Jump to content

Reckoning with my self and taking responsibility for my poor dating record.


Carnatic
 Share

Recommended Posts

16 hours ago, Carnatic said:

I have always had this strong belief that when it comes to dating I just don't measure up; that it would be ridiculous bordering on breathtaking arrogance to even believe that any woman has ever been interested in me.

I think this is the main problem you need to work. Nobody is going to believe in you until you do it yourself. That means you need to "draw" your confidence from somewhere. OK, you are maybe not most beautiful guy in the world(highly subjective category, even dont believe that you are that bad in that department its just that your confidence is so low you cant even see that), but I am sure that you have other categories you excell. You mentioned the job is doing OK, your job is very interesting(if I remember well, its photograhy) and you have interests like music. You should at least derive some confidence from that. You are not the most boring guy in the world, you are just OK. And "OK" is just fine state when it comes to dating. You just need to see that you have positives and not just negatives. And if you think something can be improved(like weight or clothes) that would help that confidence, you should do it. 

I dont believe you are "undatable". Again, you are "OK". Which means that you maybe cant compete with people who are way better looking and/or have way more money or excell in some other categories(some girls like humor for example). But I really dont believe that some nice girl that feels attraction to you doesnt exist. However, you would need to stop being sorry for yourself, pick yourself up, say that you are good enough and more for somebody out there, and start doing something about it. You mentioned you attend music festivals, there is tons of girls there. Or how about photography? Do you attend photography egzibits? Are you a member of some big photography club and maybe fratenize in that way with fellow enthusiasts? You need to get yourself out there and try. Its a good way to maybe meet some like minded girl.

Anyway, dunno if moderation will allow, but will leave a link with podcast I sometimes listen. Guy does movie and shows review, I stopped watching Riverdale long time ago but love his reviews of it just to see how bonkers the show is now. But he has a podcast on his other channel and talked about the same theme you raised, aka "undatable" thing

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Carnatic said:

Maybe. Since losing weight I have felt my ptsd more triggered, as if being potentially more attractive makes me feel vulnerable and I had been avoiding that by not losing weight.

But there are also more obvious reasons behind it. Starting with anxiety and depression being factors behind overeating and underexercising. I've gained and lost weight several times in my life and I don't know if its like this for everyone but it takes a long time after you start eating healthy and exercising before you see the first weight loss, months sometimes. That can be demoralising as you wonder when you're going to start actually losing weight, fearful that maybe this time that's it, no amount of diet and exercise will shift it, it's with you for life. If you were optimistic at the start then several months later you may feel yourself spiralling into another deep depression.

It sounds like that is your experience, yes.  I intensely dieted for years in my teens/early 20s and did a number on myself physically and mentally (but was never overweight).  I know what a grip it can have.  It's good you have that insight about yourself.  It's a good start.  I'm sorry you've experienced such struggles with it. 

Daily cardio exercise is -for me- so essential and often wonderful for my mental health.  And I try to move a lot otherwise -mostly walking but also stair climbing, cleaning the house etc.  I am not a medical professional at all and having exercised regularly since 1982 (other than during most of my one and only pregnancy) I can say it's life-essential and often has been life changing.  I stop short of telling others to "do what I do" because I just don't have the knowledge to say that (even if I did I mean it still would be presumptuous). 

As a woman when I was dating -from around 1978-2005 being overweight was a huge negative, especially in my 30s (I wasn't I mean for other women).  For men not as much.    Again maybe it's different and certainly it might have been different because I did all of my dating in a major U.S. city. 

I have a friend who is very attractive and until a few years ago was a healthy weight.  She divorced then dated a jerk (who I refused to meet through an online dating site as he lied about his age and was just shady) for years.  Ended it (his porn addiction was the last straw) then met her current fiancee shortly after. They're in their early 50s. 

She gained a lot of weight.  Not just a couple of pounds. Her face still looks attractive but honestly it's hard to tell with all the weight.  But she's found love, has a fall wedding planned and is gloriously happy.  In the major city where I dated.  So certainly there are exceptions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Carnatic said:

as if being potentially more attractive makes me feel vulnerable and I had been avoiding that by not losing weight.

Wow, I totally relate to this! Only now, in my mid-40s, do I finally feel invulnerable on that front. I've gone from being a naturally good-looking person to being completely average-looking (and thus 'invisible') and it feels great. Interestingly, as I type this the (predictable) chorus of thought is: You're not supposed to say things like this, you know. You're not supposed to admit that you think you're good-looking--other people have to tell you. And if you are good-looking, you're not supposed to dislike the attention--you're supposed to be grateful for it. What a mindfck lol).

