Dating and life generally

Submitted by freedom on
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I was going to rant a bit about online dating but that’s not going to be productive. I’ve got a bit of a pattern that exists both in real life and in the online dating world. I can generate enough interest to get interaction going, but the only time anything progresses overall seems to be when the woman initiates. Even in real life, it could be that I’ll say something a woman latches onto and then that can lead to interesting discussions. I've crafted my online profile for that to happen and it has, but I wouldn't yet call that a great success. This happens in non-romantic (as in she has a husband, long-term partner, etc.) interactions too. This has been a general issue with my friendships in the sense that my friends have selected me and I’ve reciprocated. Aside from dating I’m also looking for friends that I pick as a way to break out of this mold. It’s rare that I feel enough connection and though there are some people I’ve tried with, it hasn’t worked so well for various reasons. Though I don’t have endless options, there are enough people that I don’t follow up with for whatever reasons. It’s pretty common that people will tell me we should talk more, be friends, give me their email, etc. It seems people feel more connection to me than I do to them. For example, I’ve been to past friends weddings and participated in various ways though I’m not sure I’d invite them to mine. This pattern also plays out in school, jobs, etc. in the sense that I’m not too willing to be the selector. That leaves me with options I don’t want. It was easy to end up with so-called good options picking me, but much harder for me to find my good options. It’s as if I don’t want anything I’m seeing. However, that seems sub-human in some way. Something might be haywire.

I’m not sure what to make of this or where this all came from. It could connect somehow to may past and some blockage. Maybe I don’t feel I have anything to prove? Or don’t need the connections that I need? Or for some reason want to avoid everyone? It could reflect that I’m not interested in many people, but that I’ll engage if someone engages me out of a courtesy and curiosity. In my much younger days, I had many school friends, though I think my wanting to be out of the house and have somewhere to go on weekends motivated this more than the desire to connect. I’ve lost touch with all of them. I’ve had significantly less school friends since about age 14. At this point, I have only one long-term friend who I interact with regularly. Luckily, he’s good about reaching out to me and we’ve built a pattern that can keep things going.

To make things even worse, in some ways the people I’ve felt some connection to and tried to connect with seem to be unavailable for whatever reason. That makes me wonder about some unknown desire not to actually solidify a connection. Could my openness somehow be a protective mask?

A woman that was very interested in me, but who I wasn’t interested in thought that I know me worth and thus am willing to be exclusive with who I share that with. That ties a bit into the nothing to prove angle. I’m definitely looking for a woman that wants me, but at the same time I want to want her. Perhaps I’m appreciation driven and need appreciative people and environments. That’s not that easy to find these days.

Where can I start digging? What could I try with humans to test various aspects of this? What aspects do I need to probe? I sense many of my issues are tied up at the same point.

Comments

It sounds like a lot of the

It sounds like a lot of the issues are tied up. I have had a few of the issues you talk about, mainly the the not keeping in touch with people and in a way not caring if I'm around people or not. I've always had a knack for making new friends though, so in a way I have always replaced old friends with new ones. Have you taken control of your addictions yet? I only ask this because for me, I believe the pmo addiction to be an extremely selfish addiction which makes a person more critical of others and more selfish with their own time. I've found that with any period of time abstaining that I enjoy more people, kind of like finding more women attractive when you abstain as well. Being around other people just becomes more enjoyable.

As far as letting people choose you instead of you choosing them it may be a form of self preservation. Maybe you don't want the feeling of being rejected so allowing them to choose you gives you the safety and go ahead to form a friendship or relationship with them. I don't know you so I am only speculating. Good luck with your introspection and let me know what you find out.

It's definitely not an issue

It's definitely not an issue of not keeping up with people. I've reached out to past friends at times. They're not interested so I don't press the matter. They'll find me if they want to and sometimes do.

There is a self preservation aspect, though I don't think it revolves around rejection. I don't care who likes me or doesn't. It's more about making sure I have the availability to give and don't overextend myself because I can give too much and people can expect too much when they begin to see who I am. Though, this hiding aspect is draining in many ways. I've reserved myself first for those close to me and perhaps lost myself in that process. It's tough to know.

I've always enjoyed being around people in smaller groups. But this has often been people seemingly following me. I recognize it's hard to know who is following who. That pattern didn't change as far as I can tell with or without PMO.

