinola with the intent to bring something funny and light-hearted to play into a banter-type situation. I don't know how he feels about talking to female friends (and if you have any you feel comfortable with, LBS, enough to engage in genuine, relaxed conversations, maybe THEY can role-play with you as peers, or you can ask them for tips.) I sense from the posts here and in other threads that LBS doesn't have any close friends, male or female, but correct me if I'm wrong here. I do feel that talking in the way he talks to female superiors or women that are not personally involved with him is quite different from how a personal, warm, engaging interaction would feel -- however brief. It's the personalness that I think starts to bring out anxiety as well as the being attracted to them. Again, correct me if I'm wrong, OP -- but I think the more personal you get with a woman in your talk, the more of yourself is on the line, your real self. I know the being attracted factor is the big trigger, but what I'm getting at is I think you can have some mock conversations where you feel less unsure if you say "this" or "that" or do "this" or "that", that you're not being out of line, creepy, a dud, whatever. Lots of questions in this thread and others suggest that there is a certain amount of not knowing what would flow well and be appropriate, and someone giving feedback might help.

 

Not having seen you in action, LBS, I have no idea what sorts of things you say, when you do say anything, but I'm a little rattled that you advertised your virginity and wanting to lose it on Craig's List, and that you've talked about just asking your crushes out when you've barely spoken to them (totally cold), and that under a picture you posted here of someone you consider a nerdy looking guy, "what would you do if this guy said, 'hey, sexy babe'" (or something to that effect). To me, these things suggest a kind of awkwardness in approach and abruptness in relating, perhaps not completely sensing timing and so forth. So I think a mock-up of situations might help you feel that you can create good segues, make comments that are funny and put both at ease, and come up with conversation that doesn't feel forced. Even if you feel stiff as a board when the time comes (and that's fine, that's the only way it's going to get better), as I said...these things have already been implanted into the unconscious as workable maneuvers.

 

I see it as kind of like the police are trained to deal with a high-intensity situation where they will use deadly force. Until that situation comes and the adrenaline is pumping, and they have to make instantaneous but judicious calls automatically, it's all theoretical and eye-hand dress rehearsals that won't cost lives. When the time comes though, their brains pull all of the instinct they've learned in practice and apply it. Their brains have imagined what it will feel like, they have imagined the fear, they have visualized the perils -- so it's not completely foreign and they are more prepared to meet the real thing. I do think in therapy even, visualizing the scenes will bring up more anxiety than talking to a professor about a grade.

 

But it might not work. And some of it requires a therapist who is good at it and can make it feel more authentic. Hey, I say, it's worth a shot.

 

Rich and I are of one mind about the randomly talking to people (women) though and making them laugh, or just striking up banter. I totally agree, this situation with the taken girl is perfect. I suggested approaching women and talking to them, women who are pretty/intimidating in a cold approach manner, but it would NOT be a cold approach because of intent: the intent would not be to get her number, see if she is interested in you, etc. The intent would purely be to interact with absolutely ZERO investment in the whole exercise, romantically. So while I've advised against trying to pick up women with a cold approach, I suggested in an earlier post something another poster has informed us is called "sarging" in some dating-coaching circles (or at any rate, a type of "sarging" that doesn't entail picking up the girl or seducing her.) I agree with Rich that using go-nowhere dialogues and interactions and random initiatives with intimidating women as practice will dramatically re-condition those buttons of fear and aversion.

 

It's all about exposure. And that's why I don't believe in talk therapy exclusively for this, either. (@ galaxy). But good therapy involves various techniques, and I think all of the above used in conjunction would be more helpful than only one thing by itself. And then, the thing I said about medication -- as a temporary crutch in situations that are highest stress to tone down fight-or-flight symptoms.

 

I've seen programs about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy where the therapist actually goes with the patient to the phobic situation. Like into elevators or on planes with them. And the patient gets to a maximal level of fear during the event, where they have full-blown panic, but it subsides as they're talked through it and see that they are still alive at the end and it wasn't so bad. Each time they do this, their brain learns it's less threatening than before, and slowly that track in the brain is rewired until maybe they are a bit nervous, but they feel totally in control of the situation and confident.

 

That's where I think this had to head for you, OP.

 

And I think your therapist being male is a good thing because he serves a bit as a male figure for you. So I'd try to keep him and see how you could have sessions with a female as I mentioned, on the side. Especially since he has not been able to help you get over this part, and coaching you yogamat-side (like in the documentaries I watched) is probably not gonna be a terrific idea, lol.

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Well, my one friend is in a bad mood right now, so it's clear that I should leave him alone.

 

I agree with rich that this is the perfect time to approach that one girl, and try to start a conversation with her. I might make a friend, and either way, it's experience. I think I socialize when things are easy, or there's no 'catch' on the table; whenever I have a situation where I'm placing myself in an uncomfortable situation (danger, like rich said), I tend to run away from the exchange. And that isn't good, because it's like two steps forward, one step back.

 

I would agree with ToV that being effeminine in itself isn't a bad thing. After all, look at all the effeminine celebrities that girls crush on: Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie, Steven Tyler, need I go on? None of those men are overly masculine, but they ALL have groupies going after them. Because they have something to offer, and aren't afraid to be sexual beings.

 

I need something to offer. And to be honest, it's probably my music. I need to get out there and start performing, even if I feel fear...because every performer feels fear.

 

I'm also pretty sure that everyone, including my friend who's good with women, has felt insecure at some point in their life. Everyone feels insecure sometimes, it's part of being human. But along with that insecurity should come knowledge, that you're not going to die from the interactions, and that the insecurity will pass.

 

I'm not sure whether I should get a female therapist. Right now, I have no insurance, so even paying my male therapist is a hassle. I'm broke all the time. I honestly don't think I can afford a second therapist, just for the reason that she is female and we'll be able to roleplay.

 

I have friends, ToV, but I am so introverted that usually I want to be left alone. I don't even interact well with my neighbors, who are all nice people. There's this family living next to me, and the woman (looks like she's in her 40's) always says hi to me. I say hi back, but I don't go out of my way to interact. That's stepping out of my comfort zone, and frankly, I'm at the most peace in here.

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