Within the last year or two, I watched a movie called Brittany Runs a Marathon. I actually can't remember it that well, but it was pleasantly unconventional and I found it interesting enough to google the movie afterwards. I think it was the main actress, who physically lost 40 pounds for the role, who said something that resonated with me. Basically, there are expectations attached to being thin, and expectations attached to being overweight. But their aren't really any expectations attached to being average, so that's where she decided to hang out, weight-wise. I totally relate to that. I don't like getting too thin because I feel like it makes me a target.

Another thing: I think it's completely natural to want to blend in and NOT stand out--although you'd never know it in this day and age lol! Even when I was growing up, before the internet was a thing and there was just TV, I felt like there were eyes all around me. I remember doing my homework one night, when I was about 9 years old. I was in my bedroom on the second floor of my house and I felt like there was an audience of eyes watching me through my second floor bedroom window, just as if I was on TV. It was my imagination, fed by hours of watching TV and normalizing the audience as part of life (If I posted this back then, some of the members here would tell me I needed professional counselling lol.). 

I also know what it's like to feel appalled by the idea of wanting attention. On that note, I recently came across a this poem by Emily ***inson, who lived in the 1800s. To me, this poem is evidence that awareness of and aversion to attention is natural and normal, and that the sentiment was common throughout time:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one's name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Oh my god, I can't believe her last name was censored lol. Can you guess what it is? 🤣

Emily "Richardson" but the nickname for Richard LOLLLLL. There were eyes all over your scandalous post!! 😉

I loved standing out as a teen and early 20s - went out dancing all the time, was splashed all over the media for a couple of days as a teenager because of local activism for a very good cause -I actually did love it -but it wasn't at all about my looks (media attention) although yes I loved being at huge city dance places and dancing up a storm and being noticed, loved acting and public speaking (nothing professional!). 

I stopped feeling that way not because I wasn't as attractive looking but because I just didn't crave that sort of attention.  When I had my baby I got tons of attention from strangers -- because of the baby.  But I didn't crave it and never ever craved social media attention -the extreme opposite.  I think we go through phases in life. 

But I think it's very different to want to get general attention vs. be noticed by a potentially good match - by that one person.  And that attention can feel so fragile, vulnerable, stressful -I get it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Batya33 said:

do you mean you’re bisexual ?  What do you mean by ambiguous?

Missed this... I don't mean ambiguous as in I'm not sure myself what my sexual orientation is... but in that other people aren't sure. I live in a small city too, so the expectations that all straight cis males are, what I believe Americans would refer to as 'jocks' or 'frat boy' types are stronger than it would be if I lived in a metropolitan city... that said last time I was out clubbing in London some gay guys thought I was also gay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Jibralta said:

Wow, I totally relate to this! Only now, in my mid-40s, do I finally feel invulnerable on that front. I've gone from being a naturally good-looking person to being completely average-looking (and thus 'invisible') and it feels great. Interestingly, as I type this the (predictable) chorus of thought is: You're not supposed to say things like this, you know. You're not supposed to admit that you think you're good-looking--other people have to tell you. And if you are good-looking, you're not supposed to dislike the attention--you're supposed to be grateful for it. What a mindfck lol).

Within the last year or two, I watched a movie called Brittany Runs a Marathon. I actually can't remember it that well, but it was pleasantly unconventional and I found it interesting enough to google the movie afterwards. I think it was the main actress, who physically lost 40 pounds for the role, who said something that resonated with me. Basically, there are expectations attached to being thin, and expectations attached to being overweight. But their aren't really any expectations attached to being average, so that's where she decided to hang out, weight-wise. I totally relate to that. I don't like getting too thin because I feel like it makes me a target.

Another thing: I think it's completely natural to want to blend in and NOT stand out--although you'd never know it in this day and age lol! Even when I was growing up, before the internet was a thing and there was just TV, I felt like there were eyes all around me. I remember doing my homework one night, when I was about 9 years old. I was in my bedroom on the second floor of my house and I felt like there was an audience of eyes watching me through my second floor bedroom window, just as if I was on TV. It was my imagination, fed by hours of watching TV and normalizing the audience as part of life (If I posted this back then, some of the members here would tell me I needed professional counselling lol.). 

I also know what it's like to feel appalled by the idea of wanting attention. On that note, I recently came across a this poem by Emily ***inson, who lived in the 1800s. To me, this poem is evidence that awareness of and aversion to attention is natural and normal, and that the sentiment was common throughout time:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one's name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Funnily enough just on Wednesday night I was at a poetry jam where someone had brought in a book of Emily *cough* 'Richardson's' poems and that exact one was one of the ones she read.

