Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


no one wants to fuck me
September 8, 2011 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Say you are not able to find an intimate/romantic/sex partner. Ever. What would you do? I mean, you actually want one, maybe not the "love of your life" but at least something temporary. And let's say everyone you approach about this rejects you. What do you do with the rest of your life?
posted by cupcake1337 to Human Relations (158 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't despair, don't give up on yourself, don't give up on life. Talk to everyone you meet and use an internet dating service. There's lots of singles out there and people who feel just as lonely as you do right now. Having a partner doesn't change the fact that you have to do something else with the rest of your life too.
posted by joannemullen at 9:25 PM on September 8, 2011


Videogames.
posted by baf at 9:25 PM on September 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Masturbate. A lot. Cook, sew, ride motorcycles, do all the other rad shit I do on a daily basis. Snuggle with friends as opportunity arises. As much as I may want a romantic and or sexual partner, I do my absolute damnedest to life an awesome and fulfilling life without one. I don't need my happiness depending on anyone else, ya know?
posted by mollymayhem at 9:29 PM on September 8, 2011 [29 favorites]


Find fulfillment through community work. Volunteer, organize, dedicate your entire life to a cause like Gandhi.

Or you could make art a la Andy Warhol, who was rumored to being a virgin.

But I wouldn't give up on finding someone, either.
posted by kylej at 9:31 PM on September 8, 2011


let's say everyone you approach about this rejects you. What do you do with the rest of your life?


Perhaps instead of that question, you might ask:

What about my approach to these people might be leading to the rejection? Have I tried different approaches?

Am I offering anything to them besides my own need?
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:33 PM on September 8, 2011 [29 favorites]


And let's say everyone you approach about this rejects you.

I would gently but thoughtfully consider whether I was applying the correct values to "everyone," "approach" and "reject."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:34 PM on September 8, 2011 [36 favorites]


People often say to things like this, "Relax, there's someone for everyone, you'll find them." This is true for most people, they will find people, but I think it is a bit beside the point, because it glosses over the more soothing and truer statement that it is okay not to have found someone. This later point is rarely highlighted in movies or TV or in the way we think about things, but it's not unnatural or flawed to be alone, nor is it a problem. Being lonely, on the other hand, is no fun, and I wish you all the best. Even so, I would say that it's best to focus on being good to yourself and being who and what you want to be, now, without anyone else, if for no other reason than because it's really true that you find the best people when you're not looking, AND when you're at your best as an individual.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:36 PM on September 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


Pay for sex.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:37 PM on September 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'd do the same things I'd do if I could find a romantic/sexual partner; I'd just be lonelier and hornier. Not having a partner doesn't keep you from living your life— I'm not convinced that having a partner always makes it easier to live your life, either. You still need to find fulfillment, occupy your time, make a living, etc.. Expecting a relationship to fill all the holes in your heart is a recipe for disappointment.

(And, turning it around: being able to lead a happy life while not in a relationship is one of those things that makes someone more attractive, in my and I think many peoples' eyes.)
posted by hattifattener at 9:39 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are seven billion people in the world. Seven. BILLION.

I'd say the odds of finding someone, somewhere who wants to have sex with you are pretty much in your favor. It's just that you haven't found the right someone yet. That doesn't mean you're broken, or doomed to failure.

In my life, I've personally found that the times when I've stopped focusing on finding other people to fill my time and started focusing on self-improvement have been the times when romantic admirers suddenly and unexpectedly came my way. I know that's a cliche -- that love finds you when you're not looking -- but I think it really does happen to many people, and I think for good reason -- self-sufficiency is an attractive trait in a partner.

Is there some cause or hobby you're passionate about? Some useful project you could throw yourself into full force, to take your mind off your current disappointment and frustration?
posted by BlueJae at 9:40 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I'm in the situation you describe, I do two things:

1) I do all of the same things I would do if I had a partner. I find a great job, and I volunteer, and I hang out with my friends, and I have hobbies, and I avoid doing the dishes until I'm all out of clean spoons, and I watch movies, and I work out, and I take cool vacations, and I read, and I sometimes rearrange all of the furniture in my apartment to give myself a new view. Basically, I live my life. I just happen to live by myself.

2) If I'm doing all of those awesome things and still not happy without a partner, I reevaluate my approach. How am I making my interest known? How am I choosing who to approach? What is immediately most likable about me, and what might be off-putting to people who don't know me well? How's my breath? Am I overlooking people in my life who may have crushes on me, and if so, why? In other words, when I think that "everyone" has "rejected" me, it's likely that's not really true. And to the extent that it is true, strangers are not rejecting me, they're rejecting something about the way I present myself, and I can probably change that thing.
posted by decathecting at 9:44 PM on September 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


Partners are nice, but they do take time and attention. Without one, you can devote that time and attention to something else. What do you want to be? What do you want to do? You are free to order your life as you see fit, without compromising.
posted by amtho at 9:45 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


"... And let's say everyone you approach about this rejects you. What do you do with the rest of your life?"
posted by cupcake1337 to human relations

For starters, I'd approach a whole lot more people, with an ever bigger smile. After all, every "no" you get past is one more "no" that means you're closer to a "Sure thing, sweetcakes!"

First, you beat the numbers game, then you work on the quality thing.
posted by paulsc at 9:47 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


(i seem to have a habit of making posts that the mod like to delete, so, fuck it, i'll page sit)

internet dating? already tried

let me clarify: some kind of partner (*any* kind, i'm not necessarily looking for the love of my life, temporary-as-long-as-functional is fine) is the one thing that's missing part.

masturbate? already do it a lot. other things? on the outside i appear to be doing quite well. you can only focus on other things for so long. i've been doing that for ... years. it get's old.

different approaches? check. unfortunately, i don't have time to get a statistically significant sample, with an appropriate control group, so I can't say for certain what the problem is.

I would gently but thoughtfully consider whether I was applying the correct values to "everyone," "approach" and "reject."

At this point, I'm open to anything on the spectrum of fwb to exclusive dating, but the (only interested in women) people who I express interest in are not interested in doing the same things with me.

This is true for most people, they will find people, but I think it is a bit beside the point, because it glosses over the more soothing and truer statement that it is okay not to have found someone.

It's not an issue of what "society" expects of me, it's an issue of what experiences I value.

Pay for sex. Check (at least while in Asia). Unfortunately, I live in the U.S. and I don't make enough money for it to be a feasible option. That in addition to the risk it would pose to my career make it not an option.

I'm not convinced that having a partner always makes it easier to live your life, either.

Do you have someone? Are you willing to prove your point? Dump them if you are with someone, and/or commit to not being with anyone (no dating, no sexual contact of any kind) and get back to me in 20 years.

I'd add to that "diminishing marginal returns". Yes, do other things, but eventually, you wear those out, and you get to one thing that gives you the most "utility", and it becomes a limiting factor.

There are seven billion people in the world. Seven. BILLION.

if only I spoke Mandarin.

Is there some cause or hobby you're passionate about? Some useful project you could throw yourself into full force, to take your mind off your current disappointment and frustration?

That's what I have been doing, but it's gotten stale.
posted by cupcake1337 at 9:49 PM on September 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


First, check this out.

If that doesn't help (and it probably won't, but it's nice) don't despair. Seek friendships. Get involved in things. If you are religious, go to church, I guess. If not, find other things. Community theatre groups are great for this. You don't even have to act because they are always looking for people who can do things on the technical side and volunteer, and they are chock-full of fun-loving people who desperately crave attention and sex, and the more valuable you make yourself to the group the more likely it is that people in the group will want to fuck you just for the status of it.

And sometimes it might just be that you need a new scene. I know that's not easy, and from your comment I get the feeling that you've got a job that isn't easily transferable. When I lived in NY I got laid like crazy. In DC the well is almost completely dry. But I think the biggest difference is that in NY I'm much, much happier and more alive-feeling than I am in DC.

I know it sucks, and I'd give you a massive hug right now if I could.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:57 PM on September 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


The (only interested in women) people who I express interest in are not interested in doing the same things with me.

Then I would, still gently but thoughtfully, consider whether I had emotional issues, patterns or habits in my ways of interacting with women that made women uncomfortable around me, and I would try to find ways to change them.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:05 PM on September 8, 2011 [41 favorites]


Think of it this way, if you were standing in front of a locked door behind which was the thing you want most of all and I gave you a keyring with a thousand keys on it, how many keys would you try before you gave up? All of them, I hope. You have not hit the limit on "everyone." Do not despair; keep trying. And good luck.
posted by mattbucher at 10:08 PM on September 8, 2011 [13 favorites]


I just want to say -- over the years I've seen questions like this before, and then noticed a few months/years later questions from the same user like, "My wife and I are thinking about moving..." "My boyfriend and I are going to Greece..." whatever. I kind of wish we could get those people's perspectives. I am REALLY in a similar situation in some ways... my advice is to not think about it. Even if doing all the other crap is getting stale, just keep not thinking about it. Yes, it sucks, but preparing yourself for a life of loneliness sucks MORE. You don't want to spend time doing that and then wake up one day years later realizing the time you spent on bitterness and isolation. Just. keep. doing. it. Keep trying to date, deal with the rejection, try again. I have NO IDEA why it's harder for some people than others. I'm one of the people it's really hard for, and I add about two to three people to my social circle every six weeks I'd say, but none lead me to a relationship. All I can say is keeping trying is WAY better than prepping for life alone. Screw that.
posted by sweetkid at 10:09 PM on September 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'd post an Ask Metafilter question and reject every suggestion as worthless.

Then later I'd get therapy.
posted by salvia at 10:09 PM on September 8, 2011 [114 favorites]


The only answer to your specific question, about what a person who can't find any kind of intimacy ought to do with his/her life, is one you seem to reject out of hand. Of course the only answer is that you develop as a rich a life as you can, filling the space that romantic intimacy occupies for many people. Filling it either with an intense or fun immersion in activities you enjoy or difficult crafts/arts you want to master.

Or devoting yourself to your own professional development or to the betterment of your neighbors. And of course, developing friendships so that you do have the best quality relationships in your life that you can, even if they aren't ones that lead to romantic intimacy.These are ways to take advantage of the lack you feel -- other people have to compromise with their partners, make all kinds of sacrifices of their selfish interests, etc. You can teach yourself, I don't know, classical guitar every evening for two years.

There's no other answer I can see.

Now, the implied question you're provoking has to do with your assessment of your efforts to find a partner so far. Are you a man looking for a woman? that's the impression I have. And you're saying that you have found no woman whatsoever even willing to have romantic contact of any kind with you? I don't mean to be insensitive when I suggest that this can only possibly be the case if either (1) you're currently fighting in Afghanistan or (2) your standards are too high. Are you only approaching or trying to date the most beautiful women around you?

Of lonely women who would at least consider a date with a guy who was nice and approached them with sincere interest -- there is no end.
posted by Philemon at 10:09 PM on September 8, 2011 [12 favorites]


cupcake1337, I think you need to clarify whether you want to know how to find a partner, or how to live happily alone. Those are both answerable questions and aren't at all mutually exclusive. But your question as stated just comes across as venting.
posted by auto-correct at 10:12 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


You keep trying. I say this as someone who could have written the exact same post five years ago, and am now happily engaged. You're in your late 20's? That is way, way too young to give up.

You're smart and introspective. That's clear from reading your previous comments. Unfortunately, it's also a liability regarding dating and rejection: Where most people would just shrug it off, you'll brood on the thought WTF IS WRONG WITH ME and it will devastate you. Too many of those episodes and you'll conclude that it's just not worth trying. But that's a false dilemma: Either I must spend my life alone, or risk being maimed by rejection. There's a third option: Cultivate a thicker skin. The way to do that is low-stakes dating. Instead of working up the courage to ask out someone you really like, go on dates with internet strangers. OKCupid. Expect to be rejected, and when it happens, you've only invested a modicum of time and emotion. Go on as many dates as possible; it's the best way to improve your chances of finding someone who you have real chemistry with, and familiarity will lessen your overall anxiety.

Ask your friends for honest constructive criticism about how you can improve your presentation. Maybe you smell like cheese, or are covered in cat fur, or are dressed like a hobo? It's amazing how blind we can be to how others perceive us. You need an outside opinion to learn these things.

Hit the gym because it will make you feel better about yourself and make you more confident.

And maybe post this on your wall.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:15 PM on September 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


For starters, I'd approach a whole lot more people, with an ever bigger smile. After all, every "no" you get past is one more "no" that means you're closer to a "Sure thing, sweetcakes!"

I've been going after the one's who seem-most-likely first, so simply increasing the number of people who I approach probably won't work very well. Though there is some error in my ability to predict the probability of a person being receptive, in general I'm good enough at it, so as I increase the breadth of people I consider, the less likely the next person will be to be receptive.

I'd also like to say my standards are: do I see myself wanting to fuck this person? Why "fuck"? Because sexual exclusivity is associated with emotional intimacy. It would be easier if those things were separate, because it would make it easier to get at least one of those wants satisfied, but unfortunately that's not the case.

Navelgazer: yes, I've seen that, I'm a lurker. I'm past that. Those types of things simply don't do it for me. They are really just misdirection, to make you forget about the underlying problem.

I know that's not easy, and from your comment I get the feeling that you've got a job that isn't easily transferable.

That's correct. I'm about 20k in debt (all that focusing on other things, making yourself better stuff) and the career path I'm on means I don't have much choice of where I'll relocate after school, at least for the next 5-10 years.

But I think the biggest difference is that in NY I'm much, much happier and more alive-feeling than I am in DC.

The things that would make me much happier and more alive-feeling are the things that people don't want to do with me.

Then I would, still gently but thoughtfully, consider whether I had emotional issues, patterns or habits in my ways of interacting with women that made women uncomfortable around me, and I would try to find ways to change them.

When you say that I hear "psh, you just have emotional issues". Well, what ever happened to the advice "just be yourself"? I mean, when are you suppose to be yourself, and when are you suppose to fundamentally change who you are? As a metaphor, it's easy to advocate for revolution, but it's more difficult to specify what should happen after that. That comment boils down to "try something new". OK???
posted by cupcake1337 at 10:18 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


What do you do with the rest of your life?

work - not necessarily at a job, although i'm sure you have and need one - but something you love doing

do everything you can for it

the meaning of your life is up to you to define - no one else, not even a significant other, can decide this for you
posted by pyramid termite at 10:24 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


cupcake1337, no one's going to give you advice about how to be sad and alone and self defeating for the rest of your life. OK a few people are, but most people are not. As human beings, the vast, vast majority of us want to find romantic and real connections with other people. One of my favorite quotes on this is Carl Sagan's "For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love." We need it, we want it, it's how we're built.

