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In a pickle regarding love life


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Hello! I've had a recent short spat of time to think and have been somewhat...disconcerted with what I've realized. That basically I have trouble building any relationships.

Some things about me: I'm 27 and have no relationship experience whatsoever. Never been on a date or intimate in any way with the opposite sex. Not even a kiss. From what i know, no girl ever showed interest in me (though that is speculation on my part, tbf). And that is problematic, because it is not by choice. I had to abandon my first uni course due to financial situation (it was abroad) and move back home. Now, after another 4 years, completed my degree, started a masters, started going to the gym, and got a job (I'm and aerospace engineer by profession and training). However....I have no female coworkers whatsoever. And most of my colleagues are older than me, so very little social interaction. I used to get along very well with my university colleagues but even they never got together more than once a year (maybe). Never a popular person, rather small social circles....and have no way of enlarging them. I simply do not know anyone. I don't approach strangers if I have no reason to. Even if I did, I do not know how. and there are too many unknowns.

This all came to a head on Friday, when, after one of my 12 hour shifts, I decided to go to an art gallery (photographic exhibition) to loosen my wound up nerves. It was nice, and the Spanish guitar relaxed the hell out of me....but I realized I was standing out because I was alone. Everyone was in groups that knew each other (and at least one of them knew the artist), or in pairs....and I was totally alone, wandering like a ghost. Impossible to approach someone else in these circumstances. When I got home that day, felt a crushing loneliness the likes of which I though I had gotten over in high-school. Now I'd like to go to another exhibition on Friday.....but not as the weird hermit that ocassionally visits art exhibitions.

I've tried inviting coworkers, but no luck. And more to the point, I simply do not have any dating prospects. I am terribly insecure, though I try to power through it (with little success) and have no experience whatsoever. I would like to describe how I'm like in a relationship but I do not know. I fear I simply do not have any time left to experiment. I'm old, got no clue how to treat a lady, no clue how to "go by instinct" (I'm and engineer; we ignore instinct, and are strictly procedural). I'm pretty tall, and lack of hair notwhistanding, not bad looking, but I have enough nerves to make my love life a struggle...and so few opportunities that I can't practice anything. And I have two rules: I do not use online dating of any kind and never will (non-negociable) and won't go to a doctor (risk my job if I do and it is found out, even if the motive has nothing to do with psychiatric ailments).

So...what the hell do I do?

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meetup.com and meetmarketadventures.com have lots of activities for singles. Why not try out a few with your fellow singles, figure out what interests you and then go for it. You will meet like minded folks who are into the same thing and who, like you are single. Most of the activities are limited in number so it won't be too overwhelming for you.


These are not dating sites but they will put you in a position to meet women and the opportunity to form friendships with both men and women.

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Your situation sounds frustrating and lonely. I'm sorry it has been hard to find people to connect romantically with, yet you are still pretty young (and sound like intelligent and resourceful). Perhaps earlier in life, your career was more of a priority and now you can make an effort to prioritize relationships and life outside of work. While it might seem that everyone else figured out how to navigate dating and relationships, it's not true (I'm a relationship coach and I work with people like you all the time). Like everything else in life, "practice makes perfect". Some people are better at math while others at talking to strangers. I'm sure you have a set of unique strengths that make you interesting and attractive. How does one become confident at dating? It's a journey. When you look into the mirror ask: "Would I want to date myself?" Chances are there are some things about yourself that you wish were different: start with finding a way to change those things and fall in love with yourself. Be more adventurous and try things that are social: dance or comedy improv classes, martial arts, rock climbing. Find things you are having fun doing and often times people who have similar interests will find you organically.


wishing you best,


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  • 1 month later...

Well, I don't like being left in the air, so I won't leave the replies I got in the air either. Guess I'll do an update and some replies.

@ThatwasThen The meetup site seems rather interesting, though many of the things there seem rather formal (like conferences; I know what transhumanism is, but got no clue as to why I should go to such a place since it's really not my field of expertise). Meetmarket is only for Canada and the US. I'm a Romanian. Perhaps I might try a movie meetup. I thank you for the links either way!

