How do I cope with jealousy of other peoples' intimacy?
December 2, 2009 6:02 PM   Subscribe

I am a straight 29-year old male who has never been in a relationship or had any sexual experience. When I find out that other people I know are entering into relationships or getting frisky, I get slammed by a whole cluster of negative emotions, and I need help coping.

These negative feelings include pain, like I got the wind knocked out of me and my chest is collapsing, extreme jealousy, anger, misogynistic thoughts like "all women are bitches because they'll hook up with that kind of guy but not me," and thoughts that I maybe my life isn't worth living anymore. (To be clear, I have zero desire to act on that thought, and I find it terrifying when it comes up. If I ever started planning ways to commit suicide, I would immediately seek in-person professional help.)

As I've gotten older and still been without any intimate relationships, these feelings have gotten worse. I used to only experience this when a girl I had a crush on would choose someone else, but it's getting to the point where finding out that anyone I know is sexually involved with someone or is in a relationship with another person can bring up these feelings.

I'm not asking for strategies to find a girlfriend or get laid, and so I'm leaving out the background of why my dating history has been non-existent. What I really need are some ways to keep these feelings from overwhelming me and to deal with the fact that other people get into relationships and have sex.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (37 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

I would immediately seek in-person professional help.

This isn't reserved for people who are suicidal. You should talk about this with a therapist.
posted by grouse at 6:07 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

You're having suicidal thoughts. Even if you don't plan to act on them, you do need to seek professional help.

I wish you luck.
posted by inturnaround at 6:09 PM on December 2, 2009

I really think that in-person professional help would help. Now, before it gets to the point you describe.
posted by streetdreams at 6:09 PM on December 2, 2009

mmm considering you don't want advice on how to get a girlfriend and that you're leaving out the background about the non-dating, hard question to address- because these issues really are key. But regardless- I spent most of my life (almost your age) not dating, and still haven't had many of the experiences the rest of society considers overwhelmingly normal for my age...and I have often been hit by similar emotions. I find that as I open up to the possibility of dating and everything that involves, and with every small step I make in these experiences, that that tension eases considerably. I have cultural background reasons for why I'm not as experienced in these things, and as I let myself set my own boundaries rather than feel pressured by either a cultural background or mainstream society, I find that those unhealthy emotions have almost entirely receded and instead I feel empowered that I handle things as I deem is the most healthy for me, where I am, and based on who I am. Most people who are single and interested in not being single feel sad or some other emotion when they see couples, that's natural- just not so healthy for you to be feeling it as strongly as you do.

Even if you aren't dating, do little things- compliment a girl on her hair for instance and if she smiles and says thanks and doesn't look at you funny, relish that feeling. Ask a girl who is a friend to have dinner with you and then pay a little extra attention to her- it'll make her feel good probably and will give you a 'date-like' experience even if for whatever reason you're not on a date.

Hope this was remotely helpful?
posted by saraindc at 6:15 PM on December 2, 2009 [5 favorites]

To be clear, it's not just the occasional suicidal thought that necessitates a visit to a therapist. It's the fact that you're having these unhealthy responses to situations that shouldn't make you feel that badly. A therapist may be able to help you get to the root of your problems and learn to deal with such situations in a more acceptable way.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:19 PM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

Coping with overwhelming thoughts:

It might be wise to spend a *little* bit of time pondering your goals, motivations, anxieties, preferences, standards, and eccentricities. But you're 29, and this is not the time to join a monastery to figure these things out. I find the only real way to deal monstrous worrying is to take real steps to change the situation. If I'm not convinced things are surmountable, I resort to all manner of self-defeating behavior.

Do whatever you have to do to really really get back on track, and your bad feelings will disappear.
posted by gensubuser at 6:22 PM on December 2, 2009

If I have read your question right, you want to know how to deal with envy. Envy can make life very sour and the only way I know of to deal with it is to focus on what you have and what you can attain.

You will have to take stock of your life and focus on the good things: friendships, position, experience, worldly goods. It sounds like you have a lot of friends which is a great place to start; cherish your friendships and cultivate them. Throw yourself into your hobbies and your work. Are you in good health? Can you afford to travel? Are there exercise goals that you can strive for? Finally, consider volunteering which is a great way to meet good people and a great way to discover just how fortunate you are.

Maybe your friends will introduce you to someone. Maybe your hobbies or sports will bring her to you. In the meantime, enjoy what you have. Be happy. Keep the receptive lines open.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:26 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm not asking for strategies to find a girlfriend or get laid

And yet, this is precisely the problem, isn't it?

