Dear Dr. Nerdlove
I am a 20 year old student going into my second year at the University of Ottawa, and let’s just say that I have a bit of a troubled history when it comes to romantic relationships. I am very much a socially awkward and socially anxious person who has a fairly hard time working up the courage to talk to people and trying to find the right words to say in a conversation. This, combined with my difficulty understanding certain social cues and tendency to get obsessive about the people I have romantic interest in, can make it difficult to talk to the people I’m attracted to and to enter romantic relationships. Though it’s rather embarrassing to admit, I have not been in one single relationship ever in my life, even though I’m 20 years old. Both of these problems (the social awkwardness and the tendency to get obsessive) impacted my first 2 semesters at Uni this year, which I will go into more detail below.
I have no idea why I had a crush on one of the girls who was in my psychology class during the 1st semester. We met at the global climate change protest march this past September. We travelled as a part of a residence group, but we didn’t hit it off or anything and we never talked to each other after the march. We were mere acquaintances at best and we didn’t seem to have that much in common. Nevertheless I developed this massive obsessive crush on her in the middle of October and I could not stop thinking about her until the end of the semester when I finally confessed my feelings to her via Instagram (she wasn’t interested and seemed a bit angry). It was really really bad and although I didn’t do anything inappropriate, I feel terrible because I creeped her out a lot. I probably should have slapped myself so I could wake up from my delusions and realise that she was not interested. To this day I am quite ashamed for how creepy I was during the 1st semester, because I don’t like or wish to make anyone feel unsafe in my presence. It was terrible and I’m trying my best to make sure that I don’t act that way again.
I really shot myself in the foot when it came to my relationship with a girl I was interested in the second semester. Unlike the person in the 1st semester, who I had a definite one sided crush on, this girl and I seemed to have a lot in common. At least in the beginning we seemed to have reciprocal feelings for each other. We were both involved in the board game club at school, we both like to read, we both enjoy biology, we both like visiting bookstores, and we both like listening to music outside of the mainstream. We had different upbringings as I was brought up halfway across the world in the suburbs of London, and she was brought up in the suburbs of Toronto. Other than that we had a fair bit in common. She had actually been quite friendly in the 1st semester as we shared an English class together and she talked to me in the residence, but it was only during 2nd semester when I joined the board game club and saw her at the Toronto bus station that we truly hit it off. We then went to a bookstore near the university although it was a disappointment when we found out that it was an academic only bookstore.
After the Covid 19 pandemic hit and everyone was sent home I really started missing her and I sent her messages on Instagram chat to try and talk to her. She got really annoyed with me and said that she didn’t want to talk to me anymore because I was invading her life and now I’m really convinced that I’ve shot myself in the foot because she was the first girl who ever openly expressed interest in me. To be honest with you I probably came across as a bit desperate when I was talking to her, which really turns women off.
Do you have any tips as to how to stop myself from obsessing over people and how to stop myself from shooting myself in the foot when it comes to potential relationships?