@AnyaLaeta : this may sound harsh, but I do not think it's good not to let your thoughts out: you perfectly sum up my problem without presenting a solution . Which is not very useful to me. I've been involved in HEMA for 6 years, I go to the gym, I go to see movies...it's not like I don't get out. But....how and why would you chat up a complete stranger in these places? You go to the gym to work out, not chat, you go to comedy classes to improve your comedy and learn, not chat..... I'd never approach a stranger in such places, and would find it very odd if a stranger approached me while I was busy doing what I went there to do. There is a time for relaxing and doing things like chatting, and a time for working, which is what you do at the office or at the gym. If you wonder what I like to do, the short answer is: anything not dangerous or risky. I have no formal hobbies, likes. I like history, quantum physics, aerospace (duh, it's my job...), visual arts, whichever songs I fancy. Which of them is my passion? None, except maybe socializing (though I dislike sitting at a table in the pub, 'cos you often can't speak or hear everyone at once; undermines the point). Everything I do is with intent.

Now for the update: went to the initial opening of the arts gallery, and felt very bad, because people were dressed in rather elegant fashion, while I was in my biker clothes after work. I left without really looking at the artwork. This made me frustrated, so I decided to return the following week in smarter outfit (and hoping there would be less people; the venue is quite crowded and smallish) hoping I could at least take a good dammed look at the paintings without the fear of being mistaken for a hobo and tossed out. Surprisingly the venue was empty, except for the artist, a sweet girl who I struck a conversation with...for about 40 minutes. I was very pleasant, however.... when I tried to contact her on facebook, she doesn't reply to my messages, or replies very briefly and sparingly. So, after trying to strike a conversation about 10 times, and receiving 3 two word replies, I gave up. I get the picture darlin', I'm not an idiot just rather boring probably . So....that was that, but still better than 90% of my attempts so far (kinda shows just how successful I am). Besides that, got ghosted by another girl who I really only wanted to ask to accompany me to an event (as in, I did not want to be alone; wasn't thinking of a relationship, just a event with a friend, but even that seems too much for me to ask of a girl), and tried asking another girl out about three times (no the weather is bad; no, I'm not into art; no, I don't like Mexican food; right, once again, I'm not an idiot). Honestly, why can't girls just shoot you out of the sky right away (politely of course)? Better than making you wait like a moron... All the above with the exception of the artist were people I had known for years. No new contacts, I'm afraid. So yeah, not so hot....

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  • 3 weeks later...
Well, I must say, this thread has not been very helpful. At least in this instance....

Heh, guess I really am the kind that people prefer to stay away from (though I have no idea why).


That was a little snappy. People gave you great advice.


Do you want straight forward advice? You're an older man with little to no dating expierience, there's obviously a reason for that, looks, personality, fishing outside of your league, whatever the reason, you now want to fix it. Good for you, but it's not going to be fixed by you just randomly approaching women. You gotta dip your toes before you dive in.



With meet ups you get to communicate and be comfortable and yourself. That may very well be your best choice outside of online dating since your refuse to try that.

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Nothing snappy about it. Just confusing. I try to be ok with everything,pretending I'm a normal person and it does not work. I try to come clean with what's going on and it does not work either. There's just no way.

Looks can't be altered. I have a nice looking body, since I work out a lot and do a lot of swimming and hiking. If it's my face, then...I can't change that.

But I get a sense it's my personality. It's too purposeful. If I'm going to a movie meetup, I'm going to watch a movie. It's that the goal? Not to hook up. Is it even fair to go looking for girls, when the stated purpose is another?

What does "outside my league" mean exactly?... It's not like I'm approaching movie stars, or world leaders. I have very respectable career, I earn a good income (too good; I don't have anything to spend it on), I'm not an idiot, I look good, dress decently.....

How am I supposed to dip my toes? What does that even mean? I know how to talk to people, but if I'm not determined to get into a relationship with someone, I add no chemistry to a conversation. If I meet someone talking about work, then I'll talk about work. That's the point of the conversation.

The reason I'm not into online dating is a combination of time and lack of trust. Those things are scams, no friends I know that have tried it has had success. It just doesn't work around here... Not to mention that I really shouldn't be leaving many online trails....