As a human being, you can't be expected to cope, alone, with what seems to be the central problem of human existence. Open up here, open up to a therapist, to a friend, but don't tough it out alone.

And don't beat yourself up about those feelings. Perfectly normal. Everyone feels jealous of others' good fortune, it's just slightly amplified in your case because you're a bit frustrated.
posted by bricoleur at 6:28 PM on December 2, 2009

Maybe get a hobby or something. RC airplanes?
posted by Theloupgarou at 6:33 PM on December 2, 2009

Yeah. I don't think it will really work to ignore this and cope. Sometimes, I think you have to take yourself really, really seriously. Like those AskMes that say "I hate my job, how can I keep from puking from stress every single day since there's no way I can quit?" or "My family beats me but there's no way I can move out, so how can I toughen up my skin?" It's like, no, actually.

You have already run out of waiting time. This is a deadline for yourself. You are so upset about this that you feel physical pain and think perhaps it might be better to die. This is not a email from yourself that you can answer later; this is part of yourself bleeding on the corner and needing first aid. The problem-solving, crunch-time, get-things-done part of yourself needs to kick in. "Self, I hear you," you could say. "Your top TOP priority right now is a relationship or at least physical intimacy. I hear you on that. I am going to get you that." And then focus. This isn't second to work, to school, to almost anything else. It doesn't need to wait until the stars align. Figure out, how are you going to get that for yourself as soon as possible?

If not, if you don't do that, I think all the solutions would involve really big shifts in identity and life goals. "I'm not a person who gets in relationships. Instead, I am ____." This would involve changing yourself quite a bit, and it's not necessarily good for you. Also, it's slow, and even slower to come back from. You could also try getting underneath the desire by meditation or some sort of "what is really behind this desire?" self-questioning. (That said, in this case, I think what's behind the desire is largely "being human.") I'm putting all this in here to not be a jerk who ignores the question, but I agree with gensubuser, "do whatever you have to do to really really get back on track."
posted by salvia at 7:04 PM on December 2, 2009 [34 favorites]

i'd avoid a therapist whose #1 goal is to get you to depend on them.
* try to remember that you're not losing out on much?
* can you volunteer? that might give you an opportunity to see how much worse it could be
posted by 3mendo at 7:25 PM on December 2, 2009

What you are really saying is you are feeling strong negative feelings toward people who have something you want for yourself, and for whatever reason are not getting.
Just to define things a bit further, there are millions if not more people who have things you do not have and get them all the time. I'm not talking about sex or relationships here, just the fact that any subset of people you run into will probably be getting something you are not. And 99% of the time you probably could care less.
So, this one category is one in which you have powerful desires or attachments to an outcome. Whether they are biologically driven or culturally implanted, you wouldn't be having these thoughts if you didn't care one hell of a lot about the outcome you currently do not have.
If your subconscious is a little workbot designed to provide you with what you need or command, then you've probably been giving one hell of a lot of orders around this topic.
First off, clear the slate, forgive yourself, cancel any and all orders you've created on this subject. Say it out loud, write it down, just cancel all your demands that you have a relationship or get laid at this time, in the past, or in the future. Cancel all the demands.
From there, you should feel some relief and can lay a plan that will get you to where you want to go.
posted by diode at 7:41 PM on December 2, 2009

3mendo: i'd avoid a therapist whose #1 goal is to get you to depend on them.

I'd strongly disagree, and even go as far as to suggest such a perspective is dangerous to one in the poster's position.
posted by MikeHarris at 7:44 PM on December 2, 2009 [8 favorites]

It sounds like you're getting close to hating all women. Women have a hard enough time, including a lot of women who also have no dating experience for whatever reason. I'm sure you know this, rationally, but it sounds like you might be on a path to a place where the rational part of you gets smaller and the angry part gets larger. Please, you should seek some kind of counseling for your own sake, and I'll understand if you don't want to do women in particular any particular favors, but maybe for the sake of your future wife, or your mother, or the sweet girls who you have known or admired - please do find someone smart and compassionate and professional to talk with so that you have an outlet for your pain before it turns into hate. There's enough hate in the world. This is how it forms.
posted by amtho at 7:47 PM on December 2, 2009 [18 favorites]

* can you volunteer? that might give you an opportunity to see how much worse it could be

This is soooo not what volunteer work is for, and I wish people would stop trotting it out like it's some magic cure. Doing volunteer work does not solve your problems. And speaking as the head of a mostly volunteer-run organization, I'd appreciate if the people who work with us not do so in an attempt to run away from their serious personal problems. Anonymous, please deal with this issue head on. I bet things are a lot less hopeless than you think; you just can't see it through all your pain.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:48 PM on December 2, 2009 [12 favorites]

Counseling is not just for suicidal people or mentally ill people. A trained professional can help you sort through things from an objective viewpoint. For that matter, if you have a trusted clergyperson you can talk to that might work just as well-and be free to boot, if cost is an object. Many ministers are trained to counsel.

