The New Year is approaching and I need some guidance on how to move forward with my life.
I’m 27, male, straight, and British. I’ve only ever been in one relationship, kissed one person, and had one sexual partner. That relationship lasted from age 14 to 23 and included some long-distance time, and several years of living together and studying at the same university. Since then I’ve been completely single (no dates, no kisses etc), and I’ve also been socially isolated (no friends, unstable employment). I’ve also been depressed at varying levels of severity for who knows how long (the first serious episode being around 2004). I’m currently studying part-time, employed part-time, am trying anti-depressants, and am living with my parents.
Recently I’ve been feeling somewhat less depressed (though still moderately so), much more capable, and somewhat less socially anxious. I also have a few regular acquaintances through my studies (not friends by any means, but nice acquaintances). Also, I’ve gradually been becoming more interested in girls again. Specifically, I’ve been missing the intimacy (emotional and physical) of being in a relationship and have been feeling romantically wistful, lonely even. I rarely, if ever, receive any flirtatious signals from women and it’s clear that if I’m ever to meet someone I’ll have to take a more active approach than I ever have before. Things being as they are, I’d like to do this as gradually and tentatively as possible (in order to take care of myself as well as possible, and to work through my anxieties). My previous relationship taught me a lot of things, but I’ve changed so much in the last few years that in many ways I’m a very different person now. There’s little from that time in my life that can tell me how to move forward now.
In terms of my personal qualities, I’m essentially a good and kind person, quiet-natured, soft-hearted, and shy. Obviously, I have some problems, but I have a lot of good qualities as well. I’m a little arty, a little literary, a little pop-culturey, a little geeky, have a really good sense of humour, and people tell me I’m very intelligent. In person I think I come across as a fairly confident and capable, if rather quiet, man. I tend to keep people at a distance and I find it difficult to open up to others, perhaps for fear of rejection or negative judgement. I tend to crush easily on girls but have difficulty interacting with people whom I’m attracted towards.
Anyway, I’m sorry for writing so much and if my writing voice annoys you (as it does me), but if you have anything to say that might help me I’d be very grateful. It’s hard to boil this down to a specific question, so maybe we could start with these. Please try to read between them as much as possible.
- How should I begin working towards meeting women?
- How should I cope with my anxiety when interacting with women?
- How should I deal with my sexual and social inexperience?
- If you have been in a similar position to me, what has happened since?
- How do people make friends?
- How is it possible to open up to someone when talking, writing, or any form of personal expression feels like a distorted compression of the inner consciousness? (That sounds so pretentious – I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry! If you know what I mean, you know what I mean.)
- If you’ve been depressed or anxious for some time, tell me about the steps you took socially and romantically as you moved towards wellness.
Thank you so much.
PS: I know - therapy, therapy, therapy! Maybe in the Spring.