June 19, 2017 at 6:43 am #153912
I am 18 years old and have never really dated anyone (I am a virgin). I've been trying to figure out how to change my mentality on love, particularly involving myself. I find that I have much compassion for my friends and family but when it comes to liking someone else or trying to date I fall apart. I tried online dating recently. I really clicked with the guy I was talking to but when we met, I completely freaked out. I mean, I held my composure through the whole date but afterward I was a mess. It might be necessary to mention that I have had “daddy issues” my entire life. My parents have been divorced my entire life and I had a rocky relationship with my father pretty much my entire childhood (up to age 14). Fortunately, we have been able to patch our relationship but I still seem to have issues dating. Going on that date with the guy I met online freaked me out because I kept having feelings like: “he looks too much like my dad,” and “he keeps looking at me in a sexual way”. Neither of these things were true, but I kept repeating them to myself which made it worse.
I read a different post about another person who also had troubles with dating. One of the responses asked if she had mostly female friends. To clear this up on my end, I have a wide spread of both male and female friends. HOWEVER, the three closest guy friends that I have, I had once had a crush on them, and I tend to be much more honest and close to my female friends. (I just thought this might be relevant information).
Thank you for the help!!! I really appreciate anyone willing to reply. This problem has been vexing me for quite a while!June 19, 2017 at 10:16 am #154000
You wrote that you had “daddy issues… (and) a rocky relationship with my father pretty much my entire childhood (up to age 14)”- I don't know what it means, for you, having “daddy issues”, would you like to explain?
And what was the nature of the rocky relationship?
anitaJune 19, 2017 at 10:53 am #154010
Sorry for the lack of explanation, I didn't want to ramble too much. So my parents divorced when I was too young to remember mostly because he was abusive to a certain degree toward my mom. After the divorce, my mom fought for full custody but I was forced to visit on scheduled dates and selected holidays. The crooks of the issue I think with this is that I have suffered a severe general/social anxiety disorder all of my life. So when I was young, I would have a hard time going to see him because my mom helped me stay (for lack of a better word) sane. We had a routine that would constantly be thrown off when I went to see him. So this made things difficult on my side of things. Because of my anxiety disorder, I tended to act much like a child with ADHD/ADD but I was able to sit still much longer. This might have been why it was hard for my Dad to understand me at a young age. There was also a point in my childhood where my father physically hurt (I'd rather not go into detail here). This emotionally scarred me for many years after. The rocky relationship had to do with the way we got along. So, he never knew that I had a problem, he just thought I was a problem child that needed to be disciplined. This harmed our relationship because he didn't take the time to try and help me, he just got mad and I got mad.
I hope this helps clarify a few things. Thank you Anita!June 19, 2017 at 11:56 am #154022
You are welcome. The title of your thread is: “What's wrong with my love life?” Well, you are experiencing difficulty with your very beginning love life because you are afraid. Anxiety is fear, a recurring fear, not following a “clear and present danger” situation.
You had a date, the guy did not threaten you, scream at you, hit you or anything like that, so you were not in a clear and present danger situation, yet you felt afraid.
Your long history of anxiety means that fear will show up in different circumstances. Your troubled relationship with your father added to your anxiety, at the time. Maybe your anxiety started with the beginning conflicts of your parents' marriage, maybe before; maybe at the beginning of their separation. At one point, your home was not safe anymore and you got scared.
Did you see a competent, quality psychotherapist for your anxiety?
* will be away from the computer soon for 7 hours or so.
anitaJune 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm #154054
I have seen a psychologist a while back for the diagnosis, and have been medicated for anxiety and depression for about 5 years now. Unfortunately, we never really had the money for me to have regular treatment, so I had went for a while when I was 13 and was never really able to go again. You are probably right with my anxiety being triggered with my parents poor relationship. My mom said they were good at hiding the problems from us since we were so young, but I was and still am very receptive to others feelings and emotions.