Please don't be afraid to talk to someone. Not to be trite but this really is the first day of the rest of your life. And it can be better!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:56 PM on December 2, 2009

Those feelings are you trying to get better. Get to know them. Pay attention to what you are thinking. Pay attention to the situations where they occur. I'd also check out the possibility that there are a few other, undetected emotions occuring, usually right before the one's you're experiencing.
Seek a therapist to guide you through this.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:26 PM on December 2, 2009

I think a great deal of your pain probably is centered around hopelessness. You see the way things are for you now, and you project it forward into the future as far as you can see.

That's not accurate. One of my favorite paragraphs of "Hack Yourself" is:
"We're excellent pattern-matchers. That's what the human mind does — it's a pattern-matching engine. So we look at ourselves, at our history, at our behaviors, and we draw straight lines between the points — we assume that just because we've done things a certain way in the past, we'll always do them that way in the future. If we've failed before, we'll always fail.

"Screw that."
That's relevant to you here. Your life is fluid, not fixed. It is especially relevant to you because the act of suicide is the ultimate act of fixation: if your life is crappy, if you end it, it will most definitely never improve, because it will be gone.

I think we learn and grow with each moment of our life. And I know from personal and firsthand experience with certain elements of my life that you can make progress on mental and emotional fronts without even being aware of it until the dam breaks, and then suddenly your entire view of the world becomes ... different. Merely by existing, and by setting your subconscious against the wheel you wish to turn, it eventually does turn.

Anonymous, the way that you can set your subconscious against the wheel right now is by beginning a project to find a therapist with whom you have a rapport. It may be the first one you see, or it may not; keep test-driving until you find the right one. Don't let any excuse stand: you can fit the time in somewhere, and as for money, a very large number of therapists offer sliding scales. The right therapist will focus your efforts, so that no drop of the effort you put into changing your life is wasted.

The fact is this, Anonymous: you are not so far outside of the mean of human society that you cannot be loved; there is nothing repellant about you inherently. The constant in the equation is you, but the problem lies in how you view, not in how you are viewed. How you wrote this post shows that: (a) you write well; (b) you are emotionally articulate; and (c) you value and are seeking a real relationship. These are all attributes women really value.

Good luck.
posted by MikeHarris at 8:33 PM on December 2, 2009 [18 favorites]

I agree with what amtho said about how you should be careful you don't become a total misogynist - this will only alienate yourself from women further and make what you want more out of reach. And yes, there are women out there in the same shoes as you.

This is a completely different situation but I am having similar feelings to you... I don't know if it will be helpful but I'll share with you anyway. I have been trying to get pregnant for a long time (with my husband) and been unsuccessful for a year and a half. I finally got pregnant a couple of months ago and then had a miscarriage a couple of weeks ago. Whenever I hear about anyone I know being pregnant, or when I see pregnant women, or people with babies, I feel sick with jealousy and self-pity and sadness. Hearing that any of my close friends are pregnant is like a punch in my guts.

Anyway, these feelings come from the fact that
a) I want something I don't have,
b) I feel ENTITLED to have what it is I want,
c) seeing other people get what you want is painful because you are reminded of what you don't have and it seems unfair and you feel like you are getting left behind while others get what they want.

The thing is, that nobody is ENTITLED to have anything, a relationship or a baby or whatever. If you really want something, then you gotta do all you can to get it, but if you don't get it, then I guess you just gotta try and be graceful about it and remind yourself that not everyone gets what they want. And that other people getting what you want is not about you...
posted by saturn~jupiter at 8:41 PM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

"Self, I hear you," you could say. "Your top TOP priority right now is a relationship or at least physical intimacy. I hear you on that. I am going to get you that."

