Dateability and Jerkbrain Thoughts

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Dateability and Jerkbrain Thoughts

Post by DoubtfulGuest on Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:20 am

Hi. Longtime lurker ("longtime lurker" looks less savory when typed up than it did in my head), first time poster. Not exactly sure what I'm looking for or asking in this post. Part of it is an opportunity to vent in a neutral setting (I don't talk about this stuff to friends or family, and I've even struggled articulating these thoughts with therapists), part advice-seeking.

I'm a 29 year old male, a recently returned college student (currently in a part-time summer hiatus, financial aid stuff...well, that's not important. I'm back full time this coming fall), still fairly new to my area (less than a year). On the surface, I generally come across as fairly well-adjusted. I'm generally friendly (though not particularly outgoing). In terms of the basic stats: I get my basic needs met, I do all the basic personal hygiene stuff, I have my own place (granted, with a roommate) and I deal with bills and such. Those feel pretty basic to me, only really notable if they're not present, but whatever. I like myself, as a whole, and I think I have a lot of redeeming traits...but I'm an anxious person. I've been diagnosed professionally with OCD (primarily obsessive) and GAD (I'm on medication currently), and have really only gotten these things really under control over the past...four years or so. The past two have been pretty good for me-a lot of personal progress, and I just feel like a better person in general than I used to be. Yet...

I'd like to try dating. I'm not sure if I want a super-serious relationship, but...I want to shoot for...something. Now, I'm not currently interested in any particular person, so there's no urgency. Yet, I'd like to at least feel like I could give it a shot and yet...well, I know these are all familiar topics, but I'm almost certain I'm not attractive, physically (balding is one factor-I shave my head, fortunately-mildly overweight...those are the main ones. I'm currently taking steps to getting in better shape, but they're not huge leaps, and I'm not making losing weight my number one priority...yet if I don't, I feel like I “deserve” to not feel attractive or not be considered attractive. I'm aware of how messed up this bootstraps-style reasoning is). I also...this sounds awful, but on some level I resent this notion that I have to go to incredible lengths to compensate for my looks, by being the most amazing, most charismatic extrovert imaginable. I'd like to get to the point where I can both work to better myself (which I already do, although I may not be working “hard enough”) and yet, somehow, be fine with the way I am now. I understand this idea in theory, but I've always had trouble truly accepting it.

I waffle back and forth between whether or not I want to try OKCupid. I'm always hesitant to “market” myself, and having to “compete” with other men on the site...I mean, if I don't have a lot of quantifiable “this is why I'm amazing” things on there, is there much of a point in me giving it a try? Again, the physical aside, I'm an unemployed 29-year old college student. I doubt that sounds “impressive” on paper to most people. I've interpreted a lot of advice (“work on yourself first”) as “don't think about dating until you have your sh*t together” (which is...what? When do I know when I have my sh*t together? Maybe I would have my sh*t together if I were in my early twenties, but at my age...I'm supposed to have a career-type job that I love and am passionate about, right? Am I supposed to not have roommates? It just feels like “getting your sh*t together is this open-ended, ongoing thing, and yet, I'm supposed to have every aspect of my life figured out before engaging in the sorts of activities many people have been engaging in since adolescence? That doesn't make sense).

I also understand and (at least intellectually) accept what others, regardless of gender, say about attraction. I know it's complex, and that on paper, maybe my appearance isn't that outside what is considered "average". I've read online comments by women actually describing men with features like the ones I described myself having as attractive, and, while my own self-doubt makes it hard to accept it, I believe them. Maybe somehow, even though I understand this is illogical, I think I must be the exception. I also worry-much more than I need to-about this idea of "leagues", of whether or not I should only be interested in people of "equivalent" attractiveness, how I'm supposed to figure out who those people are...and it just goes on from there. Who knows? I'm not totally sure why I process these ideas in the way I do, but I have been doing so for way too long.

I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to say the right things and keep disclaimers to a minimum, so...just bear in mind, this is about as simple as I could get it. My hope is by “exorcising” reoccurring negative thoughts in this way, I can move on to some healthier ones. I don't know. On paper, other than the anxiety (which is being treated, and, again, I don't make self-deprecating remarks in social settings anymore. I left that behavior long behind me)...do I sound like that much of a mess? Does it sound as if online dating would be...worthwhile, enjoyable, whatever...in the near future (say, a couple months)?

This isn't a complete picture of my life, so I'll answer any questions anyone may have. Hopefully there are no glaring typos.
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Re: Dateability and Jerkbrain Thoughts

Post by BasedBuzzed on Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:56 am

For some people, online dating remains shite even if they're attractive. Know that warm approaches may work better than OLD for some peeps. Put a timeline onto it is kinda moot-you'll have to try to get better at it and that only comes through actually doing it. Give yourself room to pace it.

