Depression and dating

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:33 pm

I did that a couple times. One of my matches had a Hyrulean crest tattoo, so I commented and complimented her on that, then asked if she had played Breath of the Wild. No response. The other time, the girl was wearing a cute bunny-girl outfit in her pictures, so I complimented her on that, then asked if she'd like to do something casual later this week. Again, no response. Or, I suppose there was a response of some kind: She unmatched me.

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Werel on Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:48 pm

Yeah, that's just the nature of Tinder; you can send the most charming message ever and still get no reply/unmatched, because at the end of the day it's just strangers deciding whether or not they feel like interacting with a random stranger. Persistence, practice, and patience are key in an activity where nothing comes of it 90% of the time. Good luck!
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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:54 pm

I feel like if this streak of bad luck keeps up, I might have to step away from Tinder like I did a few other things. I just know that having a lot of failed connections is going to make me feel terrible Sad

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Sun May 07, 2017 7:27 pm

I still haven't had any luck on either OKCupid or Tinder lately. It seems like this whole online dating thing is just not for me, unfortunately... Which makes me feel absolutely terrible, because I'm not sure what else I'm supposed to do to meet people given my (somewhat) unique circumstances and problems Sad

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Mon May 22, 2017 11:12 am

Is anyone around? I need someone to talk to Sad

Yet *another* one of my friends is getting married. This time, the friend in question is a lady that I went to middle school with, so she's around my age as opposed to being a few years older than me. I was, and still am, very happy for her, but it hurts knowing another friend of mine is getting married before I've even had my very first date, you know? I told her as much when the announcement came out, but I haven't heard anything back from her. Maybe that was a mistake...

And, to top it all off, OKCupid and Tinder still aren't panning out at all. My feeble attempts at online dating aren't working, and I still don't have a clue what I'm supposed to do to meet new people IRL, especially since I can't afford a car right now. I'm beginning to think that I'm not meant to be in a relationship, and that I'll have to live the rest of my life alone...

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Enail on Mon May 22, 2017 12:57 pm

Sorry you've been getting the "everyone's getting married" feels, those kinds of things are tough. If a little cynicism helps any, statistics say some of the marriages won't work out, so it's not some kind of "last one in's a rotten egg" thing where no one is ever single again Wink  

In the future, I think it probably isn't a great idea to reply to peoples' marriage announcements with the fact that it makes you sad. Part of being a friend is cheering on their happiness, even though you're definitely not the only person to feel things other than happy about friends' good news (I had a big run of feeling like that about a variety of good news for a few years), that's something that's usually best shared with other people or at least left for a more personal, nuanced conversation later on if it seems like they'd be open to hearing it.

Are you still going to your boardgame meetup? If you have some time and energy, maybe it'd be worth adding in some other activities of that sort, both for more chances to meet people and less free time to dwell.
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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Mon May 22, 2017 4:24 pm

Yeah, things have been rough lately. I don't even get to see my therapist this week either, so I don't have many people to talk to about this.

I think I'm going to give my friend an apology sometime today. It was wrong of me to force my feel-bads into her happy times, and even though I know she gets this stuff herself (she's also depressed, so she's a fair bit more in tune with mental illness struggles) it wasn't okay for me to basically say "I'm happy for you, but..."

In other news, yeah, I'm still doing my board game nights. My work schedule has increased lately, though, so the only days I'm currently not doing anything on are the weekend. I've been trying to pay attention to local events going on around me on Saturday and Sunday, but so far not much has come up - at least, along the lines I'm looking for. I think I might have to go drastically outside the box, and that thought scares me Sad

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:51 am

So, things haven't really changed over the last couple weeks. I gave my friend an apology for forcing my issues into her engagement announcement, and she replied by saying that she hadn't even read my message to her until then because she was so swamped with other messages. So, I guess that's one of the best outcomes I could hope for.

Unfortunately, my attempts at OLD aren't going well at all. I had a couple conversations going for a while, but they stopped responding weeks ago. They stopped responding well before I got around to asking them out to meet up in person... *sigh* Sad

In other news, my therapist has me working on a couple fitness routines in addition to my self-care routines. He has me taking a brisk walk every day, which I'm perfectly fine with, but he also wants me doing 20 sit-ups a day, and that's been really difficult. I'm just so out of shape, I don't know if I can keep up with what my therapist is going to want me to do later on.

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Prajnaparamita on Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:52 pm

ReploidArmada wrote:
In other news, my therapist has me working on a couple fitness routines in addition to my self-care routines. He has me taking a brisk walk every day, which I'm perfectly fine with, but he also wants me doing 20 sit-ups a day, and that's been really difficult. I'm just so out of shape, I don't know if I can keep up with what my therapist is going to want me to do later on.

Reploid, yesterday I had something of a confrontation with my therapist, because I had felt previously like she wasn't really behind me in my goal of working to go to grad school. Her response to me was that her getting behind my goals was kind of irrelevant, she works for me and if I have a goal for myself or my future, whatever it is, her job is to help me achieve that and overcome the obstacles in my way. I want to stress that again--your therapist works for you, not the other way around. Your therapist is not your parent or your teacher or some kind of authority you have to unquestioningly obey. They work for you, to find a way forward in your life that personally fits. If something feels not right for you, like its too much or too little, you are not just allowed to, but expected to speak up and let them know that. Because its about finding what is effective for you, and that can't be done unless you're upfront about what does and doesn't work.