I feel like I can understand what it must be like to be attractive, and it's not all good. I'm not attractive myself but just this small increase in attractiveness over the last few weeks has me feeling more exposed and, like I say, vulnerable... almost more judged over how I look than I was before. I don't think I'd want to be a head-turner. Like Batya says you want to be noticed by someone you might vibe with, but you don't want to be noticed by every randomer who is in the room every time to enter. I do have a couple of friends who are like that, and they are among the most insecure people I know... not insecure because they are vain, they can't help how they look, but insecure because they can't ever go anywhere at all without all eyes being on them the moment they enter a room... some people thrive on that, most don't. Difficult for women especially because a couple of my friends are that attractive that everyone automatically assumes they must be psychopaths. The whole 'crazy hot psycho b****h' stereotype.

Edited by Carnatic
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Carnatic said:

Missed this... I don't mean ambiguous as in I'm not sure myself what my sexual orientation is... but in that other people aren't sure. I live in a small city too, so the expectations that all straight cis males are, what I believe Americans would refer to as 'jocks' or 'frat boy' types are stronger than it would be if I lived in a metropolitan city... that said last time I was out clubbing in London some gay guys thought I was also gay.

I knew a guy like that- I think.  Dated him for 3 months.  Straight as far as I could tell. Very effeminate voice and some effeminate mannerisms.  I really wanted to be into him.  What a wonderful person.  Good looking too.  And I couldn't get past it.  Neither could a few of my friends I set him up with.  He wrote on a blog years ago he went out with 400 women through online sites before he met his wife.  They married years ago.  Never met her but she seems like a great person.  We are on Linkedin and were FB friends so I kept in touch that way and we messaged some. I always wondered what the deal was -obviously never asked him.  He only dated women.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

I knew a guy like that- I think.  Dated him for 3 months.  Straight as far as I could tell. Very effeminate voice and some effeminate mannerisms.  I really wanted to be into him.  What a wonderful person.  Good looking too.  And I couldn't get past it.  Neither could a few of my friends I set him up with.  He wrote on a blog years ago he went out with 400 women through online sites before he met his wife.  They married years ago.  Never met her but she seems like a great person.  We are on Linkedin and were FB friends so I kept in touch that way and we messaged some. I always wondered what the deal was -obviously never asked him.  He only dated women.

Yeah I think it depends where you are too, some places (e.g. small towns) are more conservative in that respect. I lived in a big city for many years and though it was still common there for people to think I was gay, I didn't feel quite as conspicuous as I do now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Jibralta said:
On 2/24/2022 at 5:59 PM, Carnatic said:
On 2/24/2022 at 5:55 PM, Jibralta said:
On 2/24/2022 at 1:15 PM, Carnatic said:

I'm trying to cast off these notions. I always knew they were a bit ridiculous, as most of my friends (even if they aren't always positive or stable) get into relationships from time to time, for me to be as undateable as I believe myself to be would be pretty remarkable.

This reminds me about a form of work-related anxiety that I read about. But I don't remember the specifics... I will get back to you. I wrote it down on a post-it at work. I hope I didn't lose that note because I wanted to read about it more!

Like impostor syndrome?

I'll get back to you on that. I can't remember exactly what it was.

I can't find the note, but I did a search in my browser history. It turns out that I was reading about self-efficacy and work performance, and thought patterns and responses that are influenced by self efficacy.

From Wikipedia:

Quote
  • Low self-efficacy can lead people to believe tasks to be harder than they actually are, while high self-efficacy can lead people to believe tasks to be easier than they are. This often results in poor task planning, as well as increased stress.
  • People become erratic and unpredictable when engaging in a task in which they have low self-efficacy.
  • People with high self-efficacy tend to take a wider view of a task in order to determine the best plan.
  • Obstacles often stimulate people with high self-efficacy to greater efforts, where someone with low self-efficacy will tend toward discouragement and giving up.
  • A person with high self-efficacy will attribute failure to external factors, where a person with low self-efficacy will blame low ability. For example, someone with high self-efficacy in regards to mathematics may attribute a poor test grade to a harder-than-usual test, illness, lack of effort, or insufficient preparation. A person with a low self-efficacy will attribute the result to poor mathematical ability.

This list is specific to tasks, but even so, your statement from earlier brought it to mind. I think that's because in the course of a day, a week, or a month, I can find myself at any point in this list, wondering why I'm there and not necessarily agreeing with the fact that I am there. For example, take poor task planning: I do it more than I want to. I know when it's happening. I know it's ridiculous. I know it's wrong. But for some reason, I get stuck there. 