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I'm not sure I'm making sense here, so I'll elaborate. When I say ''too purposeful'' I mean that I usually adapt my....way. Or personality or habit depending on whomever I'm in the company of. So if someone asks me "Are you a loud person?" my answer would be "Depends on whom I'm speaking to". I'm not good at initiating conversation out of the blue (and that is something frowned upon in these places; which is why street vendors or marketeers are not well liked; you talk to someone if you have business with them). I have no proper....personality I guess I should say. Or have no way to know what it is. The advice I used to get was: Be natural or Be yourself. however, if I am myself, then....there is nothing to me, I'm just blank.

For instance, if I were to be natural with one of the movie-going groups, then I would be uninterested in whatever I was going to see there. "What did you think about the movie? ". "It was nice, though I can't say I will wake up different tomorrow from seeing it" (literally meant nothing to me).

I have no problem with specific types of people (though, there is a higher chance I may not like someone if he's loud or generally fussy; but I've also met people who were like that and not cared, so it's very general; if someone rubs me the wrong way, it's not due to some criterion).

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I'm sorry but you are FAR from old... 27 is in the prime of your life!


AnyaLaeta had some good feedback, particularly about looking in the mirror. I come from a software engineering background, and for years I struggled with trying to connect with people; was very intense, logical, critical and shut down... couple that with also being shy and an introvert, and my ex would constantly criticize how quiet and reserved I was, my friends would tell me I was intimidating and hard to get to know, and they never knew how I felt about them. It wasn't until I ended up losing a job opportunity I really wanted because of those traits that I started doing some deep digging and work on myself. I made some goals for myself for who I wanted to be and who I wanted to attract and applied the same logic to working on myself that I would to working on solving a problem in software. Not external things like hobbies, but internal work on overcoming the things that pushed people away. Fast forward a few years and my life has taken a totally different turn... my friends love being with me and I have made several new ones; when I go on dates with guys they actually ask if they can see me again... I started exploring my spiritual side... and I became a certified life coach. Totally not where I thought I would be 10 years ago, but exactly where I want to be in life right now.


The point of my story is: Without knowing who you are we can't say what you are or aren't doing to attract the people you want... but my guess is people along the way have said something to you about it that you may want to take into consideration, and if you do, you will probably find yourself attracting more of the people you want.

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I'm sorry but you are FAR from old... 27 is in the prime of your life!.

Did you know that aging parents have a much higher chance of having children with birth defects? There's a time for everything.....and I haven't even gotten started. I've already passed the most carefree and peak condition years of my life, when it's easiest to have a relation. And learned nothing from it... Zip. I would like not to end up 70 years old and totally alone, like I've seen countless others end up.


But getting into the meat of things: I guess I don't have a balance of thought and feel. I plan everything, to achieve goals, but feel very little. Even my good shape is just a means to an end. I don't feel proud. I really don't feel anything... I guess most of my thoughts, my desires are negative: I used to be envious, used to want to be the object of other's envies. Now I have everything I wanted to achieve....except someone to share it with I guess. And that is something I can't brute force my way into. Or plan and study.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, after about 5 mote rejections, I'm not certain whether it's something about me that's the problem. No matter how good I look, I really don't exude confidence I guess. After 4 meetups I barely know anyone new. I also have trouble by not being either interesting (yeah, no one turns their heads when I speak) or as loud as the other men.

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What's worse is that I'm starting to feel like this is eating into my personality. My long-time friends from high school used to think of me as mellow and did not really take my moods as serious, even when I was angry. Now, I've been described as "stormy", and they seem to be a bit more cautious around me (which makes me rly scared; I don't think I like scaring people, which is the exact opposite of my older self, who wanted to be intimidating, but rarely succeeded). I've been told I'm too categorical, but the way I see it, there is always a reason for my opinions. A logical one.

I'm wondering whethef my turbulent nature is off-putting and not just to potential dates.

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Funny but that's wrong on so many levels...
Well I was originally suggesting with tongue in cheek but now after your response, I'm compelled to ask:


Why do you think it's "wrong?" There are thousands of men who end up happily married and have started families with women they have ordered.