If you're afraid that what he's asking of you right now is too much, or that you can't handle what might be coming next, you need to speak up! Your body, your health and hell, even just the ability to feel like you're set up for success, not failure matter to your therapist. You're the one in control here.
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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:39 pm

Thanks for stressing that, Prajna. I have an appointment with my therapist later today, so I'll bring up that I feel like he's pushing me too hard for my fitness and activity levels. I do need to get in shape, hopefully sooner rather than later, but right now I have enough to worry about without over-exerting myself.

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Werel on Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:13 pm

Reploid, I second what Prajna's saying, but also want to say one thing re: being super out of shape and easing back into it.
fitness stuff if you want to read it:
IME, the key is to find something you actually like doing. Sounds totally obvious, but sit-ups aren't necessarily fun for most people--would you be less intimidated/annoyed by more walking, or dancing, or swimming, or something else? I'm in terrible shape (grad school = DESTROY YR BODY), but somewhat less terrible than a year ago, and that's cause I decided to start doing stuff that wasn't Fitness Gym Things, but pure physical fun (snorkeling, dancing, long walks, add weed as necessary if that's your bag). Make it pleasant, not miserable, and you actually might keep at it. Moving your body can be fun, I swear, as one couch potato to another. Smile
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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:14 pm

Hi everybody! Time for another update.

My job is ending in 2 weeks. I'm getting a $500 severance, and they've already made me a resumé and letter of recommendation, so they're taking care of me. Still, it sucks that I have to find a new job.

Surprising no one, I'm still a lonely, single, hopeless, worthless, depressed virgin. I ended up crying myself to sleep last night because of it. Also, my therapist is still focusing on the physical side of ny depressive symptoms instead of balancing physical with mental, which would be fine if I was stable. I don't think I am.

Besides that, PAX was a lot of fun! I played some good demos, including PC titles Dauntless and Ruiner, and I met a lot of nice people again. Definitely worth the five-something hundred I spent going there and at the convention Smile

Now. There's something else I want to talk about, not necessarily asking for advice for, but asking for thoughts about.

I met a girl on one of the... "inappropriate" subreddits. She said she was in the Seattle area, so I decided to message her. It turned sexual pretty fast, in part because of where I found her. It seemed like her and I were into each other, so I asked for a time to meet up for something casual. She said she was busy working long hours this week and last, but that things would clear up afterwards. I said okay and continued sexting her. Unfortunately for me, she hasn't responded for several days, and now I feel like I've been had.

What do you guys think? Should I wait a few more days for a response? Should I write her off? Should I call it off and save my V-card even if she does reply eventually?

I wasn't even looking for love with her. I was just looking for a casual FWB arrangement, to make my virginity a non-issue. Unfortunately for me, it seems I can't even find someone for a ONS.

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Werel on Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:10 pm

Hi Reploid! Sorry about your job, and sending you good wishes in the hunt for the next one.

ReploidArmada wrote:Also, my therapist is still focusing on the physical side of ny depressive symptoms instead of balancing physical with mental, which would be fine if I was stable. I don't think I am.
Is this something you've mentioned to your therapist? If you feel strongly about balancing mental and physical treatments, they should be open to discussing ways to do that. Try asking them to change tack a little, it can't hurt!

ReploidArmada wrote:Unfortunately for me, she hasn't responded for several days, and now I feel like I've been had.
That's a bummer, but the bolded part is something I know has been discussed in this thread before (I think with the Emily situation)-- you weren't had or duped, it just didn't work out. Placing blame on the other party, like they did you wrong by not being interested, isn't fair. I know it sucks when a potential connection fizzles out, but you'll serve yourself and your future dating prospects better by viewing it as a sucky-but-no-one's-fault event.

ReploidArmada wrote:What do you guys think? Should I wait a few more days for a response? Should I write her off? Should I call it off and save my V-card even if she does reply eventually?
I'd let it rest, and assume she's not into it; prolonged silence usually means no. The ball's in her court now, and she knows how to contact you if she wants to. If it turns out she actually was just busy, but is still interested, why not go for it? Meet up and see if there's a spark, and if there is, you can go from there.
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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:38 pm

She's not busy, or at least not too busy to chat. I briefly checked her reddit profile, her most recent post was about a day ago. That was well after she decided to cut off contact.

What do I do now? Everything I've tried has failed. Online dating hasn't worked. Online personals aren't either. And, we all know what happened last time I tried asking someone out in person. Before you folks tell me to keep trying, my brain doesn't work like that, unfortunately. It steers me away from things that go wrong so that I don't do the same thing again. But, that means that the list of things I haven't tried to get a date or some sex is about zero items long.

I don't use this word lightly, but I feel like *literally no one on this planet will date or fuck me without compensation.* Even the biggest nymphomaniacs want nothing to do with me. I will have to pay a sex worker - and break the law doing it - to lose my virginity, at this rate.

