T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 42439
posted 05-30-2009 10:00 PM
I've been lurking here for a while, but this is my first post. I'm not sure if this is the right place to post; if it isn't, I'm sorry. I just had a birthday last week: I just turned 24. I have never had any kind of romantic/sexual relationship or contact with anyone else, ever. None. I'm worried that I never will. I feel like a socially stunted freak. As an older teenager, my parents used to ask me all the time why I never dated any boys; my mother stopped when I told her I'd rather date girls. (It took her a little while to start bugging me about why I never date girls.) And I would like to, in theory, I just have no idea how one goes about it. I'm worried that I missed some sort of window in the standard time-table of social development during which one is supposed to figure these things out. My family, friends and community are, with a few exceptions, very supportive of LGBT people. I don't think that was the problem. I'm working on not believing that I'm too monstrously fat, ugly and stupid for anyone to ever be interested in, and I realize my beliefs about myself are probably part of the problem. It's very hard for me to stop the constant stream of self-criticism that plays in my head. I suppose I'm just looking for advice, or for stories of anyone who's been in a similar situation (and found their way out). Thanks for taking the time to read.
Member # 40774
posted 05-30-2009 11:46 PM
Hi Diotima, welcome
I really believe there isn't a standard time-table here. There are many people who don't start dating until their mid-twenties, or later. I don't think there's any limited window for learning these skills--or that you don't necessarily already possess a lot of them. When we date, I think, has a lot to do with opportunity (not just with finding possible partners, but in getting other kinds of support as well), and just with the unique ways in which we develop. Dating a lot doesn't make someone good at relationships or a great partner, you know? There are all manner of ways people with more romantic/sexual experience can be socially stunted. And, there's nothing you wrote that strikes me as socially stunted. (Personally, I'm impressed by what you wrote. You sound intelligent, likable, and socially adept. So, just wanted to let you know that.) Dating, for queer people, I think carries a bunch of special challenges. Even if the people in your immediate circle aren't homophobic, the homophobia in the larger society can make it harder to connect with an already small LGBT population. The absence of role models can make dating seem even more confusing and daunting, etc. I think finding queer friends and connecting with LGBT community is often the first step to creating romantic/sexual relationships. Do you have any queer friends or know any other LGBT people? It was a somewhat different situation, but you may find some stuff in this thread relevant: http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/2/t/011958.html#000000 [ 05-30-2009, 11:48 PM: Message edited by: bluejumprope ]
Member # 35643
posted 05-31-2009 01:50 AM
Diotima, I just wanted to add something to bluejumprope's great reply.
It sounds like your self-esteem and body image have been taking quite a bashing lately. What about making an effort to talk about yourself more positively, the way you'd talk about a close friend? And taking time to consider what you do like about yourself and what other people like about you. What do you love doing and what are you good at? Where do you see yourself in the future, unrelated to romantic relationships? When you think that you are worthy of a great relationship and carry yourself in that manner, other people will also think this of you. A couple more links: Seven Ways to Love Your Body Life Lessons from the Third Stall on the Left (And I'm glad that your family, friends and community are very supportive. Not everyone has that, and it's awesome )
Member # 42439
posted 06-01-2009 12:17 AM
Thank you both for replying. I've been thinking a lot today about what you said, and the links you gave me. In melisma's thread, her metaphor about the goods gathering dust on the shelf was really helpful: it articulated how I feel better than I did, and it made me realize that I don't want to think about myself that way.
What really struck a chord with me was the idea of seeking out a community. There are LGBT people in my extended network, but not in my immediate circle of close friends (to whom I am in the process of coming out). I really would like to have closer friendships with other people who are like me in that respect, and the idea of a mentor is appealing. If I can work up the courage, I may see about going to some events with groups on my campus. The self-esteem and body-image issues definitely loom large in my life. I'm working on them with a therapist, but not making much progress. I worry that if I have to wait until I think I'm worthy of a great relationship, I'll wait forever. You're right, it is awesome that I have such great friends and family. I've been surprised and delighted by their openness and support, though upon reflection, I shouldn't have been surprised: they're amazing people. Thanks for reminding me about that; it's something to be grateful for. Thanks again for your replies, you provide such an amazing service to so many people!