Also, of bald, slightly overweight, disorder that's largely under control, currently job hunting and (relatively mild) self-esteem issues only the latter falls in the work-on-before-diving-in category, and even that can be worked on next to trying out dating if you don't make the self-esteem dependent on your succes at dating. You can also always whip up a profile and then leave it dormant until later.

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Re: Dateability and Jerkbrain Thoughts

Post by jcorozza on Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:22 am

Completely agree that self-esteem is the only thing here that may need to be worked on before attempting to date, especially since a lot of folks tie their self-esteem together with dating.

Something else to think about, since, as you said, you have the basics down. What about you might others (not all others, but some) find interesting? Do you have hobbies or interests that you're passionate about? Are you into animals? What do you do in your free time? I find that when I'm excited about a guy, it's because he's really passionate about something (and something I can, at the very least, respect).
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Re: Dateability and Jerkbrain Thoughts

Post by Enail on Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:15 pm

I second Jcorozza on thinking about what you're passionate about, and maybe even how you're passionate about it. To me, someone who likes to discuss things in the same way as I do is much easier to connect with than someone who likes exactly the same things I do but doesn't enjoy engaging with them in the ways I do, so I think that kind of thing can be useful to have a sense of and some ideas how to convey it.

Since it seems like your appearance is an insecurity point for you, maybe it would help if you could find some clothes that you look really good in. Make sure your clothes fit! But also, if there's a colour that makes you happy or a jacket that makes you feel badass, if you feel good about what you're wearing, that kind of thing can show through in how others look at you.
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Re: Dateability and Jerkbrain Thoughts

Post by DoubtfulGuest on Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:07 pm

Enail wrote:I second Jcorozza on thinking about what you're passionate about, and maybe even how you're passionate about it. To me, someone who likes to discuss things in the same way as I do is much easier to connect with than someone who likes exactly the same things I do but doesn't enjoy engaging with them in the ways I do, so I think that kind of thing can be useful to have a sense of and some ideas how to convey it.

I've always been more of a "thinker" than a "doer", and have often struggled with making aspects of my inner life tangible, if that makes sense. I'm often interested in so many topics at once that I have difficulty selecting one and sticking with it. While I believe that I often contribute valuable ideas and work well on projects with other people (and I've received specific feedback confirming this from faculty, employers, and friends) I still feel considerable guilt for not producing anything that sounds impressive on paper. I draw, partially for recreation, but with this idea in mind that I want to eventually put something "out there" and feel satisfied with it, and yet, I'm not a professional artist, I don't make money from it, I'm no longer interested in entering the comics or animation industry and having to promote myself...and while I understand that "late bloomers" exist, I still feel insecure about the fact that so many artists become successful at a much younger age than myself.  

I always feel happy being able to share media, ideas, or stories with other people. Just consuming art, media, and miscellaneous information isn't enough for me, because I really like being able to bond with people over shared interests (translating that to activities can be more challenging). Now, finding people who enjoy much of the same media I do isn't that difficult, but it can be hard to find other people who enjoy interacting with it like I do (not to say they aren't out there, because I've met many). Before I moved, I met the same group regularly for pub trivia, or occasional bar pool, shuffleboard, etc. Being able to chat with people I like in a casual setting like that, especially when I'm able to leave when I feel I'm used up enough energy, is pretty much ideal.

I relate to animals well (well, invertebrates can be hit or miss). I've been bored and restless lately due to my reduced hours at school, and am interested in volunteering at one of the local pet shelters, though the ones I know of are evidently at full capacity for volunteers. I'll keep looking around.

Enail wrote:Since it seems like your appearance is an insecurity point for you, maybe it would help if you could find some clothes that you look really good in. Make sure your clothes fit! But also, if there's a colour that makes you happy or a jacket that makes you feel badass, if you feel good about what you're wearing, that kind of thing can show through in how others look at you.

Yeah, it's interesting, I don't judge my looks as harshly in the mirror. Honestly, sometimes I'll look at my reflection and think "Wow, I look kind of sharp today". At the same time, do I actually look okay-is it entitlement to go into interactions expecting people to react positively to me, without having anything to back me up? I've read some articles (granted, a lot of it may be pop sociology stuff that should be taken with a grain of salt) arguing that men often have an over-inflated view of attractiveness.

I don't want relationships to be about "leagues" and "levels", and they don't come across that way, generally, in my own observation of others, but I also don't want to be someone who feels entitled to attention I haven't "earned". It's this back and forth struggle between a more positive and supportive view of human relationships, which I would like to believe in, and this nagging feeling that there's always something wrong with me that I have to "fix" (and if I don't...I'm not a good person, I guess? I deserve to be rejected socially? I'm not sure what exactly I'm afraid of).

Uh, to answer your question-I look pretty good in jackets, and sweatshirts (people have told me this a couple of times). For most of the year my "uniform" is button-down plaid over a T-shirt with khakis. I'm not into the more formal look that seems to be promoted as ideal male attire, but I like to look neat, and I periodically get rid of stuff that doesn't fit well.
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