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Prajnaparamita on Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:11 pm

Reploid, I'm going to preface this by saying that while I've never used the particular forum that I imagine you might have been using to meet and chat and exchange photos with this woman, but... I have done more than my fair share of sexting over the years, and here's my take on things. The vast majority of people on those sites, 99.999%, go into it with no intention of ever meeting up. It's really not the point of it. The point is the thrill of sexting and the exhibitionist kink you're fulfilling with anonymous strangers--which is to say, I don't think she lead you on, if the default assumption generally is that meeting up is off the table. Plus, meeting up is just... pretty damn risky, from a health/personal safety/dignity and privacy point of view too. So it's pretty rare to happen for sure. So I'm not so sure I'd see her not meeting up with you as a rejection but sort of just the unstated norm.

Also, it seems pretty clear that this woman was giving you an indirect no there Reploid, asking to meet up and getting the response that the person is working long hours for the next two weeks without making any attempt to try to make a plan is a good sign that they're turning you down, in the polite, indirect way that women have been taught to do. I know, not having someone be into you or interested in what you want sucks, especially when you were excited for that possibility, but it doesn't seem like she did anything wrong or lead you on here.

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:55 pm

It seems like you're saying I was doomed from the start. If that was indeed the case, then I guess I'll have a small reason to feel the tiniest bit better, but I still feel hurt regardless. I hate saying this, but I'm not entirely certain you folks have a frame of reference for what I've been dealing with romantically/sexually. I'm almost 27 years old, well past the age at which most lose their virginity, and here I managed to find a woman who seemed to both live near me and be interested in me, as a person - enough so to at least bandy about the idea of meeting up for what would have been my first sexual encounter. Then, she disappears into the aether, taking my hopes with her. Is it not reasonable to assume I'd be feeling this way?

Also, allow me to reiterate my previous post: What do I do now? Everything I've tried has ended in abject failure. Am I literally doomed to spending the rest of my life celibate? Am I doomed to live the rest of my life alone like a modern-day hermit?

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Enail on Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:19 pm

It's perfectly reasonable to feel disappointed and upset and frustrated, but those feelings don't mean either that that woman wronged you or that there's no hope something will work out for you in the future. As Prajna points out, the situation is one with a low rate of meet-ups, and, honestly, most things don't work out first time or every time. Which I know sucks when rejection hits you really hard, but that makes it more important to try and remember that that's normal and not a sign that you're uniquely doomed.

I'd say the thing to do is to keep working on things, as you've been doing, and try not to get caught up in resentment and hopelessness, to remember that failure is a part of the process. Or, if you feel like that's not being good for you right now, that it's bringing you down more than it's bringing you towards something, take a break and focus on other things till you feel ready to try again. Because it is difficult, and it's okay that you're finding it hard, and it's natural to need a break from that sometimes, and there are other parts of your life that deserve your care and attention too.
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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Datelessman on Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:11 am

ReploidArmada wrote:Hi everybody! Time for another update.

My job is ending in 2 weeks. I'm getting a $500 severance, and they've already made me a resumé and letter of recommendation, so they're taking care of me. Still, it sucks that I have to find a new job.

Surprising no one, I'm still a lonely, single, hopeless, worthless, depressed virgin. I ended up crying myself to sleep last night because of it. Also, my therapist is still focusing on the physical side of ny depressive symptoms instead of balancing physical with mental, which would be fine if I was stable. I don't think I am.

Besides that, PAX was a lot of fun! I played some good demos, including PC titles Dauntless and Ruiner, and I met a lot of nice people again. Definitely worth the five-something hundred I spent going there and at the convention Smile

Now. There's something else I want to talk about, not necessarily asking for advice for, but asking for thoughts about.

I met a girl on one of the... "inappropriate" subreddits. She said she was in the Seattle area, so I decided to message her. It turned sexual pretty fast, in part because of where I found her. It seemed like her and I were into each other, so I asked for a time to meet up for something casual. She said she was busy working long hours this week and last, but that things would clear up afterwards. I said okay and continued sexting her. Unfortunately for me, she hasn't responded for several days, and now I feel like I've been had.

What do you guys think? Should I wait a few more days for a response? Should I write her off? Should I call it off and save my V-card even if she does reply eventually?

I wasn't even looking for love with her. I was just looking for a casual FWB arrangement, to make my virginity a non-issue. Unfortunately for me, it seems I can't even find someone for a ONS.

I don't think we've met since I am rather new to this forum, but as my SN suggests, I'm familiar with what you are going through. I'm in my mid 30's and I am flying the same airline you are in terms of romantic experience. By the time 2011 rolled around, not only had I been unemployed since 2009, but that was when by unemployment benefits ran out. Not only did I have the stress of finding a job, but literally in counting down the weeks until my meager savings ran out. The economic stress made everything worse, especially my own state of depression. I'd had it often during college, but I can easily say 2011 was worse. I had active thoughts of suicide during that time for a whole host of reasons. Luckily I found a job and crawled out from that low point, but I wanted to bring it up so you didn't feel like you were alone in your struggles.

Many times our jobs can feel like a part of who we are. Plus, having to worry about real things like money will easily stress you to the max. And this stress dredges up all sorts of old memories, buried emotional regrets and anxieties. Losing a job can create a sense of emptiness, and even identity. And unfortunately, since there is social pressure on men to be romantically experienced as a "rite of passage," it can dovetail into what you're experiencing. I am sorry you have been suffering through this. Depression isn't an easy thing to deal with, and I want to note that coming here to get some advice from people you trust or at least a forum you feel comfortable in is a good step. I know with finances, you may not be able to afford counseling right now, but there may be ways to get some of it free of charge or close to it to explore.

