Girl Crazy
October 30, 2007 12:47 PM   Subscribe

What's My Problem Filter: I'm 32 years old, exteremely high sex drive, interesting, pessimistic, very bright, very funny, dead average in attractiveness, creative, not an alcoholic, poor, neither succesful nor unsuccesful financially (no debts, no assets). And I'm consistently and permanently single, despite my, say, 18 year desire for a permanent relationship with a woman. (long explananation to follow) What's my $%^&$%^& problem.

This is basically the fundamental question of my life. Metaphors: broken record, groundhog day, etc.

This is complicated and long but might be interesting enough. There'll be a lot of juice here for your reading.

My parents are happily married as is my brother. My mom is somewhat eccentric, intelligent, pretty smart, somewhat frustrating to deal with, pretty funny. My father is very witty, very responsible. He's a chubby short Irish guy, looks something like a hobbit. I think he's cute.

Me: I'm 32, 5'9", bearing a few extra pounds but nothing extreme. If I lost 20 or so I'd be in pretty good shape, 40 I'd be borderline emaciated. I've a sort of strange body type, short short legs and a long torso. It annoys me. I've only become vain about it in the last 5 years or so, before that I never really thought about it.

Facially I get compared to Jim Gaffigan and Phillip Seymour Hoffman on a regular basis, by strangers. I view this as not a particularly good thing, but it is what it is. I think I have a lot of character. I think if I lost the aformentioned weight, I'd look a lot less like those guys. I don't think people mean it in a mean way but I really don't like hearing it.

I've had, in my life 2 relationships lasting longer than 3 weeks. One in college to a fallen mormon girl who I realized afterwards I didn't really like (sometimes when sex is made available to me I tend to lose all judgement). One was a few years ago to a woman that I liked quite a bit as a person, but who was a really big nag (something I really hate). Our sex drives were totally at odds, me a 7x+ a week kind of person, her a 1x maybe a week. But she was very kind to me (also a person who had trouble with relationships and really wanted one) and I wanted to give it a shot. We made it for about 6 months off and on but it was very difficult and trying. When I think back on it it's pretty clear to me that we would only have made each other more miserable in the process.

There is also a woman that I was sort of involved with for 3 years. She was, in many ways, the defining woman of my life thus far and mostly in bad ways. Wonderfully cute and brilliantly funny, we had wonderful fun together in the city. When we met she told me she was not interested in a relationship and I was sort of turned off by her smoking and generally super skanky way of dressing but we had this wonderful connection for joking around. We were both intensely self-deprecating people and it was really nice to be around someone like that and be comfortable laughing about ourselves. At some point I expressed my interest in her. Long story short our friendship ended for a while, started up again, ended again. Then started again once, with a sort of date and us kissing in her car. Then ended again. And then, when I was leaving town to move to another city, we slept together. It was really nice. If that hadn't happened I'd be more bitter about how things had gone with her but in some way it took the sting off things to know that she could consider me sexually. I moved away and then came back. We started up again as friends and then all our same issues came back. Her: totally unreliable as a friend, dissapears for long periods. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, sleeping with her roomate in a disfunctional relationship thingy for much of all this. Me: needing someone who is available, returns calls, reliable. I can say that despite all our fuckuptions I really loved her and part of me still does. And I'm also really angry at her, and sad for her (she's kind of self destructive).

And while I'm at it, there is the woman that I was involved with last year. A worker at the same organization, I met her and initially was very unnatracted to her. I didn't see her for a while and then met her again and had my initial feelings totally turned around. I became quite interested in her and started pursuing her. But then I left town. When I got back (yes this overlaps the above story), she gave me the cold shoulder for a few months. At a party I went to, she acted very non-challant to me. I got annoyed. Her roomate came on harder to me than I've ever been hit on in my life. I made out with said roomate. Thus causing a major drama fest. I was not interested in the roomate. I slowly rebuilt our friendship. I told her that I was interested in her. She admitted that we had a very strong chemistry, but she was dating smoeone else. I held in there, became better friends with her. Apologized to the roomate (I did feel bad for the way things went). She broke up with the boyfriend. Finally, we were able to date. And for about a week it was pretty fucking awesome. I was extremely excited about being with her, to the point that I couldn't think straight. She was super fun to be around. I felt like we'd gotten through a lot of stuff in the intervening times and I was ready to make things happen. Writing this now (and thinking about it since then) I realize that I was pushing things kind of fast with her. It's a problem. When I'm into someone, it's a little hard for me to take things slow. I want everything with them.

She had a lot of issues that I didn't know about until it was too late. And a lot of them manifested as her being really freaked out by people being really excited about her. Kind of the perfect storm of a bad combination. Me: needing to be reassured that I was loved and accepted her: really freaked out by too much attention. So. It lasted about 2 weeks before blowing up. I'd say it pretty much destroyed me. I was kind of messed up to begin with, and had put a lot of hope into this going well and when it didn't it really floored me. Yes, it was a very short relationship but I'd been her friend for quite a while and was pretty much in love with her by the time we got together.

Here's the other awful detail. In between and overlapping all these situations, I've been internet dating up the wazoo. I'm pretty sure I've been on somewhere near 120 first dates over the last 6 or so years. You know, I'm trying to find "the one". I'll say that I've broken a couple of hearts over the intervening time, but I think the score is probably ladies: 45 sully :10 draw: 65.

Part of it is that I'm fundamentally a self effacing person. I have a lot of talents. I'm pretty good at whatever I try. But sometimes I don't take great pleasure in those things (I tend to think of art as being somewhat painful, hard work) and I'm never as good as them as I want to be, even when people praise me for them. I'm TERRIBLE at selling myself, in any form. I hate flirting. I'm obsessed with honesty. I can be very self conscious. I'm totally unable to approach women at bars. I get flustered, I stare, and then I eventually walk away. It's very frustrating. I'm not good at being on my own, but that's the only thing I've ever really known.