Like I said, I do not know why it's so hard for some and not others. I wish I did! For the people it's not hard for, they seem to live in a world of sunflowers and oceans and Facebook profile pictures with their temples pressed to another person's temple. But keep in mind that no one's life is as great as it might look from the outside. Everyone has their crap to deal with, and this is yours at the moment. It's not permanent.
posted by sweetkid at 10:27 PM on September 8, 2011 [21 favorites]


I'd also like to say my standards are: do I see myself wanting to fuck this person? Why "fuck"? Because sexual exclusivity is associated with emotional intimacy. It would be easier if those things were separate, because it would make it easier to get at least one of those wants satisfied, but unfortunately that's not the case.

It isn't really. I might be pretty socially/romantically inept but even I've had kisses that have been more meaningful than sex, and have had both emotionless sex and sexless emotional relationships. I dated a girl and than later had a friends with benefits situation with her - things were much more intense when it was emotional.

As for what I do with myself?

Videogames and masturbation.

But seriously, there's somebody for everybody. I'm feeling lonely now, but people - attractive, intelligent people - have been attracted to me before. This implies that in the future, the same thing will happen! And while I'm 'waiting' for that to happen I'll just improve myself - work on my writing, work out and work on my body, work on my mind. This means that I'll be more likely to find somebody next time.

And while you're concentrating on Gears of War or pushups than you distract yourself, and that distraction actually makes you even more attractive.

You should probably put up an OkCupid profile and work on being more social too. I've realized that it isn't that other people don't like me - its that I need to like myself more.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:33 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recently took a month off of dating. I wasn't really going on many dates before that, but this was a month of intentionally not logging into online dating sites, not contacting people, not reading dating advice, not thinking about how I could be dating. I focused on other things. It ended up being a really good "reset" for me. I recommend this.

I've also been spending time learning how to cultivate happiness in myself. I feel like to some extent being happy is a choice. I realized that, and I've been trying to make that choice, over and over, by looking for the happy things. I know this sounds cheesy but I feel better and it seems like it's improved my connections with other people.

And...I would try really hard not to be bitter. There's someone in my social circle who's in her 40s and is sort of in your situation. She's grouchy, she whines about her problems (dating and such) and about how no one treats her the way they should, she complains about whatever is going on, and it makes it really tough to be around her for more than a few minutes--which obviously makes her less datable.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:34 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


During the comment/response interplay upthread it seems you are not clear about what you want. I am not trying to mind-fuck you but look:

sexual exclusivity is associated with emotional intimacy.
Do you have someone?
some kind of partner (*any* kind, i'm not necessarily looking for the love of my life, temporary-as-long-as-functional is fine) is the one thing that's missing part.

These goals or desires all seem different. What would happen if someone were to fulfill -one- of the three and that was it - which would you wish for? I read the comments as:

-someone to be emotionally naked with
-someone who will be there when you come home
-someone who will have sex with you

The first is the most powerful for me, and I can comparatively do without the second and third, how about you? These are not necessarily the same person.
posted by jet_silver at 10:35 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


But I think the biggest difference is that in NY I'm much, much happier and more alive-feeling than I am in DC.

The things that would make me much happier and more alive-feeling are the things that people don't want to do with me.


Are you sure about this? When I was in your situation, I thought getting laid would solve all my problems. It didn't. It spurred me to start solving them, but it didn't solve them. I thought getting a girlfriend would solve my problems. Again, it didn't. Instead, my own faults just made two people unhappy, instead of one.

Get yourself sorted out. Its taking me a long time to realize that, but that's what you need to do.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:38 PM on September 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


when are you suppose to be yourself, and when are you suppose to fundamentally change who you are

If "yourself" is an unlikable, unfuckable person, then I guess it's time to give up now and work on radical self acceptance. But I suspect that you're a likable, fuckable person with some characteristics that are getting in the way of people liking and fucking you. Don't change your core self, but do change representations of self that limit people from seeing who you are.

If you really want help, it would be helpful to have more information. Are you male or female? How do you feel about social norms -- reject, embrace, or whatever works in the moment? What do you look like? What kinds of things do you do? What types of approaches have you tried that have failed? Is your success rate zero (outside of paying for it), or have you occasionally but not often enough managed to find sexual partners? How do you define "fuckable"? What people do you exclude from that category? How old are you?
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:39 PM on September 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


And let's say everyone you approach about this rejects you.

You are not approaching enough women. What you describe is not possible. I mean that. Continue until you meet who you like.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:42 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cupcake, you've had a whole lot of good answers, both to the question of how to get laid, and to the question of how to be happier if you end up not getting laid for a while.

But you've rejected those answers, pretty much out of hand.

That tends to suggest that what you want from this thread is something other than possible solutions to your double-sided problem.

It's almost as if you want us to either tell you to just suck it up and learn to live with it (ie agree with you that life sucks and provide our complicity in your self-imposed unhappiness) or you want us to tell you you are being a fool (ie reject you personally, and thus provide confirmation that your self-imposed unhappiness is externally caused, and isn't really self-imposed).

Neither option really wets my whistle. So to speak.

As has been said above, you need to learn to be happy with yourself and on your own. Then you will be attractive to others.

That can be a hard thing to do. For some it requires therapy. Think hard about whether you need that.
posted by Ahab at 10:42 PM on September 8, 2011 [24 favorites]


Think of it this way, if you were standing in front of a locked door behind which was the thing you want most of all and I gave you a keyring with a thousand keys on it, how many keys would you try before you gave up? All of them, I hope. You have not hit the limit on "everyone." Do not despair; keep trying. And good luck.

And what if the key ring didn't actually have the key to the lock? How would you be able to tell the difference?

I just want to say -- over the years I've seen questions like this before, and then noticed a few months/years later questions from the same user like, "My wife and I are thinking about moving..." "My boyfriend and I are going to Greece..." whatever.

I could have posted this question five or ten years ago.

Then later I'd get therapy. Check. "Therapy" isn't very good for this kind of problem though. It's like if you went to doctor with a broken arm, and the doctor said "think about all the other going things in your life!" They can't *make* women attracted to me, that's just not what they do.

Are you a man looking for a woman?

Yes.

I've tried OKC.

The way to do that is low-stakes dating.

No one wants me for that either.

Everyone has their crap to deal with, and this is yours at the moment. It's not permanent.

... and this is mine.
posted by cupcake1337 at 10:43 PM on September 8, 2011



If "yourself" is an unlikable, unfuckable person, then I guess it's time to give up now and work on radical self acceptance. But I suspect that you're a likable, fuckable person with some characteristics that are getting in the way of people liking and fucking you.



Where do people learn to be 'fuckable' though? I just learned THIS WEEK that liking Bright Eyes and being earnest and teary makes you unfuckable.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:43 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then later I'd get therapy. Check. "Therapy" isn't very good for this kind of problem though. It's like if you went to doctor with a broken arm, and the doctor said "think about all the other going things in your life!" They can't *make* women attracted to me, that's just not what they do.


No, but they can make you more attractive to women. It's like how a personal trainer won't MAKE women attracted to you, but they'll make your body more attractive. Once I went into therapy and started dealing with my depression my romantic/sex life went from nonexistant to merely infrequent. Just the small increase in confidence improved things a bit, and it sounds like 'a bit' would help you out.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:46 PM on September 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


And what if the key ring didn't actually have the key to the lock? How would you be able to tell the difference?

You eventually either find the key that fits, keep on trying them all or give up trying keys.

As a data point, my husband was sure he would spend the rest of his life alone. He had given up for a very long time--many, many years. I turned up, (a very unlikely candidate), and turned his world around.
posted by HMSSM at 10:51 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


The things that would make me much happier and more alive-feeling are the things that people don't want to do with me.

Which means what? Sex? Or other activities that you can't find people for? If the former, I would suggest not putting so much emphasis on sex to make you feel happy and alive. If the latter, there are ALWAYS people out there who want to do that thing, whatever it is.

What about friends? Do you have them? Can they set you up with other people, keep you busy, talk with you?
posted by pised at 10:54 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Check. "Therapy" isn't very good for this kind of problem though... They can't *make* women attracted to me...

They can help you figure out why your approach is not working for you (you may not have a statistically significant sample size but they've read the research that does) and what might be more successful approaches.
posted by salvia at 10:55 PM on September 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


But seriously, there's somebody for everybody.

Whenever someone says this I think: what if my person was hit by a bus when she was seven? Do I get a new person, or am I screwed? If I get a new person, what happens to the person she was suppose to be with? Does this cosmic shifting cause extra babies to be made?

- its that I need to like myself more.

I like myself plenty.

These goals or desires all seem different. What would happen if someone were to fulfill -one- of the three and that was it - which would you wish for? I read the comments as:

-someone to be emotionally naked with
-someone who will be there when you come home
-someone who will have sex with you


Any of those things would help. At the least, give more time to figure things out. At the best, hold me over until I'm able to find something that fulfills all of my wants.

The things that would make me much happier and more alive-feeling are the things that people don't want to do with me.

Are you sure about this?


YES.
posted by cupcake1337 at 10:56 PM on September 8, 2011


[OP, this thread is not therapy. Please do not treat the answers you are getting as suggestions that need to be shot down. Occasional updates are okay. Threadsitting and dismissing all answers, less okay.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:01 PM on September 8, 2011 [25 favorites]


Cupcake1337, I know it seems like there are no answers. No one here is going to have a cheat code or anything (just using my own wish-fulfillment desire for what the internet should be for, there.)

I have known and been close friends with so, so many people who were simply "unfuckable." And they have been all of their lives. And one by one I see something turn around for them. I am asking you simply, please, not to reject these answers out of hand.

My situation is different from yours, though I know loneliness well and have been experiencing it myself for some time now. Tides change.

Those unfuckable friends of mine, who have spent their lives feeling like you do? They are my rock and foundation, because the relationships they are in now are fucking awesome. And they let those relationships change who they are as people for the better as well.

I get the feeling that you asked this partially as a pity-party, and I totally respect that. So I'll leave you with this. In the cosmic pinball machine it's probably meaningless, and I reject out-of-hand the "there's someone for everybody" meme. But when the pinballs bounce around enough, things happen. And so, god help me, I quote How I Met Your Mother:

"I know that you're tired of waiting, and you may have to wait a while longer. But she's on her way, and she's getting here as fast as she can."

So just prepare yourself to be as awesome as you can be when she gets here, I guess.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:01 PM on September 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


And what if the key ring didn't actually have the key to the lock? How would you be able to tell the difference?

You eventually either find the key that fits, keep on trying them all or give up trying keys.


Addendum to my answer: you also sit on your side of the door as you try your keys knowing that she is on the other side of the door trying all her keys. You don't give up trying your keys because if for some reason she has given up, you both lose.

And imho, there are multiple combinations of people and keys and doors that could be right for each other.
posted by HMSSM at 11:03 PM on September 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do you have friends?

What are the tngs to which you refer (that make you feel alive)?

Can you find new things?
posted by bq at 11:06 PM on September 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you need someone who knows you who can tell you how you come across to other people. From what I understand you say you can't get any dates at all, that you are rejected both face-to-face as well as on online dating sites. This seems to indicate that you don't come across very well. For instance you might be coming across as bitter or desperate, there might be something else. You need someone who can honestly tell you how you come across so you can deal with it.

Also, you might consider therapy again because from your answers it sounds like you didn't really give it a shot (considering how you find being yourself and making any sort of change to your behavior fundamentally incompatible). I'm saying this because you seem to be stuck in a sort of "life sucks, everyone hates me and I'll be lonely forever" thinking pattern, which isn't really healthy.
posted by bjrn at 11:12 PM on September 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


I have seen it for sure: There IS someone for everyone. And on preview, the hit-by-bus-person will be replaced (wrong word I know but there is no shortage of people nevertheless) by someone who wasnt hit by a bus. They are out there!
In no way is what you want unfuckable.
If intimacy is what you are after then forget the yearning sex for awhile, engage others as you already say you do and have a measure of intimacy that way for awhile. If fucking is what you want then I think is more achievable by honestly seeking whatever it is you most want in a blatant way with sex professionals, OR, ...ease your way in by making friends that you happen to find out want similar things in a sexual way
Try not to be in a rush. If you were an old man, you never know ... sex/intimacy could still be in your future. You are young-ish. Even if what you want is "strange" to some, there is NO shortage of women (since you have identified yourself as male and wanting a female) who like to fuck.
I promise.
posted by bebrave! at 11:15 PM on September 8, 2011


But seriously is there any way to learn how to appear less desperate and be more attractive that isn't Something Awful's E/N forums, AskMe, feminist blogs and creepy pick up artists communities?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:16 PM on September 8, 2011


Being in a relationship doesn't make all of your problems go away. It resolves the problem of 'not having a partner' (if it was one for you) Sure it is a wonderful thing to have someone who is there for you, and to be there for someone else, but they can only help you with so much - usually the practical rather than the personal. Your worries and insecurities about yourself, your self-worth etc. will not disappear with a relationship and can only be dealt with by you, which is why the suggestions of therapy may be good ones.

The fact that you are willing to settle for just anyone ('some kind of partner') does suggest that your self esteem needs some work. Don't settle, you deserve better, someone who loves you and cares about you and who will work with you for the benefit of both your futures.

Go on a group holiday with people you don't know, join a running club, if online dating isn't working (and it doesn't for everyone) take a break from it. In fact, take a break from thinking about relationships just for a couple of months. Take the pressure off yourself to find someone and just have life experiences. Good luck.
posted by veebs at 11:19 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, you're approaching this from the wrong perspective. You think therapy can't help all that much because it can't help you find someone. But that's not what the actual problem is.

The problem is that other people can no doubt sense the fact that you are looking for someone to fuck/complete you/cure you. And no one wants to do that. They have their own stuff without having to be someone's savior. I know a dear, dear man who I'd love to plant a great big old kiss on but he's looking for me to magically make his life better and I'm not willing to be that person. I adore him, but I cannot be the person to make him happy - only he can do that.

Focus on making yourself better. You have to do that independently of other people. Once you've helped yourself, then you can find someone to be with.
posted by mleigh at 11:22 PM on September 8, 2011 [24 favorites]


You're right. There is a non-zero chance that you will indeed never find anyone or, having loved and lost, will never love again. We hate to admit it because it scares us, but it happens. Just like cancer or a fatal car crash, it sucks, it's not fair, and it happens all the time. You can wear your seatbelt and sunscreen, you can try OkCupid and pray, and you still draw a short straw. The question is, do you let the possibility of the bad outcome prevent you from enjoying the good things you have?
posted by The otter lady at 11:23 PM on September 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well, the first thing you need to do is... accept it.

If it is the case that you have tried everything feasible -- from therapy, to changing your approach, to widening your pool as much as you can, to making a life without, to patience, to proactivity, to... to... to... -- then here you are. You've done everything you can. It is not happening for you. We can't always get what we want.