Depression is tough because it saps your will to do anything while telling you everything that is wrong with you, in your own voice. It can be tough to get out of bed in the morning when suffering it. The pain is real and it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you. The best I can suggest is to take every day one day at a time and focus on doing positive things to improve your situation. Right now that will likely mean looking for a job, which I know can be a grind. I hope your search goes quickly and smoothly, but if not I would suggest doing your best to not let it effect your sense of self. Anyone can lose a job, and finding a new one is never easy. You have to do your best to remember the things that define you as a human being; your passions, your positive qualities, your goals, and so forth. You're more than the things you lack.

I am glad you went to PAX; taking time for your hobbies is very important. Finding solace in your passions when you can is good for your own sanity and also so you're not stewing in your own juices for a bit. In 2009 I began writing about my own passion - comic books - for a website, and it's been a boon to me. I don't earn much if anything, but it's more about defining something about myself that I am very proud of. Try to find some way to do this on your own terms. Taking some time and comfort with friends can also help.

ReploidArmada wrote:She's not busy, or at least not too busy to chat. I briefly checked her reddit profile, her most recent post was about a day ago. That was well after she decided to cut off contact.

What do I do now? Everything I've tried has failed. Online dating hasn't worked. Online personals aren't either. And, we all know what happened last time I tried asking someone out in person. Before you folks tell me to keep trying, my brain doesn't work like that, unfortunately. It steers me away from things that go wrong so that I don't do the same thing again. But, that means that the list of things I haven't tried to get a date or some sex is about zero items long.

I don't use this word lightly, but I feel like *literally no one on this planet will date or fuck me without compensation.* Even the biggest nymphomaniacs want nothing to do with me. I will have to pay a sex worker - and break the law doing it - to lose my virginity, at this rate.

I've never been on Reddit but unfortunately, "ghosting" is very common. It's even common in offline dating too.

Your frustration is understandable. I can't count how many times I've felt like the lowest man on earth.

Enail is right, unfortunately part of "the process" is that you'll have a lot of false positives, dates that never happen, first dates that fizzle, and so on. It can be very draining. I don't think you did anything wrong, it's unfortunately something that happens. Even Don Juans get ghosted sometimes.

There was a line Snoopy says in one Peanuts strip that I liked: "If something bad is going to happen to you, there shouldn't have to be a night before." I believe it was during some arc when Snoopy was being reprimanded by "the Great Beagle" (who was sort of like the beagle union boss of the time). You're counting down the days to when your gig ends and that's amping up your anxiety.

The best I can suggest, besides taking a break from dating to focus on landing a new gig, shoring up your hobbies and so on, is to try not to make any and every hint of romance with a woman be the "be all and end all" of your life. You capitalized on a potential opportunity. It didn't work out, but you tried and did your best. That's a commendable thing; not everyone does.

ReploidArmada wrote:It seems like you're saying I was doomed from the start. If that was indeed the case, then I guess I'll have a small reason to feel the tiniest bit better, but I still feel hurt regardless. I hate saying this, but I'm not entirely certain you folks have a frame of reference for what I've been dealing with romantically/sexually. I'm almost 27 years old, well past the age at which most lose their virginity, and here I managed to find a woman who seemed to both live near me and be interested in me, as a person - enough so to at least bandy about the idea of meeting up for what would have been my first sexual encounter. Then, she disappears into the aether, taking my hopes with her. Is it not reasonable to assume I'd be feeling this way?

Also, allow me to reiterate my previous post: What do I do now? Everything I've tried has ended in abject failure. Am I literally doomed to spending the rest of my life celibate? Am I doomed to live the rest of my life alone like a modern-day hermit?

It's reasonable to feel frustrated and saddened. I know from your position it's not so easy to dismiss yet another dating disappointment when it seems like your life has been full of it. I will say as someone in your position who is over 5 years older, I probably regret the chances I didn't take or the opportunities I didn't capitalize on more than the ones which resulted in disappointment. So while it's reasonable to feel bad that things with Reddit-Girl didn't work out, I'd say at least take whatever solace you can in the fact that you gave it a shot and tried. The critical thing is to find what defines you beyond your 9 to 5 and/or your dating background. And to focus on that, and remind yourself of it if need be, and to surround yourself with people who support this or are involved in this as best you can.

I can't count the times I cried myself to sleep or wept over my own despair over being alone from my late teens thru my early to mid 20's. Being a virgin is one aspect of your life but you should do your best to not have it define you entirely. Take the time you need to get through your frustration and sadness about Reddit-Girl ghosting on you, but try not to wallow in it too long. If she ghosted on you this soon, it only means it wouldn't have worked out between you two.