On the plus side I have this part of me that I'm ready to give to someone and build a life with, and I think if I'm ever to meet this person, they would see a new and better person develop out of me. The women above that I've mentioned, had our relationships progressed, I think I could have gotten my shit together (I'm not sure though if they would have been able to get theirs together).

Recently I had a fling with someone who told me that I'm pretty good in bed and pretty attractive. It's weird because I think she's telling me the truth (not a bullshitter at all), but I was sort of surprised because I never think of myself that way.

Basically where I'm at is that there are women that I'm really attracted to. In my experience they have not been attracted to me (in general). There are women attracted to me, but for the most part I have not been attracted to them. Then there are the women that I've been attracted to and had some bond with and those relationships have fallen apart in short order.

Oh and I should also say that historically, I've been really interested in very creative, super independent, extremely funny, very cute women, who often seem to have a lot of angst about one thing or another. I see the angst as a problem there but not sure what to do about it. A lot of them have had fucked up issues with their fathers and I realize how that's affected things. It's hard to pick who you are attracted to and meet though.

I've also been really into women who have had both feet on the ground but don't generally get my foot in their door.

Jesus, I feel like I'm not even scratching the iceberg. I'd be surprised if anyone read this far but if you have any advice I'd be all ears. Honestly this experience has been pure torture for me and I have no perspective on it anymore. I meet women, go on dates, fall in and out of like and love, start to get hopeful about things, occasionally hook up...and then I'll look back six months later and wonder what happened. Whatever I was hoping for fizzled out. I feel cursed.

I realize this is long. Honestly I feel like I'm just scratching the iceberg here, not even giving the barest of details. Whatever critical thought you have about all this, believe me, I've thought it out. The sort of amazing thing is that I'm still hopeful of meeting someone, after all this.

I met a guy I went to school with on the subway in NY a year or so ago. He asked me if I had a girlfriend. I said no, and said I rarely do and I never understand it. He said "Yeah, I feel the same way, I feel like whatever thing other guys learned in high school about girls I missed." That kind of expressed how I feel. And I look at this guy, kind of a cute dude, amazing guitar player, friendly, funny, a little eccentric, and I can see myself in him and wonder what the f is wrong with the both of us.

I'm moving to a new city very shortly. One that I've spent quite a lot of time in and I find very accepting and interesting. I'm hoping things will be different.

I'll leave it at that. So here's my question. Given what I've told you above, what do you think is the reason that I've been unable to find someone to have a relationship with that I'm inspired by and attracted to? And what would you suggest I do to change that situation?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (56 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Therapy. Internet dating.
posted by electroboy at 12:51 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

I've had, in my life 2 relationships lasting longer than 3 weeks.

Except that you proceed to list 4 relationships, not 2, which is not really all that small a number.

Also, and I say this as kindly as one can, is it possible that you're scaring women away? The fact that you posted a question this long makes me question your judgment on when to shut up.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:55 PM on October 30, 2007 [20 favorites]

I should have mentioned too that I've tried therapy in the past and found it really unhelpful. I know I'd probably need to search harder but I've found the therapists I've had had a really hard time understanding where I was coming from. It seemed like I was mostly getting a lot of self help bullcrap from them. I could see, after writing this, how it might be helpful. I'm not sure.
posted by sully75 at 12:55 PM on October 30, 2007


one of the relationships mentioned lasted 2 weeks, the other one was mostly a friendship with a few brief episodes of romance.

I'm quite open to the prospect that I'm scaring people off. But I'm not sure that's it. I'm not necessarily a big talker. I'm venting a bit here. I find it a really hard situation to explain, and I sort of understand myself in intimate detail, so it's hard for me not to try to understand how things happened in the past.
posted by sully75 at 12:58 PM on October 30, 2007

If's possible you talk about yourself too much, appearing selfcentred. Perhaps try focusing on them.

Is settling an option?
posted by b33j at 12:59 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Find something else to think about instead of Finding The One. Do you have any other interests? Pursue those if you aren't doing so already. If The One isn't out there, at least you accomplished something, and if they are they're much likely to be interested in you if you have something going for you.

The problem isn't so much that you can't find a girlfriend, but that you want a girlfriend so badly.
posted by phrontist at 1:00 PM on October 30, 2007

What's My Problem Filter: I'm 32 years old, exteremely high sex drive, interesting, pessimistic, very bright, very funny, dead average in attractiveness, creative, not an alcoholic, poor, neither succesful nor unsuccesful financially (no debts, no assets). And I'm consistently and permanently single, despite my, say, 18 year desire for a permanent relationship with a woman. (long explananation to follow) What's my $%^&$%^& problem.

You don't tell people that do you?
When I first read it it came of as arrogant. Maybe that is your problem?
posted by ooklala at 1:00 PM on October 30, 2007

Best answer: Get over yourself. Take a step back from the world of romance and don't date anyone. Don't even look for love. IMO you're looking too hard and attracting complicated people by coming off desperate. In other words, you're sending signals for the wrong kind of woman. Also, you seem to view everything through a sort of black-and-white, love-or-hate lens, maybe you're hyperbolizing everything.
posted by mateuslee at 1:02 PM on October 30, 2007

Best answer: I think you are a little like me, with too many options, you meet a nice girl, like her, then meet her hot friend, drop cute girl , go for hot friend, get shot down, then wonders where cute girl went to.
posted by kanemano at 1:04 PM on October 30, 2007

It sounds like you're too overanxious in all your relationships. Are you letting your extremely high sex drive dictate (heh I said dictate) how quickly you need to get intimate with someone? Maybe you're pressuring potential gfs and coming across as overly needy, which is never attractive.
posted by iconomy at 1:05 PM on October 30, 2007

@mateuslee, I think you are right about the black and white thing. I think though that the process has changed me a lot, I think I was a lot less like this in the past, but the past 7 or so years have kind of effed me up.