My boyfriend just read this and said that he also experiences poor task planning. He said that he overcame it where guitar is concerned. He played for years and years and was always a good player, but he only concentrated on the things that came easy. He avoided the skills that were hard for him because he couldn't figure out a quick way to master them. Eventually, he mastered all of the 'easy' things and grew frustrated with the 'hard' things to the point where he stopped playing. Then, a couple years ago, he picked up the guitar again and set out to tackle those things that were difficult. Instead of looking for shortcuts, he put in the time he needed to learn them right. Now, he's better than ever and he feels it was worth the effort. 

Anyway, I digress, but I threw that last bit in here because I thought it might possibly be useful. 

The whole reason for me bringing this up was because I think that the poor task planning is caused from a fear of being ineffective no matter what you do. But it's a thought distortion, and an obvious one. Just like your belief that no matter what a girl is looking for in a potential partner, there's nothing about you that would even warrant her briefest glance in your direction. Whatever it is, you can't possibly have it. That statement is so absolute that it's preposterous and you're even aware of it's absurdity within the cocoon of your own fear/ thought distortion.

So yeah, self efficacy, not imposter syndrome. Though they could be related.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Carnatic said:

Yeah I think it depends where you are too, some places (e.g. small towns) are more conservative in that respect. I lived in a big city for many years and though it was still common there for people to think I was gay, I didn't feel quite as conspicuous as I do now.

When I was able to move out of my parents' house I moved 9 miles away to the center of it all -the huge city (which was only a half hour by subway but meant I couldn't go out late and also -was still living with my parents...).  I did it for my social life and desire to meet the right person.  Paid a lot in rent. Worth every penny.  Obviously not everyone can do that but just saying there are ways to prioritize social life/dating especially if long term is the goal. 

There was an acronym back then - GU -geographically undesirable.  Lots of men who knew they had their pick in a city teeming with singles weren't so enthusiastic about traveling far for dates or meeting someone who only came into the city for work.

Not telling you what to do but if where you live is cramping your style I'd consider a relocation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I would share a bit of backstory.

My last relationship ended almost 12 years ago (I was 27 at the time, 39 now). I have been single ever since and in that time have been on only a handful of dates, and only once had sex... which was a 'friends with benefits' thing with a girl I met online and was friends with first.

So while the process I'm going through now has wider implications on my mental health and self-image, it starts with a traumatic relationship experience and one of the main defining features of my life since then has been a lack of any sort of relationship or intimacy. I guess it's always seemed easier to believe that I'm doing the right things in terms of seeking either of those things, but unsuccessful because I'm unattractive and uncharismatic. I'm used to having low self-esteem so those sort of thoughts are easy to have, it was pretty low even before I met my ex, but lower afterwards.

The difficult thing now is changing that thinking. The fact that people who don't know me (such as on here) can still be confident in saying that I surely can't be as bad as I think I am suggests that the problem isn't who I am, but rather how I see myself. People here see how I see myself and without even needing to meet me they know well that just can't be true. I guess I've avoided it because accepting that who I am is still someone who could be interesting, enticing or attractive to a girl out there I'm yet to meet (or even that I've met in the past twelve years) involves looking instead at how and why I'm blocking women from getting close to me or making it so that I'm viewed in an entirely platonic, almost asexual light. Questions such as 'what am I scared of' and 'what did I do there that might have pushed away someone who was interested in getting to know me' are painful to ask and trigger my PTSD.

I don't know whether I need to dig into my past or not... will digging into it just dig up unpleasant and traumatic memories that I want not to affect my current behaviour? I could just focus on behaviour, I think I can pinpoint ways my behaviour pushes women away. I'm pretty unflirty, and gave an example earlier in the thread where I laughed off someone's (admittedly half-joking) suggestion that me and a single female friend should get together (not that immediately starting to flirt would have been the appropriate response either). But that still leaves the question of 'well what am I afraid will happen'?

Even thinking of myself as a guy who could be in a relationship for long enough to write like this, leaves me feeling shaken and emotional. It was a really terrible relationship and it took me a long time to get over the immediate trauma (and several years to regain the aspects of my life, home, career etc that I had given up for that relationship). I don't like going into much detail though, partly because I don't have much detail, or I fear that traumatic events I recall either didn't happen, or did happen but with me as the perpetrator. My imperfect recall isn't just because it was twelve years ago and minor details seem vague at such a distance. I would have struggled just as much in the weeks following the end of that relationship to fill in the many blanks and the things I did remember, I feared to talk about in case my memories were a fiction I'd created. Additional to the sort of twisting of memories that takes place after a traumatic event were bouts of active and visceral amnesia. Waking up some mornings with no memories at all of the entirety of the previous week, a blank complete enough that I struggled at work because even those things, despite not being the cause of any trauma, were gone from my memory.