The thing that you have to fight now is feeling butthurt about it. And that's not easy, I know. But now that you have done everything possible to achieve sex and love, your new task is to accept that you cannot have it.

The good news is that sex and love are not oxygen -- you will survive. The other good news is that, as you get older, the biological imperative fades, and you will want sex and love less. I know what I'm talking about: I've been single for more than ten years, and I expect to be single for the rest of my life. It's fine. You'll be fine, too.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 11:26 PM on September 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


The good news is that sex and love are not oxygen -- you will survive. The other good news is that, as you get older, the biological imperative fades, and you will want sex and love less. I know what I'm talking about: I've been single for more than ten years, and I expect to be single for the rest of my life. It's fine. You'll be fine, too.

The right meds will also decrease your sex drive. But I think its all about mindset. If you think nobody will want to be with you, you'll scare away people and ignore those who do.

I'm pretty much trying to convince myself more than you guys.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:28 PM on September 8, 2011


What I would do is sit down and try and determine exactly what I feel "entitled" to in life. And if I discovered that, lo and behold, I felt entitled to stuff like "sexual attention from other people" I would DECIDE (yes, decide) to stop feeling that way. Because, well, logically speaking nobody owes me anything of the sort. And thus it makes no sense wasting energy being frustrated over not being able to "access the supply" of something that it is not only irrational, but frankly *unethical* to consider in such terms.

And then? Well, then I would probably go draw or ride bikes or something. And I imagine everything would be way more fun once I'd gotten over myself! :D
posted by aecorwin at 11:29 PM on September 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


I imagine that lovers are being rejected like answers in this thread.

A conversation with a therapist about why you believe fate has had all your lovers hit by a bus is a needed one.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:31 PM on September 8, 2011 [41 favorites]


How to deal with being dealt a shitty hand that you can't fix is a subject that has been explored in film art poetry etc. for pretty much forever. I mean, did Oedipus really have a chance? You're really not the only one in this situation.

I have a major weird unlucky thing in that my parents are complete fail parents. Didn't come to my wedding, stole tens of thousands of dollars from me, and that's just since I moved out. There's no way to fix that.

So how to deal, well, you know what? You get no choice. Life will go on. Sometimes you will feel overwhelmed by it and listen to sad music and life will seem unbearably hard. Rarely, you will forget about it. Most of the time it will be at least in the back of your mind, but not interfere with the little things that make life worthwhile. You will find other things to fill some of those emotional holes and you will succeed at least in part, but probably never completely. That is fine, because you do not need to have everything everyone else has in order to be okay.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:48 PM on September 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Therapy" isn't very good for this kind of problem though. It's like if you went to doctor with a broken arm, and the doctor said "think about all the other going things in your life!"

It's actually like if you went to the doctor with a broken arm, and the doctor said "let's get your arm in a cast and give you something for the short-term pain. Also, the X-Ray showed that your bone density is quite low. You have severe osteoporosis, quite surprising in a person of your age, perhaps due to a deficiency in a chemical that helps your bone retain calcium, or perhaps due to other causes. Let's start by putting you on a special diet to supplement the calcium. But we need to identify the pervasive issue here that has caused this structural condition. If we don't take care of this, you'll be back in here with a broken leg next month and a broken hip the month after that."

I just read all your AskMe comments, and you come across as a smart, well-spoken, caring person who can relate to others' difficulties. This thread aside, I basically can't see why you'd have any more difficulty than your average logic-oriented introvert (?). You seem like a fundamentally decent person. There are a few possible clues in this thread (defeatism, just wanting to be with anyone), but this thread might be a bit of an exception to your normal self. So, I think bjrn makes a really good point: you should ask this of your in-person friends and/or a counselor.

I did come across this bit, which I hope you won't mind me quoting. (If you do mind, you can tell the mods, and they'll delete it.) To me, this comment is why you might seriously consider setting up meetings with three or four therapists, explaining this exact question to them, and then picking the professional that you most believe can help you:

Someone else said: I always seemed to have a partner if I wanted one

You replied: That's more than many people can say. I don't know what I'd be willing to do to be like that, but it would be significant.
posted by salvia at 12:02 AM on September 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


You might need to lower (or if that's not the right word, then readjust) your standards to something more realistic for you. Are you trying for women who are way out of your league (sexually, intellectually, financially, emotionally)? If you're a fat, awkward guy with the personality of a rusty trash can and the income of a paper boy, and every woman you approach is some perfect young beauty who has ten thousand hot guys to choose from, you will always lose. Every damned time. That's how life works.

Inventory yourself and try to imagine what your female counterpart might be. If you have a sister, maybe something like her. Maybe something like your mother used to be when she was your age. Physically, that's probably the league you should be playing in.
posted by pracowity at 12:27 AM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


"... I've been going after the one's who seem-most-likely first, so simply increasing the number of people who I approach probably won't work very well. Though there is some error in my ability to predict the probability of a person being receptive, in general I'm good enough at it, so as I increase the breadth of people I consider, the less likely the next person will be to be receptive. ..."

Not only are you no good at predicting who might be receptive, judging from your own significant lack of success, but worse, you're deluding yourself that you are a crack judge of the minds of others. You're no better off than a blind man, hunting ducks, who is proud of his ability to shoot, even though he never hears a duck drop, or his dog take off to retrieve one. You know it's not your shells, your gun, or your dog that is keeping you from knocking down ducks, so it must not be your aim, either...

Until you get lucky, keep trying a lot more, and stop judging, altogether.
posted by paulsc at 12:54 AM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


until I'm able to find something that fulfills all of my wants.

I don't know you, I assume. But if I did, and fairly well at that, and assuming you weren't someone I considered borderline in terms of depression, psychosis etc ... I'd take this comment and throw it straight back at you.

Who cares about your wants? What are you giving?
posted by philip-random at 12:59 AM on September 9, 2011 [24 favorites]


Snarl Furillo:Then I would, still gently but thoughtfully, consider whether I had emotional issues, patterns or habits in my ways of interacting with women that made women uncomfortable around me, and I would try to find ways to change them.

I agree with Snarl Furillo here, EXCEPT that I don't think this should be done gently and thoughtfully. I think you should find the 5 bluntest women you can, and have them bluntly and directly tell you exactly why you are not having any success. And you should listen to them without argument. And then you should change the things they tell you to change.

I saw what you said up above about being yourself:

Well, what ever happened to the advice "just be yourself"? I mean, when are you suppose to be yourself, and when are you suppose to fundamentally change who you are?

I think this is a copout and a dodge. Changing your BEHAVIOR is not changing who you fundamentally are. Changing your CHOICES is not changing who you fundamentally are either.

And when are you supposed to make this kind of change? When you know what your values and priorities are, and you know that your current choices and behavior are not aligned with those values and priorities.

To be perfectly frank with you, if I had to guess, I would guess that your problem is some combination of these things:

1. You are only interested in very physically attractive women and/or women who are far more physically attractive than you/younger than you.

2. You need to practice your social skills overall.

3. You exude negativity and/or desperation.

You already shot down the idea of a therapist because, it seems, you believe a therapist won't address the problem of why women are not attracted to you and will only want you to focus on other things in your life. I think you are wrong about that. I think if you specifically go to a therapist in order to work on social skills and being less negative, you will find plenty of therapists willing to do just that.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:28 AM on September 9, 2011 [49 favorites]


I would stop playing Why Don't You Yes But, take a good long look in the mirror, and read every bit of related self-help literature I could find however ludicrous it might seem or actually be.

Then I'd remember that my life wasn't actually over yet, that if you don't try you don't get, and I would keep looking.

You might want to read The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman.
posted by tel3path at 1:29 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also as to these things:

- "At this point, I'm open to anything on the spectrum of fwb to exclusive dating..."
- "... maybe not the "love of your life" but at least something temporary."
- "...some kind of partner (*any* kind, i'm not necessarily looking for the love of my life, temporary-as-long-as-functional is fine)..."

I can tell you this: this attitude is going to be deeply unattractive to most women. Most women are not looking to be a temporary-as-long-as-functional stopgap to a guy who just wants something, anything.

And:

I'd also like to say my standards are: do I see myself wanting to fuck this person?

I think this attitude would be possibly even less attractive to women than the one above. Trust me, women have guys coming at them all the time thinking, "hey, there's a possible temporary partner that I really see myself wanting to fuck." It's something that many women see coming a mile away and run from.

These two things, they would be good to change, with therapy.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:43 AM on September 9, 2011 [45 favorites]


I'd become physically fit if I weren't, and try again.
posted by krilli at 1:51 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


From reading this thread, I have two observations:

1 :: What you're doing clearly isn't working.
2 :: You refuse to try anything new.

So why do you think the situation will change?

Either you're going for the wrong women, or you're going for the right women the wrong way. Are any of Ashley801's observations accurate? Because they would've been my guess as well. I will also note that you don't seem like you want a relationship with a woman. You seem like you want a relationship with any woman, and women can tell the difference.

(On preview, yes, what Ashley said in her second comment.)

Btw, I've been single for nearly a decade. It's not something I planned, and sometimes I miss the intimacies of a relationship, but, you know, if the worst thing you can say about your life is that you're single, you're not doing that badly. Many people are in relationships and miserable about it. And many people are single and fulfilled. A relationship is not some magical Get Happy card.
posted by Georgina at 1:56 AM on September 9, 2011 [14 favorites]


ok- so what's wrong with you? You just want to talk about how it's all just DOOMED. That's not doing anything for you but making everyone play along with your obnoxious pity party. I'm not going to play. If EVERY SINGLE PERSON EVAR has rejected you, there has to be something really wrong.

Are you combative? Do you have bad personal hygiene? extremely obese? no teeth? Are you physically deformed? incredibly negative, perhaps? None of these things on their own can completely make you unpalatable- but a combination of undesirable traits paired with poor social skills can make it really freaking tough.

Ask one of your friends to tell you the truth. Ask them- is there something about my approach or behavior that is making it harder for me to relate to women? If they come back and say "well, it's a lot to do with how condescending you are, and how you always smell like a pack of cigarettes and old fish, and how you touch your junk when you talk to them." don't dismiss what they are saying out of hand like you seem to be doing here.

People who bitch about how they should get to "be themselves" often are really fucking abrasive. you are not your haircut. you are not your neck beard. you are not your clothes, yada yada yada. You are also not your shitty interpersonal behaviors. You can learn to be more diplomatic and more engaging.

You keep talking about how "no one ever wants to fuck me ever" well- WHY is that exactly? It sounds like you're passing the buck. You don't want to go to therapy because "they can't get people to like you". WTF is that about? you don't think that your attitude has anything at all to do with why no one is taking off their pants?
posted by Blisterlips at 2:23 AM on September 9, 2011 [46 favorites]


Say you are not able to find an intimate/romantic/sex partner. Ever. What would you do?

As of this moment in time, I'm not looking for one as I know I am not going to be a good partner - but what I'd do is do what I'm doing right now - enjoying life! I spend most of my time after work working on hobbies I really enjoy. And I have a few. Every month I'd go out and meet some acquaintances. I also just joined a gym (purely for the pool only, hate weight lifting) and can't believe why I didn't do it sooner. I am at the stage where I keep asking myself, I really enjoy this life. And I'm actually scared of getting someone else 'cause I have this irrational thought I'd have to give some of it up.


I mean, you actually want one, maybe not the "love of your life" but at least something temporary. And let's say everyone you approach about this rejects you. What do you do with the rest of your life?

Here's a story for you. About a year, year plus ago I was seeking someone to be my partner. Looking back, I could see why people were not keen - I am sure I came across as desperate and needy. Fast forward to now, I have spent alot of time learning about who I am, and what I truly want. I can't say I can give a definite answer to either, but I know I much prefer who I am right now to who I was a year+ ago.

And right now? Now, when I go out to meet people I mainly want to meet for sake of interacting with people - not healthy to just focus on hobbies, myself and shut the rest of the world out, imo - and it seems that I'm getting more attention - some unwanted. Perhaps someday I'll find the guts to let someone in.
posted by TrinsicWS at 2:26 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would you mind answering a few questions?

* How old are you?
* What is the age range of the target group you are currently trying?
* Do you have male friends?
* Do you have female friends?
* How would you rate your looks on a scale 1-10, with 10 being George Clooney?
* How tall are you?
posted by yoyo_nyc at 2:51 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry in advance, but this is some straight-up bullshit, and it seems like you would benefit from some honesty from people because you're clearly really unhappy. You clearly don't trust anyone else's thoughts/perceptions, least of all the people trying to offer you help here, but you fully and 100% accept your own thoughts as brutal truth, which I think is the actual problem.

Becoming progressively more angry and bitter and negative and fuck-the-world when things don't happen the way you wish they would is a natural reaction, and it happens to many people. However, it does not help anyone actually succeed in getting things to happen the way they wish things would happen. It truly prevents you from being able to do that, because all one is is obsessed with how unfair life is, never open to what one could be doing to make it better for oneself. No one wants to get close to that angry, bitter person, because that person is not, in fact, welcoming anyone in. Even for "just sex". Especially when you turn other people into objects in your head and pretend that they don't have any needs themselves, and that all anyone wants is someone to fuck and it doesn't matter whether someone is tediously angry at life.

Stop believing everything that you think. Your thoughts about yourself and other people are based on a complex system of emotional reactions and experiences over time, and you're flatly denying that any of that could have anything to do with why you can't get close to people? Your outlook and attitude about yourself, life, and other people are the reason you can't get close to people, because you're actually totally closed off to a real connection (even the kind of connection that happens with casual sex). You also have EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY to change and take control of that, so take it. When you decide that you really are ready for something to change, talk to a therapist.
posted by so_gracefully at 3:00 AM on September 9, 2011 [32 favorites]


@Ashley801
I think this attitude would be possibly even less attractive to women than the one above. Trust me, women have guys coming at them all the time thinking, "hey, there's a possible temporary partner that I really see myself wanting to fuck." It's something that many women see coming a mile away and run from.


This is very true. It is actually the average looking girls that get asked the most. I once went out with an average looking female friend of mine (average looking but nice b..s). Every guy in the club hit on her because she was looking "good enough". Few people hit on ugly girls and many guys are intimidated by the hot babes.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 3:12 AM on September 9, 2011


I'll tell you right now that negativity - like you've been displaying in this thread - is a huge turnoff.

Someone upthread pointed out that you have to offer people more than need. This defeatist, wound-licking attitude is not doing you any favors. Both with the ladies, and because it's preventing you from making any changes that would help improve your life.

I strongly suggest you get outside your own head for a bit and re-read these comments with an open mind. These folks are giving you good advice.
posted by AV at 3:22 AM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


What would you do?

Try and figure out why I couldn't ever get laid/find a partner. I'd break it down: Am I physically attractive? If yes, then what's the issue? If not, what can I do to minimize that, i.e. dress well, have a good personality etc, etc.