@kanemano: yep, something like that.
posted by sully75 at 1:07 PM on October 30, 2007

@iconomy: yep. It's kind of hard for me to deal with the lust thing when meeting someone I'm into. I haven't been able to figure that one out. Particularly after avoiding hooking up with people I'm not interested in. The whole sex thing has been a whole drama show in my life and I guess I avoid it unless I'm really into the person (I'm somewhat terrified of hurting people and fucking-and-running), so I tend to have dry spells followed by encounters with people I care about, by which time I'm so out of my mind horny that I don't know what to do.
posted by sully75 at 1:10 PM on October 30, 2007

It seemed like I was mostly getting a lot of self help bullcrap from them
Well the truth is, you seem to need said bullcrap. There's nothing really wrong with you, in my opinion. You just need someone to show you how to help yourself. There's no real magic bullet out there that's going to solve your "problem." And lots of people don't find a good, long-lasting relationship until much later than your 32 years. It's just not all that unusual. Rather than obsessing over what you find lacking in yourself and your life, focus on the things you like to do and enjoy each day for what it is. Happy, satisfied, well-adjusted people are attractive.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:11 PM on October 30, 2007

One thing that you need to remember when you are pursuing a lady, (thinking about it, it also works the other way) is not to make yourself too available. Especially if you like the person you need to be a little distant and hold back, for a while. I dont know why it works, but early on people are more interested in the chase I guess.

Also stop over analyzing things, and trying so hard.

Just relax and try to have fun.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:12 PM on October 30, 2007

No need for the @ sign. Just address people by their usernames if necessary.
posted by barnone at 1:12 PM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

You say you're thirty-two but from your post I can't tell if you're thirty-two, twenty-two, or twelve. You come off as incredibly hyperactive and very, very pushy on the women you want. You read like you have absolutely no patience for establishing the basic groundwork that a long-term relationship requires; it feels like you want your true love NOW dammit. Is it possible as soon as you feel a modicum of attraction you go after the woman too fast and too strong, without giving things a chance to slowly grow? Especially in the sexual arena? I know you gave Low-Sex-Drive-Lady a chance, but how many other women have you given chances? And then saying a two-week nearly non-relationship "destroyed" you. You're thirty-two! If you really have so little sense of self you do need to keep trying therapy.

I also find it difficult to understand how 120 first dates could all end in utter failure--again, are you giving women a chance or do you leave everything up to the thunderbolt? Because if you have a high sex drive, you may be confusing sexual attraction for actual compatibility, where sexual attraction is very much something that can develop and grow over the time of a relationship. I mean, the last two, sort-of-crazy women you pursued, Working Girl and Depressed Woman, at any point did you think you guys could form a functional relationship where you built on each other's positive qualities and helped deal with your negative ones? It sounds like with Depressed Woman you guys just wallowed in misery together.

Anyway, I second other people who are saying what you really need is to learn to be comfortable single instead of obsessing about being in a relationship and worrying about what you don't have.
posted by schroedinger at 1:12 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't understand what your question is.

Is your question "Why haven't I fallen in love?" or "What am I doing wrong when dating?" or what?

Also, I read the part on the front page and though "Oh, okay." and then I read the part inside and by the time I was a third of the way through, I was feeling that strained feeling, you know? When a guy talks to you at a party and you're totally disposed to be pleasant but after five minutes it's just exhausting?

Now, you may or may not be that way in real life. But CALM DOWN DUDE. Let the ladies get a word in edgewise.

And be careful about mentioning your super-powerful sex drive. Saying that to someone you don't know well is a good way to run them off-- not because she doesn't like sex, but because... all girls know that guy who talks about sex on the first date, and he tends not to be very popular.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 1:17 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

and I think if I'm ever to meet this person, they would see a new and better person develop out of me.

Find ways to develop that person now, outside a relationship. It's a recipe for disaster to expect a partner to fix you, save you, rescue you, change you, or in any other way take responsibility for making you into a whole, complete person with something to share with others. You need to do that work on your own, or else resign yourself to partnering with other "half people" looking to you to save them from themselves.

Figure out who you are, who you want to be, what that gap is, and how to bridge it. Therapy, meditation or yoga or other spiritual practices, keeping a journal, getting extremely involved in any art practices, long walks in the wilderness, deepening your relationships with your friends and family, working in-depth with animals, and reading great literature and philosophy are all ways of finding those bridges; I'm sure there are others, so choose something or some combination of things that appeal to you and go for it.
posted by occhiblu at 1:18 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

sully75, I think I can help you.

Get in your car and drive to the nearest fair. Walk around. Enjoy the fresh air. Eat some funnel cake. Try that meat on a stick that your mom wouldn't let you eat when you were a child. Try to convince someone to let you jump in the giant inflatable castle. Buy a balloon. Buy some lemonade. Peruse the spanish language cd seller even though you hate spanish music.

Once you do all that, go to the person selling balloon hammers. Buy one. Smack yourself in the head with it twice. Leave the fair, get in your car and drive back to your apartment and realize that every girl you talk to, every girl that you approach, and every girl on the face of the planet can tell that you are the type of person to write the question you just wrote and want to have nothing to do with you. Stop being desperate. Stop with the pity party. Stop scaring everyone who walks into your life and stop being girl focused. The minute you let go is the minute they'll start a comin'.
posted by Stynxno at 1:20 PM on October 30, 2007 [24 favorites]

Schroedinger: As I said earlier, any criticism you might have of me, I've thought of a million times already. I was kind of hoping for maybe some observations here, not eviseration. Whatever though.

If you met me you'd find me a pretty friendly, somewhat awkward guy with a wicked sense of humor and shitloads of friends, generally well liked and maybe a little troubled. I've put a lot of details here because I'm trying to understand myself better. As I said, it's pretty hard to explain my situation here but I made an attempt.

