Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

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Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Fri May 20, 2016 5:29 pm

OK, I realize this probably isn't a healthy attitude to have, but I'm really wondering why the whole dating process is so hard and frustrating to me.

I don't think that I have a specific physical or psychological flaw that prevents me from being attractive, or at least the flaws that I have don't seem to be a problem in other people's dating lives. I'm also willing to work on signaling my sexual interest in a more direct way, and I don't think that it should be an attraction-killing issue anyway.

And yet my dating life is an endless stream of disappointments, awkward situations, misread signals, flakes, lack of answers and rejections.

Everywhere I go I see people who aren't especially gorgeous or especially confident or cool or clever but still have happy and fulfilling dating lives. And I'm sincerely happy for them. I just keep wondering why my dating life feels like a chore, with no real improvement in sight.

Also the dominant cultural message seems to be that dating is easy, that people have a lot of sex and that those who don't must have some huge physical or character flaw. I've recently read an article which said that thanks to feminism in modern society "men have sex at hello". This definitely isn't true for me, since I'm not having not even sex, but simply dates, despite a lot of effort.

I don't think I'm incredibly flawed. I don't think I'm less good looking or more shy or less interesting or less confident than average. I even think that I'm a little bit more clever than average. So why is my dating success so much lower than average? Why do people everywhere hook up or get together or simply have sex and I am stuck in a loop where I get excited when I meet a woman I'm interested in me and who seems to show some interest in me and then I find out that she actually doesn't like in "that way" or that she doesn't answer to my messages despite giving me her number/Facebook account?

What's stopping me from having a fulfilling dating life?

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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by Jayce on Sat May 21, 2016 7:40 am

Asking questions like these will always make you either sad or angry or both. Just because some things have worked for other people doesn't mean it will work for you. I could also ask myself why are you getting dates, and I'm not even getting any dates at all, but that's not going to help me get anywhere. Sometimes it's better to just tune out a bit on what other people are doing and succeeding in, and focus on what you are going to do about your personal situation.

None of us have done literally everything we possibly could to get better at dating, there's always something to work on, so if something is not working right now, you could always spend time to work on something else.

I don't know if this bit applies to you, but most couples I see around are older than me. I'm 21, looking at their success and looking at my lack of success is already a bad comparison because those people just by default have lived longer than I have. All those couples at Walmart that you see? They are probably in their late twenties, 30s and so on. Who knows if those people's dating lives were fulfilling and happy at 21, or at your age.

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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Sat May 21, 2016 9:53 am

I don't know if this bit applies to you, but most couples I see around are older than me. I'm 21, looking at their success and looking at my lack of success is already a bad comparison because those people just by default have lived longer than I have. All those couples at Walmart that you see? They are probably in their late twenties, 30s and so on. Who knows if those people's dating lives were fulfilling and happy at 21, or at your age.

I'm a bit older than you (25, going to be 26 soon) and I'm getting anxious about growing old with fewer experiences in dating or relationship than average.

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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by Guest on Sat May 21, 2016 10:03 am

DazedAndConfused wrote:
I don't know if this bit applies to you, but most couples I see around are older than me. I'm 21, looking at their success and looking at my lack of success is already a bad comparison because those people just by default have lived longer than I have. All those couples at Walmart that you see? They are probably in their late twenties, 30s and so on. Who knows if those people's dating lives were fulfilling and happy at 21, or at your age.

I'm a bit older than you (25, going to be 26 soon) and I'm getting anxious about growing old with fewer experiences in dating or relationship than average.

I'm 33 and still trying to figure out how to make friends for the first time, let alone figure out how to date or find a relationship.

Feel better now?

