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Struggling with my own thoughts (on relationships)

NullzoneNullzone Registered User regular
edited September 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
For the past week or so, I've been struggling with my own thoughts when my mind is idle; at first I ignored it but it's gotten to the point that it keeps me awake at night, so I need to try and sort this out. I wasn't sure about posting it On The Internet™, but you all seem nice enough and I don't know where else I can share it and not feel completely weird about it or worry that it's going to change the dynamic of a friendship. Sorry for longness.


The core of the issue is that I'm fighting this near-crippling sense of what I can only define as shame at the fact that at the age of 28, I am not in, have never been in, and have never pursued a relationship. The suddenness of this feeling troubles me, and it creates internal conflict because mentally I still feel like I don't really want to pursue one; I like my autonomy and have never had a specific desire to have a family of my own (at the same time, I'm not against the notion; I've always felt I'm open to the possibility that I run into someone that I make a serious personal connection with and it takes off from there). It doesn't feel like loneliness or a desire for companionship, but rather just an urge to "fix the problem" to get the guilt tripping to stop. This seems disingenuous to me, and unfair to any woman I would try to date in this state of mind, and so I've been deliberately fighting it.

To complicate matters and further add to the feeling like I'd be going into it for the wrong reasons, when I have slept I've had a scattered variety of sexualized dreams. They're never explicit and never about any specific person(s) or fantasies, but I can't deny that they're arousing. (I have never had a dream like this prior to this week, and each one is different.)


Other factors that I've been keeping in mind as possibly relevant but have no idea how to sort out mentally:

- The week prior to this starting was the end of PAX Prime. I was in Seattle for 10 days (I'm an Enforcer so I was there for PAX Dev, as well as setup/strike, and other pre/post PAX shenanigans), and it was HARD to leave; I cried for most of the 20 minute cab ride on the way out of the city. The entire trip was like an emotional high, so I'm trying not to put too much weight on it, but I acknowledge the timing seems convenient. The feelings above first came on about 4 days after my return home. (It should be noted that this is neither my first PAX on either coast nor my first time Enforcing in either city.)

- I don't think I'm unhappy where I am; my job doesn't suck and it enables me to do things I love (like go to PAX!), I have friends in my area I see on a weekly basis, plus a great many more I talk to daily via Twitter etc (people I know in the flesh, not just online acquaintances), and I'm not under any other life-stress that would cause unrest (I think).

- Despite the above, I don't have the "one friend" that I feel like I could share anything with.

- My parents, whom I have co-ownership of a house with, have been talking in recent months about retiring and moving elsewhere. Nothing specific or concrete, but more wishful thinking/advance planning; "When we retire" etc.

- I have talked about relationships with a number of people before, including my parents; we all concluded that there was nothing wrong with my desire for autonomy and lack of desire for...well, anything else.

- I'd say I'm pretty introverted. I have a hard time approaching and conversing with people I don't know without some "third party" thing which is extremely relatable to talk about (and even then I have to fight back the urge that I'm committing some heinous crime by "disturbing" them to talk about it). I gravitate towards quiet and out-of-the-way places at parties (if I even go to parties, which is rare), or simply stay close to people I already know at them. (I've almost had a nervous breakdown in situations where I couldn't accomplish either of these.) All of this tells me dating is a bad idea.

- I get physically ill when I even think about entertaining the notion of dating in spite of my rationale, and I think at least in part it's because I don't really want to bring it up around the parents. I'm not sure why, though mentally I think a part of it is/was their persistent teasing of myself and my sisters through HS years (it was always innocuous, on the level of the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song, but it was there).


I don't really know what I'm looking to accomplish by posting this, but there it is. Maybe just writing it will have helped; I think it's certainly better than keeping it pent up inside all the time.

Thanks for reading, in any case, if you made it this far.

Nullzone on

Posts

  • notmetalenoughnotmetalenough Registered User regular
    Therapy. If you don't have the "one friend" to share anything with, share with a professional until you sort some of this stuff out. There's nothing wrong with the way you're feeling but having someone to talk to might be a great boon.

    Other than that, I'll say, I know how you feel and it sucks and I hope it gets better for you.

    Samael the Radiant Faced-- Official Naming, Going Nuclear, Click on the Quest, Make She Run and Guild Measurements Officer - Clawshrimp & Co, Draenor-US
  • LanchesterLanchester Registered User regular
    You should go see a therapist and talk to them about this.