To answer your questions: yes, i've given many women I've met a chance. The sex drive thing is a red herring and I probably shouldn't have mentioned it because I'm not walking around with my fly unzipped all the time. I'm too likely to kiss a woman too early and I've done my best to fix that. I like kissing quite a bit so it's tough.

Regarding the woman I pursued, yes, I thought we had a really good shot at something lasting. I spent a lot of time on it and worked pretty hard to keep things mellow while she figured things out for herself. The whole thing spread out over 2 or 3 months and I did whatever I could not to be pushy. It wasn't easy.

Anyway, I guess all I can say is I put myself out here not for someone to let it rip but maybe to say something helpful. You jump to a lot of conclusions. And if you've never gotten inappropriately excited about something that was probably not going to happen, count your blessings.
posted by sully75 at 1:23 PM on October 30, 2007

the score is probably ladies: 45 sully :10 draw: 65.

good odds, actually for the internet. Try reading Intimate Connections. You won't be sorry. You gotta do what it says, though. Some of the exercises might not be something that you aren't fully comfortable with.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:29 PM on October 30, 2007

Best answer: My first guess is Seinfeld syndrome--I'm betting every date you go on, you immediately find something you dislike about the girl, and write her off. You think, she's clearly not the one, next!

It's hard to give people a chance when you're cynical, especially if you're meeting people online (it's easy to assume e-dating sites are filled with people who are "broken" somehow). But I think you should try, because if nothing else, you're getting practice on how to cultivate a relationship. Don't lead people on, of course--but don't be so quick to write people off. Love at first sight doesn't really exist--relationships have to grow out of something.
posted by almostmanda at 1:30 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

to answer some other questions

as far as interests and hobbies, it's not a problem. I'm a musician, excellent woodworker, a pretty good writer and a bunch of other things. Honestly my life does not lack for richness.

uh no I don't mention the sex drive thing on a first date or really ever, it's just been a problem in the past with some women I've been involved with. I'm generally not sexually flirtateous.

Thanks in general for the observations, particularly about people meeting someone past 32. It's been tough, most of my close friends have gotten married in the past couple of years. I used to not mind being their wacky dating friend but I'm sort of wondering when my time might come. Of course they could be divorced in 2 years but that's where I'm at right now.
posted by sully75 at 1:31 PM on October 30, 2007

OK, you say you have all these critical thoughts about yourself and you're still obsessed with meeting someone even though you can list off all these things that are wrong with you. So what is your question--how to improve the things that are wrong with you, or how to get a date?

For the former, therapy, and we'd need more detail about what's wrong (though as others have said it probably has quite a lot to do with chilling the fuck out).

For the latter, look, you come off as neurotic, depressed, needy, and desperate. These are not attractive qualities. They probably have a lot to do with you not establishing a healthy, stable relationship, because generally healthy, stable people date other healthy, stable people. So really, learn to love yourself. Improve yourself. And you will find as you improve, women will notice.
posted by schroedinger at 1:36 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Your problem is you're self-obsessed and narcissistic. Know what first tipped me off? The 2,000-word novella of a question that is longer than the sum total of all the comments thus far.
Second, the way you describe your past relationships makes it seem that the only way you relate to people is either the way they make you feel, or what you get out of them. People do pick up on that, you know.
posted by tjvis at 1:36 PM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

Just a few quickies:
- Forget about dating for a while. You're gonna have problems if you're seeking a woman to fill a void in your life. Build yourself a life you're happy with, then if you find somebody you like, invite them to it.
- Improve your clothes, accessories (watches, rings, etc.), hair. Hit the gym, get in the shape you're happy with. But here's the thing -- do it for you, not them.
- Befriend and hang out with guys who are good with women. Learn from them.
posted by LordSludge at 1:45 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hi there. I'm you about three years ago.

Well, sort of, anyway.

You and I shared a lot of characteristics three years ago, except where you describe yourself as average in looks, I think I'm dead ugly. And I had had a few relationships more than you which lasted longer than yours. My perception of myself probably didn't help me get dates, but hey, it was who I was.

My last relationship ended badly. And so came a two-year dating hiatus, though this was not by choice. Not to start with, at least. At first, right after the break-up, I wanted a new relationship so bad. I was probably on the rebound, or maybe as a straight, single guy some sex would just have been nice, so I sought a woman and/or relationship out, and found no-one.

As the months dragged on, I kept looking, with no success. I tried internet dating, and went on several dates, though none of them resulted in a relationship. Infact, if anything, the internet dating was a huge mistake as rejection after rejection destroyed what little was left of my ego.

And so, around 1.5 years after my breakup and with one rejection too many, I gave up. And by that I mean I literally decided not to date or to look. If I went to a party and saw a girl I may have thought I'd have a chance with under other circumstances, I didn't talk to her with the idea of pursuing a relationship. We just talked, and I moved on. I saw girls in the street and thought "she's hot" etc, but that was it; I simply stopped looking for a relationship.

All this extra time spent focusing on other things I started to learn how to meditate, and relax, and to like myself. My perception of myself was that I was still unattractive, but who cares? I was at peace with how I looked, who I was, and didn't give a damn about what anyone thought about any of that.

And then I met the girl who would be my fiancee. At first I just talked to her with no intention of pursuing a relationship with her, as had been my MO when it came to women for the six months leading up to the day I met her. And we talked, and talked some more. And eventually I couldn't help but realise that this girl was something else. Hesitatntly I decided to break my rule of no-dating. We went on a date.

And now, today, three years later, we're engaged. I proposed to her earlier this year and my life couldn't be better.

My advice then is to stop looking. And by that I mean really, really stop looking. Stop stressing over whether or not you'll ever find someone. As I said in a newer thread a couple of questions up, there is a social pressure on people to find someone and copulate, but that is a constructed pressure and not one all should conform to.