Like Enail said, it may be worth it to take a break from dating to focus on your job prospects and hobbies. Depression is a real thing but you have to try to not get caught up in a cycle to it. To use an AVATAR reference, your virginity could feel akin to Sozin's Comet for your dating anxiety. In theory it is a short term thing, but while it's active it may increase the potency of your anxiety. Remember that nobody ever has to know about your dating inexperience unless you choose to tell them; it is nobody's business. There are plenty of women who won't care or might even find it a turn on. Try not to let your frustration or sadness rob you of too much time to find them. Focus on being understanding, friendly, funny, and above all making her feel good in your company. I mean I was there, I know being a 27 year old virgin feels like being the last man alive to reach "the promised land," but you're not alone out there nor the oldest in your state. Having sex isn't the end of the journey, it's the end of the beginning. Try not to psych yourself out by making so much of each attempt that failure shatters you completely. Feel your feels, as the kids say, but move on in a positive way with the rest of your life. There are plenty of wonderful things to do in life that have nothing to do with sex but can easily define you. Work, hobbies, even volunteering, or pursuing your interests. You're not doomed unless you want to be, and I don't think you do. You've made a lot of positive steps in your life and are stronger than you know.
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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:12 am

Thank you Smile

Thankfully, I can afford counseling and medication. I qualify for low-income health care, which does include a therapist and anti-depressants, so that's one less thing I have to worry about. I may need to adjust my medications, though, since I feel like I'm becoming more unstable. In addition, I have been able to get out of bed and get myself to work, even though it's ending soon, so that's another positive. I distinctly remember a couple times in my life, one right before I was formally diagnosed, where I was having trouble getting out of bed and taking care of my daily activities. Unfortunately, I still struggle with the "daily activities" part in some regards.

As for the "false positives" thing, unfortunately, that seems to be the entirety of my dating life. No surprise there, then. Either I'm interested and they're not, or they seem like they're interested and then decide they aren't. Since you might not have been following this entire thread, last year I met a girl named Emily who I was rather fond of. She wasn't interested in me, which on the surface I was okay with, but then she decided she didn't want to be friends with me *at all* because of what I was hoping to get from her, i.e. a relationship. That drove me into suicidal ideation for a time.

I also have a lot of trouble reminding myself what my good attributes and qualities are. What defines me, as you said. Unfortunately, I continue to let my status as a virgin define part of me, like a neon sign hanging over my head, and I feel like my reaction to that imaginary neon sign is part of what puts people off of wanting to interact with me romantically. I can't help but feel like the women I want to interact with simply *know* that I'm horribly inexperienced, insecure, and other not-nice adjectives.

It's hard to take my focus away from dating, romance, and sex, you know? Those are the only real goals I have for myself right now. I don't know what I want to do for a career, I don't feel like I'm good enough for mastery of a hobby, I don't have the money for college, etc, etc. As such, my desire for romance/sex is one of the main parts of my identity as a person, and I don't know how to switch that part of me off long enough to focus on other things and get my head right again.

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Datelessman on Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:42 pm

ReploidArmada wrote:Thank you Smile

Thankfully, I can afford counseling and medication. I qualify for low-income health care, which does include a therapist and anti-depressants, so that's one less thing I have to worry about. I may need to adjust my medications, though, since I feel like I'm becoming more unstable. In addition, I have been able to get out of bed and get myself to work, even though it's ending soon, so that's another positive. I distinctly remember a couple times in my life, one right before I was formally diagnosed, where I was having trouble getting out of bed and taking care of my daily activities. Unfortunately, I still struggle with the "daily activities" part in some regards.

As for the "false positives" thing, unfortunately, that seems to be the entirety of my dating life. No surprise there, then. Either I'm interested and they're not, or they seem like they're interested and then decide they aren't. Since you might not have been following this entire thread, last year I met a girl named Emily who I was rather fond of. She wasn't interested in me, which on the surface I was okay with, but then she decided she didn't want to be friends with me *at all* because of what I was hoping to get from her, i.e. a relationship. That drove me into suicidal ideation for a time.

I also have a lot of trouble reminding myself what my good attributes and qualities are. What defines me, as you said. Unfortunately, I continue to let my status as a virgin define part of me, like a neon sign hanging over my head, and I feel like my reaction to that imaginary neon sign is part of what puts people off of wanting to interact with me romantically. I can't help but feel like the women I want to interact with simply *know* that I'm horribly inexperienced, insecure, and other not-nice adjectives.

It's hard to take my focus away from dating, romance, and sex, you know? Those are the only real goals I have for myself right now. I don't know what I want to do for a career, I don't feel like I'm good enough for mastery of a hobby, I don't have the money for college, etc, etc. As such, my desire for romance/sex is one of the main parts of my identity as a person, and I don't know how to switch that part of me off long enough to focus on other things and get my head right again.

You're very welcome!  Cool

I am glad you have access to counseling and mental health services. I would suggest discussing any issues you have regarding your medication and its effects on you with your doctor or other licensed counselor. If you've been diagnosed and have medication prescribed, this is vital. Sometimes your body adjusts to stuff or has a reaction to something, and you need an adjustment in the medication, and so on. Any feelings of depression deep enough that you think about suicide should also be discussed. That's what these services are for. I know it may not always be easy, even with access, to get some things off your chest or seek help sometimes, but it's literally their job to help you. If you ever feel you're not getting the best care from your doctor or counselor, you should seek another opinion. It is time consuming but sometimes required. My mother saw a therapist once a week for years when I was a kid, and from my memory alone she went thru about 2-3 different ones. And that isn't even getting into medical doctors!