I don't like talking about it because I worry that someone will accuse me of lying, or that I have no right to feel traumatised about things I'm not absolutely 100% certain actually happened... or that when it comes to abusive relationships, and often both parties will claim that they were the victim, being a man, in 2022, telling people not to believe the words of a woman who says she was abused... is not a good look, and doesn't take me in a direction I want to go in.

That's maybe enough of that... I'm prepared for this process to be painful, but I won't be able to seek support unless I learn how to talk about things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry you experienced that trauma.  You "have been single" at least in part by choice whether it's a real choice or just getting in your own way.  So that part - means despite there being no guarantees -you can make a different choice.  Have you ever considered acting or improv lessons or something like Toastmasters or similar public speaking classes? (I did all of the above as a teenager and in college -I was a really shy nerdy bookworm kid overshadowed by my beautiful older sister who was an actress and singer back then).  Sometimes those activities help with perspective and self worth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Carnatic said:

the problem isn't who I am, but rather how I see myself.

Oh, I have no doubt of that. The only way I am wrong is if you're secretly a depraved, sadistic criminal. I think that's highly unlikely because people like that don't have a shred of compunction about anything. And you're all about compunction. You feel guilty for even thinking about believing that a woman might be interested in you. That's not how a sadistic sociopath criminal thinks. So, I'm pretty sure I'm correct in my assessment.

In your mind, is it ok for a serial killer to have a girlfriend or a wife? Or are you appalled by their arrogance? Serious question. I'm trying to understand the limits and extent of your belief. Have you ever tried to compare yourself to different types of people, like in a chart? What is it ok for Ted Bundy to do and not do, what is it ok for you to do and not do? What are the specific things that are off limits to you? Are they all related to dating/relationships? 

8 hours ago, Carnatic said:

I don't like going into much detail though, partly because I don't have much detail, or I fear that traumatic events I recall either didn't happen, or did happen but with me as the perpetrator.... I don't like talking about it because I worry that someone will accuse me of lying, or that I have no right to feel traumatised

This is really a profound invalidation of you. But strangely, I get it. Maybe not for the exact same reasons, but I've been undermined and destabilized to a similar degree. I know what it's like to be robbed of my memory by stress (trauma, really). It's like being robbed of your breath, in a way.

I don't know whether you need to dig into your past, either. If you decide to take this journey, I think the path will define itself as you go. 

 

Edited by Jibralta
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Oh, I have no doubt of that. The only way I am wrong is if you're secretly a depraved, sadistic criminal. I think that's highly unlikely because people like that don't have a shred of compunction about anything. And you're all about compunction. You feel guilty for even thinking about believing that a woman might be interested in you. That's not how a sadistic sociopath criminal thinks. So, I'm pretty sure I'm correct in my assessment.

In your mind, is it ok for a serial killer to have a girlfriend or a wife? Or are you appalled by their arrogance? Serious question. I'm trying to understand the limits and extent of your belief. Have you ever tried to compare yourself to different types of people, like in a chart? What is it ok for Ted Bundy to do and not do, what is it ok for you to do and not do? What are the specific things that are off limits to you? Are they all related to dating/relationships?

Well, It's not so much about feeling that I'm such a bad person that I don't deserve to be in a relationship. It's more about feeling that I bring nothing to the table, and that it would be embarrasing for me to believe that any woman might be interested in me, almost pathetic that this person with nothing in their favour believes that someone might be interested in him. I don't even have especially clear limits or extents on my beliefs, they are inconsistent and I will think less of myself for things that I wouldn't think less of anyone else over.

Whenever I mention how I see myself, I know it's absurd, just so negative that it's obvious no real human being could be so flawed and so lacking in redeeming features so I avoid putting into words, even in my own head, and maybe not putting it into words and revealing how ridiculous my self-image is allows it to endure.

I find it difficult to shake off though. It's always present. I can try more positive thoughts and words but they feel like a pretence. I may sometimes wonder if attention I'm getting is attraction but can never actually believe it. It feels like a huge effort of self-belief and self-affirmation just to get myself to believe that the chances of it being attraction aren't zero. It just hangs over me all the time any time I try and be more forward, maybe flirty, maybe ask someone out, I can tell myself that I have every chance of a positive answer, but I can't actually feel that I genuinely do. I still end up feeling like an approach from me must be every girl's worst nightmare, that I'll be either creepy or just plain embarrassing. My approach is generally dismissive, if I just refuse to believe that attraction to me is a thing that can ever exist, then I don't have to feel the feelings that brings up. So for example, if I'm with a friend and a girl is talking to us, even if she's being very overtly flirty, and even if she's talking to me more than my friend, I will still convince myself that it's him who she is interested in.

