anxiety · life · love · social anxiety

Love Love Love

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?


7 thoughts on “Love Love Love

  1. I can relate to a lot of what you’ve put here. Sometimes I wonder if my chronic singledom means I will die alone with eighty cats but then I listen to someone else’s relationship issues for five minutes and realise that I’m good. If anything happens, it’ll happen when it happens. Right now, I am focusing on myself. I am also a terrible gf. Too snarky and too much of a person that requires alone time. So yeah, you’re not alone in this and I’m glad that you have a positive outlook on things 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I often wonder if I would be cut out for a real gf/bf relationship because I go through bouts of feeling sad when I see couples hand-in-hand, or know that family members close to my age are in happy relationships. But then hearing my brother talk about how his gf was pressuring him to move in with her and how his gf’s friends assumed he was going to propose to her this year, it’s like wow, thank god I’m not knee deep in a similar situation lol.

      I too appreciate my alone time. I am so used to it that I don’t believe I have the patience for going on dates or spending time with whichever guy I am seeing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would say that a relationship is more like an onion than a flower, or maybe both. As people get to know each other, layers of defensiveness and walls are slowly taken down. At least in healthy relationships that is. This deepens the bond and draws both together so that they, hopefully, find a refuge in one another. However, that is a “committed relationship” type relationship, not dating, which is entirely different.

    Having said that, and being on the other side of the spectrum of years… I finally settled in myself that I prefer being alone and will be the rest of my life. I tried to date and have relationships. In the beginning I thought that was what I was supposed to want; then it became about peer pressure. And yes, peer pressure continues in later years. Friends were marrying, having kids. I wanted none of that. I did get married for about a month to win back my dads affection which is the stupidest reason in the world. I consider myself asexual if you will. It was a struggle for many years living with the “you never know” pressure. My last relationship was due to a bipolar manic break and when I came out of it I had no feelings for that person, destroying him. I’ve destroyed as many women too, having been on both sides of the fence in an effort to find what works for me. Well, being alone is what works so when I finally settled with that in myself, I felt much better. I’m older though so it’s no longer an issue, finally there’s no peer pressure.

    But that of course is me. You are young and have loads of life experiences to go through. You may find and connect with someone one day on a deep level that has nothing to do with outward appearances. When you meet someone, can you imagine sitting in front of the fire having long conversations about everything? That might be a better way to make a decision. Having anxiety, does that person approach you with gentleness? Think outside the box when it comes to how to meet and date someone. It doesn’t have to be dinner and a movie all the time.

    I mention myself and my decision only for you to tuck that back in your mind. I do hope you find someone you can connect with but if you don’t, that’s okay too. There are many of us out here. I experience intimacy from being around friends. I’m Auntie to some of my friends kids. I’m not fond of children except theirs, lol. Once they get in their teen years though, long discussions start up and that is so rewarding because we can talk about things they never would with their parents.

    Also, the fact that you have this blog and are reflective of who and how you are, goes a very long way in being able to communicate, whether you realize it or not.

    Thank you for letting me go on and on, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, I am still young and haven’t really experienced mutual attraction with someone before. Right now I can legitimately say I only have one male friend. Other guys are just acquaintances and people I sorta talk to but I don’t look at them as friends. I feel like pretty much a loner. I’ve never been one to have a gaggle of girlfriends or group of women and men friends that I can meet up with every week or month. I do feel sad that I don’t have that and am not really sure how to find people and form an inner circle like that. I am envious of those who have basically kept the same friends they grew up or went to school with.

      On the topic of children, yeah… that’s one life changing decision I’m unsure I will ever consider lol. It’s hard enough for me to take care of myself or even my pets, but children? That’s a life long commitment. I’m quite awkward with children. I don’t know the first thing to say to them or even how to talk to them. Coming from an asian background, I have been exposed to sides of my family that are more traditional in their views of marriage and children. My parents haven’t pressured me to find someone, and I’m not actively looking either.

      Your comments are so detailed, thought provoking, and are a treat to read. It’s nice to see another person with a lot to say. Some of my blog posts require more than 15 minutes to read and perhaps might not be some people’s cup of tea. I joke to myself that my long winded posts have scared off some people.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just have to say something about the “gaggle of friends” remark. Oh my word, I was such a nerd and loner in school. I had a few friends but I was even an outsider with them since, to my knowledge at that time, I was the only girl on the planet who loved sci-fi and wanted to build a robot. Sadly I got stuck learning French and taking dance instead… but that’s another story.

        I was so not popular in any sense of the word. Then life happened and continued happening and at some point I suddenly became “cool”. Maybe it was the tattoos, maybe it’s just that despite wanting to hide all the time, I have a quirky interesting style and sense of humor. So years later I became the popular “kid”, who knew. While all the high school kids shrank into obscurity I’m becoming the one they want to be. SO WEIRD!

        Anyway, I relate that to tell you that though you may feel like a loner now, you just never know, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I can see how kids in school might look at someone who has different interests from them as weird. The interesting thing about school is certain things can be considered popular or not popular, and those who don’t fit in are made to feel bad for being different. But after school is over and done with, there’s actually a much bigger world out there and more diversity and acceptance.

        I’m still in my loner phase because I hesitate to open up to people. I did meet some acquaintances last summer when I began attending social anxiety meetups in New York. I even hosted a few meetups. It was the scariest time for me, lol. I did get close to one woman and hung out with her all the time. But I kinda fucked things up, which I talked about in a blog post I wrote an additional update on the situation in the comments section of the same page. But since then I’ve not seen her and haven’t really messaged her either because I felt like I needed to take a step back to focus on myself and keep working on my issues.

        Liked by 1 person

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