I'm a 27-year-old living in New York City. I moved out here from the Midwest to go to grad school. You know how people are supposed to get more secure and confident and sure of themselves as they get older? My life feels like the opposite of that. Basically, I'm having non-existent relationship problems. In these 27 years, I've never had a boyfriend. I've never had sex. I've never been asked out on a date.
I can safely say that a few months ago, this didn't bother me. I was caught up in my studies. But I'm about to graduate and have my first full-time job. I've found a great group of friends in the city. I've been socializing a lot more, but the more I socialize – the more I "get out there" (even just literally leaving my bedroom) – the more I feel like I'm missing out.
I like this guy who I think is at least mildly interested in me, but not as much as I am in him. And for all of the nothingness that our relationship is, it is devastating to me every time he flakes on us hanging out. This situation is exacerbating my insecurity and self-loathing, which undercuts every aspect of my life. Yes, I am seeing a therapist, and I'm working to deconstruct this horrible, debilitating thought: that I don't deserve love and affection from anyone, and that anyone who demonstrates even a little bit of it is either biased or a liar.
How do I move on from someone who doesn't or can't love me? It's what I ultimately want – happy Hollywood love like ... Chris Pratt and Anna Faris. I have been told I'm unapproachable in the past, but to what extent do I have to change that to invite attention or wait for the "right guy" to see me? How do I divorce my sense of self-worth from the prevalence and quality of male affection? I want to be in love. It feels like it's never going to happen. My first taste at not-even-dating someone is horrifying and I hate how it makes me feel. Is this something I need to learn is normal or should I work out my internal stuff before trying to open my heart to someone else? Does my lack of self-esteem mean that no one will ever love me?
– Dangerously In Like
1. You do not know Chris Pratt and Anna Faris. You know nothing about their marriage, other than what they put on social media and show on red carpets. I'm sure they're lovely people, but you should not assume you want their Hollywood love. If you're going to study other couples, look at the ones you know and see in real life.
2. You feel like you've been missing out, but this pain – this longing and rejection – is all part of the dating experience. You are now in the dating world (congrats!), even if this guy hasn't asked you out on a date. Your new friends will probably tell you that many of their romantic entanglements have involved one-sided crushes and unfinished business. That's how it goes.
3. You say that this guy is mildly interested in you, but not as interested as you'd like him to be. Have you told him how you feel? Why not try?
4. You do need to continue therapy to talk about self-esteem, but please know that almost every single person I know has asked, "What if no one ever loves me?" You are not alone in this. I asked the question this morning as I was toasting my English muffin. Then I shrugged and ate the English muffin. These questions are new for you so they feel bigger. All they mean is that you're ready for more experiences, and the good news is, you're in the perfect place to have them.
Readers? Are these normal single feelings?