I'm sure the situation was Emily was frustrating for you. However, seeking a friendship with ulterior motives rarely works out. It leads to wariness on both sides which can manifest ways that don't help anyone - i.e. belief in a "Friend Zone" that exists or that "men and women can't be friends" and so on. Being shy, in college I sometimes sought this route basically because I was too scared for various reasons to "make a move" and make my intentions known, and it never worked out and got frustrating. As DNL has mentioned, women often will give men a "soft no" when they are not interested for a variety of reasons, ranging from fear of insults and/or actual assault at worst to having empathy and not wanting to hurt someone needlessly at best.  One of those methods is the much lamented "let's be friends" line. And men do this too, it's just not circulated across as much media as often. Unfortunately, many men try to "earn" a relationship thru seeking friendship, and many women will be wary of this. Doctor Nerdlove calls it "The Friendship Backdoor Gambit". While it is possible to be friends with women you were once romantically interested in, some women may not want a friendship either, and that's their choice too. It isn't or, ideally, shouldn't be taken as a judgement against you. I know emotionally it's painful to be rejected by someone you care about or want to be friends with, but unfortunately it is part of life.

For me personally, if I decided to become a friend of someone I was once romantically interested in, I had to become willing to let those feelings go. That wasn't easy and sometimes took time (as in literal years), but overall it's been a positive experience. A true friendship really can't exist with an ultimate and deliberate goal of trying to "win" a relationship because that's dishonest, and dishonesty will ruin any relationship (whether between pals, lovers, insurance salesmen, window washers, etc.). Friendship is a beautiful thing in and of itself and shouldn't be taken lightly, or seen as a consolation prize or boyfriend audition. It also may be wise to seek new friends with people you haven't wanted to date, especially women. One of my very best friends is a woman who I have never had any romantic interest in whatsoever (and vice versa) and I wouldn't trade that friendship for anything. I don't know Emily but the odds of you being the first guy she declined to date who then wanted to be friends with the end goal of restarting that romantic option is very low.

This isn't to say that genuine friendship with someone can't ever blossom into romance, but such things are more organic and rare. As in, two people are friends and they never even considered dating each other until one day circumstances click and/or they know each other well enough to mutually agree to try it out. And that carries its own baggage as then a potential friendship could be lost if the romance ends. And from my perspective, this doesn't happen nearly as often as TV and films suggest they do.

I know it may not feel that way, but it's unlikely that women you know or try to date immediately suspect you're a virgin. They may sense your unease, your anxiety, your tension, and your nervousness, but that doesn't mean they suspect you're a virgin. They means they suspect *something* is off about you which could be one of a million things. There are men who are shy, awkward, and anxious regardless of experience; even some famous movie stars, deep down, are shy. I know from experience that emotionally it can feel like you have a glowing "V" on your forehead, but intellectually most people would never even think that's a cause after college. At worst, if a woman says something suggesting a guess that you're inexperienced (i.e. "Is this your first date or something?"), it isn't because she's a shark who smells blood but because she's noticed the anxiety and has decided to confront it or explore it, or just be curious about it. It's like if someone's stomach grumbles loudly during a conversation and the other person says, "Geez, have you eaten this week?" it doesn't mean they're psychic and KNOW that you're pinching pennies and only eating peanut butter sandwiches, for instance. That's only how it might appear mentally or emotionally. Appearances aren't always reality -- just look at Vegas.

Remember that your dating history is your own and is nobody's business unless you want to share it. If a woman directly asks if you're a virgin, don't lie, but that circumstance is very very rare. Only share what you are comfortable with sharing, at an appropriate times. The caveat, of course, is only do this if you're also fine with her romantic experience, regardless of what it is. One of my pet peeves (and likely the peeves of many women) are guys who are anxious about how a woman will interpret their inexperience, yet are caught in a "Madonna/Whore Complex" themselves. I assume you're not, but I wanted to put it out there. Even experienced men don't always "kiss and tell" about their past -- and men who endlessly brag about their conquests, or talk ill of exes, radiate red flags. Many (but not all) women I have spoken with or interacted with in life or these forums are more willing to give a shy, nervous, but otherwise decent man more of their time than a bragging Laundromat Lothario.

You don't have to "master" a hobby to like it or express a passion in it. It's even possible to have a liking towards an activity you're not great at. For example, I've never been great at pinball yet I often enjoy playing pinball - I spot a machine in the wild and if I have the time I'll give it a whirl. Hobbies are things you enjoy or do on your off time between work, sleep, etc. Consuming media may be a part, but usually it's good to do something to try to fulfill yourself in other areas. Ideally, in pursuing a hobby you have a chance to meet like minded people and develop friendships - or more - from there. Now, some hobbies make this easier than others, of course. But ideally you don't have a passion or a hobby for something to impress other people, you do or like it because it makes you happy or content.