I would also take a look at this comment you made again. Not to be disparaging, but it reeks of stubborn negativeness which is highly unattractive. Do you have any male or female friends? Can you ask them how you come off to people?

It's understandable that this is frustrating to you, but my sense is that you keep trying to do the same thing over and over, which doesn't get results, which makes you more frustrated, yet you keep doing them I could be wrong, this is just what I'm gleaning from your various comments.

For example, this:
"The things that would make me much happier and more alive-feeling are the things that people don't want to do with me."

WHAT ARE THOSE THINGS? If feels like the thread is having to pull teeth with you over the question you ask, which is frustrating. Ask yourself, why are you not talking to AskMe about this, making it easier for people to understand what your problem is, where you're coming from?

To me, if one is in their last 20s and has never been in a relationship and want help in changing that, they start off with list of things they have going for them or honest assessment of their situation. But that's not what you asked. You've already come to the conclusion that you'll never have a partner and you want to learn how to live with that. That sort of negative attitude is a turn off. You should asking like this to AskMetafilter:
Hi. I'm a late 20s male, interested in women and have asked them out. Yet I've had success on that front, i.e. no woman has ever said yes to date when I've asked them. I'm an X on the hotness scale, dress reasonably well, am educated, have traveled and taught in Southeast Asia, have some friends who enjoy me, so what am I doing wrong? I can email a couple of photos of myself, if anyone is interested helping me figure out my strengths and weaknesses.

More inside: No seriously, I've asked out X number of women in the past year. All have declined. When they declined, they said X and their body language seemed to saying X. Here's three or four examples of how the asking out went down, with the situation, what I was thinking and said and how the women specifically responded
Yet, there's none of that this post, seemingly no desire for help. It's your question to ask, however you want, but do you really want to find a way to be comfortable living alone or do you want help in finding someone.

Well, what ever happened to the advice "just be yourself"? I mean, when are you suppose to be yourself, and when are you suppose to fundamentally change who you are?

Being yourself is fine, unless it's getting in the way of your goals. For instance, if a person is an introvert and doesn't like socializing, yet has a goal of owning their own business, it's going to be hard for them to achieve that goal. They're going to have to learn how to socialize to some extent, in order to make business connections, meet people etc. If they do that, are they changing or just showing the world the a different side in order to get what they want? Are they changing themselves or developing a skill to better reach their end goal?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:40 AM on September 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


Heh. I started at the top of this thread, read your question, felt sorry for you in your situation and casually thought "Aw, I wouldn't mind going on a casual date with you..."
By the time I got to the end of this thread, having read your follow-ups, I was thinking "Okay... no way...noooo wayyyy...."
You come across as pretty negative, desperate for sex/female-interaction and kinda judgmental. I don't know whether you're really like that, but that's the way it reads to me in this thread. And maybe you despair of your situation to the point of dismissing many suggestions here because you think it's really that bad.... but I have a feeling your attitude/perspective of your situation may be, uh, making things worse for yourself. I don't know what you look like, but just reading your follow-ups here shifted my perception of you (in the manner outlined above).
posted by aielen at 4:13 AM on September 9, 2011 [20 favorites]


As a single woman, I don't need to know what you look like, ow much you make, whether you smell nasty, or whatever to know that I wouldn't want to date you right now. Please, consider whether even the tiniest piece of the attitude you're showing here is appearing in these offers you're making. Because if so, well, there's your problem.
posted by SMPA at 4:17 AM on September 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


I like myself plenty.

That can't be seen in the way you talk about yourself and your relationships. And the negativity towards others is palpable; if you are even 10 percent like that in person, I can imagine a lot of people (not just women) fleeing in response.

Being yourself is fine, unless it's getting in the way of your goals.

This. If what you are doing isn't working for you, you need to change it. The good thing is that we are fairly limited creatures, so there just aren't that many things you can possibly change, so you can experiment and test and look for results quite quickly. Getting feedback from a trusted person can shortcut this, but you do have be be careful to get that feedback from someone with a clue; not everyone is able to be observant, or willing to be honest.

I agree with B Blatcher that you haven't given us almost any tools to work with here; again, if this is at all representative of how you are interacting with women, I can understand how you might be struggling to connect.
posted by Forktine at 4:17 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you think romance is going to satisfy you, you're barking up the wrong tree. Love doesn't make misery into happiness. If you bring negativity and expectation into a love relationship, it's going to suck both of you dry. When I saw your headline question, I read it in a happy voice: like, if you realized that finding a partner really isn't the end-all-be-all, and truly gave up, to just interact in a friendly way with everyone with no sex and less desire, how would you be? And I thought, well, that would be pretty amazing.

philip-random said it: "Who cares about your wants? What are you giving?" That's the real wisdom, as far as I've managed to understand. If I could only recommend one thing ever, it's for people who are at all interested in love to read Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving (extracts).
If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. Yet most people believe that love is constituted by the object, not by the faculty. In fact, they even believe that it is proof of the intensity of their love when they do not love anybody except the "loved" person. [...] Because one does not see that love is an activity, a power of the soul, one believes that all that is necessary to find is the right object—and that everything goes by itself afterward. This attitude can be compared to that of the man who wants to paint but who, instead of learning the art, claims that he just has to wait for the right object—and that he will paint beautifully when he finds it. If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else, "I love you," I must be able to say, "I love in you everybody, I love through you the world, I love in you also myself."

posted by mbrock at 4:23 AM on September 9, 2011 [20 favorites]


The 'desperation' advice always reminds of trying to get your first job when every job needs previous experience. I understand that it's a turn-off but of course people are going to be desperate for human contact if they don't have it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:31 AM on September 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ashley801's second answer is dead on. Nobody wants to be another person's relationship placeholder; they want to be loved for who they are. And if you're in a relationship with someone only because they were the first person who said yes, you're not going to be happy in that relationship. You might at first, because you're thinking "phew, finally, a relationship!" but ultimately you'll find yourself unhappy and wanting to be alone.

And a relationship, even with the perfect person, won't solve it all or make you feel better about yourself. Having a supportive and loving partner can help, yes, but whatever shit is hanging over your head will still be hanging over your head. It might be shit your awesome partner can't even understand. Work on that shit now, or work on it after you've found someone, but whatever shit you have is your own to work on. And she'll have her shit too. We all do.

And on being yourself: most people hear this advice and think it means "just go on acting like you always have, and someone will eventually find that attractive." Not quite. Most of us still have plenty if room to improve. We can learn to be kinder, more confident, more accepting of ourselves and each other, without sacrificing what our selves are really like.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:52 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


You sound very negative about the possibility of any hope, but also very defensive about changing anything about yourself. You've concluded:

- Finding new hobbies is a bad idea or will fail.
- Nobody could possibly like what you like
- Therapy is a bad idea and will fail
- Working out is a bad idea and will fail
- You shouldn't have to change anything about yourself because women should love you for exactly the way you are

Here is the nasty secret they do not tell you in school: people do not love us for exactly the way we are. We're born into this world as needy, selfish, awkward creatures, and it is through interacting with others and learning what's socially acceptable and desirable that we begin to shape our personalities and behaviors to fit in (at least to some degree) with the rest of society. This does not mean you need to become a robot, but that they are definitely social niceties and habits that have to be observed.

I'm sure anyone who has ever dated who is not a super-charmer, impossibly gorgeous, or impossibly rich will tell you that you can't just do whatever the hell you want and say whatever the hell you want and never pursue self-improvement and expect the dates to come. It doesn't work that way. Hell, even when you're in a relationship you're going to find that you will need to change things about yourself for the sake of your partner, just as they'll change themselves for you. Relationships are about compromise.

I echo what others have said: ask some very blunt friends (especially women) how you come across, and talk with a therapist about your issues. Just from the way you're responding to this question I'm betting you are sending off a lot of signals that are not terribly attractive to anyone.
posted by schroedinger at 5:00 AM on September 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


Many people who have "no luck" in the dating world make this mistake:

They think that they will find someone that changes their live, while in most cases the opposite is true: Change your life and then you will find someone.

I was once not good in the dating game too, but I learned about the PUA scene whne mystery was till posting in *.alt usenet groups. This may help you a lot - How to lay girls guide.. But the first thing that you need is an objective assessment of why you are doing so bad and the will to

a) keep trying and
b) change things.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 5:15 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can tell you what I am doing. I'm an ugly girl, and no one wants to fuck or date me either. (Well, that's perhaps not strictly true. Over the years a very small handful of men have maybe been interested in doing one or the other, but since I have self-respect and standards, I couldn't date or sleep with someone with whom I have nothing in common at all, or someone who is not attractive to me in any way. Or someone who doesn't see me as an individual, but just wants to sleep with or date anything female that they can find.)

What I do is, I do work that I enjoy and that is meaningful to me. I don't make a lot of money, but I'm happy. I do fun things with my friends and family when I can. I do fun things alone a lot. I travel to interesting places and buy nice things when I can afford to. I read books and watch movies/TV that are interesting to me. I basically just live my life and try to have the positive things outweigh the negative things. Same as I'd do if I was in a relationship or had occasional flings, I guess.

The thing is that there is NOT someone for everyone. Look around at old people. Most of them are or have been married or sexually active at some point in life. But there are a few that, for whatever reason, have not been. Bad looks, bad timing, bad situations, whatever. I may not be able to control whether or not I'll be the always-been-alone type of old lady, but I can sure as fuck control whether I'll be the angry bitter type, or the type who's had a fun life and done everything I could to find enjoyment and meaning in it.
posted by ocksay_uppetpay at 5:19 AM on September 9, 2011 [38 favorites]


I'm just going to suggest trying online dating again, with an open mind. The key thing about online dating that you don't get in the real world is the knowledge that everyone on there is looking for someone. That increases your odds exponentially because you've already got a major point established. Who knows how many on the women you approached were just not looking for a partner at the moment?

The other thing, and the reason your online dating experience may have failed, is that your profile is VERY important. I have a friend who is a great guy, but the way he wrote his profile made him look like a creep. Be true to yourself when filling it out, but also ask a woman friend to look it over and tell you how she responds to it. Doing things like "I really want to find someone" make you look desperate; saying "I live a very fulfilled life and am on the career path I always wanted" makes you look desirable. Obviously don't lie -- but just keep in mind that your presentation of yourself may have been the reason it didn't go anywhere.

My cousin (a 36-yr-old male artist) has met 3 of his gfs on OKCupid. He is my own personal success story and my own motivation for keeping on trying on that site.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:35 AM on September 9, 2011


Arranged marriage? I had a distant cousin of some sort that did that. I think it was through whatever (strange) church she went to. (And she is in the US and of the ethnic majority).
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:43 AM on September 9, 2011


Say you are not able to find an intimate/romantic/sex partner. Ever. What would you do? I mean, you actually want one, maybe not the "love of your life" but at least something temporary. And let's say everyone you approach about this rejects you. What do you do with the rest of your life?

Figure out why what I'm doing is not working for me and think about how it can be changed. If it can't be changed, start narrowing, not widening your search in an effort to target what specifically works for you.

And most importantly, do things that define yourself outside of dating. Go to social events because you like hanging out with the people there, not in the hopes of meeting someone you want to ask out. Whatever you're doing with work or your outside interests, be successful at it. Get in shape, because you might as well be healthy in life. Buy yourself some nice, well-fitting clothes, not because it will help attract a mate, but because people just look and feel better in nice fitting clothes, especially if they're in good shape. Take some great vacations, not for sex tourism, but because it's fun and gives you interesting stories to tell.

And then, even if you're single, you'll have an active social life and are successful, healthy, well-dressed, and have interesting stories to tell.
posted by deanc at 5:44 AM on September 9, 2011


just one thing about the Pick Up Artist stuff-

it's ugly. And it's bad for you. The whole thing is based on the concept that you have to "get past her defenses" and con your way into women's jeans. Being a deceptive, predatory laid dude is not better then a nice guy with not a lot of luck.

when bitter, desperate men use it and it works (because sometimes it does work) it makes them think they need to be manipulative asshats to get women. This is woefully untrue and makes decent men into assholes.
posted by Blisterlips at 5:45 AM on September 9, 2011 [21 favorites]


Most of it is creepy BS, but stuff like confidence and learning how to talk to women and have a sense of humor and such is helpful. If a guy dosen't have those sort of social skills, are their other non-creepy venues to learn them?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:53 AM on September 9, 2011


If you have tried everything that you believe might work and none of it has worked, you have two choices:
1. try things that you do NOT think will work just to be sure you've really tried everything, i.e. take the advice being given to you in this thread
2. acceptance. Your new goal is to learn how to make yourself happy while completely abandoning sex and romance.
posted by prefpara at 6:36 AM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


You need a radical new look at yourself.

You could try one of the many life seminars going around. I found Lifespring useful. It got a bit culty, but the information was good. Does est still exist?

Many people have had very educational LSD trips, though I wouldn't recommend having one alone.

Meisner technique acting training was very useful for me. I learned how to pay more attention to people's subtext.

Therapy is useful for learning what sort of emotional habits you have. It doesn't "fix" you. It helps you understand where you're broken. For a long time I chased after unavailable women. After I understood that, I was able to decide to stop doing that.

My mother would suggest volunteering. You get out of yourself and see how other people have it worse. And you are suddenly in a sea of people who like to take care of other people.

The key thing is: try something. Don't just sit with your arms folded whining. Try something. Move to a new town. Move to New Orleans. Some places are just hostile and negative. Get out of your comfort zone. Spend a year in Africa/Central America/China. Some place where you are not necessarily the same you -- and where the language and cultural barriers mean people will forgive you your negative vibes.

If you seriously want a different life, choose a different life.
posted by musofire at 6:38 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


That PUA crap is about manipulating women into giving you sex, not making an actual connection. If that's all you want, you might as well pay for it. At least then the person you're objectifying is making a paycheck.

As others have stated brilliantly above, you seem to lack confidence, exude negativity, and project bitterness. These things are very unattractive to a potential mate and can also read as misogyny. I would work on that with a therapist. Also, perhaps take a look at the advice Dan Savage gives a hard-up teenage boy.
posted by Lieber Frau at 6:48 AM on September 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


If a guy dosen't have those sort of social skills, are their other non-creepy venues to learn them?

Ballroom dancing and improv come immediately to mind. You're basically thrust into a situation where you have to talk to and touch the opposite sex and you will be doing things constantly wrong and if you intend on enjoying either to any extent, you will have to grow a sense of humor to deal with it.
posted by griphus at 6:50 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was well into my thirties when I started therapy for pretty much precisely this very question. After a lot of hard work on my self-defeating ways, I am so much happier, fulfilled... and partnered. YMMV
posted by ldthomps at 7:05 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


You should pay someone to "groom" you for dating. There are women who do this - they will go on a fake date and give you feedback, help you find some new clothes or a new hygiene routine, topics that are good for conversation etc. No sex of course, but maybe one step closer to getting some once you fix a few things.

