Learning to live with my past
June 27, 2012 5:21 AM Subscribe
How can I learn to live with regret and self-hatred related to my lack of relationship and sexual experiences?
posted by anonymous to human relations (32 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a 25 year old male. Until I was 23, I had a physical deformity that made me very unattractive. I never had a serious relationship and only had minimal physical contact with other people. I missed out on basic life experiences that are normal parts of other people's lives. No holding another person's hand, never having someone to hug or kiss, never exchanging phone numbers.
I hated myself for that. Truly, utterly despised myself for what I didn't get to experience. My self-loathing would get so intense that I would sometimes have mini panic attacks where it was difficult to breath. Occasionally I would physically harm myself because it felt like I deserved that kind of pain for being so completely undesirable.
Around 23, I had my physical deformity fixed entirely and I was excited to make up for lost time. I intended to have many experiences with many people. Instead, very quickly, I was lucky enough to fall in love. I've been in a wonderful committed relationship ever since. The kind where you sleep in late on Saturdays before going to the farmers market, and where at night under the stars, time seems to stand still.
I occasionally thought about the experiences I thought I would be having, but I was more than happy in my relationship. Recently, my girlfriend brought up the topic of our past relationships and sexual history (she has had several past relationships and partners). I didn't want to discuss the issue, but it was important for her that we did.
I'm not bothered that she has a previous history, but talking about my lack of experience triggered all of my previous self-hatred. I feel like my lack of sexual experience places me outside the bounds of what normal people get to experience in a lifetime. I hate myself that I'm so abnormal. At 25, I know I'm quickly approaching the age where I won't be able to experiment in the way I always wanted to with the type of partners I was always curious about. My girlfriend and I have been discussing our future, and it's been difficult to think that I will always have to live with this regret, shame and personal failure. At the same time, I love my girlfriend and can absolutely see an amazing future with her. I just didn't expect to be so lucky so soon.
My self-hatred has been hanging over all of my thoughts like a dark cloud. I can't enjoy anything sexual because it just reminds me of all the things I'll never be able to experience and how that makes me worthless as a human being (because even high schoolers have been able to experience more than I will be able to in my lifetime given that I'm so undesirable).
I want to stay in my relationship and I was wondering what coping mechanisms people had for learning to live with this degree of personal regret and self-hatred.