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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by Enail on Sat May 21, 2016 12:42 pm

<mod>Pagliacci, please reread the Forum Guidelines, The Basics#7. Playing misery olympics is not helpful to anyone. </mod>
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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by Enail on Sat May 21, 2016 1:19 pm

I know it's kind of an annoying thing to hear, but the fact is that there might not be anything stopping you. Sometimes a particular flaw or lacking skill is a factor that gets in the way of having a happy dating life, which is why the self-improvement focus is a thing, but the reverse isn't true; being a generally awesome person and having the needed skills doesn't just make success happen, there isn't a bar that you can clear and then be handed your relationship or sex partner or whatever as a graduation present, and "people who are happily dating" is not a total overlap with "people who can be desirable dating partners." You might just not have run into the right person in the right context, while someone else who you don't think brings as much to the table or who has a narrower potential appeal than you might have just happened to find one of the people who they do appeal to.

Aside from luck and self-improvement factors, there's also the question of if you're meeting people likely to want date you, which might be a less frustrating and more fruitful avenue to focus on if you [i]are/i] wanting to try and work on things. At the most basic level, are you meeting a wide enough pool of single people of appropriate age range and gender? On a less basic level, you could look at if you have a type or some kind of commonalities in the people you pursue. Is it a narrow subset, and if so might there be people outside of that set that you could be interested in if you expanded your focus? Are the people you're interested in people who as a group are likely to be interested you - are your strengths things that sort of person tends to find appealing, do you have reasonably compatible interests and lifestyle, and are you presenting yourself in a way that's congruent to that?
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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by reboot on Sat May 21, 2016 1:22 pm

If there is nothing glaringly obvious, then it often comes down to luck timing and location. You may not be meeting the people who would be attracted to you at times when they are open and available to date. You may be a mismatch with the culture you live in due to values and lifestyle, so meeting compatible people at all is rare. You may be attracted to people that are unlikely to be attracted to you (e.g. someone who hate loud clubs being attracted to people who do the clubbing life).

In the first situation there is little to do but keep trying and be patient. In the second situation the only options are gut it out or plan to move. In the third situation it might be worth examining who you are attracted to and figuring out if your lifestyle is intersecting with theirs, and (if it is not) then deciding if you are open to changing your lifestyle. If not, then patience is once again your only option
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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by Guest on Sat May 21, 2016 3:39 pm

Jayce wrote:
I don't know if this bit applies to you, but most couples I see around are older than me. I'm 21, looking at their success and looking at my lack of success is already a bad comparison because those people just by default have lived longer than I have. All those couples at Walmart that you see? They are probably in their late twenties, 30s and so on. Who knows if those people's dating lives were fulfilling and happy at 21, or at your age.

There's probably an equal amount of people younger to older than you or I that are already dating/are married as well. That's also not accounting for the age discrepancies between people in those relationships as well, not that it really should make much of a difference. In all honesty it goes both ways, some folks date younger or older, doesn't really matter. Smile I see all kinds of couples when I go to Walmart for whatever reason. Also, Walmart people come in all shapes and sizes and vary in attractiveness from non-conventional to stunning. Wink

DazedAndConfused wrote:I'm a bit older than you (25, going to be 26 soon) and I'm getting anxious about growing old with fewer experiences in dating or relationship than average.

Heh, I'm about halfway through age 24, so I'm right there with ya. Shit is kinda scary to think about, but you manage. Shrug

Otherwise, my advice...? I'm sorry if it's not terribly helpful, but I'm in the same boat as you. And while I may moan about it too, I find it easier to just accept things for what they are and press on. Keep on working on yourself if that's what you wanna do.

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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by DazedAndConfused on Mon May 23, 2016 11:36 am

Thanks to everyone for the answers. I know that it's not exactly pleasant to read a rant about someone who seems stuck in a painful situation, so I thank you for taking the time to answer in an articulate, thoughtful way.

enail wrote:Aside from luck and self-improvement factors, there's also the question of if you're meeting people likely to want date you, which might be a less frustrating and more fruitful avenue to focus on if you are wanting to try and work on things. At the most basic level, are you meeting a wide enough pool of single people of appropriate age range and gender? On a less basic level, you could look at if you have a type or some kind of commonalities in the people you pursue. Is it a narrow subset, and if so might there be people outside of that set that you could be interested in if you expanded your focus? Are the people you're interested in people who as a group are likely to be interested you - are your strengths things that sort of person tends to find appealing, do you have reasonably compatible interests and lifestyle, and are you presenting yourself in a way that's congruent to that?

