I’m going to make this a bit of a short story, starting with the present, moving on to the past, and ending with some questions on how to approach my love-life’s future, if you don’t mind.
I’m a 32 year old web applications programmer, and I have had no real experience with love, sex, or even dating. There’s optimistic phrases for people like me, such as “late bloomer,” or “don’t compare your life to others, just live your life and things will be fine.” But, I’m real scared that I’m on my way to being Steve Carell’s 40-year-old Virgin. This leads me to not talk much about my love life with friends or family, but also, I think, leads to a circular problem because by not putting myself out there as willing or available, nothing really comes my way; kind of like job hunting. Compounding it all is the fact that I do suffer from some depression and social anxiety, which makes it tough for me to get out on my own. Leading me to go out only when I have friends or family available, and typically keeps me from going to or participating in things where I might meet other singles like myself.
Now for the past: I moved from a tiny town in a very rural area–like literally it was a 2 and a half hour drive just to go to a Walmart–when I was in the middle of High School to a larger city/metro with close to 3 million people. Made it hard to make and keep close friends. No real complaints. I’ve lived a good life. My Senior year of High School, I was a foreign exchange student in Kyoto, Japan, and went to a college prep (and English language friendly) school affiliated with the University of Kyoto. Met some friends that I currently pen pal (email) with today. Also, in my Junior year of High School, I was in Taekwondo. You would think a 16 year old boy would be hormone filled and super open to sex, but when a 26 year old instructor came onto me when we traveled together to a tournament with an overnight stay, I freaked out and was scared. Not really something you talk with any friends about, it’s just embarrassing. In college, I kinda sorta dated this girl that was in several of my classes, but, honestly, and embarrassingly, I didn’t really know how to take things a step further than just hanging out every now and then, going to a few movies, dinners, coffee shops, she even invited me over and cooked dinner a few times. I knew she wanted to “officially” date and was waiting for me to do something more…I could just feel it. But, I didn’t know what to do, and didn’t know how to communicate my feelings. I liked her, and wanted to take it further, too, but just wasn’t sure how to get past where we were. So, we graduated, she moved for a job, I moved for grad school, and that was that. We kept up a bit from a distance over the phone and email, but not much anymore; she’s married now. Got a scholarship to study at Cambridge in the UK for my masters degree. School was pretty intense, and I didn’t have a whole lot of time. Weirdly, there was a guy that I shared a very similar experience with that I had with my “kinda sorta girlfriend” in college. We actually kind of dated, I think. And, if I’m honest, I was attracted. And, I think it was a similar situation where we just weren’t sure how to go to the next step. So, I’m not really sure, but I may be bisexual.
That’s where we get to where I’m at now, and how do I move forward. I’m back where I’ve been since I was a Sophomore in High School. Living alone, but about a half hour drive from the parents. Working as a programmer. Having a hard time getting out on my own. And, also a little confused about my sexuality because, let’s be honest, I really have no real experience at all. How to a reconcile this and move forward. At 32, even if I’m comfortable with the fact that all my friends are married or seriously dating and I am doing nothing of the sort (which, I’m not), I feel like it’s time to move forward a bit. It’s hard to live alone at this point and not feel a little lonely. Any advice on steps to take to just get a catalyst going toward moving out of stagnation?