I love this advice so much! Anonymous, I'm struck and saddened that you've apparently written off any possibility of yourself being one of the people who get into relationships and have sex. But I'd feel presumptuous telling you that you're desirable because as you said, you left out the background behind your non-existent dating history. So I'm instead trying to imagine what that kick-in-the-chest feeling is. I think it goes beyond sexual longing, which can be painful enough, and is actually the feeling of being left out or abandoned-- that these are things other people can have, but not you-- which I personally think hurts much worse. My cautious advice would be to gently question whether this feeling reflects an immutable fact, but perhaps it's better, like salvia, to ride roughshod right over it.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 9:07 PM on December 2, 2009

comment from a MeFite who would prefer to remain anonymous
I am a 29-year-old straight female who had only been in one relationship and never so much as been kissed on the lips, just the cheek. I was jealous of other people, though not to your extent, and I felt like a loser. So last week, I hooked up with a guy from an online dating site and we had sex. (I really didn't go there with that intent, but it happened.) It was painful, he was really bad at it and selfish too, and I have no desire to do it again. I cried for about an hour afterwards and I pretty much regret that I didn't take the time to get to know him first. So maybe a bit of reality splashing you in the face will help you realize that relationships and especially sex are not necessarily as great as they sound.

I know you feel alone but you're really not. I was in your shoes until just a week ago. You're not a freak and you're not a loser. I thought I was a freak and a loser and getting more and more desperate at the thought of turning 30 without ever having any sexual experience. Those feelings were replaced in me with feeling like a slut or a whore because I had what turned out to be a one-night stand. So bad feelings can easily replace other bad feelings.

Because your feelings are so strong, I'd really suggest you get some therapy. I'll be talking my experiences over with my therapist at my next visit.
posted by jessamyn at 9:14 PM on December 2, 2009 [5 favorites]

I used to feel a mild disappointment when people I knew got into happy relationships or got engaged or married.

My strategy was, instead of being angry that they found someone, to say to myself "Well, if that ugly/stupid/idiotic/annoying person found someone who loves them, then there really is someone for everyone and I'm gonna be fine, because I'm WAY more awesome than that person." Then it's just about having patience and/or taking steps to rectify the situation.

Definitely helped me - that and staying away from Facebook.
posted by buzzkillington at 10:38 PM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

You not only need some therapy (or, at the least, an impartial "ear" for all of your woes - even if it's not an official therapist) but.. since this is all caused by being lonely, you need to fix that. Our minds make us think things for a reason. If you have a craving for something, your body probably wants it! You can't just therapy your desires away. You need to get into a healthy relationship(s) with people.
posted by wackybrit at 10:57 PM on December 2, 2009

You may be very frustrated partly you're giving yourself very little slack here. You've sound like you've had very little experience with women, and yet you seem like you expect to bed them or be in a relationship...somehow, through some automatic means.

You don't give a lot of specifics, but being socially competent with women (or anyone, for that matter) is an art. For many, it comes with a lot of practice if you haven't had a lot of opportunities.

If you keep in mind that you have been given this life, and you are doing the best you can be doing in it, with the tools you have been given, you deserve taking satisfaction in that, no matter what the current results are. And if you aren't giving it YOUR best shot? These painful feelings are maybe a good wakeup call that it's not the world that's wrong, but possibly your attitude. Be thankful for them.

And something also to keep in mind? Small, seemingly trivial things you do now can have huge, life-changing effects later on. Being friendly to somebody you're jealous of, and still wanting the best for them. Or being kind to somebody you had your eye on, even if they're dating someone else. These things are small parts of very long, interesting chain reactions. Sometimes you won't see their results for a long time. Demanding that you get results NOW or being resentful of what others APPEAR to have in the meantime, while very human, is also very shortsighted.
posted by thisperon at 12:11 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

I would simply like to point out that many years ago it was not considered crazy-beyond-the-pale outrageous, weird or bizarre to be without opposite sex companionship. Really. In Ireland, for example..most families had an uncle, brother, male cousin (a male relative) who did not marry. There was a non-dating, non-marrying guy in practically every family and it was NOT considered unusual! No one called accusing them of odd behavior...they were simply the bachelors. "Confirmed bachelors". Imagine if we could have that same system of acceptance now. It would be nice.

