Starting online dating when you're still a bit a broken inside
April 20, 2014 6:28 PM Subscribe
I'm 30, male, British. Over the last few weeks I've felt the clouds of my latest depression begin to part and some sunlight poke through. I'm contemplating trying online dating again. How can I take advantage of this improvement whilst being careful not to over-tax myself and do an emotional crash-and-burn?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've had issues with depression and anxiety on-and-off for the best part of a decade. At my best I'm pretty much normal (in a quiet, shy, slightly self-hatey way), and at my worst I pretty much want to go to sleep and never wake up again. My mood took a turn for the worse last autumn when I decided to leave my job due to stress and burn-out and I've been struggling for the past several months to... well, exist.
However, I've recently made some good progress on the medical front by being referred to a psychiatrist and adjusting medication, and so on, and I'm currently on a waiting list for CBT. In addition to that, as ridiculous as it might sound, I feel I've made some terrific progress in the last couple of weeks by exchanging emails with a girl on reddit who has patiently let me talk through some anxieties around sex, relationships, self-esteem and so on. My conversation with her has helped to put a lot of my distorted ideas about myself into perspective, and it's also sort of given me permission to acknowledge my desire for female companionship, love, sex, intimacy, a girlfriend, etc.
I'd really like to use this momentum to do something - maybe online dating, maybe making penpals with other British women, maybe trying to find a cuddle-buddy or something. But I'm also aware that you need to really 'sell yourself' when dating, and I don't want to misrepresent my faulty goods. Further - I'm very wary of diving in with both feet as there's a danger of overloading myself and having a bit of an emotional collapse (or a massive depressive relapse).
Do you have any advice that might help me here? I could use it! I'm kind of hoping not to get too much advice telling me to wait until I'm in a better place before dating, as I'm in the best frame of mind that I've been in for months, if not a year. I mean, I'm sure people who are more broken than me manage to meet partners...
Anyway, further relevant info:
- Very little sexual experience.
- Uncomfortable in groups (meetup.com looks terrifying).
- Physically average at best (overweight, body-hair, bald). Terrified of the gym.
- Reasonably intelligent, educated, literate.
- No particular passions or interests.
- Entertaining in one-on-one conversation. Funny etc.
- Kind, nice etc. People tell me I'm a good person and sometimes warm to me (when I don't freeze them out) and so on.
- Unemployed and not looking for work yet (Two reasons - one, I'm caring for an ill family member and it may be over a month until she's well enough to cope alone; two, I haven't been well enough until very recently to think about work.
- Have my own place but currently living with family member (see above).
Thank you! Sorry this question is such a mess.