    There is nothing wrong with feelings of autonomy or not wanting to be in a relationship. Society's idea or "normalcy" (being married, family of 4, white picket fence, etc. etc.) seems to have you set to believe that is what you should want. And since you don't feel that way, you seem to think you are broken. Don't believe this, but since you can't just turn that off like a switch, go see a therapist

  • FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    You are feeling lonely, it is quite common when we reach certain age. Keep in mind you are a human being, with needs such as food, air, sex, love. You body is just letting you know that sometimes, it requires certain things to function properly.

    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
  • NullzoneNullzone Registered User regular
    What kind of therapist should I be looking for? This is new territory for me.

    I suspect I'll need to clear it with my insurance first?

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    This sounds like a job for a psychologist. if you have an EAP (employee assistance program), go through that. it's anonymous, and they usually offer recommendations, discounts, or even free therapy.

    Also, yes. Check your insurance to make sure it's covered. that shit aint cheap.

  • DragosaiDragosai Registered User regular
    There is a good book 'Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone' by Eric Klinenberg that is worth reading. it might shed some light on how you feel, and also show you that it's not at all an odd thing.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    If you are happy being single, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's not a problem you have to rush to fix. If you're happy with your life, that's amazing. You don't need therapy to fix that. Yay, you! Now go rock it.

    If, however, you are single out of some sort of fear that you can't get past, that could be a problem and worth seeking therapy for.

    I think you need to figure out which is you and work from there. It sounds like you feel like you should be interested in this stuff and just aren't, and that's really fine.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    Honestly, therapy sounds like an expensive alternative to going out on a date with someone and trying out relationships with other people. It's not as if you're putting a whole lot on the line by going out to dinner with someone.

    sierracrest.jpg
  • KharnastusKharnastus Registered User regular
    Therapy is the best. I would say go for a therapist as a first choice and then get a psychologist if things are perceived to be solved with chemical help. That way you dont get hooked on some miracle pill that fixes all of your symptoms but none of your root problems. Assuming you have problems. And we all totally have problems. I have no idea about locating and screening a good or great therapist or anything like that. I think your best bet would be to ask any people you know who have been to therapy.

    Now that I think about it that sounds awkward and difficult. Maybe the internet reviews for therapist professionals, or ask your primary care physician for a recommended therapist. (who has a primary care physician these days? i kid i kid)

    You will not regret going to see a therapist. Assuming they are good. But thats where your research will set you up, right?

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Psychologists do not prescribe medication. They CANNOT prescribe medication. It's important to watch your terminology there. You don't go to a PSYCHIATRIST as your first stop. Psychologists will not give you pills.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • naporeonnaporeon Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    On point of fact, many psychologists can and do prescribe medication; however, in order to do so, they must hold another certification, such as ARNP. Kay Redfield Jamison, for example, is a clinical psychologist, but is a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. In short, it is absolutely not uncommon to encounter psychologists that are able to prescribe medication.

    However, I do agree with ceres; therapists should probably be your first resource. Further along the line, though, I would definitely consider looking into someone that might be able to prescribe something, should it be deemed necessary.

  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    Gafoto wrote: »
    Honestly, therapy sounds like an expensive alternative to going out on a date with someone and trying out relationships with other people. It's not as if you're putting a whole lot on the line by going out to dinner with someone.
    I don't think therapy is ever a bad option for anyone that has access to it.

    However, Gafoto raises a decent point. If you ever find yourself in a position where you feel comfortable enough to go on a date, you should try it for the sake of seeing what it's like. I'm not really at a place where I feel at ease in the dating world, so I know It's not as simple as all that.

  • TheBigEasyTheBigEasy Registered User regular
    I'll second both the therapy (definitely without the medication though) and "just go on a date" suggestions. Set up a profile on okcupid and go from there. Debate and Discourse has a big thread about online dating with lots of helpful advice. It probably won't be as easy as it sounds, especially if you don't feel like you want to pursue a relationship - but then again, you don't have to. Dating will at least help you determine if you want to change that.

    But also try and talk to a therapist. As I am not in the US, I can't recommend what kind of doctor you need to see - but I'd guess your general practicioner can refer you to a therapist.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  • Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    Gafoto wrote: »
    Honestly, therapy sounds like an expensive alternative to going out on a date with someone and trying out relationships with other people. It's not as if you're putting a whole lot on the line by going out to dinner with someone.

    Yeah this is my thought as well. You might not need a partner. And that's ok! But you may very well not want to be in a relationship as you don't understand what it may add to your life. So go on a date and see how it goes.