So stop looking, find yourself, and get to know yourself. All of that is easier said than done, I grant you, but trust me, it's worth it. Because my experience is that once you've done that, you'll find that special someone, eventually, and your relationship with her will be all the healthier for all the hard yards you put into getting to know your own self.

Good luck!
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:45 PM on October 30, 2007 [8 favorites]

Oh, and masterbate more.
posted by LordSludge at 1:46 PM on October 30, 2007

"On the plus side I have this part of me that I'm ready to give to someone and build a life with, and I think if I'm ever to meet this person, they would see a new and better person develop out of me. The women above that I've mentioned, had our relationships progressed, I think I could have gotten my shit together..."

You're doing it backwards. Do the bold part first, not second. Become the person someone would want to date, and they'll date you. Wallow in your half-developed state and you'll get half-developed relationships.
posted by milarepa at 1:57 PM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

I was going down this road too. A friend once said to me `stop looking, it will happen', the implication being that women smell desperation and flee.

Like Effigy above I pretty much gave up on actively seeking a girlfriend. "For the next year, I am not looking. This is just time for me" I thought, and just enjoyed life, not stressing about how to behave around women, wondering what was wrong etc. It was a load off my mind.

Finally it did happen, I got into an email conversation with someone I had met briefly (and liked, but not thought much about) a year before. I did not have romantic intentions when we started conversing, I was just being friendly, fun, as much of myself as possible.

We basically courted via email and got together in real life later. Still together 8 years later!
posted by tomble at 2:16 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

If, as seems probable, you find Effigy2000's splendid advice tough to take, set yourself a fixed time period: give up looking for six months, say, or 12. Mark it in your diary that you're putting this issue on hold. (Then, take Milarepa's equally splendid advice in the interim.) Don't sabotage it by treating it as a deadline for anything to work out. Just decide to procrastinate on this for a while.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:22 PM on October 30, 2007

As a female, the "extremely high sex drive" thing and the fact that you mention it first is the big turn off for me. No female wants to feel like a glorified sperm receptacle. Take it down about 12 notches and get to know someone a bit before the topic of sex even comes up. Sorry if that sounds old fashioned but it you want to address your extremely high sex drive from the git-go, perhaps hiring prostitutes is a better way to go.
posted by 45moore45 at 2:29 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cut out the self-deprecation. No, seriously. When you tell people negative things about yourself, even jokingly, the idea will be planted in their mind. It's the whole Maya Angelou "if someone tells you who they are, believe them" thing. People who you know very well, like your friends, have their opinions of you firmly cemented in their minds, but the women you meet on dating sites don't. Also, judging by your post you may tend to oscillate between self-deprecation and self-glorification, which is really confusing and turns most people off.
posted by fermezporte at 2:29 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think you should reconsider therapy, but consider that there are many different types of therapists and therapies. Right now you are coming at this from the perspective of "whats wrong" (with me). A lot of therapists might actually encourage you to delve into that question, considering your past failures, your childhood and whatever other portents and nodules of pseudo impact they can unearth with you. The deeper you dig into that the more you will bury yourself. In my opinion you are just fine, you just might be doing things in a way that might not be getting you the results you want (a relationship). What you need is something that couples some therapy (probably at a behavioral cognitive level) with some coaching. You need someone to help you look at what you're doing critically and get on your case to make specific changes. Its not about who you are, who you were or who you will be, its about what you are being and doing right now. To be more specific, there are many dating coaches, PUA classes, etc.. there are many CBT therapists, life coaches, landmark education classes, etc ... pick what appeals to you now, sign up and make a commitment to an active change.
posted by blueyellow at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2007

You read like you have absolutely no patience for establishing the basic groundwork that a long-term relationship requires; it feels like you want your true love NOW dammit.

My first guess is Seinfeld syndrome--I'm betting every date you go on, you immediately find something you dislike about the girl, and write her off. You think, she's clearly not the one, next!

I hate to say it but I got these same impressions reding your post. I may be off base here but I sort of got the impression that you are extremely critical both of yourself, yes, but also of the women you date:

who was a really big nag

I was sort of turned off by her smoking and generally super skanky way of dressing

And I'm also really angry at her, and sad for her (she's kind of self destructive).

A lot of them have had fucked up issues with their fathers

While these are geniune issues (I wouldn't want to date a smoker either), your general tone seems kind of judgemental. It's one thing to think someone has some problems that you aren't ready to take into your life and another thing to say they have "father issues". I know you also mention positive things about these women, but if you're dating a woman and you're thinking "yeah, she's cute and funny and I like her but she does dress a bit skanky/has father issues etc", I think women pick up on that kind of thing, even if they don't realize it. I've been on lots of dates, and I could always tell when a guy was judging me negatively, even if he didn't say anything.

It also seems very extreme that you have been on 120 dates and not had one bit of luck. I know there are people that will disagree with me but I don't believe that there is one perfect person out there for people. Do you think you are holding women up to an unrealistic standard? You may find someone that you can have a great and fulfilling relationship with, but you are going to have to accept that they are not going to have every personality, physical, mental or emotional trait that you require. It is about accepting and loving people despite these things. This is just my opinion but I've dated men for a long time and kept telling myself that I would find my perfect match and was continually disappointed as man after man fell short of my expectations.

Anyway, just my 2 cents. Good luck.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:58 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I would suggest you put yourself in the mind of your prospective future girlfriend, and make a list of all the utterly amazing, great things she would tell her gal pals about you three months into your relationship. Not qualities or characteristics that you have, but practical, tangible things that you do that impress, aid and delight her.

If there are less than five things on this list, I'd suggest that you currently lack the selflessness and imagination to forge a successful relationship. Learn how to make yourself indispensable to someone. Stop worrying about yourself so much, and become the person a great woman will want to keep around. Good luck!
posted by Scram at 3:04 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I was kind of hoping for maybe some observations here, not eviseration. Whatever though.