From another angle - I know someone sort of like you. He complains bitterly about being single but would never date a non-redhead who couldn't cook and didn't want children and requires she be petite and educated and would give him his space. Some people are just too fussy.
posted by meepmeow at 7:06 AM on September 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Okay, this might come across as crude, but I say it as someone with a good friend in exactly your shoes.

How's your personal hygiene? Do you wear clean clothes each day? Do your armpits smell? Is your hair oily? How clean is your living space? Take a good, close, objective sniff.

I have a friend who travels in the same circles as me. He's very smart, kind, generous, can cook like a fiend, is a hardcore environmentalist (a valued thing in our circle), loves the theater and the arts, and has a lot of other talents. He's also almost 50, and a virgin. He is lonely, and obsesses about women. But he's never managed to catch one, and I believe the main reason for that is his personal hygiene and cleanliness. Dude's usually pretty... "whiffy." Though he's a really great guy... he was never taught how to not be sloppy. People have gently tried giving him suggestions to this effect, and he might improve a little bit for a while, but he always goes back to the same sloppy habits.

So... take a hard look at yourself. And not just in regard to bodily hygiene, but your mental hygiene too. If you go around talking as negatively to people all the time as you do in the this thread, that's a big social buzzkill. Be clean, smell nice, smile, be engaging, and be interested in other people.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 7:20 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


If your tone in your responses here is indicative of your tone in real life (I'm not saying it is - I'd lay about even odds it is or isn't), then the problem is obvious.
posted by spicynuts at 7:22 AM on September 9, 2011


> Most of [PUA] is creepy BS, but stuff like confidence and learning how to talk to women and have a sense of humor and such is helpful. If a guy dosen't have those sort of social skills, are their other non-creepy venues to learn them?

Good social skills will make your life easier. They will make the lives of the people around you easier, and the lives of the people you come in contact with on a day-to-day basis, too. Don't see this as a "talking to women" thing. See it as a self-improvement project.

Talk to women because they're interesting people in their own right, not because you want to get into their pants. Join clubs. Volunteer. Hang out where people of your age and interests hang out. Focus on making friends, not looking for a girlfriend. There's something really terrific about having a good friend of the opposite gender (or the same gender, if you're gay) that there's absolutely no chance you're going to have sex with.

The problem with both PUA and The Rules is that they make dating into this huge, mysterious, unknowable problem that you can only solve by tricking the other person into behaving the way you want them to behave. If you tricked your best friend into doing something, he probably wouldn't be very happy with you. Why would you think a girl would feel any differently?

(The other problem with PUA, of course, is that the girl's feelings don't matter. It's all about getting the guy what he wants, right, sport?)

A single guy who has no female friends is often a guy who only sees women as worth getting to know if there's the possibility of getting laid. That's exactly the kind of guy that most women don't want to date.
posted by Georgina at 7:29 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


To try to keep this inside the lines I am going to try to answer the questions as asked.

What would you do?

Go to therapy. If I may be a little brutally honest here, your attitude sucks. It just plain sucks. You talk a lot about pairing off as though it were some kind of transaction. You aren't focusing on things like attraction and it doesn't even seem like chemisty is an important factor for you. If it is, it's not something at the forefront for you. That matters.

This may be hard to hear, but I have to echo those who said that if your general demeanor here is any indication, the problem is probably that. No one's going to want to be with someone who's so resistant to change and who shoots down every well-intentioned attempt to help. This is why I suggest therapy. Change needs to begin with you.

I know this is really hard, and I know it's easy to get discouraged. But you need to believe me when I say that you have to do some digging and not let the discouragement color your life. An attitude like yours would more or less guarantee that you'll be alone for a very, very long time. It doesn't have to be that way. But the first step has to be yours.

Good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:34 AM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you want to know how to live your life without sex, plenty of people in this thread have given good advice. ocksay_uppetpay's comment is excellent.

If you genuinely want help in figuring out how to get dates, look at Brandon Blatcher's comment and rephrase your question in the form that he suggests with the details that will help folks give more specific advice. (Lots of other commenters have offered good general advice.)

If you want some personal experience, here goes: You're in your late 20s, right? I was 27 before I had sex for the first time (not for lack of trying). Twenty years later, I'm happily married to a beautiful woman and have plenty of great sex on a regular basis.

What did I do before I got to have sex? I did what a lot of people in this thread have recommended. I threw myself wholeheartedly into activities that interested me. I made friendships with both men and women and tried to learn how to be a good friend. I worked hard at developing social skills. I did my best to enjoy life to the fullest, even without sex or romance. All this eventually made me more dateable, but if it hadn't, my life would still have been richer for doing these things.
posted by tdismukes at 7:40 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're so angry. It's hard to even read this thread because you're so angry; I imagine that comes across a lot more in person. You're angry at the world, angry at yourself, and you're directing loads of anger at people you've asked to help you. Why do they deserve your anger?

I don't really believe there's someone for everyone (there are good matches and bad matches, not foreordained matches) and that your "someone" could get run over by a car at seven. Some people partner. Some people don't. Some people do so repeatedly, others just once. Sometimes it is a matter of choice and desire, and sometimes a matter of chance. (Just ask all the women whose boyfriends/fiancees/husbands/would-have-been-potential-mate-choices died in WWI -- a generation of "spinsters" resulted.) Some people choose not to be partnered -- happily or unhappily -- and others find bachelorhood forced upon them.

The one choice you DO have is how to respond, what attitude to take towards the happenstances of your life. (Indeed no less an authority than the Buddha would agree with me.) You've chosen anger, disgust, disdain, despair. If you can't get out of that cycle, then, yes, some form of therapy is probably necessary. If you can recognize that you're choosing to respond that way, and work to change it, you may be able to improve your attitude on your own. That's not to say you can't feel bad about it, but it shouldn't dominate your life and sorrow at not (yet) finding a partner shouldn't turn into anger and disgust and lashing out and all these other things.

Do you have friends? How do you interact with them? And what do they say about your romantic attempts?

Also, and this could be way off base, but you may need different friends. This level of focus on partnering up, while not unusual in some phases of life, is pretty contagious, and I wonder if you "caught" it from your friends. It SUUUUUUUCKS to be the only single person in a group of couples who are all really focused on how coupledom is necessary to life. You'll be a lot happier in a group of people who enjoy themselves and enjoy their lives, some of whom happen to be partnered, and some of whom don't, and either way it isn't a big deal. I'm in my mid-30s now, and while many of my friends are married or in long-term relationships, others aren't -- some because they don't want to be, some because it never worked out -- but those things aren't the focus of our lives. Both married AND single people are a lot more interesting and happier, in my observation, when they don't focus so heavily on coupledom. (When I find one of those groups where everyone's a couple and they've dropped their single friends, I run. Those are not healthy. Ditto folks with kids who drop all their non-kid friends, or vice versa.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:45 AM on September 9, 2011 [16 favorites]


if only I spoke Mandarin.

There's a very basic course for starting to learn Mandarin Chinese here. This guy says that it took him about one and a half years to pick up fluency in spoken Mandarin. So that's a big time commitment, but if you think learning Mandarin is your best bet for love, it's actually pretty small compared to the rest of the time you have.

Learning it should also help fortify your brain against Alzheimer's as you age, which is pretty great! And if you take a class with other people, you'll meet new folks, too.

Good luck!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:48 AM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also, check out SucceedSocially.com. There's lots of good advice there about being a better person, socially. The author is a recovered PUA community member, and a lot of the advice is very similar to what you would read in those Get Laid Quick guides, except all the miserable misogyny is removed and it just focuses on how to be a more social, fun and confident person.
posted by griphus at 7:49 AM on September 9, 2011


Coming back in now that you've provided more detail about your situation and what you really want. I am a woman so I can tell you from my perspective what women find attractive. Women are attracted to men who:

- Genuinely care about other people, and demonstrate this by showing politeness, compassion and generosity. Volunteering to help those less fortunate than yourself can be a good way to practice those skills.

- Treat women as people first and women second. Right now it seems you are evaluating every woman you meet as a potential partner -- worse, as a potential partner you already resent, because you fear she is bound to reject you. Women can sense this attitude. We don't like it.

- Have their shit together. This doesn't necessarily mean having an awesome apartment or a high paying job. This means is you keep promises. You take responsibility for mistakes. You clean up your own messes. You show up on time.

When I first met my now-husband, in a totally accidental, casual conversation with a stranger sort of way, one of the very first things he told me was that he worked at a non-profit blood bank. (Compassionate? Caring? Check.) When he came to my apartment to pick me up for our first date, he immediately remarked not on my boobs but on my book collection. THEN he told me he thought I looked very nice in that shirt. (Person-first? Woman-second? Check.) On said first date he talked about his long-term career plans, which he had clearly put a lot of thought into. (Shit together? Check.)

I came home from our first date knowing my husband was LTR material. Because he wasn't self-absorbed, he was responsible, generous, and optimistic, and he shared many of my own likes and interests and made it clear he just as interested in sharing those things with me as he was in getting in my pants.

(And my husband isn't any sort of smooth PUA, either. He's introverted geek who didn't even really date in high school, and hasn't always had the best luck with women. When we met he probably wasn't really all that different from you. He just looked at his situation differently.)
posted by BlueJae at 8:39 AM on September 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


I'm going to second what cuddles.mcsnuggy said. Any time I've known someone who just couldn't find someone, it boiled down to some variation of personal hygiene problems and/or some personal habit that no one was willing to be seen in public with. Do you have green teeth? Enormous sweat stains? Do you wear socks with sandals? Wear the same clothes you've had since you were 15? Spit when you talk? Chances are, though, that you're completely unaware of whatever it is. I've known a lot of people who don't shower often enough/don't wash their hair often enough/don't use deodorant/don't wash their clothes, who have no clue that they stink. Even when you mention it to them gently, they refuse to believe it, because they don't notice it themselves. So if you don't already do so - wash your body and your hair every single day. EVERY day. Use deodorant of some kind, unless you live in a culture where most people don't. Don't wear dirty clothes. (The current trend of never washing jeans, or freezing them in lieu of washing, has created a lot of stinky people who refuse to believe they stink. ) Brush your teeth, and go to the dentist.

However, as meepmeow said, there are services that will tell you bluntly what you're doing wrong. The search term you want is "date coaching." In your case, I would recommend this, because this is another case of strangers on the internet being unable to diagnose something that needs to be seen in person.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:03 AM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Another search term would be "image consulting".
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:07 AM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


OP, I completely sympathize. As a 40-something guy who hasn't dated in 15+ years, I feel your frustration. I feel the same frustrations when people who think their 1-3 years of being single, spent knowing that as a healthy person they have near-certain-hope for a future SO, somehow compares to spending years alongside friends and family, watching in curious contemplation, as their lives seem to run on rails through all the standard milepoints of dating, all the while faced with the realization that whatever it is, you just don't get it, and every person you ask for advice, everything they tell you just hammers home moreso that point.

It can be maddening, to listen to people talk about how you have to fix everything that's emotionally wrong with you before you have any chance, when you know countless people, whose emotional lives are complete wrecks, and yet they've never been single for any noticeable time. As the child of parents who married at 17 AND are still together, I know with unshakeable certainty that perfect emotional maturity is not a requirement for finding the person for you.

The reality is, there is no one thing you are doing wrong, and there is no one thing someone can tell you that will turn it all around. No one can promise you that someday your solitude will end. But they can point out that doing things like working on physical and emotional issues can't hurt, and have the potential to make you feel better independent of the larger issue. I struggle every day with keeping hope alive, but I know that the only other option is giving up, and that sure isn't going to help. Life is not fair, it may not work out for you. But as long as you haven't turned too bitter and unapproachable, there's hope.
posted by nomisxid at 11:18 AM on September 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'll tell you why I wouldn't want to date you based on the answers you've given in this thread, and maybe that might shed some light on the situation that's befallen you (which is a frustrating one, certainly).

I think you sound pretty self involved. Everything you've talked about is how you need someone to fix you, to complete you, and that's heavy shit to bring to the table on a date. It is quite possible that on all the other dates you've gone on with women, they've been able to sense that you're not really a whole person and that the only reason you want to be in a relationship with someone is to enrich and complete your life, but you ultimately have no interest in them. They're objects to you, tools with which to plaster up a hole in your universe that is ultimately yours to fix on your own. No emotionally stable and secure person wants to be with somebody that's a drip. And that's what might be making you unattractive, no matter how many good things you have to offer someone.

Ultimately you come across as a selfish dick. Nowhere in this thread do you talk about how you'd like to be there for someone else, to meet another person halfway and really have a partnership. It's all about you. You don't seem to realize that being with someone is about their needs, too, not just yours, and right now I'd wager you are not emotionally mature enough to support another person and subsequently you are not attractive to anyone who might be able to meet some of your needs, too.

I think you really need to sit down and reconsider how selfish you sound and what it actually means to be in a relationship with anyone, be it emotional, physical, whatever. Can you honestly say that you want to give back as much as you get? If not, stop dating until you can. Fix some things: the way you package yourself, the way you listen and converse, and the things you do in your life that are truly for other people.

The universe wants to work with people like you, but not if you're constantly rejecting it.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:26 AM on September 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


Used to be, I couldn't be happy unless I was in a relationship and I couldn't be in a relationship because I wasn't happy. Eventually I learned I was wrong and I could be happy without being in a relationship.

After almost a year of court group therapy I I was sick of being sad and angry and bitter. Through sheer force of will I made myself be happy. I finally just said "Enough. I'm in charge here. I'm GOING to be happy, starting now. I will NOT listen to the part of me that always thinks my life is shit. What has that part of me ever done to make things better? That part of me is bullshit and I won't stand for it any more. " It wasn't a decision to change my behavior, it was a decision to change my attitude and it stuck.

I would recommend medication and cognitive behavioral therapy over that. I don't even know how I was capable of thinking my way out of that mental state without meds. The therapy probably helped, but I'm kind of angry that the group therapist guy didn't strongly suggest it as an option to me (in fairness, I don't think he was that kind of therapist, I should have tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which I did later until I moved again). Oh well.

I'm 28 now. I'm still a virgin and been on like one date since then. I have a concern that some women I like will become turned off because of those things. I say: their loss! The real problem is I keep moving for work before I can make connections. I'm not outgoing enough to overcome that. So I'm planning on moving to a place with more people than corn so I can at least find people who share my interests. I should do more volunteering, I do some at Red Cross but I'm busy during the week and most of the things they need help with on weekends are helping out at summer events where its hard to get friendly with people. Something like Habitat for Humanity would have been better from a meeting people standpoint. But I also want to help out so its not really a loss.

tl;dr: The people saying its your attitude are probably right. Work on that and you'll be happier with or without someone who wants to fuck you. Therapy, volunteering, those consulting things MexicanaYenta mentioned may also help narrow down the problem if its not just attitude. Good luck.
posted by Green With You at 11:45 AM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


, I'm a lurker. I'm past that. Those types of things simply don't do it for me. They are really just misdirection, to make you forget about the underlying problem.