    It's like living your life without eating beef. You may very well not need it, but on the other hand you might find it delicious.

    Probably though you will need some therapy to understand your expectations also as I can think of only one couple I know who have only dated each other, which is sweet, but very rare (outside high school).

    If anything dating will teach you more conversation skills, which even if you like being introverted are useful life skills.

  • NullzoneNullzone Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    While I'm grateful for the suggestions and reinforcement, I thought I outlined pretty well why believe going out on a date will hinder more than help. There's a whole extra rabbit hole with that too even to just get started, and I suspect to actually get any result at all out of the effort this ends up looking more like a 6+ month experiment and investment.

    Regardless, my workplace doesn't have an EAP and it's been five working days since the first inquiry I made to my insurance about the topic, so my attempts to pursue therapy have thus far proved rather difficult. Are there any safe methods to attain free/low cost therapy? I suspect even if I go through insurance I may be paying up to $50 per visit out of pocket anyway, so I could stomach paying that much myself if that's what it cost me.

    Nullzone on
  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    There are non-licensed therapists that would be much cheaper. Non-licensed just means they never got a masters degree, so they could very well be plenty qualified.

    Canada has free therapy options, but I'm guessing you live in the US.

    Have you been feeling any better/different then you were when you made the initial post?

  • NullzoneNullzone Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    A little, though it still bothers me enough to be distracting. I've actually been sleeping so there's some improvement there.

    Is there anything I should look for/avoid in the non-licensed therapists?

    Nullzone on
  • FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    I don't think you need therapy, but that's just me. You need to get out of your shell, have a couple of dates, meet people and interact with them.

    Even Hitler had a girlfriend.

    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    Nullzone wrote: »
    A little, though it still bothers me enough to be distracting. I've actually been sleeping so there's some improvement there.

    Is there anything I should look for/avoid in the non-licensed therapists?

    1. See if you can find reviews for them online.
    2. I know it sounds sexist, but try finding a woman. Male therapists, particularly non-licensed ones, have a much higher rate of bizarre methods
    3. Call ahead and ask what kind of methods they use. Sometimes you can immediately tell they aren't right for you, and it's better to find that out before you pay for a session.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    First - about therapists - please understand that it is really important to find a therapist that meshes well with you - a therapist that works for a friend may not necessarily work for you - so be sure to find one that seems to fit.

    Second, I recommend this directory for a list of therapists, their backgrounds, etc: http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

    Third, as far as therapy goes, there are a TON of different approaches and schools of thought. My recommendation to you would be a transpersonal psychologist. Transpersonal psychologists approach things under the assumption that self-discovery is key - that they want to ask questions and help you find out what works for you - and ultimately, it ends up being more meaningful than having someone tell you outright what isn't working, since you arrive at those conclusions yourself. They attempt to understand why you feel the way you do and what you can do to find happiness rather than approach it as "something is wrong with you."

    Fourth - background is important. For example, I would not recommend a therapist that wasn't trained in some sort of gender studies for a gay friend going through a rough time. By having that background, the therapist will be more intune with that person's struggles and challenges, so again - background and fit are important.

    Fifth (wow what a list!) - some therapists operate under a sliding scale - so if you're poor, they can adjust depending on your needs. Check to see how therapy is covered on your insurance. And any therapist worth their weight will do an initial exploratory consultation either over the phone or in-person for FREE.

    Anyway - therapy is well worth the money under the guidance of a good therapist. It can be absolutely dreadful under a bad one.

  • TokyoVTokyoV Registered User regular
    Anyway - therapy is well worth the money under the guidance of a good therapist. It can be absolutely dreadful under a bad one.
    To build on this, if you go to a therapist and find it to be a horrible experience, that doesn't mean you should give up on the idea. As SkyGheNe suggested, it's the textbook definition of hit or miss.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I am going to reiterate to you that I don't think anything is wrong with you or with not wanting to date. If you think there's something wrong with it or are unhappy that's one thing, but if you're happy I see no reason to change it. If it's because other people think you should be doing it, well.. that's not really a valid reason to do drugs OR date people.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • Zombie NirvanaZombie Nirvana Registered User regular
    You seem to have pretty severe insecurities. You'll have to face these at some point. I generally agree with what Fantasma has said. At some point you'll have to realize that you have value in a relationship, romantic or otherwise. Getting there might be a bit of a struggle, dates will help. They won't always go well but it'll get you out of your shell.

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