Dear Dr NerdLove,
In high school, I was basically asexual aromantic (or that’s how I’d have probably identified if those terms were more commonly known then). I didn’t care much about how undressed, looked or ate. I’ve been a chubby guy for basically my whole life, and since I never really cared about romantic or sexual interest, I didn’t really notice or think about my weight beyond health reasons. Despite being 240 pounds and a huge nerd with Asperger’s, I was apparently considered attractive in high school. Four girls asked me out between middle and high school (who I would always say no to since, with a my less keen knack for social skills at the time, I thought it’d be rude NOT to say no if I wasn’t interested) and I even got a “best eyes” accolade in my yearbook to my surprise. So I had always figured that if I had ever tried to start dating I wouldn’t have too much of a problem.
By the time I actually became interested in girls, however, things had changed. I had gained 50+ pounds during college (between stress eating and not really paying attention to my diet), now up in the 290+ range, and despite having improved myself in other ways (hygiene, not just wearing polo shirts with basketball shorts, not blurting out or rambling on about any interest I had at the time constantly/being a bit more reserved), I didn’t have any luck. I managed a few first dates but either they were uninterested or went for someone else completely or eventually went for people like me (nerdy types) but skinnier. Earlier this year I even reconnected with a friend I had been told had a crush on me in high school. She still seemed interested when we first got in touch on Facebook and there seemed to be a vibe that she was interested. When we met up at a party though, it seemed as though the indications that she was interested in me had faded. While I’m fine with just being friends, I can’t help but feel bad that I may have missed the boat on something good because of my weight.
So this year, now that I had income to spare it, I started investing in getting a girlfriend. Personal trainer, diet shakes, getting on every dating app that seemed decent enough. While my health has improved and my muscles are stronger, my endurance and stamina had greatly improved, I still struggle with actually losing the fat, so my attractiveness physically is about the same. Eventually I did manage a hookup with a girl for a night that was pretty okay, but I wasn’t super attracted to her and I mainly did it so I could actually lose my virginity before 25, and to make all this sunk cost actually end up in something.
Now with some of my older friends and family getting married, and all of them both attractive themselves and marrying someone gorgeous and fit as well, I cant help but start to feel jealous. I mean, I never thought I’d end up with an athlete or supermodel, but the idea of even an average girl being out of reach since, well, I’m way below average, has me pretty bummed out. I feel deep down I could be a great boyfriend/partner/SO/spouse etc, but it feels like the kind of relationship I want to have is both in sight but out of reach, save for waiting till my 30s for someone to settle “below their league” or barring a full Chris Pratt-esque transformation. Going to film festivals and stuff by myself is fun but it’d be more fun if I were doing it with my girlfriend, you know?
TLDR: I’m putting all the effort in but it still isn’t enough to get ahead of even where I was when I wasn’t trying to get a girlfriend.
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I hope you can help me on this and I’ll start with some backstory: I’ve known this girl since…always. Her sister and I went to kindergarten, elementary and high school together and we’re close friends. I guess I began having feelings for her when I was 11-12, mostly because she was three years older than me and seemed like a woman, not just a girl. Time went on and over the years we became close friends and I discovered how amazing, funny, smart, laid back and friendly she was and I became more attached to her. She eventually graduated and moved out of to college. This really devastated me and I awkwardly confessed my feelings hoping that she would stay and marry me (I was 15, don’t get mad at me). As expected she told me she didn’t feel that way and that she liked me as a friend and a little brother.
She was great enough to give me some advice and told me to focus on girls my age. Of course, I didn’t follow her advice and kept liking her and everytime she came home to visit her family and friends and we would spend some time together I was the happiest man alive. My crush on her continued even after I finished college. A year ago I got my first job in the same city as her, so we hang out more often. Everything was great until she got a job offer in Europe. I’m sincerely very happy for her, because she’s not only good at her job, she algo loves it and living there was always her dream.
I know I’m being selfish, but I’m very sad knowing that she’s leaving and I won’t be able to see her for months. I highly value our friendship and losing it hurts.
How can I stop liking her? I know I should go out and meet other women, but in my 24 years on this planet I’ve never been interested in anyone but her, never kissed or been on a date and I’m not sure if I know how to flirt or ask someone out at this point and everytime I met someone is like ‘yeah, she’s cool, but she’s not HER’.
I know I’m just not right and good enough for her and we’ll never be more than friends, but I can’t see myself with anyone else. What can I do?
Hooked On A Feeling
I’m 23 years old, a guy, and I still haven’t lost my virginity yet, and while I’ve seen some of your stuff on that matter, I still feel like time is “running out” for me, and I’m worried about how others see me, and moreover how I see myself for it.
In summary, I haven’t lost my virginity partially because I’m not a big partier and haven’t sought out hooking up in the past, and also because I turned down two other opportunities.
First, an acquaintance offered to be FWB when I was 20. I had no reservations there, but at the time I was on the verge of a relationship with someone else. That relationship ended fairly quickly, as my ex figured out she was aromantic soon after. I lost touch with the acquaintance for about a year.
About two years later, I had found a girlfriend again. Not long after we started seeing each other, she threw herself at me while she was drunk. I felt that I couldn’t in good conscience have sex with her when she was that drunk, and so I said that we should wait until she was more sober. The next time we talked, she admitted that she may have gotten an STD from a previous partner, and she needed to be tested before we did the deed. She tested negative, but through a cartoonish series of bad luck, things ended before we could.
I usually hear that she wouldn’t be worth my time anyway if she’d reject me for being a virgin, but considering that people like Elliot Roger and Alek Minnassian exist, I have to wonder how much being rejected for being a virgin would be a matter of a woman thinking I was dangerous or a bad person because of it.
The irony I see in this is that I remained a virgin because I felt I needed to do the right thing in those scenarios, and in a weird way, I feel like it has doomed me, even if I know that plenty of people stay virgins beyond my age and lose it then. I guess a big part of it for me is knowing that there are a lot of people who can’t find a willing person, and living in fear that I’ll be mistaken for or worse somehow am one of them.
I guess what I’m asking for here is advice on how to approach it with others, if getting it “out of the way” is a good idea, and if explaining it (in an otherwise contextually appropriate situation with future partners) is a good or bad idea with regard to all of this. Thank you.