Schroedinger's response was measured, dispassionate and, frankly, kind. If you think that that was an evisceration, then the answer is simple: get over yourself. The reason you can't maintain a long-term relationship is because you're kind of an oversensitive, self-interested tool.

Care less about what others think of you and care more about other people. Once you make that choice and follow through with it in your day to day life, your relationships will improve. It takes some people many years to transition from dysfunction to social normalcy, so don't give up.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:19 PM on October 30, 2007 [3 favorites]

I'm curious about what happened with the 120 women you had first dates with over the past six years. Did none of the 45-110 women who didn't want to see you again give you any feedback as to why? Did you ever ask why, or get a sense?

These women would be a better source of information than Ask Metafilter. Did you develop friendships with any of them? If you did, ask them. If you didn't, why not?

Also, my advice to you would be to work on relaxing about these things: I'm TERRIBLE at selling myself, in any form. I hate flirting. I'm obsessed with honesty. The person you're describing here doesn't sound like much fun, especially on a first date.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:50 PM on October 30, 2007

Someone upthread said "Get over yourself", and I couldn't disagree more. I say get into yourself. Focus on how you can improve and achieve great things. Get lost in grand projects and in making a name for yourself (you need to define what that means).

If you're not completely fascinated with your own life, how could you possibly expect someone else to be?
posted by JaySunSee at 3:57 PM on October 30, 2007

My advice is that you should go somewhere where the girls don't speak English, and try to pick up a woman based wholly on body language. Because the minute you open your mouth, it's all me me me and that's not interesting for anyone else except yourself.
posted by dydecker at 4:08 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

By which i mean that what you say isn't getting you anywhere. So do instead.
posted by dydecker at 4:12 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

First, you're over analyzing this and putting way too much pressure on yourself and any potential girlfriends.

If I were you, I'd pick an activity where you are likely to meet lots of people who share your same interests. Preferably pick something that's not directly related to dating (volunteering, sports and the like).

I think you'll find if you get out there, pursue your interests, and stop overanalyzing, you'll eventually meet someone you like.
posted by bananafish at 5:02 PM on October 30, 2007

Man, what an ego. You assure us in nauseating detail that you have EVERYTHING going for you, that you're simply the greatest, expecially in self-awareness. Therefore, the fact that love eludes you should be easily curable by a simple magic step, which you expect us to tell you.

To quote dydecker, above, My advice is that you should go somewhere where the girls don't speak English, and try to pick up a woman based wholly on body language. Because the minute you open your mouth, it's all me me me and that's not interesting for anyone else except yourself.
posted by JimN2TAW at 5:39 PM on October 30, 2007

i am a woman. i do not speak for all women. to me, your post sounds like the following, whether or not it was your intent. perhaps other women feel this way, too.


why am i single despite being awesome in some respects and average in others??

i swear i'm not ugly and my family isn't crazy.

in my first relationship, things didn't work out. then, i had an on/off relationship that didn't work out. she was crazy, but i'm glad i got to sleep with her.

then, i got interested in this lady from work. i got pissed off when she wouldn't talk to me at a party. so, instead, i made out with her roommate. i wasn't really interested in the roommate, but she was coming onto me! how was i supposed to say no? then i decided to go after the coworker again (maybe because the roommate wouldn't have me). after awhile, the coworker agreed and we started dating.

she was crazy too! this crazy lady, she didn't like attention. i normally give tons of attention, so we broke up after 2 weeks. i was heart-broken.

i've gone on 120 first dates. i'm not a loser, they didn't all end up rejecting me. i rejected some too! but overall it was all ended by the ladies.

one problem is that i'm awesome but also cool enough not to talk about my awesomeness. but i don't like doing stuff, i'm a perfectionist, i don't like flirting, i'm brutally honest, and i can't go to bars. oh, and also, i don't like myself enough to be alone with myself.

if i could only meet someone though, they could make all my troubles go away. i'm sure that if my past relationships hadn't ended with the crazy ladies, i would've become a much better person.

oh, and i'm good in bed and good looking! don't forget that.

this sucks. if you have critical thoughts, i've thought of them off already, so don't bother pointing them out. but i still want to meet someone because of my amazing optimism.

please, people on the internet who've never met me, diagnose my problem. oh, and if you say anything that's the least bit negative, i'll say you're eviscerating me and that i've thought of your criticisms already.
posted by be11e at 5:47 PM on October 30, 2007 [25 favorites]

I feel like this sometimes...

I fell in love with a man last year, and while there is still a connection between us, the relationship exploded less than a week after it started.

I was severely depressed at the time, had just lost my best friend and entire social network over said man, and had nothing to look forward to except the possibility of a relationship with said man.

When he met someone else soon after saying he didn't want a relationship of any sorts with anyone, I was so crazy depressed.

But over the last year I've picked myself up by the bootstraps, gone back to University to study something I love, and now I feel better about myself than ever before.

I'm not seeing anyone, and that's ok. I'm open to the possibility, but while I'm still in love with the man, I don't feel it's fair to date other people. I'm working on moving on, and have been out with plenty of people in the last year, but nothing serious.

I think this would help you. By putting all your eggs in the relationship basket, it makes it even harder for you if things don't work out.

I mean, (and I know how stupid this will sound, and how antifeminist eeek!) I started daydreaming about falling in love and getting married before I was 3. No joke. That's how long it has been something I've wanted.

It's only been since I've been exploring other things that bring me fulfilment and happiness that the lack of a relationship ceases to matter.

Although I do have my moments... especially when I see said man, or read about him / see him perform on television.

learning to be comfortable in yourself is a big part of what women find attractive. I found when I first realised I'm actually a catch - pretty, funny, smart, kind etc, I started getting more guys than ever before hitting on me.
posted by jonathanstrange at 5:56 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've been watching this question with interest, since I wrote one last week that was very similar at the core, but presented differently and with different details.