It is mostly dating/relationships related. Sometimes it pops up in other areas such as my career, my social or creative life and I generally feel that I'm a mediocre photographer and boring friend, not a bad person not particularly dislikable but more that people could come and spend an hour or two in my company and they would get nothing out of it. Nevertheless, despite this I do have a career, and I do have a social life, insecure as I may be in these areas, I can't really complain all that much about how things are actually going. My relationship issues are probably more obvious and more serious, my mental issues, particularly PTSD, came out of a relationship and the biggest way in which my life isn't how I would like it to be is the total lack of anything in that part of my life.

19 hours ago, Jibralta said:

This is really a profound invalidation of you. But strangely, I get it. Maybe not for the exact same reasons, but I've been undermined and destabilized to a similar degree. I know what it's like to be robbed of my memory by stress (trauma, really). It's like being robbed of your breath, in a way.

I don't know whether you need to dig into your past, either. If you decide to take this journey, I think the path will define itself as you go. 

 

Yeah, it's been difficult, coming out of that relationship affected me more than I realise because for a while afterwards I was just existing, and not addressing things at all. I could act like everything was OK when really it wasn't. Because I put everything I had into keeping that relationship going, when it ended I was left with nothing. I had quit my job, my flat and my lifestyle which my whole adult life had been based in a large city. I had to move in with my parents, in the small town where I grew up and found only low paid jobs because that was the economy of the time.

I was on strong antidepressants, and for about five years of my life between the ages of 28 and 33 I really did nothing... or at least nothing relative to what I was used to. It was comfortable really, but also lonely and depressing. It took a while however before I started to feel the need to get something out of life again, took up exercising again, came off the medication, found better paid and more fulfilling work, was able to move somewhere bigger and busier and get my own place again.

For those years, relationships had never even entered my head, not helped by living in a small town which are the absolute worst places to meet people in your 30's. When I started to live more again then I wanted to date or something... my expectations aren't high, I don't need to meet the love of my life or get married, just to have something resembling romance and intimacy, but found all these left-over issues as I went into it for the first time in ages. For a while I was happy with just a kind of quasi-relationship with a girl I met online who lived on another continent and would never meet, but were just sort of there for each other and I was happy for her when she met someone and started dating irl. That ended shortly after I moved and I started to build up my social circle in the city where I now live, but now I have this large social circle but still zero romantic life and whenever I got close to having a romantic life I would start to feel things I used to feel when I was with my ex, and then having baggage dragged up,

Edited by Carnatic
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All this is why I suggest working with a professional.

What you're doing hasn't been working.  You still feel depressed, like you have "baggage" and like you aren't someone anyone would be interested in dating.  The good news is you're getting tired of feeling like this.  So the next step would be proactively doing something to change your mindset.

See my signature line...when you change nothing, nothing changes.  Also the quote from Yoda!

Edited by boltnrun
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

All this is why I suggest working with a professional.

What you're doing hasn't been working.  You still feel depressed, like you have "baggage" and like you aren't someone anyone would be interested in dating.  The good news is you're getting tired of feeling like this.  So the next step would be proactively doing something to change your mindset.

See my signature line...when you change nothing, nothing changes.  Also the quote from Yoda!

I've found it difficult to get proper help because I can't remember a lot of detail I can't really give any mental health professional any information with which I could diagnose me with anything other than depression and anxiety. I brought up my relationship with my ex once in a therapy session, in a situation I thought it relevant, and was quickly told not to 'blame women for all my problems'.

Also, more generally, even when I am just being treated for depression and anxiety, I tend to find it difficult once I step into the therapist's office to remember what I'm in there for in the first place, so we just end up having a nice chat in which I smile a lot, make small talk, touch upon the fact that my feelings aren't really how I would want them, but that generally I'm OK, thanks this was great, see you next week.

Edited by Carnatic
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Carnatic said:

I've found it difficult to get proper help because I can't remember a lot of detail I can't really give any mental health professional any information with which I could diagnose me with anything other than depression and anxiety. I brought up my relationship with my ex once in a therapy session, in a situation I thought it relevant, and was quickly told not to 'blame women for all my problems'.

I hear you - please don't use a wrong/bad therapist as an excuse not to pursue therapy.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Carnatic said:

Also, more generally, even when I am just being treated for depression and anxiety, I tend to find it difficult once I step into the therapist's office to remember what I'm in there for in the first place, so we just end up having a nice chat in which I smile a lot, make small talk, touch upon the fact that my feelings aren't really how I would want them, but that generally I'm OK, thanks this was great, see you next week.