I absolutely understand your romantic status is something you feel defines you. My SN is proof of this. Yet in a weird way one of the reasons I chose it was so I had a mantle or "alter-ego" which I could use when I want to or are willing to discuss romantic topics (or lack thereof) before shedding it and going about my life. I absolutely understand the pressure you feel from everything around you -- which, to remind you, is media/social norms made by and for the benefit of powerful men -- which has led to your own internal feelings of a lack of identity over this. And I realize that my next statement may come across as hypocritical considering my position. I choose to believe that I would rather be a hypocrite willing to share advice or perspective in the hope someone else may use it better than I, rather than a "fair" man who keeps such things to himself, but if you disagree I understand. And my suggestion is, as hard and painful as I know it is, you need to find a way to define yourself TO yourself in a way which isn't about what you lack or are missing. You went to PAX - that's a gaming convention, it suggests you're into video games. That's one of the hottest pop culture communities right now. How you choose to pursue this may help in defining who you are. This can also come from your philosophy or service to yourself or your community. You're someone who, from what you've told me, has been willing and able to get counseling for himself. This is very, very hard for many men to do -- realize they need help and be willing to accept it. It takes a lot of courage to do that and that is commendable. It suggests you see change as possible and actively pursue it. That's good; run with that. What makes you Reploid are your strengths, not your weaknesses. I'm sure if you asked your friends or family to describe you, they might use terms you wouldn't believe because they're loftier than you'd state, but be willing to believe them sometimes. And if you don't have that hobby or passion for something (or aren't super wild into video games), that may be worth pursuing, even more than a relationship right now.

Focus on consulting your therapist about your meds and/or feelings and working on your financial stresses could be priorities. But beyond that, on a more fundamental level, you need to find something to fulfill and define you that isn't another person or a flaw (or something you see as a flaw). It's healthier in the long run.
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Re: Depression and dating

Post by ReploidArmada on Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:14 pm

Well, I can't seem to do quotes properly on mobile, so let's start from the top again.

I will probably end up talking to my therapist about my mental state, but I literally refilled my meds a week ago. I'm not due for a med management appointment for a couple months.

I have a number of friends, due to my board gaming and video gaming hobbies, but none of them would ever consider me as a romantic prospect. In fact, most of them are already married, or engaged, and a number more are with SOs. I can count the single friends I have on one hand. I can make friends, but I can't make those people I meet - in general - into romantic prospects.

I have a number of hobbies, but they're contained in the gaming genre. Most video games, and especially board games, are competitive by nature. I don't do well with competition. Most of that is because I tend to expect myself to be good enough to do anything, and when that falls short, I start to question my own abilities. I would say I like my hobbies, most of the time, but like I said earlier, if I do poorly at them I start to feel bad about myself.

You're right on another thing: My friends and family like to use loftier descriptions of me than I would. And, like you implied, I don't believe them most of the time. I can't seem to see my own positive attributes, which again, should surprise no one. I wish I could believe them, and I wish I could have good self-esteem, but that hasn't been true for years. I feel like, if I could fix my self-esteem and confidence, getting a GF and getting laid would be a lot more attainable. Or, at least the wait and struggle would be more tolerable.

In the meantime, I'll probably keep mourning the love life I've never had.

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Re: Depression and dating

Post by Datelessman on Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:48 pm

ReploidArmada wrote:Well, I can't seem to do quotes properly on mobile, so let's start from the top again.

I will probably end up talking to my therapist about my mental state, but I literally refilled my meds a week ago. I'm not due for a med management appointment for a couple months.

I have a number of friends, due to my board gaming and video gaming hobbies, but none of them would ever consider me as a romantic prospect. In fact, most of them are already married, or engaged, and a number more are with SOs. I can count the single friends I have on one hand. I can make friends, but I can't make those people I meet - in general - into romantic prospects.

I have a number of hobbies, but they're contained in the gaming genre. Most video games, and especially board games, are competitive by nature. I don't do well with competition. Most of that is because I tend to expect myself to be good enough to do anything, and when that falls short, I start to question my own abilities. I would say I like my hobbies, most of the time, but like I said earlier, if I do poorly at them I start to feel bad about myself.

You're right on another thing: My friends and family like to use loftier descriptions of me than I would. And, like you implied, I don't believe them most of the time. I can't seem to see my own positive attributes, which again, should surprise no one. I wish I could believe them, and I wish I could have good self-esteem, but that hasn't been true for years. I feel like, if I could fix my self-esteem and confidence, getting a GF and getting laid would be a lot more attainable. Or, at least the wait and struggle would be more tolerable.

In the meantime, I'll probably keep mourning the love life I've never had.

Your mental state as well as any questions regarding your medication are good things to discuss with your therapist. Even if you just got your prescription refilled, if your medication isn't having the intended effect or another effect, it wouldn't hurt to ask your therapist or even a pharmacist about it. It could be something simple, such as a dosage adjustment.

It sounds like you have both friends and hobbies - video games and board games. Both are very hot right now. If anything, board games may be bigger than ever before, with some games so complicated that they're like DUNGEONS & DRAGONS LITE. Actually, I might find D&D a little easier to get a handle on but I digress. These are great things, and things that define you as a person which have nothing to do with a lover. I know a few people who either have board game nights as couples or met their SO's at some of these MeetUps, although the key is they didn't go to those gaming sessions TO date. They went there to game and found someone. The only limit to how many friends you have or different gaming circles you can interact with is time.