Old Irish acceptance of confirmed bachelorhood aside--it does seem that you would like to change your status. Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive used himself as an experiment to conquer his fear of rejection: he hung around the Bronx Botanical Garden, and, whenever he saw a girl on her own, he forced himself to start a conversation with her. He got to be one of the best picker-uppers of women of all time and completely "deconditioned" himself of fear by talking to hundreds of women.
Ellis' books teach us how to navigate away from distorted thinking. One of the best is A guide for Rational Living (He describes his successful deconditioning experiment in that small and helpful book).
posted by naplesyellow at 12:31 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Just make sure you're doing everything you can to go after what you want. Of course, you'll be upset when you see other people taking it, but you'll be ten times more upset if you aren't even trying. Fight for the things you can change!

Why not notice this for a change: You're not the only one trying to accept a difficult reality. People watch their kids go with nothing because they can't find work; people find out they had children with an abusive spouse; people get sick. Some things you'll have to accept, and no one on metafilter can help you with that. You sound confident, so my intuition is that it's just a matter of finding the courage in yourself to accept what you can't change.

(I disagree with the other commenters about your "suicidal thoughts." You'll know when it's a problem.)

Good luck!
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:19 AM on December 3, 2009

I just wanted to chime in here that there is nothing "wrong" with being 29 and not having been in a relationship. I myself was a late bloomer and did not have my first romantic relationship until I was 26. I did wonder if there was something wrong with me that was very obvious to others and felt inadequate and jealous when my friends seem to easily go from relationship to relationship. I could literally count on two hands the number of dates I had been on, and how many times I'd been kissed (that I could count one ONE hand).

Now, with hindsight, I realize that I was simply not ready to be in a relationship and spent most of that time growing into my own skin. It's a pity that our society tells us that we have to all start having sex and relationships starting in our teens, because so many of us aren't remotely ready for that when we haven't figured ourselves out yet.

When I finally did get into a relationship, and started having sex (which was a whole year later, he was really patient), it was with someone that I deeply fell in love with, and I don't regret waiting for as long as I did for him to come along. Moreover, he was totally fine with the fact that I wasn't too experienced and even cherished that.

Good luck, when you have worked through your feelings, out of this will come something beautiful.
posted by so much modern time at 2:40 AM on December 3, 2009

I went to therapy for a range of issues including anxiety, anger, depression, substance abuse, trouble coping with work, and trouble relating and empathizing with other people. Everyday I go has been hard, like the hardest workout at the gym, followed by moments of desolation and moments of euphoria as I feel the hard shell crack and fall away.

This community is here to help you, but for the most part is not equipped for the long process that will be involved in digging into your feelings, and untangling the threads that you feel are pulling you down.

Please consider help; there are people in your life who don't want to lose you. You're so young.
posted by chrillsicka at 5:40 AM on December 3, 2009

I felt all your emotions, down to the letter, until I was almost 25. I expected college to be a way to meet women with similar interests, but I ended up just making a lot of friends who were already in relationships. I got rejected a lot, and by graduation I was more depressed and lonely than when I started. By then, too, previous friends were getting engaged and married.

In the end the only thing that changed me was online dating. It forced me to become more confident because I was essentially selling myself on first dates. Even then it took more than a year of disappointments to meet someone who makes me feel good about myself. I realise this is contrary to what you asked for, but as someone already noted, isn't the feeling of being left behind the real problem?
posted by spamguy at 6:57 AM on December 3, 2009

I'll say it. This is who you're going to turn into if you don't get a grip on yourself. There is nothing wrong with having limited or no sexual experience. There is a lot wrong with letting it turn you into a bitter, angry person. That bitterness you feel is poison, and it will only drive people further away and make your life and relationships even more difficult. You need serious, intensive help. See a psychiatrist immediately.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:01 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Huh. A prescription for benzodiazapene (used sparingly and only be prescribe a few at a time) and therapy.

This is the only piece of advice in this thread that I'd like to chime in and say "NO! NOT THIS!" Yes, to the therapy, but as to a specific prescription - that should be between you and your doctor and this sort of problem absolutely will not be solved with Valium. I know that MeFites mean well, but armchair pharmacist isn't really a great role to take - people have all sorts of reasons why they need medication and that is a decision that should solely rest with a doctor, not with AskMe, especially when the question is NOT "What medication should I take?"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:06 AM on December 3, 2009

"Confirmed bachelors"
I'm pretty certain "confirmed bachelor" has always been a euphemism for gay.

can you volunteer? that might give you an opportunity to see how much worse it could be
I agree with ThePinkSuperhero on this one- volunteer work is something for curing your own problems.