Perhaps this ties into that other energy that exists when people really want to be together. That isn't around most of the time and that flatter interaction is somewhat forced. I could be more sensitive to that and so I just avoid it. Many people want to be heard and are not very good at making space for another. I'm good at making a space and sense that I need to find others good at that too. Then we'll have to deal with some guilt about things getting one-sided the other way and not knowing enough about the other person. Those might be simpler issues. I'll hopefully get a chance to test this theory with someone when we eventually meet up. She's been good at questioning and listening, almost to a fault.

Whose to say what control of addiction means? I'm somewhere around a month clean at the moment after a long rough period after going four plus months. I've been at this a long-time so I'm certainly more in control than once, but vulnerable as always. A lot of this goes back to before porn, though maybe not before masturbation and orgasm. And it's plausible that eating and other habits at the time caused similar addiction brain patterns.

I agree with Prodigalsun

[quote=theprodigalsun]
As far as letting people choose you instead of you choosing them it may be a form of self preservation. Maybe you don't want the feeling of being rejected so allowing them to choose you gives you the safety and go ahead to form a friendship or relationship with them. [/quote]

This may be part of the issue. I believe that I do this as well. It's like not wanting to put yourself out there first, so you wait for others to take the initiative. So, even if you want to see a friend, you won't pick up the phone to call them, instead waiting for them to reach out to you first. It's like you're making sure that they desire your company, because deep down you're not entirely sure that they do and you wouldn't want to impose or seem needy. I don't want to presume this about you, Freedom, but I know this is something I do at times and I struggle with.

What results is that only the people who you form very close connections with are the ones that remain in your life. Good friends who are willing to pick up the phone first, knowing that you aren't really the one that's going to do that (and accepting this fact about you), are the ones that stick around.

Online dating is tricky. There are many more men on each dating site than women, so women generally get bombarded with emails, especially if they're attractive. You never know if people are on there for a quick ego-boost or for a real connection. You end up getting a lot of exaggerated profiles that pump themselves up to make their lives sound exciting, because they compare themselves to other profiles and want to feel like they have as much to offer. I personally would stay away from online dating (coming from experience). It can easily make you feel terrible about yourself, even though the online dating world is far, far from reality.

I reach out to people I feel

I reach out to people I feel a connection too. I'm puzzled by the people that feel a connection to me, but don't reach out to me and then make excuses like not having my contact info despite it not changing. I do think about those people, but perhaps intentionally don't reach out to them. They've served their purpose in a sense and the recent interactions have not been particularly satisfying. I'd probably meet them if they invited, but not the other way around. I've generally had to invite myself to things all my life.

I've lately started to feel that even the few friends I have and my family members don't really know me. I'll fall back on the butterfly analogy in the sense that I've become someone else inside and I'm stuck in the shedding process. It's awkward because I'm left with little support network for either version of me. I'm not at the ages where it is easy to rebuild a support network.

I know online is a poor mirror of reality, though in some ways it might be revealing a reality we'd rather pretend doesn't exist. I've almost thrown in the towel, but not quite yet. I had to go back in an give at least the free sites a decent run. I do like that there are more introverts on there. They are harder to find out in the world.

Sticking your neck out in

Sticking your neck out in dating will expose you to all kinds of growth opportunities. It should lead to insight in all kinds of relationships, including relationships with yourself. Consider identifying yourself as a social person and grow into that role. In my past, I would admire people with certain skills, maybe some athletic or artistic or academic skill, which are great, but now I recognize that being social is a skill and I admire people that are good at that. Its a crucial skill for meeting women. Women are so much better at this anyways and if you are a little savvy at this, then you are a selectable mate. Being social also tells a lot about your emotional state because they are somehow correlated, and it is a big indicator of all kinds of important mating attributes. You could be the best and most skilled in any human endeavor and lack social skills, but if you are put next to a guy who doesnt have any worthwhile skills, but has a good deal of sociability, guess who is going to be selected?

I feel that a lot of these issues will thaw once you build a dynamic social life. You will grow organically and probably not need to think about this. Building a social network can be hard at first, but do things to practice whenever you can. A lot of success is becoming outcome-independent. Just enjoy the simple exchange of personality/energy is nurturing no matter if its a woman you are interested in or a dude. Most interactions are valuable.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.
-Aristotle

I'm pretty outcome

I'm pretty outcome independent. Being social is a skill, especially if one is naturally introverted such that extroversion requires development of the shadow. I've not been fond of the traditional socially dominant role. I could work toward being that way, but for some reason don't want to. Again, it could be a self preservation issue and about not wanting to be selected. As much as I want to select it rarely happens. I've had a lifetime problem of people latching on (including family in a sense). Sometimes I'm not sure whether people like me or what I do for them. Given how many friends have vanished, the cynical view might be that it's what I can do. This comes up even in dating in odd ways. There can't be such a dearth of competent humans. Maybe I project something that opens the door to this. Leader qualities perhaps? I could be a leader that doesn't want to be forced to lead.