Have any of your friends ever tried to set up a blind date for you? Do they know you wouldn't mind some help here? Or is this something you keep to yourself to focus on the board game? I know with my friends, one of the reasons why they never helped me land any dates is in part because I never asked them to. It depends on the context and you don't want to just unload everything on your pals. but do they know this is an area of your life which you wouldn't mind a hand in? After all, while you're no obligation to tell friends you're a virgin (nor would they probably need or want to know), it isn't usual for a group of friends to know someone in the circle is single, available, and not eager or able to date one of them. The trick is context and how to bring it up, of course. Now sometimes even when pals know one of them is single it doesn't lead to any "warm approaches" because they don't know any singles or feel its awkward, but if it's an option you haven't considered, it may be time to consider.

Video game groups can also be very communal as well. I've heard of some people meeting initially over WORLD OF WARCRAFT or LEAGUE OF LEGENDS who met in real life and became a couple. In fact one of the young women who used to play an X-Men RPG I ran on a message board met her fiance that way, and they lived very far apart (he was in California, and she's from Canada). It depends on how the interaction with your circle is online and context, of course. A lot of this may be capitalizing on stuff that comes up, and presenting your best self. From what little I know of the "gamer" community, simply being a guy who doesn't talk about his genitals and treats women (or people he thinks are women) online or in game with respect will make you stand out.

Regular outings are great, but make sure to take advantage of chances to meet other people in these fields. PAX is a good step. Try to keep abreast of other conventions, maybe even look up board gaming cons in your area. I'm in NY and they have those some places.

A competitive nature is something to keep in balance. You don't want to have a lack of one, since if you're playing a game and care TOO little about the outcome you could come off as a sad sack or a doormat. On the other hand you don't want to be a sore loser or a poor winner. It's a terrible cliche, but it's best to make your main focus on the game itself, and the people you play it with. Sure, you may not always win SETTLERS OF CATAN or whatever game it is, but the fun's in doing your best and the game itself, and having some yucks with your chums, right? It's nice to win of course, but nobody wins all the time. And while it seems like a confident winner is a romantically attractive quality, so is someone who can lose graciously or not fall to pieces or sulk when things go wrong. I mean, even Michael Jordan missed shots and lost games (especially in his waning years).

You're absolutely right that a poor esteem is rough to overcome. I've personally struggled with it for my whole life. It's my number one malfunction. To use a retro game reference, it feels like the last boss in LEGEND OF ZELDA 2: THE ADVENTURE OF LINK. It feels like fighting your own shadow, and it's tough to beat because all it does is the opposite move you just did. Lord knows I've always wondered just what sort of person my friends and colleagues saw, because I've never seen him. And if I knew some quick solution, I'd tell the world. In a book. For the low, low price of $9.99. Unfortunately I don't, and it is a shame. What I will say, however, is that you have enough self awareness to know that your esteem is rocky. That's something not everyone has. I know what it's like to have the attitude that you need to "fix yourself" before you can date, for whatever reasons (i.e. feeling like you'd burden someone else, or feeling it would look bad on yourself, etc.). One recent podcast that Dr. Nerdlove recorded pitched the philosophy of "good enough", which I like. Everyone's idea of "perfection" varies, especially in a lover. But the truth is nobody ever gets everything they want in a lover; nobody finds someone who is literally 100% of what they want. There's some flaw or quibble somewhere. Rather, they find someone who's 80-90% of what they want - who is "good enough", at least for the time - and round up. Because you're aware of your esteem issues, you can work on either resolving them, or at least not expecting your partner to carry their burden, if not both.

What it can become, as it has with me a lot, is a reason to give up or not try. You may feel you can't try until you're perfect, until you have that killer confidence or six pack abs or never lose a hand of Munchkin or so on. And being a virgin it is easy to feel kneecapped from the start; at least I often felt that way. Your last line - mourning the love life you never had - honestly hit me in the gut. I felt that way so many times. Heck, I felt that way maybe 11 months ago. There are moments I still feel that way. And as someone who is a little older than you, all I can offer from my experience is that while it's fine to accept your emotions and try to work through them and acknowledge them, wallowing too long costs you time you cannot get back. And that only feeds into the negative self loop and makes it harder. I told myself it was pointless to try when I was 27 too; now I wish I'd been at least a tad bolder.

Active mourning takes a lot of emotional energy, and it can help drain you much like depression does. It can be genuinely exhausting. And what happened with me is pretty much around the end of last year I kind of...just stopped mourning because I stopped caring so much. I'd done it for so long that I felt spent. It felt like after years and years of hitting a heavy bag I just was too tired to continue; and that heavy bag was my soul. Sometimes you don't need confidence per say, just have a feeling of not caring as much about a rejection that it shatters you too much to not proceed again with someone else, hopefully better the next time.

You're in a better position than me, I think. You're actively getting therapy and taking positive steps to heal and improve younger than I did. Your hobbies include active and vibrant communities. I think you need to focus on landing a new job, not driving yourself nuts with the job search (which is a grind), and try to see yourself in a slightly different light. You don't have to see yourself as a hero, just like less of a villain. Talk to your therapist about this, maybe they'll describe some mental exercises you can do to get out of negative self loops with your medication. And while I know it is very very difficult, try to take some of your friends and family at their word. If they've hung around you this long, you can't be such a bad guy, right? We're usually less able to fool people than we think; I'm sure they're aware you're not Captain Courage, yet like you and your company anyway. Focus on that and try to feed on that, and remind yourself of that when that shadow tries to argue with you.
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