Finally, to the OP:
You have to do something more than just 'cope' with this, and that's why I really wish you'd included some background. Obviously there's some issues that can be really hard to work around but if you'd given us that information we'd be better able to help you.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:17 AM on December 3, 2009

(volunteer work is NOT something for curing your own problems. oops.)
posted by dunkadunc at 8:18 AM on December 3, 2009

I seriously screwed up a friendship because I felt similarly to you for a long time. I will regret it until I die and I wish I had sought help before I let my emotions control me so much. And even after that experience it still took me another year for me to accept two things.

First, no one is required to make me happy. I think there was a very large part of me that couldn't accept that my liking someone didn't mean they were in any way obligated to like me, much less like me the same way, back. It feels bad when we think we see a pattern in it, sure, but that's life.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, I realized I had some measure of control for whether I was happy. For too long I was obsessed with the idea that meeting someone would make me happy when all along there were a lot of things that could have made me happy. I was just preoccupied with being upset that The Thing I Wanted wasn't there to cheer me up.

Being in a relationship or having sex were just a few of many life experiences I wanted. I've desired many things that I'll never get, but none of those bothered me as much as dating and sex did. And even so, dating and sex were things I could get some day, I just wasn't getting them then (or now for that matter). So why was I letting myself be so bothered by the situation that I couldn't even be happy with what I did have? Today, it feels insane to me that I was hurting myself so much. And for what reason? Because I wasn't experiencing something that other people experienced?


It took a lot of big changes to get me to change my way of thinking and I was (and am) younger than you so you might have more work to go through to change your ways. I've done two sets of therapy and they've helped a lot as well. It could be your problems can be fixed by thinking your way out of them, like what I did. It could be that need to take some medication and improve yourself that way. But please choose something soon or you may become something you don't want to be.
posted by Green With You at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you don't love you, how are you going to love anyone else or allow yourself to be loved? You need therapy to help you deal with your anger and envy and help you learn to love yourself. The anger, bitterness, resentment will only drive others away and make it harder for you to get what you want. Happiness is not having what you want; it is wanting what you have. The happier you are with yourself and the better you are at meeting your needs, the more people want to be around you, in general. It comes through, in a lot of ways.

Regardless of why you've not had intimate or romantic relationships up until now, whether it be for cultural, religious, self-esteem, isolation, or other reasons, you can learn how to flirt, date, relate, and be physically and emotionally intimate with women. Because you've been delayed in starting this in comparison to most of your peers, you will need somewhat of a more intensive training course in this than people who started dating in their teens. This means you should make goals and take steps toward achieving those goals. Get a therapist, learn to love yourself, read the SIRC Guide to Flirting (it's really quite good), and get out there and practice.
posted by notashroom at 1:39 PM on December 3, 2009

So, apparently, societies with a great amount of economic inequality (wide gulf between the richest and the poorest) have more problems with homicide and other crime than countries with a low amount of income equality, where everyone pretty much has the same amount of money, even if that amount is really really small. (Here's one study about that phenomenon).

Apparently, even when it relates to money and not something personal like relationships or sex, there are people who have gut feelings of injustice/anger at the world when they see others with someone they don't have, even when they know intellectually that they're not simply entitled to those things, etc.

So maybe it would help if, unless and until you can square away the things you allude to about why you haven't dated, you made your society egalitarian, so to speak.

I think it might really help to make a lot of friends, male and female, who haven't dated/don't date. I think it's especially important to make the female friends who haven't dated, because otherwise you might still see things stratified along the lines of women = rich/men = poor, when it comes to finding a partner. As people have said in this thread, that's not true at all. Many, many women have trouble finding partners, but the reason that's not apparent is the same reason lots of those women don't date in the first place- we're just not noticed like the super cute ones are.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:53 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

I know this is easier said than done, but you have to stop sizing yourself up with other people. So what if they're in relationships and you're not? Therapy could help sort this out for you, and answer why you feel such strong emotions to begin with.

Also, you might want to re-evaluate yourself and how you handle relationships. Are you simply a loner who keeps to himself? Or are you outgoing, but just have problems getting into relationships? Getting advice from a friend, better yet a female friend who can evaluate your demeanor, etc could help a lot on this. Again, therapy could also help you get to the root cause.

For what it's worth, I'm also 29, single, and could count the number of dates I've been on since college on one hand. My luck has finally started to turn a bit in the past year, but it took a lot of effort and didn't happen overnight.

Good luck!
posted by photo guy at 9:58 PM on December 9, 2009

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