Since I have never been in a romantic relationship, I’m both curious and revolted by love. Being where I am in my life now, I do not think I am mentally or emotionally ready to pursue that sort of relationship, nor do I know if I ever will be ready. Of course, I was one of those girls in childhood playing house with dolls and pretending I had a husband and children, but I treated it as a game then. I think I do feel lonely and jealous, at times, seeing happy couples, but I can’t be sure if I have these emotions because I desire a love relationship like that or if I’m simply in love with the idea of finding love. I think about having someone like that beside me as a companion, a friend, a supportive figure, but then I think about how much work and compromise a relationship would be.
The topic of love came to mind because of yesterday while I was sitting in my brother’s car as he drove Lily and I to grab some key lime pie, the two of them talked about their current relationships. My brother has been with his girlfriend since last year, and Lily has been with her boyfriend for eight years since they met at university. I felt like an outsider looking in as they discussed their possible futures with their significant others (marriage, children, moving in together) and the pressures they’ve faced so far. I am enough of a slave to my social anxiety tendencies that it affects how I maintain friendships or take care of myself, so I imagine with lots of dread just how much I would suck as someone’s girlfriend. Having been a witness and bystander to the many arguments and tensions my parents have had, I suppose I mainly model my knowledge of relationships off of them and my own common sense from outside sources like books, articles, and cultural trends.
What I know is maintaining a love relationship is like a flower that constantly needs tending to, and without such care, it will eventually wilt and die out. I can’t say I have the patience for it. Once, someone asked me what my type of guy is. The truth is I don’t know because the dating game is something I haven’t considered jumping into at all. About two years ago, I went on an afternoon cruise with my parents and brother. I hadn’t even known until weeks later when Lily’s sister Tara told me, but one of my mom’s acquaintances was there with her son whom she wanted to introduce me to. Tara knew this information because my dad had told her mother in a phone call; Tara and Lily’s mother is my father’s elder sister. Apparently, my dad had put a stop to anything happening by simply telling my mom’s acquaintance that I was “too young to date”. I’m not sure what to make of that reason. Did he say that just to get the woman to back off, or did he imply with the excuse that I was too introverted to be open to meeting a man?
I’m so far removed from thinking I could ever be attractive that I probably would not pick up on certain social cues if someone tried to flirt with me. In college, there was a guy in one of my classes who I had never spoken to before, but he approached me outside of class one day to ask me out to lunch. I completely freaked the minute the words, “I’d like to take you out somewhere”, left his mouth that my gaze became fixed on my notebook and I couldn’t bring myself to even respond to him. I’m also in the pool of low self-esteem. Who would actually like me enough to want to get to know me, to date me?
It’s easy to be attracted to someone by their looks, but I haven’t felt a genuine like for someone in a long time. The last time I had a major crush on a male classmate was in high school, which was quite superficial now that I think about it, considering I developed a strange kind of persisting infatuation for him after I dreamt of him. The dream was not anything X-rated, though I believe I liked him only because of who I believed he was due to my dream and not who he actually was in real life. It was kind of a fantasy since I never spoke to him and looked at him from a distance. When I’m in the presence of an attractive guy, I feel nervous. As ridiculous as it sounds, the other day at Petco, I was almost ready to flee from the customer line because the cashier was tall, brunette, very cute, and probably in his early 20’s. I could barely choke out a “Hi, how are you?” before I set down my items for him to scan.
As for dying a virgin, well, I don’t care. I’m not exactly guarding my chastity because of strict moral convictions, but I’m not about to forfeit my V-card because I’m embarrassed about never having gotten laid. The way I see it, there’s nothing wrong with me if I haven’t done anything yet.
I do feel somewhat against the prospect of having a boyfriend. I already stated that I don’t believe I can stand constantly keeping a rapport with the other person and making time to go out on dates or hanging out together. I also can’t guarantee my social anxiety won’t affect the relationship. The closest example I can give is I don’t have a relationship with my own brother’s girlfriend Bree, and when I do see her, I’m cordial but I don’t engage with her. It’s pretty likely he’ll settle down with her one day and she may become my sister-in-law and I’ll be an aunt to their would-be children. In the reverse sense, if I were the girlfriend of some guy and had to meet his siblings or parents, I probably would be the same way. Cordial, but not engaging.
I suppose the third thing keeping me from a romantic relationship is I’m emotionally closed off. I guard most of my feelings like a dragon blocking intruders from stealing its treasure. The idea of having to constantly be honest with a significant other about my actual feelings, in addition to my anxiety swings, is terrifying.
I guess I’ll end this post by asking what it’s like for those of you out there that have social anxiety and are curreinly on a romantic relationship. If you currently aren’t in a relationship, would you be open to it?