One thing that anyone who is into advice columns – either as a fan or as a columnist – will notice is that letters tend to come in patterns. It’s not surprising, really… as freakish and unique as we all feel our problems are, 9 times out of 10, they’re much more common than we’d realize. You get the folks who know the answer but really want someone else to tell them what they hope to hear. You get the basic relationship questions: I like this person, but I don’t know what to do, we’re having problems and I don’t know how to fix them, that sort of thing. You get the ones where people understand that something is wrong but they don’t know how to fix it.
But the ones that stand out to me the most are the ones from the guys who seem to have given up early. They’re the ones who are absolutely convinced that they’ve done something wrong with their lives and have crossed a nebulous point of no return; at the ripe old age of 17, 19, 24, 30, or older, they have decided that they are forever damned to never knowing love, sex, marriage, whatever.
They have become absolutely convinced that there is something inherently wrong with them that has doomed them to a monastic lifestyle, forever denied the joys of the flesh.
And all I really want to say is “You’d be fine if you’d just get out of your own way.”
This is quite possibly the most common sticking point when it comes to getting better at dating. Hell, it’s something I went through at the beginning of my own journey. I had to get past a metric shitload of problems, from a nasty case of Oneitis to a horde of identity issues and self-limiting beliefs, before I could even start to improve… and even then there were other underlying issues I was never aware of.
All too often, men are their own worst enemies when it comes to trying to improve. We let ourselves get caught up in spirals of anxiety and self-limiting beliefs, holding ourselves up to imagined (and impossible) standards and looking to sex to provide the validation we feel we need so much.
It’s time to get out of our own damn way and accept certain truths.