Why is that a problem, though? Your question was, "What do you do with the rest of your life?" if you couldn't find someone. Well, part of the answer is to forget about the "problem" of not being able to find someone and do other stuff, and anything that makes you forget about that or not consider it a problem will work to your benefit.

You really have two options here: one is to consider how to resolve the problem of not having found someone. You didn't ask how to resolve that problem, so I'm wasn't going to bother giving you an answer. But in general, if you want to go that route, given your previous track record, it involves a lot of re-evaluation of your personality, habits, personal interests, and expectations. If you want to elaborate more about your life, then maybe people can give you more input there.

But you didn't ask that question. You asked, "Say you are not able to find an intimate/romantic/sex partner. Ever. What would you do?" I mean, gosh, I'd do tons of stuff. I'd stop thinking about/hoping for social opportunities to go out on dates and meet women. I'd probably pursue a more transient life. I think I'd be less open to expanding my social circle and stick more to my core friends, and my social life would be more professionally directed.
posted by deanc at 1:06 PM on September 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's no magic pill or nugget of advice you can be handed to fix being closed minded.

I used to be exactly like I am perceiving you: a high IQ, guarded, desperately lonely know-it-all who couldn't tell the difference between listening and understanding. Hopefully for you it won't take almost drowning in the bitter morass of despair to override your ego and allow you to live rather than survive.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:14 PM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Before I got my first boyfriend at 24, I was convinced I would be alone forever and resigned myself to the idea of writing a book about being single my whole life.
posted by lovableiago at 2:01 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you really want to fix this, fast, then studying PUA is probably exactly what you should do.

Read enough of it that you happen upon an approach that appeals to your curiosity. (Yeah, some of this material is expensive, some not... but to be blunt, you can download pretty much all you could ever use for free with a few minutes' Googling.)

Don't get caught up reading it, though. In fact, not much of it will seem plausible until your confidence increases.

And to that end...

Do not apply the pick-up material right away.

Instead, as suggested above, hire a female dating coach, and then practice the PUA distinctions and processes with her.

If you really want to minimize expenses, just put an ad on Craigslist and offer to pay someone $10 an hour to give you feedback on your body language, vocal tonality, ability to maintain conversational flow, grooming, and so forth. You're sure to find lots of starving students happy to give you their opinions, and be paid for lending you the benefit of a discerning eye. Note that when it comes to hiring one, she doesn't have to be any sort of expert-- all she has to do is give you her opinion on how you look and move and sound, and how tense or relaxed her body feels, at different points in time, as you communicate with her.

So... total cost: Thirty bucks? Fifty?

Another blunt point:

You're into women, and that's a lucky thing... because women are hyper-responsive to apparent confidence and certain forms of language. Don't worry about your looks, weight, etc., etc. Your attractiveness is not an immutable, abstract trait-- it's a skill, one you can take direct, concrete steps to develop.

Obviously, many folks are going to recommend therapy as a first step.

I don't.

Very likely, your difficulties, in terms of creating relationships, as opposed to sustaining them, are probably 80% external and only 20% internal.

You are not the problem-- it is only the old set of *behaviors* that you used to use, *in the past*, that had created problems.

Since you seem to be experiencing a good deal of pain and frustration, focus on your goal: Learning how to connect with women.

Once you get good at connecting with other people, then you can take the time to learn how to keep them around. The Societally-Endorsed, Good Housekeeping Seal Winning approach of "fix yourself on the inside, then Love will find you" sounds great but is painfully slow and inefficient.

>That PUA crap is about manipulating women into giving you sex, not making an actual connection.

PUA material is about creating actual connections extremely quickly and systematically; what one chooses to do after having created a connection, of whatever depth, is another matter... as is true in every relationship.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:42 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Many people tell themselves the story "I'll be able to be happy and fulfilled when X", where X = lose weight, get married, make the first million dollars, finally show your first grade teacher they were wrong about you, whatever. This story is usually a lie. It's a defense mechanism that the destructive and reluctant part of your brain uses to keep you from enjoying life. You're still going to be the same person before and after X. X probably won't actually make you happy, and you can be happy without X. If you can't believe you can be content or figure out *how* to be content without a partner, that's what I think you need to address via therapy. Until then, your desperation will make you unappealing to others and miserable to yourself.
posted by rivenwanderer at 3:01 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree that there are flaws in the OP's self-presentation, but I think it's worth taking a step back and imagining what we'd say if the OP were distraught that they couldn't have children, for example.

OP, I stand by my advice that the only thing that will solve your problem is to keep trying. I also think the recommendation of a dating coach is probably your fastest route to insight.
posted by tel3path at 3:27 PM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I definitely agree with deanc. If you're not going to have love in your life, do whatever else you want, focus on other things in life, stop hoping, have man private time, and keep reminding yourself to stop hoping because human nature is inclined to keep hoping for this sort of thing, which drives us permanent singles crazy. Maybe pick a career that doesn't allow for a wife and family, maybe pick hobbies that don't either. Choose to do things you can't do if you are partnered. And constantly keep reminding yourself to stop hoping and move on. That battle, alas, doesn't really end, though sometimes you are better at it than others.

Mostly you just sound like me, and I am a super supreme whiner who doesn't date either. I don't think you're in the mental place to listen to or change anything right now, and you may never be. I don't know why you aren't catnip to women so I'm not going there, but I am wondering what you were trying to get from this post. Sympathy? Actual advice? Someone to say the magic words that will change your thinking? Because when I post stuff like this elsewhere (note to you: don't ask questions like this where people know/can check your post history, because they will get pissed at you), I'm usually hoping for the third option, but it rarely happens. Mostly I have either tried the suggestions or I think the possible solutions are worse than the problem. So I try to resolve myself to the situation (like you're doing), except I can't wholeheartedly resolve myself to it either, so... I end up bursting out with another long whine and annoying the shit out of the entire Internet. And I go around in circles until I start puking.

I have recently decided to stop posting serious emotional questions to the Internet. Clearly I'm not receptive to jack shit even when I am under the temporary delusion that I think I am, so I should stop asking and annoying people. I hope I can keep that up in the future, but knowing me, who knows.

What it really boils down to, when you ask people stuff like this, they don't know whether or not to answer the question you flat out asked, or the implied "how do I get a girl" question that's in here too. And they think they're being helpful by offering suggestions, but from your POV it doesn't feel helpful because you've tried it or don't want to try it. You're hoping there's a third option that you can stand out there, but... most of the time there is not. Mostly all you're gonna get is a lot of people who are mad at you for not taking their suggestions when you asked for them.

Basically, if you're in this mood...learn that nothing that anyone can say will be helpful to you now, and you should just stick to moping and whining in a journal that nobody else sees. Asking for "help" when deep down you don't ACTUALLY want it (I know, I think I want it too, but realistically I just want to whine, I guess) just ticks people off for 100+ posts. And yeah, the ol' therapy/NLP/whatever suggestions. I'm working on the first one myself, but clearly I'm still not over the urge to whine. But at least maybe I can learn to keep that shit to myself. Someday.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:19 PM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


OP: I am/was/will be pretty much you. So listen:
This month I fucked someone up with someone I wish I'd been able to continue dating. I did the moping and bitching and AskMe thing, and the 'scare her off by being creepy' thing.
But between meds and spring starting up here, a switch flipped in my brain. I started doing push ups each day, going on walks, and am planning to try getting fit. Every few days I get a surge of confidence, like I KNOW summer is coming up and I'm going to meet girls at shows and gigs - shows and gigs I go to EVEN IF I DON'T THINK I'LL MEET SOMEONE.

Look, I'm very far from being healthy and normal. But I'm in therapy, I have meds, I've read every bit of advice I can get my hands on. I've learned to be selective, and sometimes even when to shut up. Try something - anything. Any small change.

And don't forget the 'numbers game' thing. You haven't told us where you are or what you like to do, but you should do it and meet people.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:29 PM on September 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whenever someone says this I think: what if my person was hit by a bus when she was seven? Do I get a new person, or am I screwed?

Well, if you're thinking like that, why would the universe lean on the side of life? Maybe in the untimely event the person you're supposed to meet were to die, the universe would "balance the books" by killing you off?

And since (I hope) you're still alive, that means that person is still out there.
posted by FJT at 6:06 PM on September 9, 2011


1- Stop thinking right now that you, or anyone, is entitled to sex/relationships, and that the lack of these is some sort of injustice against you/them. All it makes you is act selfishly towards potential dates and bitter when it fails.
Sex/relationships are things that are done with a fellow human being, not simple commodities. As long as you'll see the people you approach as a mean to an end instead of an end itself, it'll likely never work out great for you both.

2- The only common point between all your reject situations is: you. Consider that your approach, attitude, appearance or other points might be part/the source of your issues. Many people have given good advice on this.

3- Try to approach social situations as opportunities to discover other people first, and as a mean to get a date/fuck second. The random women you meet do notice if all you approach them for and see them for is for a potential fuck-hole and it's probably gonna end badly for you.
Also, try to find another discriminating factor than "Can I picture myself banging her?" for approaching someone. The person in the room you might get actual happiness from is maybe the unpretty, shy girl you never took a second glance at.

4- Somehow related to point 1, you don't have a single, perfect, soulmate-ish person waiting for you in the world. That means you are neither entitled to get a perfect match that will fulfill all your needs, but also that it's not like you can have her being hit by a bus and thus end up your life alone and miserable. There are billions of people in the world and a ton of them can potentially show up to be compatible with you. They might be easier to find out if you start by frequenting similar-interest groups and things like that rather than looking for people to bang in whatever random social place, though.

5- Attitude! Negativity and bitterness is not attractive! I have an inkling you might benefit from giving this a read: http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/niceguys/niceguys.shtml
followed by http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/niceguys/reformed.shtml & http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/niceguys/notsoniceguys.shtml
Maybe nothing in this applies to you in the slightest (maybe you can even judge yourself very honestly even if the truth can be uncomfortable) but it can't hurt to read bout it.

With that, good luck!
posted by CelebrenIthil at 6:11 PM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just want to say -- over the years I've seen questions like this before, and then noticed a few months/years later questions from the same user like, "My wife and I are thinking about moving..." "My boyfriend and I are going to Greece..." whatever.

I could have posted this question five or ten years ago.


I could have posted it five years ago, too, and I am just as lonely today! All my friends seem to be on this conveyor belt to happiness and togetherness...oh yeah, this is when my friends got together...I was single! Then they got married! I was single! Having a baby now! Single as ever!

Sometimes with my therapist I'll get into moods like yours, and my therapist will challenge me a bit and eventually say something like, " Do you want me to agree with you? Yes, life is hopeless? I'm not going to! So we can keep arguing or you can listen to me." Wow, does that work. Of course he's not going to agree with me, and we're not going to agree with you.

ALSO -- about that comment I wrote and you quoted and I requoted...there's a specific question I had in mind, from about five years ago, from a guy who was very specifically giving up on relationships, too many near misses , all that. It kind of got to me because I understood the feeling (see above, single all the time) and also because this was a well liked member of the community and I was just surprised at the pain I was reading. Then, recently I saw a question from him clearly about moving or looking for apartments with an SO and it was all we, we, we, and i kind of got choked up -- yay, he found someone! + yay! Maybe I will too. But right now, I'm just watching people go by on the conveyor belt. But if I gave up entirely, I give myself no chance of getting on that belt, whereas now I just have a tiny chance.
posted by sweetkid at 6:18 PM on September 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, I was going to say, I don't want to embarrass the person and his SO by posting the threads, but they're there if you do some searching, plus many similar others.
posted by sweetkid at 6:23 PM on September 9, 2011


Ok here it goes. You know what your problem is? Go over everything said in this thread. Now pick out the 5 worst answers. The ones that in no way apply to you. The ones that are just stupid and out of left field.

You got them?

At least half of them are your real problems.

It took me a long time to realize that some of the things I was the most dismissive of were really the most important things about myself I had to consider. I didn't let my bitterness towards men show! No not at all i could win a freaking Oscar I hid it so well! No one but me knows how depressed I am, I always put on a happy face! My shallow standards weren't making me overlook great guys, guys are the shallow ones, I'm crazy deep, I'm into art and shit and was unpopular in high school so you see I couldn't ever be even a little shallow!

But this isn't about me. This is about you. And I don't know all your problems, but I'd bet money I can name two: you are so bitter and angry at the world and women it shows on nearly every word you write. I have no doubt every person you meet, especially every woman, can see it a mile away. Women are good at sensing that stuff. You know what else women are generally good at? Telling when a man is just trying to *fuck* them, especially when clearly the man isn't even that into you and just desperately wants sex! It's just insulting on so many levels who could resist!

So there's a start. I realize you are really angry and sad right now and feel very alone, but the good news is these are very fixable problems. Not always easy, but it is definately possible and much better than the alternative.
posted by whoaali at 7:38 PM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


it seems that responding to any of the advice above isn't welcomed in these parts, so if you want to know what i think you can mail me.

i'll respond to some specific questions above:

Am I offering anything to them besides my own need?
- yes, i am


And you're saying that you have found no woman whatsoever even willing to have romantic contact of any kind with you?
- i've had a hand full of one time hook ups, and maybe a few first dates, depending on how you would define "date". Those were 2-7 years ago though.

cupcake1337, I think you need to clarify whether you want to know how to find a partner, or how to live happily alone.
- live happily alone. i know the probability of finding a partner is extremely low at this point. though, i'm not *just* looking for a partner. temporary relationships and casual sex would be great too. however, the probability of that happening for me is also low.

What would happen if someone were to fulfill -one- of the three and that was it - which would you wish for?

-someone to be emotionally naked with
-someone who will be there when you come home
-someone who will have sex with you


the last one

The things that would make me much happier and more alive-feeling are the things that people don't want to do with me.

Which means what? Sex?

- that's a big part of it, yes. but not the only part. but it would also make things more bearable for a while. maybe it goes without saying, but it's my favorite "hobby". yes women are people and not just objects. yes, it's also about being giving.

What about friends? Do you have them? Can they set you up with other people, keep you busy, talk with you?
- yes, i do have some, both male and female. no, they can't set me up, and i've asked. they can't in that they don't know one/aren't willing to.

Are you trying for women who are way out of your league (sexually, intellectually, financially, emotionally)?
- not that i can tell. though by the definition "league" in this context technically i am?

Who cares about your wants? What are you giving?
- i can be funny, compassionate, a good listener, kind, responsible ... idk, just a few examples.

From reading this thread, I have two observations:

1 :: What you're doing clearly isn't working.
2 :: You refuse to try anything new.