I want to add something else to this as well. When I was explaining my feelings to my mom I slowly started to figure out that I have this subconscious presumption about all men. I realize that some of my fear when on that date was (like I previously mentioned) “he's looking at me in a sexual way.” Although my conscious self says “not all men are bad… women and men can be JUST friends…” my subconscious is saying “no, men only have sexual intentions.” Again, I am not saying this is true, nor want to believe that, but somehow my mind keeps coming back to that idea and stereotype. I figured that it might have something to with all the movies and television shows that have conditioned me to see relationships in that manner. I hope this helps thed some more light onto the issue.
I appreciate your help Anita!
-BrittanyJune 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm #154056
I can relate, as I too had problems, trauma, etc as a child. In my 20's and 30's, it seemed, I had no problems. I lived in Florida, has lots of friends, was living the good life, had a better relationship with my father. Had a condo on the beach..everything seemed great. Yet, I could not seem to maintain a long term relationship despite intensive counseling and medication.
When I got older and out of college, I lost my Dad, and everything seemed to go downhill. I was to the point where it a man found me attractive, I had so much anxiety, I had to have a drink or two just to go out on a date. I have not dated in over a decade due to fear. I put too much pressure on myself and Psych myself out, and get extremely anxious where I had to cancel the date. This might be what you are doing. Putting too much pressure on yourself..like “will he like me”? And everything else our thoughts lie to us about. Instead, try thinking instead of “a date” think of it as “meeting a new friend” and just keep telling yourself that. Eventually you Will believe it, and it will take the pressure off. Instead of thinking “will he like me” think “what can this man offer or enhance my life” is he nice? Are we compatible? Am I having fun with him? Is he funny? That will also take the pressure off. Try to go somewhere that is not intimidating, like a comedy club, an athletic event, a video arcade, the whole time thinking “I am out with a friend”. Keep us posted.June 19, 2017 at 7:17 pm #154086
Thank you Eliana. I really appreciate your comment. I am glad to know that I am not the only one with this problem. I am curious though, have you been able to holder longer relationships? And when you started dating were you also scared?
BrittanyJune 19, 2017 at 8:36 pm #154118
You wrote: “My mom said they were good at hiding the problems from us since we were so young”- unfortunately it is very difficult to hide problems and distress from children. Children are very perceptive, very sensitive. When a child senses the parent or parents are distressed, it feels unsafe, dangerous (the logic is something like: if my parent is unwell, who is going to take care of me?)
Regarding the other issue, you wrote: “my subconscious is saying ‘no, men only have sexual intentions.'”
Reality is that almost every single young man has sex on his mind. Sex is a very strong urge for a lot of young men. And some men (of any age) do have only sex on their mind when they encounter women- this is reality. This is why it is best to get to know a man without being sexually involved with him, get to know who he is, what he cares about… most importantly, does he respect you. Take your time to get to know the man and only after you know enough and like what you know, then consider further intimacy.
anitaJune 20, 2017 at 5:24 am #154166
Yes, I was able to have longer term relationships, but still not the quality I wanted. At that time, I had just started therapy, and unfortunately had some diagnosis, which made it difficult for me to have any kind of stability, and good coping skills when I would get distressed with men.
I then had several hospitalizations, and finally had to give in, and I am on SSDI right now. I did have a 3 year amazing (my longest one) but that was over a decade ago. I told this man about my disorders and he was truly a blessing, and he was very patient with me, when I would have one of my “episodes”. It was also one of the most stable and sweetest relationships I have ever had. I can't say he was the love of my life, but I cared for him deeply. We did break-up, but it was mutual, and we have remained close friends. Yes, I was very scared. I even had a panic attack before my date with him, but I did alot of deep breathing, and told myself over and iver, “it's not a date” “I'm meeting a new friend”..and it works, it really does work.
I am not dating right now, just concentrating on the intensive inpatient/outpatient treatment I am in and my 12 step support groups which has been a Godsend. I am still on disability. If I were to date, it would take a very patient man to be with me, and understand mental illness. I feel each day brings me closer to something more long term and healthy. Just keep telling yourself “friends only” and you won't be so scared and just let things develop slowly.June 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm #154286
Thank you Eliana and Anita, I appreciate the support and help through this. Thank you for sharing your story with me Eliana, I hope things continue to look up for you!