I'm not sure what to say, really. People in here have been honest to a fault, haven't they?

This question was very emotional--your frustration is just palpable. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, but in this case does come across as a little woo woo.

In fact, what you've been saying in the thread today sounds extremely angry and hateful and judgmental...towards yourself and the women you've been in contact with. So if you can get to the root of the judgment, you might have opened one of the locks.

So yeah. Learn to love yourself--radically accept who you are first, non-judgmentally. The love will come later. Work on feeling confident and comfortable and non-judgmental towards yourself (and then eventually others). That's a good first step.

Sigh. I do hear you, though.
posted by Stewriffic at 6:49 PM on October 30, 2007

the score is probably ladies: 45 sully :10 draw: 65.

The fact that you seem to view dating as a contest or a sport of some kind, with your team consisting of you, and the opposing team consisting of all women in the world indicates to me that you're not really mature enough to be dating people.
posted by number9dream at 7:37 PM on October 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

Relax, trust me. You're very young. I wish I was 32 years old starting over again. When I was 45 years old, after 23 years of marriage, my ex-husband told me "his love for me had died" and I had to start all over. For three years I didn't want anyone of the opposite sex to talk to me, look at me, or think about me. I am now with the love of my life and I didn't even have to look for him. The right person is out there, you just haven't met her yet. Relax. She's waiting for you too.
posted by wv kay in ga at 7:56 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It sounds to me like you are confusing yourself with too much noise. 120 dates? I mean, unless that's absurd hyperbole you're not filtering at all. You're not looking for casual dating, you're looking for the real thing. All going out with whatever random willing victim pops out of the internet is going to do is increase your pessimism and reduce your confidence. Focus on the person you really have that connection with.

It sounds like you've had bad luck, exacerbated some by overeagerness, average level neurosis, and a tendency to obfuscate things with dicking around instead of being direct and not getting distracted from what you really want by what's more immediately available, but it also sounds like you are learning and becoming more ready for a long term relationship.

Yeah, all your friends got married in the last few years. Guess what, several of them won't be anymore five years from now. Maybe you just skipped the starter marriage growing up some. Hang in there.

And okay, I admit it's not strictly relevant to your issue, but it's scratching the surface and tip of the iceberg. There's no scratching the iceberg.
posted by nanojath at 9:34 PM on October 30, 2007

Whatever you do, do Not, I repeat, DO NOT, do the following (which someone actually did to me):

1. Write down a list of questions on a piece of paper:
"1. Name:

2. Single?

3. Would you like to talk to me? (Yes/No)

4. Can I have your phone number?

2. Shove it in the face of any unsuspecting girl at Wal Mart at 11:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night and ask her if she needs a pen before she even knows what she's getting.

3. Expect to get the paper back when she shoots you down. She will keep it. She will show all her friends and probably every guy she ever dates. And laugh. Oh yes, she will laugh at you.
posted by mynameismandab at 9:59 PM on October 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Certain conservative guides to behavior recommend a combination of civility, steadiness, self-control, industriousness, and consideration for others that might help steady you. For example, George Washington's Rules of Conduct (pp. 8-13 here), or How to Be a Gentleman (there is a better modern-day book, but I can't remember its name). Put them somewhere you'll end up reading them from time to time over cereal or something.

I'm not saying you're rude, just that you seem to be striving wildly. These books convey a quiet confidence along with their rules for behavior.
posted by salvia at 1:08 AM on October 31, 2007

Not sure what to say other than I probably should have read my post more before I posted it. I don't think it's particularly representative of who I am if you met me. I think everythign is exacerbated at the moment by the fact that I've been living by myself in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere for 2 months and I realize that more or less solitary confinement makes me totally bonkers.

I can see how it comes across as arrogant, and there is a part of me that probably is arrogant. But there is a fair amount of humbleness in me too. I'm definitely a mixed bag.

And yes I think the points that I'm over critical of myself and others are right on the mark. Something I've delt with all my life, sometimes doing well with, sometimes not.

My characterizations of the women I mentioned were based on where I'm at. I definitely accentuated the negative here. I've been trying to figure out what happened with each of them. At the same time I've been trying to forget them and move on, but I'm by nature the type to masticate on an idea for quite a while.

The suggestions for some behavior modification are helpful, I'll have to think about that. I've been dealing with some depression in the last couple of months and it's made it a lot harder to be a friendly/interesting guy.

I do think people are a little quick to jump the gun on criticizing someone. I can see that I come across as a total ass here, but really I think I'm in a fucked up time in my life and trying to figure things out and make them better. Anyway, to the people who had suggestions not along the lines of hitting myself in the head with a hammer, thanks.
posted by sully75 at 7:01 AM on October 31, 2007

I do think people are a little quick to jump the gun on criticizing someone.

On the internet?! Surely you jest.
posted by nanojath at 9:35 AM on October 31, 2007

sully75, first, a AskMetafilter-specific suggestion: don't reply so much in comments. It ... er ... causes a bad reaction amongst respondents. In any Ask Mefi question, you're going to get very fantastic comments, very snarky and unhelpful comments, and stuff falling in the spectrum in-between.

Another AskMetafilter-specific suggestion: conciseness in the original post will always help. People want to help you, but they rarely will read through an extremely large post.

The above two points, by the way, were learned by yours truly by making those very mistakes — I am a veteran big-ass-post maker, and I learned not to actively respond in my own post unless a recurring theme of a certain question was being asked.

Now, as to the actual bulk of your question ...

Second, here we go with a little soul-bearing. You know that guy in the subway with the guitar? I'm another one of you guys. I've come to some self-revelations, though, and I think I need to share some of them with you. Urgently.

