I’m a bit conflicted about this post, mostly because I’m not sure what people will think about what I have to say. I’m sure that many of my friends will sympathize, and I’m sure that many more will probably have a better understanding of what makes me tick. I’m also fairly certain that a good number of people will think that this is pathetic and have no more a desire to be my friend than they did before. I guess my ultimate goal for this post is to educate, and if it helps me to feel closer to the people who matter then it will have success.
I guess I’ll start by saying that I’m really successful in a lot of the things that I do. I’m successful at work, with friends, at home, at school, and so forth. But I’m really really bad at being in relationships. Not friendships, per se, but serious committed relationships with potential partners that I’d want to get married to or something like that. I end up being one of those types who can do most any job and learn most any thing, and I make a swell friend, but I’ve turned out perpetually single and rather awkward.
I want to think that I don’t know why! I want to think that I’m just fine and that I’m somehow a victim of a prejudice or that I’m unlucky or something like that. Or that I just don’t know anyone or that no one really cares to get to know me for reasons that I don’t understand. But… if I’m honest with myself, that’s not entirely true. I can perceive some reasons why I’m single and awkward and remain single. Let me list what I think I understand:
1) I’m very shy, and don’t handle rejection well. In my normal work life, this means that I can take criticism a little harshly. I tend to over-adjust my behavior, act as my own worst critic, worry, fret, get worked up, and on and on. In relationships? It means that I never make a first move, or I feel so uncomfortable making any moves that I just don’t.
2) I hate annoying people. I don’t like feeling unwanted, so if I feel like I’m with someone who doesn’t want me around, then I escape. I don’t just leave, I escape that feeling, because it is so sooo uncomfortable. In friendships – or in trying to make friends – it often means that I don’t try, or if I do try I don’t try hard. Trying to chat with someone and they’re silent on the other end, or it seems like a chore for them to talk to me? I must be annoying them. Better go talk to someone else.
And of course there’s the whole “Oh, you don’t want to talk to me, well fuck you!” feeling, but the fear of being annoying is a very, very real phobia for me.
3) I am a horny, dirty minded guy. And I’m frustrated because I have no sex life at the moment. Can’t really say that I’ve had a fulfilling experience with any long term partner either. Quite the opposite, actually. This might turn some people off, sound silly, or just plain be Too-Much-Information, but this is a really big deal for me. Like, agonizing. And I don’t want anyone to see this. I don’t want anyone to know that this is such a big deal, so I suppress it and try my hardest not to show anyone that I’m quite willing or quite available. I don’t want anyone to look at me like I’m some sort of pervert, or that sexual satisfaction is one of the most important things that I’m looking for (to me anyway).
You might start seeing a pattern of hiding appearing. Yeah, I’m kinda seeing it too.
4) I reject anyone who seems interested in me. And this is depressing too! I do have some people who are interested in being a partner, and they’re also quite available and quite single. And I reject them because I don’t like them, or I don’t feel comfortable with their attitude, or I’m just not comfortable with the idea of being with them. And – what tends to happen – a few months later when I’m feeling particularly frustrated (see 3) I nearly always regret it.
Now, I could come back and say that I’m just very very selective with who I’d want to be with, and there are people out there that I would like to try and be with. I can think of a few. But it turns out that I generally don’t get interested attention from the people that I’ve already selected, and I’m not brave enough to approach them and express any interest myself (See the previous 3 points).
5) Anyone that I’m really able to connect with on some level is already in a relationship or otherwise unavailable. This one kinda carries good and depressing. I know that I can make a relationship work and I know that I can, in fact, connect with someone very personally and intimately. But nearly always, they’re in a relationship already or married. This has probably been the case at least a half dozen times, and it’s depressing all on its own. It kinda turns into a case of only falling in love with something that you can’t have.
When I look at all of this, I wanna ask myself — others can do it, but why can’t I? Honestly, I kinda know the answer. I’m extremely selective, very shy, awkward, not-forward with my desires, and afraid. And, I think, most people don’t see that because I put my respectful self forward. Can’t offend anyone because I’m frustrated. Don’t want to annoy anyone or act like a shallow slutty guy, or ruin my image of the mature, level-headed, likable, unique and eccentric young man.
I get the sense that most people don’t know that I’m even looking to be in a relationship or that it is such an enormous strain and anguish in my life. My worst fear is growing old, to be 60 or so, and to not have had the joy of being in love with a partner that I could spend the rest of my life with, or to give grandkids to my parents. I’ll just be some old, cold, dried out soul who never knew what it was like to feel that way about someone, and I’ll have to live with that and all the times that I’ve been told:
“Do you have anyone in your life?”
“I don’t believe that,” when I say I’ve not been with anyone in almost 2 years.
“You’re so young and handsome and you don’t have a girlfriend?” some strangers from when I was 16.
“You like cuddling too much to not get in a relationship and get married,” also when I was young (it’s true).
“Did you get any Korean girlfriends?” various people when I talk about living there (the answer is no, not even close).
Time now to wrap this up. I’ve recently found that many people are… actually interested in what I have to say. People read my blog posts and comment on how full of insight they are, and I start to get the sense that I really have been hiding from everyone, and that when I start showing people what I think and how I feel about things their perception of me grows a little and it’s like they wanted that all along. So if you’re reading this, I honestly just want you to know me better and know one of the things that makes me tick (with an awkward rattle). I’m here. I’m just scared.