Many of them good looking men who have trouble socially such as yourself.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Well I was originally suggesting with tongue in cheek but now after your response, I'm compelled to ask:


Why do you think it's "wrong?" There are thousands of men who end up happily married and have started families with women they have ordered.


Many of them good looking men who have trouble socially such as yourself.


Heard too many horror stories, or simply sad stories. I'm a Romanian dude, I come from a country that used to be provider of such brides. Rarely did one find a happy case.... I prefer not to encourage such things, since they are very prone to corruption, illegal human trafficking, and many other nasty things.


I'll be doing an update sometime this week.

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  • 2 months later...

Well, was this really only 4 months ago? Feels like a long time ago. I've quit my old job to move on to a new one with much better future prospects. My career looks good. Unfortunatly my social life looks worse than ever. I've had to move to a small provincial city to get this new job. It's actually my hometown, but I don't know anyone here except my sole parent. I haven't made any new friends, or gone out except for when I return to the big city (roughly once every 2-3 weeks).

So yeah... fast track to be a succesful 50 year lonely geezer.

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Though to be fair there are so many questions I have. If I'm too shy to ask someone out, does that mean I'm too immature to be in a relationship? Is my general anxiety readable? Is this the reason for my occasional bouts of anger (always alone, in private; too scared to lash out at anyone). Have I just signed up for no possible relationship till 30 bc of my job? How do I stop seeing things in such a utilitarian fashion? Why SHOULD I do so, since that seems correct in every way? How and why should I stop comparing myself to others? How does one define "flirting" and how do you do it (no, smilling and talking is not flirting. I smile and talk to my barber,my baker, my workmates? etc). What is "chemistry" and how do you recognize it? Would having sex help or hurt me right now? Would it make me a better person, or would I remain just as heartless?

(and why is this thread tagged? I don't remember tagging anything...)

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How can some people have casual sex? Sex is the ultimate form of intimacy, I can"t even begin to understand how that's like. How can you hold someone and kiss someone you feel nothing for?... What else do you have for your significant other then? What sort of physical thing can you give her or him to make them feel special, something that makes them stand out, unique to them amongst your partners? Because it's physical things that make the difference, that require sacrifices... emotions do not make the world go round or mayter at all... God, can't wrap my head around that no matter how much I try....

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Aaaand, had another rejection this week..A girl I met on safety and security class, and who I've chatted up a few times. Finally had the nerve to ask her out (in person, she gave me her facebook page. On facebook, she said she had a boyfriend, so no go, though I get the feeling it was an excuse.Why does everyone use facebook messenger?

Honestly, my lack of patience is killing me....

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Wow you put me to shame with all your deep thoughts, self-reflection and brain spinning, holy cow! :D


I consider myself to be a bit of a "weirdo," too, lol for lack of a better word, or a nicer word might be an "anomaly," different from the "norm," whatever the hell "the norm" even is!


This is not a negative!


Although in your current frame, you no doubt see it that way. Which is the problem as I see it.


So it's not you, or the essence of who you are that is negative, but the "energy" you project that is negative based on your own internal fears and insecurities and how you view yourself.


That is why people, women, men don't respond to you, why you're struggling. My opinion based off what you've posted.


What is chemistry? It an *energy* generating between both people that has zero to do with job, career, status, money, social standing or even looks, although physical attraction IS important but it's subjective.


I had two long term boyfriends in my 20s whom I thought I loved, even got engaged to one, but did NOT ever feel that "energy" chemistry with a man until I was 29!


It's intangible but you will KNOW it when you feel it, it hit me (and him) like a ton of bricks! Never experienced anything like it prior to that, nor had he.


Some people never do! Not on that level anyway.


Personally, I go for men like you. Deep thinkers, introspective, self-reflective, constantly moving in thoughts (and feelings), and challenging those thoughts.


I don't go for "norm" not attracted to "norm" yeah I can be pretty weird! lol


But I happen to like this about myself, I accept it and embrace it, and therefore project good energy and attract a lot of people to me because of it.


Don't change! Be you and know there *are* women who will be attracted to who you are, but *not* until you start accepting and embracing yourself first!


