Relationships

Yeah, I kinda suck at relationships. Well, romantic ones, anyway. I’ve gotten a lot better at friendly relationships over the last six months – I even sometimes do what my friends ask me to do. As I am sure I have mentioned before, I’ve only had one quasi-relationship, and it didn’t end well; it shook up my emotional well-being and my confidence enough that it took me something like a decade to even consider asking other women out, and even then, I had no luck. I don’t blame her; I was in such a terrible place emotionally that I don’t know if it would have been successful even if she had been willing to continue.

For a while now, I’ve been kind of timidly trying to step into the relationship arena.  I’ve been a member on OKCupid, a dating site, for a number of years, but only recently have I been paying attention, updating my profile, and trying to reach out to women. I also just recently joined Match.com, though I don’t feel like it is a good fit for me. I’m not sure, though, and I could probably get some help from some friends here.

It was a big step for me when I told a friend of mine that I had feelings for her; the fear that I felt, as I mentioned when I talked about it her on the blog, was enormous. Nothing came of it, besides a rocky period in our friendship, but it was proof that I both could do it and that it wasn’t as crippling as I had feared. I’m a pretty shy person, especially when it comes to approaching women, and there are a lot of attractive women here – and while it might be problematic starting a relationship with someone who has been in intensive psychiatric treatment recently like I have, I think it is matched on the other hand by knowing what each of us has gone through.

There’s a camaraderie in being in the mental illness community; it’s a little like an exclusive club, just with more unpleasant member requirements. It is hard for people who haven’t been in a similar situation to know what you have gone through, which is part of what makes relationships in the community such an attractive idea. But we all have our issues, and my fear of rejection is probably my biggest hurdle here. I never asked my friend out, I just told her I had feelings for her.

I think I approach the whole relationship thing a bit too melodramatically. I believe in true love, I want to protect the other person, I want to be close to them a lot. When I talked about love languages last week, quality time was my most important language; while physical affection would also factor in there, just spending time with someone is what I enjoy, even if there isn’t a lot of talking going on. It’s why I can sit in a car silently with a friend and not feel uncomfortable, like I have to fill the silence with conversation.

I think my kind of archaic notions of chivalry and the like make me a bit of an oddball, too. I mention this way back in my second blog post, that I keep a copy of two moral codes in my wallet all the time. I think I hold myself to some strange standards. It even comes out in relationship tests I take online – the Dating Personality test on OKCupid, for example, classifies me as the Slow Dancer (Deliberate Gentle Love Dreamer), whose description is this: “Steady, reliable, and cradling her tenderly. Take a deep breath, and let it out real easy…you are The Slow Dancer. 

Your focus is love, not sex, and for your age, you have average experience. But you’re a great, thoughtful guy, and your love life improves every year. There’s also a powerful elimination process working in your favor: most Playboy types get stuck raising unwanted kids before you even begin settling down. The women left over will be hot and yours. Your ideal woman is someone intimate, intelligent, and very supportive.

While you’re not exactly the life of the party, you do thrive in small groups of smart people. Your circle of friends is extra tight and it’s HIGHLY likely they’re just like you. You appreciate symmetry in relationships.”

Aside from the bit about my love life improving every year, I think it is probably pretty accurate. I think if I were just a little more willing to go out on a limb, take a risk, and ask someone out – and not get crippled by rejection – then I’d probably have a good chance of finding a fulfilling relationship.

It’s taking the risk that is the tricky part. Anyone have any helpful ideas or hints about that?

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