April 9, 2012 11:04 AM Subscribe
I'd like to hear your thoughts on how one "makes a move" on someone else.
posted by anonymous to human relations (50 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I'm embarrassed to be asking this, even anonymously, but I'm having some difficulties and maybe the hive mind can help. There has not been very much intimacy in my life and for a long time I blamed this on a couple of material obstacles. However, those obstacles have now been addressed and I'm finding that my true difficulties are mental and that I'm going to need to overcome them before things change for me in the way I need them to.
For a long time, you see, I was a really fat guy who was really broke and had no direction in his life. Noting my own low desirability, I assumed that no woman was going to want a fat broke dude making any sort of advance towards her, so in the back of my head this idea started to develop that sex and intimacy and love did not concern me any more than Olympic water polo did - that I was vanishingly unlikely to ever be picked for either. Some version of this thought has been with me ever since high school.
That said, I'm not a virgin. But I've never been the one to make a move - 100% of my sexual relationships have been initiated by the woman involved, almost always to my complete surprise.
Now, fast forward to today: I've lost a ton of weight and am now only kinda fat - barely heavier than your average dude. It took some haranguing from my roommate to make me see it but I'm objectively not nearly the big fat slob I used to be. I'm damn close to normal now. Likewise, there's also been a lot of movement on the career front of late - the money still ain't super impressive but I'm making a fair chunk of it doing something that I really love. In this aspect of my life, it'd be fair to say I'm on fire, that I've got direction and motivation like never before.
I feel like almost all of the factors that need to be in place for me to take a more active role in my love life. The trouble I'm having is that my assumption of my own undesirability seems to have outlived the material causes for it. It's frustrating beyond belief - this isn't me looking to be talked out of self-loathing, I know in the abstract that I've got a lot to offer a woman. I'm a solid, honest dude who dresses well and conducts himself like an adult. Talking to women isn't even the issue anymore - I've developed some small measure of flirting skill and have little difficulty arranging private time with women that interest me. Up to that point, I'm fine.
My problem is that this all falls apart in private, that I've spent years believing no woman could want me and all that old fat, broke slob nervousness still haunts me when I start thinking I'd like to get closer to a woman I'm alone with. I struggle with this even when I've got the strong suspicion that she wouldn't mind me making a move. For me, getting good at being a single guy has meant talking to a lot of female friends about what they do and don't like about men and how they act. So I know that every woman in the world has a few stories about dudes who didn't read her signals right, who went in for the kiss or whatever when it was not welcome and made everything awkward and awful. I really don't want to be a guy who puts women in positions like that. As stated above, I've got no experience as initiator and therefore little confidence in my reading of body language or timing. It'll seem like the moment is right but oh christ, what if it isn't?
So I'll do nothing aside from being polite and pleasant. And eventually, she'll go home or I'll go home. We'll say goodnight and I'll go to bed alone, feeling like maybe I didn't have to. Again. Which cannot continue.
The weight came off and the clothes and career improved because I decided to stop being passive and go right after the changes I wanted in my life. A change to my intimate life is urgently needed but is proving trickier to manifest. I don't want to be passive about this anymore - the results of a lifetime of passivity have been unacceptable. I want to take the initiative here but I'm never sure if I'm getting signals that I ought to or am just misinterpreting things. It's hugely frustrating - more frustrating, almost, than when I could blame everything on my huge fat ass and never spent any time alone at night with attractive women. When the stakes are low, I have little difficulty perceiving myself as I actually am - when they're high, I'm still that unfuckably fat scrub in my head, even though I haven't actually been that guy in a long time.
So AskMe guys, how do you know when a woman you're with would be open to your making a move? And more to the point, how do you do it? God, that's an embarrassing question to type but I'm really lost. Is it really just as simple as leaning over and kissing her and hoping you've read things correctly?
And women of AskMe, what should I be looking for? How do I know when moving in and initiating would be okay? I've been told that outright asking is a pretty clumsy thing to do and yeah, I don't see how a guy just asks "want to make out?" without it being weird. As I said, my experience up until this point has largely been women getting fed up with my shyness and launching themselves at me. I'm working hard on not being shy anymore but I've never initiated and I'm pretty twisted up about it.
It seems like there's talking and flirting between men and women and eventually things get physical but I'm just not sure what those middle steps should look like. And I realize this is probably pretty basic stuff to most of you but I'm having a really hard time with this. Losing the weight was supposed to solve this - it wasn't supposed to last longer than the weight did. Any insight any of you might have would be helpful. I've been struggling for a long time and am deeply unhappy about the lack of intimacy in my life. It feels like I'm really close to competent now which makes the remaining ineptitude all the more frustrating. Please help if you can.