So why do you think the situation will change?

- i don't think it will.

Are any of Ashley801's observations accurate?

...

To be perfectly frank with you, if I had to guess, I would guess that your problem is some combination of these things:

1. You are only interested in very physically attractive women and/or women who are far more physically attractive than you/younger than you.

2. You need to practice your social skills overall.

3. You exude negativity and/or desperation.


1. i'm not only interested in younger women. i will be happy to be involved with women in their 40s ... when i'm also in my 40s. attractiveness? idk, we'd both have to look at some pictures to be on the same page.

2. my social skills aren't bad, though you could say i'm "reserved". from here, i think the kind of social skills help i could use is: what exactly to say and how exactly to say it in some particular situation that would be the best (funniest? most interesting?) thing to say. no one can really do that for me though.

3. not as far as i can tell. yea, with this topic i have some opinions that many people don't like, but IRL i can be very pleasant.

Would you mind answering a few questions?

* How old are you?
* What is the age range of the target group you are currently trying?
* Do you have male friends?
* Do you have female friends?
* How would you rate your looks on a scale 1-10, with 10 being George Clooney?
* How tall are you?

- mid-late 20s
- 20-40
- male and female friends, but not many, and to different degrees of "closeness"
- looks, idk 5?
- height: 5'8"

I'm just going to suggest trying online dating again, with an open mind.

sorry, i just have to post this. here's a rare, though recent exchange:

her: "hey! so I thought that since we had such a good compatibility score it would be cool to get to know you! also you're into 30 rock?? :) "

me: "yea, it's one of my favorite shows. i saw judah friedlander do stand up about a month ago, he was pretty funny. so, did you actually do ragbrai this year? if so, how was that?

my name is cupcake1337, by the way."

her: "hi cupcake1337 :) I was able to complete one full day of ragbrai, [omitted for anonymity] but it was fun while it lasted! I have only recently gotten into road cycling ... [omitted for anonymity] "

me: "Ah, I see.

Are you back in College Town yet? Would you be interested in meeting up for coffee/lunch/something? .... personally, I don't like stretching out message threads on here, I would rather chat with someone in person. If you give me an email address I could send you a few pictures."

i never heard from here again.

How's your personal hygiene?
- not bad, i have all the basics down, though there can always be room for improvement.


Do you have friends? How do you interact with them? And what do they say about your romantic attempts?
- they say similar things to the advice above.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:00 PM on September 9, 2011


Are you back in College Town yet? Would you be interested in meeting up for coffee/lunch/something? .... personally, I don't like stretching out message threads on here, I would rather chat with someone in person. If you give me an email address I could send you a few pictures."

You should have ended the message after the first two lines.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:08 PM on September 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm female, I've read this whole post and I just read your most recent reply, with your online dating experience. Now, I just started getting back into dating, after feeling a lot like you did, and I'm female (they say females have it easier, ha!). Anyway, here's what I noticed immediately: This woman is immediately sharing stuff with you, she noticed you, she noticed you guys were similar and asked you about 30 rock. Then you asked you about ragbrai. She also mentioned road cycling.
With your replies, you seem very short/tight lipped and like you are not engaging her. It seems like you're holding back (this may be because of your past experiences).

As a woman, your responses set off instant red flags for me. It told me that there are unreserved issues, that may hamper any sort of relationship we may have. Some women do not want to go through that. We have our own issues to deal with.
posted by Polgara at 8:46 PM on September 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


unreserved=unresolved. You do seem reserved, too, but who am I to judge, so am I.
posted by Polgara at 8:48 PM on September 9, 2011


FYI, p, I didn't see anything wrong with the replies up to the last 2 sentences LIB mentioned.
posted by bq at 9:03 PM on September 9, 2011


Also, if sex is your only hobby and the only thing that makes you feel alive, then you are BO O O O RING.
posted by bq at 9:39 PM on September 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


different approaches? check. unfortunately, i don't have time to get a statistically significant sample, with an appropriate control group, so I can't say for certain what the problem is.

You have time.
posted by wobh at 9:48 PM on September 9, 2011


Do you have someone? Are you willing to prove your point? Dump them if you are with someone, and/or commit to not being with anyone (no dating, no sexual contact of any kind) and get back to me in 20 years.>>

I don't have an answer, as I'm in much the same position and thus sympathize viscerally, but I want to say thank you for saying the above. I say the same thing to every person who says "hey, relationships aren't so great!", because it's ultimately so insulting, assumes we think that all relationships are flawless, and isn't it funny that the people who say it would never leave their OWN relationships to prove their thoughtless comment? In any case, I wish you the best of luck!
posted by FlyByDay at 9:53 PM on September 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Years ago when I briefly did some online dating, one of the biggest turn offs was if the guy wanted to take it to a real life meeting almost immediately. It made me question what he was really looking for if he didn't bother getting to know me a bit more. Unlike the girl in your scenario, I usually wrote back something to the effect of "Well, I'm really more comfortable talking like this first and getting to know you a bit more before we decide if we should meet" or "I'd like to get to know you more--mind if we chat on the phone a bit before we decide to meet?"

Guys who weren't ok with that or who continued to push me for an immediate date it got dropped because they weren't respecting my desire to have more time to get to know them before committing to a date and all the time, money, energy, etc. that went along with it. The immediate push for a date with almost no personal information about me also made it seem like they really didn't care who they got a date with. They would go for just any old date that came along, and that didn't make me feel special in any way because I wanted to date someone who wanted to date me, not just any available woman. Since at that time I was very busy living my non-relationship life, my time was very valuable to me and I didn't want to invest time in a date with someone I didn't have enough information about to know whether we'd have more than just one or two things to talk about.

Now, this girl could have said some variation of "no, not yet, let's chat more," but she didn't--she just exited the conversation instead, so there's no way to know for sure if she had a response similar to mine, but it might be worth thinking about.
posted by BlooPen at 11:30 PM on September 9, 2011 [11 favorites]


Came in to say just what BlooPen said. I know every Internet dating thread on Ask gets a ton of "don't waste time on the site, ask to meet offline ASAP!", but that doesn't suit everyone, especially not when it's as soon as the second message.

If that had been me in that exchange, OP, I'd have been a bit put off that you wanted to meet quite so soon without really knowing anything about me; that you were basically swatting aside my suggestion about us getting to know each other; and that you were quite possibly treating the conversation so far as "right, I've met the basic minimum requirement of talking to you for three sentences, now LET'S MEET!" rather than "I'm really enjoying talking to you, let's see if we get on in person too." I get not wanting to drag out a conversation that might not go anywhere, but four or five messages would not take that much time out of your life, especially with someone who's clearly already interested in you.

Also, did the line about photos by email mean that you didn't have a photo up on your profile? Because if so, that's something you can fix really, really easily to improve your chances online. Back when I was doing Internet dating, I didn't bother with men who didn't have photos up. They might be hugely insecure about their appearance (which is offputting), they might have a girlfriend/wife already and not want any of her single RL friends spotting them on there (happens more than you think), and even if neither of those are true, they're still not playing fair. Nobody likes finding a picture of themselves for those profiles, but it's reassuring to think we're all in the same boat together, you know?
posted by Catseye at 12:39 AM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


YES put a photo on your profile if at all possible. Back when I was online dating, I rarely if ever rejected someone based on their looks in the photos, because come on, I'm human too, I know it's tough to get good pictures of yourself. But I found it really offputting if a guy didn't have any photos at all, especially when I was putting myself out there by having a picture up.
posted by Cimrmanova at 4:25 AM on September 10, 2011


(OT)

Or you could make art a la Andy Warhol, who was rumored to being a virgin.

Unlikely (Dec '60)
posted by anagrama at 4:38 AM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, you don't know why she disappeared. You can't tell if it was rejection, being overtaken by RL events, or having found someone else. She may even come back at some point.

I know stuff like this feels very personal, but it's not. I also know it doesn't help to have people tell you not to take stuff so personally when you're desperate, but could you at least keep that thought in the back of your mind?

FWIW I don't think there's anything wrong with asking to meet up early. If somebody hasn't floated the idea by the fourth or fifth message I tend to stop responding, too. But that was like, the second message, and you also said something about not liking to waste time on too much messaging... I don't either, but I don't say so, I just think it's poor stagecraft somehow and it would've read better if you'd just asked her out and not explained why you asked. Also left it for a few more messages.

Also yeah, put some pics up and run them through the crowdsourced pic-approving app. If you don't put up pics it suggests you're ashamed of your appearance, which is all kinds of bad. The way you look is the way you look, so make the best of it and assert yourself, y'know? Maybe you think you're doing this already, but that's what I read into it if someone doesn't have any profile pics, so even if that's not what you mean, it's what you're saying.
posted by tel3path at 5:04 AM on September 10, 2011


"- mid-late 20s"
You are quite young, I don't see a problem here.

"- 20-40"


Focus on the 20-30 age group.

Based on your age I strongly advice against online dating. Many weird girls and difficult girls do online dating, I have said it before and I still have the opinion that you get a negative selection with online dating and if you are a guy the odds are really against you. It has not worked out yet and likely won't.

- looks, idk 5?
Try to improve this. Different style, pasture, more self confidence, work out...

- male and female friends, but not many, and to different degrees of "closeness"
Go out with a single friend, you wingman, and start talking to girls. Don't be passive and just sit there. Let you friend give you feedback. Smile! Try to talk to 10 girls in a bar. If it is 10 times crash & burn, so be it. If it does not kill you, it will make you stronger. Get feedback from your wingman. Go out again and again. Try to talk to them, try to get their phone number, try to secure a date later. You still have a lot of time. Start now.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 5:13 AM on September 10, 2011


Hey, I doubt you have green teeth and I didn't see any issues with your online dating conversation. People often just disappear in that context, I doubt it was anything you said.

I aslo know that becoming bitter is REALLY hard to avoid. And that often life circumstances (small town, small circle of friends w/in a big town, limited social opportunities at work, shyness, un-giselle/tom-brady-like genetics ) can definitely work against you.

Some suggestions were good though- therapy (even if it doesn't 'work' it can't leave you 'more' single, plus it's interesting and give you a place to vent (and alleviate?) Your bitterness so it doesn't emerge in 'real-life' social transactions. Also greg nog's suggestion to learn mandarin was pretty interesting. Especially as you probably said that as an off the cuff remark. To which he responded, why not? 1.5 years sounds doable. (A very difficult coworker of mine is looking for a bride online and having some seeming success so....anything is possible!). Also when someone says, what have you been up to lately? Responding 'learning mandarin' would definitely get the conversation rolling!

Also, the travel idea. Traveling alone can be a drag if you don't like that thing but if you have time off, isn't it cooler to be miserable and alone in an exotic foreign location rather than in your apt? Again, another interesting conversation opener.

And let's be honest- working out, or exercise of some sort. Everyone says its for your health but also...ask any stereotypically vain new yorker(was going to say chelsea-ite but don't want to get into trouble!)- it also does wonders for your social life. Sexual urges are biological, as is the instant attraction we have to someone who physically appeals to us. Being in good shape helps that.

Okay, tl;dr- therapy, mandarin, exercise!
posted by bquarters at 7:04 AM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


My practical advice:

Men in most countries can easily pay for sex.

There are lots of women who want to find a partner, and will have sex with more than a few men on the way to finding someone. Be financially stable and have okay looks. That means being in decent shape, having a good haircut, great hygiene, and well-fitting, reasonably contemporary clothing in good condition, including shoes. Have a nice personality. That means having basic manners, the ability to have a pleasant conversation, and an understanding of social mores. Have a home that is nicely furnished and clean. Every single one of these issues has been addressed on AskMe, and the Web, and your library, abound with information on these topics.

Get online on 1 or 2 dating sites. Only 1 or 2 at a time. Make as many dates as you can. Be willing to date women who are older than you, overweight, have children. These are big deal-breakers for many men. Don't date anybody who is unkind, but otherwise, swap emails, and meet for a drink. Turn as many dates as possible into dinners, and ask women to come home with you. Don't be unkind or dishonest. Don't promise a relationship unless you mean it. Don't use the manipulative crap from the pickup books/sites, but learn how to give compliments, flirt, and ask for dates, kisses and sex.

If you are really striking out, contact women you've dated, saying "I'm honestly trying to work on myself. I'd really appreciate it if you'd tell me why you didn't want to go out again, and what you think I might be able to do to improve myself." You might get some answers, and some of them will be useless, but some might really help.

Therapist vary dramatically in skill, effectiveness and approach. See if you can find a Life Coach who can help you achieve your personal goals.
posted by theora55 at 9:16 AM on September 10, 2011


Heh, also puppies. If you don't want to make a long term commitment you can volunteer to foster or walk dogs for the local shelter.
posted by bq at 9:21 AM on September 10, 2011


Here is my personal advice:

Read the comments here really carefully. You sound angry and bitter. You don't sound happy. You don't sound like there's anything in your life in which you're really engaged. You don't show any passion about life, work, hobby, avocation, etc. The energy from engagement and passion attracts people. It clearly isn't making you happy to pay for sex; why not pay for therapy. I use therapy, just as I pay somebody else to change the oil in my car. I might be able to figure it out on my own, but getting a pro to help is more efficient. The best therapists I've had (and I had a couple complete disasters) are very common-sense, use behavior therapy techniques, and are well-educated. Interview therapists by phone, and if it's not working, find somebody better. Try lots of the approaches suggested here.

Lots of men won't date women who don't meet conventional standards of beauty. Look beyond makeup, sexy clothes, and gloss. I know women who present as very pretty, who are just average looking, but have great skills with makeup and style. I know women who are really pretty, but lacking in those skills. Get beyond it. Many people are overweight; dating women who are 25% over their ideal body weight will expand your options. That means that a woman who's 5'5" and with a generally ideal weight between 120 and 145 might weigh 180. That's overweight, not obese.

No woman owes you sex or a relationship. I think you will be much happier, have more fun, more friends, better relationships and more sex, if you really make some life changes. Life change isn't easy and requires some risk, but the cost:benefit ratio is totally in favor of Life Change. There's a lot of nice women who would like to you, but would love to meet the guy you could be.
posted by theora55 at 9:43 AM on September 10, 2011


You need to ask your friends why they don't feel comfortable setting you up.
posted by prefpara at 10:51 AM on September 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


If your looks are a 5, are you going for women who are also 5's? If not, then you are going to have to improve your looks to have success with the women you want.

Why are you not overhauling your looks if you are so desperate? I had to do this myself as a teen, many of us have.

I don't care how the PUA books say that women don't really care about looks but only about how you act. That's one of the many reasons why so many guys end up paying thousands on that stuff with no results. Most women care about both.

If you have some principle that you want people to just want you how you are now, then in order to have any success you will have to want other 5's and below for the way they are now, as well.