I do realize many folks find this concept hokey or whatever, but it really is all about the energy you project.


Re balancing thought and feel, you don't give yourself enough credit!


Your feelings about casual sex show you balance thought and feel! You need to "feel" something for sex to be satisfying (feelings), but you're aware enough to know sex isn't the be all/end all (thoughts).


Anyway I could probably ramble on forever, but have said enough, hopefully you get the gist, and that it helped, even if on some small level.


It's all a journey, living, experimenting, learning, growing, evolving.


Best of luck!

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Thank you, katrina, for your words of wisdom. I guess I suspected as much WRT my "energy". To explain myself, I've always been of the minds that I can do and be whatever and whomever I need to be if I apply myself. I was flabby in high school, so I started hiking, swimming and working out, and fixed that. I needed to study in college, so I buckled down and did so; I knew next to nothing about art, so I started going to galleries and exhibits, etc, etc. Thing is: I guess it's hard to accept yourself if you view your body and mind as tools. I hone them, yes, but I feel detached from them, like one would from a hammer. Weird, but it is what it is....

So then I must ask: how do I get to "like" myself? I've pretty much covered the panoply of human development except for one thing: romance. And that is where I am stuck. Stuck in that I know of this glaring imperfection, but can do nothing about it. There's nothing to "work" on, nothing to apply my mind and body to. I can't use my usual manner of solving problems (which is, in short, to do the opposite of what most people do, and come out swinging head on; there's nothing to swing at...). All my high-school friends came out basically adults, with full experience of romance. I didn't, and, 10 years later, I'm still at base zero. It scares me to think of how much more experienced they and most people around me are compared to myself. I'm way down on the asymptotic curve, and it makes me anxious, and scared and angry. I instinctually feel the need to do something, but, it seems, there is nothing I can do. Just wait until it happens (or doesn't happen, and live with it; something I cannot accept).

And yeah, I have all these thoughts because I've had a lot of time to dwell on them... nothing (or no one) to occupy my mind. I've long realised that what I want out of a relationships is intimacy. A feeling of comfort. No so much sex, but to be able to nuzzle and cuddle someone without them thinking I'm a weirdo. To hold them, and to be natural and relaxed around them, to share my joys and sights, and feelings and thoughts. To be my natural, exuberant, energetic, tireless self.. To know I have someone asking me if I feel ok from work, and to know I have something to work on and for. It's the loneliness that's killing me emotionally, and causing my logic circuits to go haywire in search of a way out. And the more rabbidly I search, the further my goals get... I've lost more sleep over this all my exams/tests/interviews combined... And I'm so far behind EVERYONE else, that despair daily tries to set in, and I have to fight it off. How can I like myself? I see nothing IN myself that is unique to me. I'm not the smartest, the most good looking, the most mannered, the richest... and have all this emotional baggage (of my OWN making, which is arguably worse...). I can pretend to be relationship material, but I don;t think I am, and deep down, I hope one would finally come around the corner and hope it would magically make all this wretchedness go away (unlikely; more probable that it would simply shape; does that mean I'm hopeless? Or immature? )

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  • 9 months later...

Ya know...when I started this thread two years ago, I was kinda hoping someone would come up with a solution. Only one tried, and others attempted to lecture me on the fact that mail order brides are not a bad thing (something for which I have even less interest in than post-modern art; good thing it wasn't about apple brands).

So, allow me to rephrase everything:

1) How debilitating would my lack of experience be in romance? No, I don't accept answers along the line of "it depends". Clear and simple.

2) Can I make up for this lack of experience? I want to be successful in romance. I don't know what I like, whether it's sex, intimacy, or emotional connection. Never tried any. 12 years behind the curve as of writing this and counting. How long till I'm at the level everyone else is at?

3) Finally, before anyone says something along the lines of self-pity, and why should we answer you: I pity no one, not even myself, and I expect the decency of a pitiless answer. It would only be honorable. The reason I'm writing one again is to GET an answer. Tried courtesy, and it got me two years of logging on weekly to see any new answers, with nill results. Now time to attempt forcefulness. It's the result that matters, after all.

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