Those are all really good questions. Now that I'm taking some time to think about it it probably comes down to an incompatibility of interests and lifestyle. I've realized that I'm making very precise plans for my career and for personal improvement while most people I know are still feeling very unsure about their future, even those who have chosen a specific field of study. It's not like I'm not enjoying the "here and now", but I'm very goal-oriented, even when the goal is simply "have a good night out". I love planning things and I hate wasting time while most people I'm meeting are more probably more carefree.

I like experimenting and doing new things, mind. What I don't like is just not having an idea what to do and just going with the flow. I organize new experiences, I research new things before I try them. It's not that I don't like surprises, but I react to them immediately by making another plan, by making quick decisions about what to do next. What I hate is not knowing what to do. I prefer making mistakes on my own, deliberately, to passively letting things play out on their own.

Maybe I should try to date people who are slightly older than me, in their late twenties/early thirties? I should try and visit more bars and avenues which don't cater only to young people and see if I find more like-minded people.

reboot wrote:You may be attracted to people that are unlikely to be attracted to you (e.g. someone who hate loud clubs being attracted to people who do the clubbing life).

This could also be a factor, which ties in with what I've written before. I've realized that most people I've been attracted to have a "let's hang out and see what happens" mentality while I'm more of the idea "let's hang out to know each other and see if we're compatible".

Thanks again. Now that I'm more lucid your comments have been a source of good food for thought.

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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by BasedBuzzed on Mon May 23, 2016 3:43 pm

To answer the opening question, when a dudette gets aroused she experiences a roughly ortogonal stiffening in the erogenous zone as a dude

In all seriousness, especially in online dating you aim wide if you have the energy for it. Aiming down-age or up-age has both bonuses and penalties, but you don't know that until you get to know the person. Don't assume you don't stand a chance or come across as fetishizing if you respect the limits they set for themselves (as long as you are comfortable with it too).

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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

Post by nearly_takuan on Tue May 24, 2016 3:56 am

Mikey's completely right, by the way. Sometimes it's just down to luck.

I don't remember you and I don't think you joined until after I pretty much vanished, but... well, I've got literally hundreds of posts here that I spent mainly on lamenting what appeared to be my "fate". Not counting other hundreds I managed to rack up prior to the forum migration, and comments on Paging that irritated the hell out of some other regulars. And then a little over half a year ago one of my back-and-forths on OKCupid led to a date that led to more dating that led to what is so far a very pleasant Relationship.

Up 'til then my experience had been basically what you're describing. When I got input from people I'd met in person, it was generally "I have no idea what you could possibly be doing wrong." When I touched on the subject with a good friend who, according to himself, has never had any trouble getting dates, his revelatory advice was something along the lines of "treat women like people". (Do you think I don't? "Of course not." Then..? "I don't know. It's not hard for me.")

Okay, one of the things I did wrong early on was torture myself by going to bars and other venues where I already knew I was going to have zero fun, just because those are exactly the places where it's generally considered socially acceptable to momentarily cold-approach people you don't know. But to this day I also don't know what the alternative was, because it's not generally considered socially acceptable to momentarily cold-approach people you don't know elsewhere.

As for the date I did get, the forums helped. She probably wouldn't have talked to me on OKC if not for some very valuable advice I got here. And it turns out one of the reasons she was attracted to me in person was thanks to "cute butt pants" I bought based on advice in a fashion thread here.

Still, though, my girlfriend now (who has seen me suck and is far from thinking I'm flawless or anything like that anymore) occasionally remarks that it's very strange I had so much trouble before meeting her. She can't think of anything in my appearance or behavior that would cause such a regular pattern of cold shoulders, rejections, and no-shows. And it's not like forum advice got me to significantly change anything about myself.

So...the shitty part of all this is that I don't have any real advice for you either. All I can really say is that it's possible things will change even if you don't; that it might be worth trying over and over and over again anyway. And I just hope you have better different luck at some point in the future.
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Re: Why is it so hard for me? (rant/advice)

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