It seems like you might be

It seems like you might be misinterpreting the "traditional dominant role". It has less to do with dominance and more to do with self control. Addiction drains this. You lead naturally when you live by your purpose, because others are seeking their purpose as well. Also, you mention that you have been free of PMO for a length of time. This is a good thing, but recovery is different than abstinence. Recovery can take much longer. Abstinence is just the start. The fact that you are uncovering all of this and asking the right questions is encouraging. Im not sure if I understand your exact situation, but I get the sense that things are coming together. Keep hacking at it. You have a lot to offer people.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.
-Aristotle

I agree that this is a slow

I agree that this is a slow process. I also agree about self control. I've got that to a fault in some ways and not at all in others. I've considered that some of my dilemma is getting shoved into a leader role without a purpose. That creates a lot of inner conflict and the situation tends to implode. My life isn't well aligned, but I'm not clear as to how to adjust. I've been asking most of the topics I post for much of my life. I gain some insightful nuance over time, but rarely any answers. Though it's been a tiring journey, I'm not giving up,

I can imagine that would be

I can imagine that would be conflicting. haha, it might be a while before you find answers to some of your questions. They're pretty intense!

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.
-Aristotle

Imagine dating me or hiring

Imagine dating me or hiring me. People can get scared off. I'm not even expecting answers to much of what I ask. People often miss that somehow. I inherited a knack for the unanswerable question, though the blank stares back are not appreciated. I do enjoy the little insights from people when they actually share how they deal with similar issues.

Haha, I would totally date

Haha, I would totally date your female equivalent! Women like thinkers, its just a matter of getting some of this other social stuff in line. Peculiarities make a person unique, and once a woman learns to trust and know you, she'll like that quite a bit. I like quirky women, and ironically, I feel safe with them because I know that I took the time to get to know them and others might or cannot. Whatever it is or whoever you are, go with that, there is nothing wrong that needs fixing. Its just that the social lessons will help regulate your moods and make you more fluid and adapted to people, which is a great thing. It doesnt mean youre selling out, but learning to connect with people so you can really experience them and they can really experience you.

I had to get out of my house just now and go sit at a coffee shop. I havent had much personal contact with people in a couple of days and I was feeling off. Just this act to get around people, even though it was uncomfortable, gave me some direction and insight. Plus, I felt like I was part of the human race. Its hard to explain, but some of these social things start to work themselves out just by immersing ourselves in dynamic situations. That means lots of social activity. We learn more about socializing in an hour of spending time around people than in a day of studying social situations. Its like working out, go feel the burn, then enjoy the gains. When you are enjoying them, you wont be analyzing them, because you are too busy enjoying them.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way.
-Aristotle

I've not been the most

I've not been the most social creature much of my life. I've generally not been in social settings, which makes it hard to meet people. I do switch into a more socially functional mode in social settings once I warm up, though that can work best if I'm forced into it. I've mostly been in live at home with family mode while I commute to something for the day. I don't necessarily feel the need to be friends with people I work with unless we happen to be compatible in some way.

Some women feel the way you do. Any change I'm taking on is for my own skill building and options expansion.

Have you been reading

Starting Over's blog? He is having others fix him up from within his community. What about trying this? Sometimes others are more perceptive about us than we are about ourselves.

It's an option, but I'm not

It's an option, but I'm not quite the fit for my community or old friends. My friends are like me and have few friends so that doesn't work too well. I've challenged the people who've nagged me about dating to tell me who they can suggest and they go silent on me. There's one person who has actively tried to match me with people, but because she doesn't know me, she's missed the mark quite substantially. Matchmaking is about more than boy, girl, go or some random interests. You have to understand the two people and sense something about them could work. All that said, I could try, but I'd have to reveal more of who I am than I might want to do at the moment given I've still got to deal with these people at times.

I'm not sure that a relationship would resolve the broader issues. It might, but it might not.