I’m an avid reader of your blog. Thanks very much for all the insightful advice!
It’s helped me and I think I’m on the path to a better life. Yet, before finding your blog, I had been trying to self-improve for years and I am left to wonder if I will ever be truly happy. OK, I realize that probably sounds like a big issue to tackle, so let me start with my very immediate concern and perhaps give some context.
I am a man in my mid-thirties whose dating life is in a coma. I know what I want: a long-term relationship with a woman who will eventually (after 2-3 years maybe) want to start a family with me, but I’m open to less long-term stuff before that happens. Anything to get the ball rolling. I haven’t gone out on a date in 6 months and I’m not meeting anyone new.
There are reasons why that is: main reason is that dating hasn’t been my focus at all for the past three years. I’ve had a bout with mental illness and depression. (All my life I had been suffering from extreme downs, melancholia, OCD and I was increasingly delusional. It grew out of hand three years ago and that was when I was hospitalized and diagnosed.) I therefore felt the need to move back to my home city to be closer to my family. It took quite some time but I can say now that, thanks to the proper medication and the support of my loved ones, I’m finally functioning normally and in fact feeling “better than ever”. So I’m at least glad to have won that battle.
But things are different: I still don’t put a lot of effort in dressing well, having a nice and neat apartment, or even having a healthy lifestyle (cooking for myself, exercising. I mostly just eat out – and am now somewhat overweight, to my dismay.) When I’m not “falling off the wagon”, I take baby steps and try to improve those areas. I was and am still working on myself, and since my illness try to have a simple routine to tackle life. I’m content with my steady, yet interesting job, and my healthy and close (I think) relationship with my immediate family.
And now, I want to resurrect my dating life. I know less people here than in the city I lived in previously (for over a decade), therefore I need to work on my networking. I enjoy dancing, so I’m taking some lessons and hoping to make friends there. Also, I’ve just subscribed to an online dating site. So I’m expecting things to pick up, provided of course I do my share of the work, overcoming approach anxiety… etc. And I do have a certain amount of self-limiting beliefs that I need to change.
I think I have a deeper problem though – forming healthy long-lasting relationships with women. Throughout my life, I’ve only had two girlfriends that I wanted to keep long-term. The others, I just didn’t think were “good enough” for me. In retrospect, I wish I had given some of these other women a chance, but at least I can say life has taught me a lesson or two there. I was reading what you wrote about learning from the movie Don Jon, and I suppose I have been very superficial in my romantic “targets” over the years and quite the ego-centric. Throughout my life, I have felt incredibly lonely, and have (except for a 4-year relationship) practically always been single. The fact that I had undiagnosed mental problems probably didn’t help my love-life either.
I have in the past undergone therapy, for years even… I don’t think it did much good, except with the last person. Right now, for financial reasons and also because I am feeling better, I’m not consulting anyone. Yet I do continue to feel lonely, and that leads me to think I am a co-dependent person.
I think that pretty much sums it up. I would really love to have your advice: whether I’m on the right path, or am I overlooking something completely?
Thank you so much for your help.