As to your online dating exchange, it began really well. Your first reply was totally perfect. You engaged positively with the topic she brought up (30 Rock). You expressed interest in something in her profile that didn't have to do with her looks. Both really great.

Then impatience got the best of you and you totally torpedoed it!

her: I was able to complete one full day of ragbrai, [omitted for anonymity] but it was fun while it lasted! I have only recently gotten into road cycling ...

you: "Ah, I see.

Are you back in College Town yet?


Rude!!! If someone is trying to tell you about themselves and they bring up a topic (road cycling), and your only response is "Ah I see" and you switch the topic to what you want to talk about, that comes off as really really rude. It's the equivalent of saying "That's nice" or "Cool story bro." It's like saying, "blah blah blah, now let's get down to what I really want to talk about." It's totally off putting.

If I were this woman, and you just chopped off the conversation like that and asked if I was in town, it would come off to me like "Yeah don't waste your breath I don't really care what you're saying, let's just get to the sex."

Maybe you think that is an overreaction? I don't think so because you have no idea how many guys online dating do this exact same thing. Or you'll be having what seems like a normal conversation with them over IM and suddenly they'll switch the flow of the conversation out of nowhere and start trying to bring up sexual topics.

Don't let your eagerness to move things along towards sex get the best of you to the point where you come off as rude, pushy and jumping the gun.
posted by Ashley801 at 12:29 PM on September 10, 2011 [15 favorites]


It's obviously not possible to tell how you read to someone in person, but here you seem so, so angry. My feeling is that (let's imagine for a moment, I was around your age) you would soon be angry at me if I were in your life as a girlfriend/SO. At first you would be glad because you got something you wanted (sex, at least), but then it wouldn't be enough, or the wrong kind, or I wasn't acting the way you wanted me to, or dressing right, or I was stifling you, or not paying enough attention, or too emotional, or too withholding, or not neat enough, or too neat -- something. Something.

Because you just seem like you have a lot of anger, and possibly a lot of woman-anger. Many guys are like this, and sadly never have problems getting dates/relationships/whatever they want, but they're extremely good at disguising the anger and resentment issues initially. Maybe you seem angry in person? Impossible to tell.

And, of course, there might be the object-oriented approach, which would be a problem. The oddest and worst date I ever had was with a guy who was young, rich and fairly handsome (with a different attitude, I think he could have been a hot guy, but he was good looking). He was not a born-rich kid; he made his own money, and was very good at what he did, careerwise. He bought a big, expensive house in an exclusive community, which he insisted I see on our first (and only, and aborted) date... and the date was basically an interview. He told me about his money and success, and then how I should change in order to suit his criteria. I was a millionbillion miles away from suiting his criteria, except I was attractive and smart. He had apparently decided he would secure a mate, and had come up with his schematic for what that entity should embody, and set about trying to pull in the hardware. He figured the software could be modified, I guess. He had a serious git 'er done attitude, presenting his qualifications and getting down to negotiations. On the first date.

I took off my high heels and walked across the golf course to get to the country club and find a ride home. His comments as I left were something to the effect of I didn't know what I was walking out on... but he was wrong. I was walking out on someone who didn't have the first idea who I was, or any interest in knowing that. His interest was how well I would fit some specs (with a little modding) for the machinery of the life he thought he was building. I'm not assuming; he told me specifically about how his standards were high, and I was one of the very few that he had encountered who met his requirements *swoon!*, except for XYZ. (that was mostly drinking, smoking, and loose company, for the curious).

Okay, not the story of the usual clueless-sex-seeking guy/girl who also gives off the vibe of "looking for an adequate tool" but it's the same creepiness. People who use us as tools are called "employers," not "dates" or "boyfriends" or "girlfriends," and they pay us for our services.

None of us know how you feel or act, or how you present, so we're coming up with these probably hurtful scenarios to ask you, could you be acting/appearing/smelling like this? You also don't give us much info (or you give it grudgingly), so it's difficult to parse your situation. If your friends aren't interested in hooking you up, I'd say that they know what the problem is, but just aren't willing to tell you. Find the one who will tell you.
posted by taz at 1:02 PM on September 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Back to the original question, if I thought I'd never have sex or physical companionship, I'd look for other forms of euphoric physicality. Like surfing and yoga, and maybe also meditation, gardening, an cooking. It'd be a source of solace. I'd also take up some social "helping" hobbies, like working the weekend shift at a residential care facility. I kind of think both of those could also help you with dating success.
posted by salvia at 3:49 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, what ever happened to the advice "just be yourself"

When I was 18 and in university and was angsting to my friend about not getting laid, I said something like "Aren't you supposed to just be yourself? If you're pretending to be something you're not when you meet someone, and they like you because of this thing you're pretending to be, you won't be able to keep it up forever and eventually the mask will fall and you'll lose them. So shouldn't I just be myself?" I've always remembered his response because it was not only really wise, IMO, but pithy to boot: "Be yourself, but make sure your self is cool." Others have already said this, I just thought I'd share my friend's formulation of the solution because I think it tips its hat to the fact that there's a hard-to-deal-with quasi-paradox involved here, which is that you want to both aspire to something better than what you currently are, but you also don't want to be present yourself as something you're not. They can seem at cross-purposes at times, but I don't think they really are. One is about what you "actually" are, the other is about who you're presenting yourself as. I guess the take-away is that if you've made your self into a cool1 self, you don't have to pretend to be something you're not.

Sex?
maybe it goes without saying, but it's my favorite "hobby".


Dude, just no. I don't know if you were joking or what, but sex is almost by definition not a hobby. A hobby is a thing that you do a) to distract you from the crushing meaninglessness of life, b) because no matter who you are you can't be having sex2 24/7, and c), because, when you actually take a break from your single-minded pursuit or your "main" life goals or whatever, and spend your time doing something that might seem kind of frivolous, like writing poetry or buying amateur art off craigslist, you gain all kinds of unexpected perspectives on life that you otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to had to remained true to your figured-out-a priori meat-n-potatoes lifepath. A "hobby" is a real thing and people have them for a reason and it is not a synonym for "activity I enjoy." It's a kind of systematic stopping-and-smelling-the-roses, at least the way I think about it. I say all this not to just "correct" you or whatever, but to say, diversifying your interests in a hobbyesque manner might be a good thing, because it can let take some of the pressure off the One Thing that seems like the Only Real Important Thing In Life and make you look at the world and yourself differently. If this is not your problem, however, feel free to disregard. I know that just because this one question is specifically about sex, doesn't mean you don't have any other interests/values. It does tie into my ¶ above though.

In any case, good luck with it all. I think you've gotten some good advice here in this thread.



1: Or sub in positive adjective of your choice.
2: Or sub in your favourite hedonistic past-time.
posted by skwt at 6:22 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


exposed to had to you remained true
posted by skwt at 6:25 PM on September 10, 2011


me: "Ah, I see.

Are you back in College Town yet? Would you be interested in meeting up for coffee/lunch/something? .... personally, I don't like stretching out message threads on here, I would rather chat with someone in person. If you give me an email address I could send you a few pictures."

i never heard from here again.


I may be reiterating what others have said... but as a mid-20s female: first off, I won't even talk to someone on a dating site who doesn't have a pic up.
Second, this seems reaaally soon to ask someone to meet face-to-face. I'm the type who will say yes almost immediately (provided the profile isn't a turn-off), but I still was a bit jolted that you went immediately to meeting in person. I like the conversation to go a bit farther before agreeing to meet someone. Not in terms of numbers of messages, but content. I want to have an idea of what the person is like so I know what to expect, and you really can't get this from a profile. I think the ideal time for someone to ask me to meet in person is after a couple/few messages, but they need to have content behind them.

And also, who knows why she didn't message you back? Maybe she entered into a relationship, maybe she had a bad online dating experience, maybe she died. Just keep in mind that it may not have anything to do with you or what you said.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:59 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]



her: "hi cupcake1337 :) I was able to complete one full day of ragbrai, [omitted for anonymity] but it was fun while it lasted! I have only recently gotten into road cycling ... [omitted for anonymity] "

me: "Ah, I see.

Are you back in College Town yet? Would you be interested in meeting up for coffee/lunch/something? .... personally, I don't like stretching out message threads on here, I would rather chat with someone in person. If you give me an email address I could send you a few pictures."


Wow. If I told someone about something I was interested in, that their answer was "Ah, I see." then changing the subject, I wouldn't write to them again either. If you had wanted her to write back or meet you in person, you have to at least give her the impression you are interested in what she is telling you about herself.
posted by antimony at 11:06 AM on September 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


... just to be clear: she pretty much closed out that topic in what i omitted, otherwise i would have followed up with more questions.
posted by cupcake1337 at 11:52 AM on September 11, 2011


If you just want people to fuck to sort out your confidence and build up social skills until you've gotten genuinely interested in someone and want to pursue a deeper relationship, why not approach the poly community in your area?

Honesty's key in their social interactions; they're not (in my experience) very judgmental towards those who are upfront about being curious/into NSA relationships, but be wary of coming off like a "tourist" if you do this. There are plenty of poly MeFites who could speak to this on a personal level, but from the layperson's (heh) perspective, it might be exactly what you're looking for: a community of potential sex partners that don't automatically come encumbered with the relationship aspect attached as a qualifier.

(Polyamorous MeFites, please chime in if I am wrong in recommending this as a potential solution for Mr. Cupcake here.)

Now, that said, I'm only recommending this as a band-aid to your overall problem. If you're really willing to pay for sex in foreign countries, this should be an acceptable short-term option. If you're expecting us to MeMail you ideal woman, sorry dude, won't happen. I'm sorry you're so frustrated!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:14 PM on September 11, 2011


... just to be clear: she pretty much closed out that topic in what i omitted, otherwise i would have followed up with more questions.

You have more options than just addressing the topic she brought up. Read her profile. Find something else to comment on, and ask a question that elicits a thoughtful answer (i.e., not a yes-or-no question). Be interested/interesting enough to carry on a conversation for a couple more messages.

If someone on OkCupid brushed aside my attempt at conversation like that—basically "yeah, yeah, hey, let's meet"—I'd disappear on them too.

You said that your friends—the people who know your personality, looks, hygiene, etc.—give you a lot of the same advice people here have given you. Then good lord, man, take the advice.
posted by quirkbot at 6:31 AM on September 12, 2011


I still don't quite get what you want out of this. It seems like what you want is for everyone to agree with you that all these bitches are lame and that it's nothing to do with you.


honey, it has something to do with you. Most people have paired up by the time they are in their 30's. By definition, at least half of them are less than average in the looks and social skills department.

what do you think is the problem, really? If you honestly don't know what's going on, follow the advice above and ask your friends. If you honestly think that there isn't a problem then how do you explain your lack of luck?
posted by Blisterlips at 6:34 AM on September 12, 2011


what do you think is the problem, really?

if you read my original question carefully, you'll notice i never actually ask for dating advice.

since this has more or less played out, i'm going to mark it as resolved.

thanks for your time.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:06 PM on September 12, 2011


if you read my original question carefully, you'll notice i never actually ask for dating advice.

What were you asking for? Sincerely, I think I am not alone in failing to understand what you were hoping to get out of this question.
posted by prefpara at 7:37 AM on September 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hope this doesn't seem trite, but a few friends have posted this article/list on facebook recently, and it seems to really hit a lot of the things I've found useful myself in the past year or so in trying to cultivate happiness. I mean, really, the goal in life is to be happy, right? Having a partner is one thing that can help contribute to happiness, but there are lots of other things.

12 Things Happy People Do Differently
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:08 AM on September 14, 2011


just an update: so, two months later, nothing has changed.
posted by cupcake1337 at 3:18 PM on November 12, 2011


Have you done anything differently in the last two months?
posted by decathecting at 4:55 PM on November 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


actually, i tried being more direct with people i was interested in, and then they accused me of sexually harassing them.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:46 PM on November 12, 2011


can you elaborate on that cupcake?
posted by sweetkid at 7:05 PM on November 12, 2011


there isn't much to elaborate on. i just tried to communicate, to some women in my social circles, what i would be interested in, in a polite and respectful way. look what happened above when i share an example of why no one likes me that way. by the fact that i'm sharing it i'm already saying it didn't work, then there's a pile on of "grar, wtf were you thinking?! of course that wouldn't work, that sounds terrible!"

decathecting: you're assuming i have an ability to control what happens to me to an extent that i don't have. you're assuming i haven't already tried the advice above, that there are people around who would actually be receptive to me, that if i just say or do the right things a magical spell will fall over some woman and she'll fall in love with me.

i know some kind of intimate/romantic/sexual relationship for me is out of the question. i just wanted to see what other people would do if they were in the same situation. the best i can tell, people just convince themselves they don't *really* want that, e.g. "sour grapes".
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:30 PM on November 12, 2011


If you were polite and respectful and they suggested that you were sexually harassing them, either you're not being as polite and respectful as you think or something's off with these women.

It just doesn't sound like you WANT to be alone forever, sounds like you're getting down on yourself, which is why you're getting the responses here that you've been getting. The attitude of "this is all happening to me, and I can't do anything to change it" is not going to help and will only hurt you.

I seriously suggest you try talking to a therapist about this. You need to change your attitude toward dating and how to integrate dating into your life. I'm not suggesting this because something's "wrong" with you. The person upthread who said there's something wrong with being in your thirties and single isn't being fair. Lots of people are in unhappy relationships in their thirties, and no one is rubbernecking at them and trying to tell them to find their flaws like they do with single people. It's not fair. It takes work to be able to glide past people who say things like this.

It's just that this attitude needs to change, and i think therapy will help with this. Therapy will help you realize how much you can be an actor in your own life, and stop thinking that unjust things are happening to you and you can't do anything about them.
posted by sweetkid at 8:12 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, I wasn't assuming anything. I asked a straightforward question about what you've been doing for the last two months. You then made an assumption about why I asked the question, what I was expecting the answer to be, and how I felt about that answer. But you have no way of knowing anything about me other than that I was interested in knowing what, if anything, has changed in your life over the last two months. The fact that you jumped to the assumption that I was being judgmental or blaming you says, I think, far more about you than it does about me.

Look, I get that you're frustrated and angry and upset. It must be really awful for you, and I wish there were something I could do to help. But it appears as though this is an issue in your life bigger than can be solved by strangers on the internet. It seems as though you can't accurately assess how your actions and manner of interacting is being perceived by others, and because we've never met you, neither can we. I know you've expressed skepticism about therapy, but honestly, meeting with someone face to face who is an expert in helping people to understand their interactions with others is, as far as I can tell, the only option you have left. I wish you well.
posted by decathecting at 8:59 PM on November 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201111/undateable-guest-post-elliott-lewis
posted by cupcake1337 at 2:35 PM on November 13, 2011


« Older What should I expect for a 4+ ...   |  What are the best SF area blog... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.