I understand. You're in such a tangle, you blank and end up wasting your time playing the 'good' patient.

Before I forget, Hah!, consider viewing videos by Brene Brown, a therapist who studies shame and vulnerability. This might help you to relax into the idea that these are universal fears.

So you've been open to seeking help. Maybe not necessarily from the right therapist, but I think you know that you get to fire unhelpful ones, right?

What if you're allowed to let go of the idea that it's up to YOU to self-diagnose, or that you must take on the job of figuring out the 'how' behind fixing what you want to fix?

Sure, no therapist can do OUR work for us, but a good one can listen to your goals for outcomes and offer you options for tailoring your work with them--up front.

How to avoid blanking? Keep a cheap spiral notebook that becomes your memory catcher at home. Keep it by your bedside at night and keep it with you throughout your day. You can even capture your grocery lists or errands and tasks TO DO in it.

Use it to capture your specific reasons for seeking help--and you can grab those from your original post to this board. On other pages use your posts in this thread to jot down topics that you've hinted about in your discussion but were too afraid to drill into.

On other pages you can jot down questions you've raised, such as whether it's necessary to disclose details you're afraid of, AND 'what if' you raised those things with a preface that you don't trust whether your memories are real or contrived for self protection? 

Then you can explore them in that context, and without imposing shame on yourself.

Point is, I think that you're adopting too many roles in your own head--you're a witness, you're a perp, you're a judge, you're a jury--now you must self diagnose and be your own therapist? GEEZ! This tangles you into one giant abstraction--and nobody can resolve those.

You don't need to figure out all of this stuff before seeking help. You just need to find the RIGHT help. Maybe start by seeking a therapist who specializes in PTSD?

Does your employer offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? If so, you can view the list of those providers, then match them against the list from your insurance provider. Narrow your list to those included on both lists.

This allows you to use the free sessions from your EAP to learn whether you'd want to continue working with that therapist through your insurance. If not, fire them, and try another. 

But let go of wearing all of those hats. Just jot things in your head and things from this thread so you can refer to them when you go blank. Date the pages so you'll have your topics handy to raise in your sessions. Regardless of whether or not you can cover each one in a given session, writing things down helps you to let go of the stress of holding onto them.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Carnatic said:

I've found it difficult to get proper help because I can't remember a lot of detail I can't really give any mental health professional any information with which I could diagnose me with anything other than depression and anxiety. I brought up my relationship with my ex once in a therapy session, in a situation I thought it relevant, and was quickly told not to 'blame women for all my problems'.

Also, more generally, even when I am just being treated for depression and anxiety, I tend to find it difficult once I step into the therapist's office to remember what I'm in there for in the first place, so we just end up having a nice chat in which I smile a lot, make small talk, touch upon the fact that my feelings aren't really how I would want them, but that generally I'm OK, thanks this was great, see you next week.

You can journal, then bring your journal (or have it with you for virtual appointments) so you don't forget why you are there.  Make bullet points just before your appointment with the items you want to discuss.  Tell the psychologist or psychiatrist you have a list you want to refer to right at the start of the session.

I find this very helpful with "regular" doctor appointments too.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the topic of things I tell myself that put me off dating (or make me put other people off) I think is this fear I have that a desire to date will be seen as a sign of emotional immaturity.

You will get comments, there's probably some on this site even, from people along the lines of 'there's more to life than just being in a relationship', 'you need to be in a good place mentally first', 'a relationship won't fix everything for you' etc etc.

In context these are usually directed at people who are clearly just wanting to be in a relationship, almost for the sake of being in a relationship... So my situation is a bit different, I'm just sick of the way I've spent the last 12 years almost doing everything I can to avoid being in a relationship, and want to change, so nobody is going to make those sort of comments at me. There is a middle ground between, on the one hand, being obsessed with the idea that being in a relationship will make you happy 'like everyone else' will make you fit in etc and being totally passive and ambivalent to the idea of getting in a relationship.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why in the world do you care what others think about your desire to be in a relationship? Obviously you shouldn't be desperate for any sort of friendship or romantic relationship.  

I never bought the "you have to be happy with yourself first" in the sense that I always accepted that despite no guarantees I wouldn't be truly happy if I didn't marry and have the opportunity to have or adopt a child.  I think it's important to be reasonably happy with oneself, reasonably secure, be financially stable if possible and no relationships don't "fix everything" -that's silly. It fixed my single status, it fixed my childless status.  