First, no, things are not going to be different in your new city. Why? There's a mathematical constant that will remain: you. Now, don't freak out: I'm not insulting you. But Seattle women are not going to react to you in an significantly different way than Minneapolis women. I know this because I used to think that very same thing: that a change in locale would alter things for me. They never did: I was the unchanging factor. So do not assign a miraculous ability to your new city. It is not going to change things for you. I'm sorry — it'd be great if these things did change by city — but they won't. You are ... who you are.

Second, one of your more significant problems is your outlook on yourself. As one of the people who have had significant problems interacting on the dating scene, I can say that the most promising aspects of improvement that I've manifested recently has been my ability to "sell" myself. And by selling, I do not mean incredibly cheesy machismo "Axe body spray" attitudes of "oh ain't I just the hottest shit!". I mean being able to look myself in the mirror and actually realize that there are aspects about me that women could find extremely attractive both in a romantic and in a physical sense, and that in many ways, there are things about me that would — right now, not after some theoretical post-relationship "blossoming" — make me a very nice catch for someone. And that if someone doesn't think I'm right for them, well, not really a big whoop; if they wouldn't have enjoyed my company, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed theirs, either, and it's thus good we didn't waste each other's time.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'll be a little profane: If you consistently think of yourself as shit, you are going to give off a shit stench — even if you are not shit. And the shit stench — even if there is really no actual shit to cause the shit stench &madsh; is enough to repel any potential partner who might otherwise look at you. Women, in my experience, are very much uninterested in men who think they are nothing.

According to this post, in your life, you have — through your own accounting — had some women who very much wanted to jump your bones, BADLY (i.e., the roommate). In your life, you have had women who loved you and with whom you got along great. You have, as you said yourself, a lot of talents. You had someone who told you that you are good in bed and pretty attractive. You, my friend, apparently have a lot going for you. You don't appear to realize this — maybe you do intellectually, but it doesn't appear to have been assimilated throughout all of you into your spirit.

Now, Al Franken really ruined this technique, but it might be worth a try: walk into the bathroom. Look in the mirror; make eye contact with your reflection. Stare straight into your own reflection and say not the infamous 'good enough, smart enough' line ... but search through your mind as to the compliments you've been given. And use them as solid proof for yourself that you have worthwhile attributes. You're going to find that part of you instantly denies it. That's a predictable reaction. It's wrong, however.

Your essential problem, at least in my own humble opinion, is that you think too low of yourself in the romantic arena. You think you're too fat; you're "not as good at [your interests/talents] as [you] want to be"; you believe you'll be a "new and better person" AFTER a relationship blossoms (i.e., you believe you aren't one now); you were very surprised at being described as good in bed and attractive; you say you can't sell yourself. All of these and more evidence a theme that runs throughout your post: you don't think well of yourself. And that is the essential problem. That's where you need to focus yourself.

Do you think the guy wih the guitar would be surprised to hear you describe him as "an amazing player, friendly, funny, a little eccentric"? I imagine he would. I imagine he doesn't see it in himself. Hmm. See a pattern there: a third party seeing someone more clearly than they do themselves?

Therapy is not just for fucked-up people ... it is only the addition of tools to your mental toolbelt. I think you need your measuring tape adjusted. Seek out a cognitive-behavioral therapist who you find you have a good rapport with, and begin focusing on thinking better about yourself. Print out this post and bring it to your first session.

And good luck, man.
posted by WCityMike at 2:59 PM on October 31, 2007 [4 favorites]

if you're looking for answers about where you went wrong in the past. here's some ideas

the mormon girl, there was stuff about her you liked, but ignoring all the stuff you didnt like made it all very stressful.
lesson 1. trying is good but you have to recognise when effort alone isnt enough.

woman that I was sort of involved with for 3 years
there was stuff you liked but again you ignored the things you didnt. she didnt want a relationship but you kept trying.
and the boundaries between friendships and relationships got all confused. its no wonder that turned out badly.
lesson 2: if a woman's not interested let it go
lesson 3: persuading ppl against their better judgement causes lots of confusion. confused relationships are never going to go well

there is the woman that I was involved with last year
given your previous behavior of pursuing women over enthusiastically. Its understandable she was pissed off when you disappeared and when you returned no doubt expecting things to continue from where you left off. And then you sleep with someone you have no interest in. and then tried to get back with her then no doubt waited till she was single again. then dated her over enthusiastically
lesson 4: women take a dim view of seeming interested and then leaving. Dont expect them to think well of you when you return.

recurring themes: tunnel vision. persuasiveness, enthusiasm

in these scenarios you are your own worst enemy. Thats not to say the other parties werent faultless but it appears that you can be quite persuasive and charming and generally a decent person but Couple that with your tunnel vision and enthusiasm and you're a deadly weapon of messing with womens heads.

Its quite possible that a lot of the 120 dates see thru this.

you really need to chill out a lot. Given your high speed thoughts you're probably better at talents than you give yourself credit for. You prob dont give yourself time to appreciate your own abilities. stop looking for the one.
its not a race to find her. when you find a woman you like, you need to slap yourself about the head to subdue yourself (mentally) and tell yourself to find out more about her before you start getting carried away. Let go off this pursing thing. Find out if there interested. take things slowly. if they're not leave it alone. You sound pretty intelligent and observant of yourself and if you slowed down and resisted tunnel vision you would learn a lot more about women and the effects of your own actions. for instance irrational angst about one thing or another is pretty normal in women, whether they tell you about it or you find out later. You should be an expert on women after 120 dates.

You can cultivate chilledoutness but you have to practice positive thinking. ie keep telling yourself to relax and observe outside your own head. sometimes you'll slip and you'll have to catch yourself. the more you tell yourself in time the more it'll become you. anyhoo i hope ive given you some ideas at least.
posted by browolf at 1:38 PM on November 1, 2007

browolf, excellent advice. thanks. Much appreciated. That was really spot on. very well said...can't say any more than that. thanks.
posted by sully75 at 1:58 PM on November 3, 2007

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