I have close friends who are very happily single, happily coupled/married.  Don't change so no one makes those sorts of comments -there will always be people who make comments.  I hear the nonsense comments about how it's selfish to have "only one" child for example.  Or the prying questions we got about when we were going to have another.  The judgments on relationship and parenting status don't end.  I remember being told when I was in my 30s and single by my smug married guy friend how it's the typical next step as an adult to buy a house -the step after marriage.  Says who?

What I do think is essential is having a thick skin.  So that the choices you make with respect to relationships are ones that you are good with and you are as impervious as possible to the unsolicited input from others.  I made some very unusual non-traditional choices when it came to marriage and pregnancy and my career and I had to learn to just ignore the comments.  I suggest you do the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Carnatic said:

On the topic of things I tell myself that put me off dating (or make me put other people off) I think is this fear I have that a desire to date will be seen as a sign of emotional immaturity.

..... 'there's more to life than just being in a relationship', 'you need to be in a good place mentally first', 'a relationship won't fix everything for you' etc etc.

Interesting. That is some real self-defeat right there. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that those thoughts are distortions of the truth, if not outright lies.

Have I done that before? Yes, I think so. Not exactly the same circumstances, but I'm sure I've had that kind of selftalk. Maybe an example will come to mind...

Edited by Jibralta
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/28/2022 at 6:14 PM, Jibralta said:

Interesting. That is some real self-defeat right there. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that those thoughts are distortions of the truth, if not outright lies.

Have I done that before? Yes, I think so. Not exactly the same circumstances, but I'm sure I've had that kind of selftalk. Maybe an example will come to mind...

Yeah I know... I'm holding myself to standards that I don't hold other people to. Not because I think I have to be better than other people, but because I think I need to make an extra-special effort to make up for all my many flaws.

Like also... when guys flirt, it always looks creepy and predatory to me. Maybe it does to other people I don't know. I don't judge my male friends for that because I know them well and I know that they aren't predatory or creepy, and I know that it's all consensual and the woman is flirting back. It's just what it looks like to me, flirting in general looks cringe. I can't really bring myself to do it because I feel that I haven't earned the benefit of the doubt, that I won't just look predatory and creepy but actually I will be predatory or creepy because she won't flirt back and I just don't have enough positive attributes to be allowed to do that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


  • Top Discussions this Week

  • Our picks

    • How To Make A Woman Want You Sexually (Guide To Building Her Interest And Sexual Attraction)
      Learn how to make a woman want you sexually! In today's video we're talking about sexual attraction and how you make a woman want you! We're going to be discussing some useful tips you can put to work to get a woman interested in you and building that sexual desire. Often men think they know exactly what women want, men in sports cars with big houses a big wallet and a bad boy attitude. This might be what the ladies want in movies but not in real life it's very different. To know what a lady wants you need to understand what you need to do to make her want you sexually. Imagine if you knew the secret formula to do this, the one that tells you exactly what women want sexually. The formula would let you know exactly what you need to do to get a woman to fall into your arms, sounds too good to be true right? Well it's not! It's as easy as being mindful of your own behaviour and adopting steel-proof boundaries. Want to know some more? Well don't move an inch.

       
      • 0 replies
    • How to know when he's really fallen in LOVE
      You’re falling in love with your man deeper every day, but you don’t know if he feels the same way for you. It’s natural to want to know his feelings for you. What happens when he doesn’t say it or he’s not the type to say that? His actions tell you he loves you, but you could be wrong, right? So how do you know when he’s really in love with you? It’s not always so easy, but it’s not impossible either!

       
      • 0 replies
    • 6 Psychological Secrets of Attraction
      Knowing whether or not someone is “into you” can be incredibly difficult if they don’t explicitly say it. In this video, we will be looking at some psychological secrets of attraction.

       
      • 0 replies
    • This Healing Mindset That Helps Overcome Trauma Symptoms
      If you grew up with neglect and abuse, you've needed time to talk about what happened, and how parents and others treated you. But THEN what? Once you've acknowledged the past and gained an understanding of how you developed symptoms of trauma, how can you overcome those symptoms, and move forward with building a happy and fulfilled life? In this video I teach about the two general categories of comments I see on my channel, and what that suggestions about the commenter's readiness to heal.

       
      • 0 replies
    • "I Want A Girlfriend" Do THIS First
      I want a girlfriend. Have you ever found yourself thinking "I want a girlfriend" but you're not quite sure if you're actually ready for one? Before you go about doing anything else it's important to make sure that you actually need a girlfriend right now.

       
        • Like
      • 0 replies
×
×
  • Create New...