Its something that has haunted me for a very long time and I bet I'm not the only one that feels this way (which is why I'm sharing it).
I'll warn you now that this series of posts is not for the faint of heart. They get personal. They get deep. They get raw. They get sad. They get lonely. You're more than welcome to comment and talk but please bear in mind that I will not be very tolerant when it comes to moderation. And this is not just for my own sake but for the sake of anyone that wants to make this a safe place to share their own stories.
Without further ado this is the first post in the series. Below it is a link to a search of the "Spiral of Despair" tag which will show you the entire series. These posts are not in any special order other than the order they were written in.
So I'm taking a break from Star Wars: TOR and catching up on blog reading. I was over at NSWATM when I came across a series on Nice Guys. In part 3 of the series there was a comment that caught my eye.
Schala:To me that's easier said than done.You can’t get relationships because you’re not conventionally attractive? Then the thing to do is obviously to go die in a ditch, right?RocketFrog:No, the thing to do is to learn how to be happy without a relationship.
As I've talked about here before when it comes to relationships I'm basically 0-Infinity. Yeah its like that.
You see to me, one who has never had anything resembling success when it comes to romance and dating (and one sexual encounter to my name), the idea of learning to be happy without a relationship seems like a cop out. It doesn't feel like the idea of "be happy without a relationship" comes from a place of "this isn't working I'll just move on" but rather a place of "I'm just a terrible person that was a fool to think about wanting to try my hand at relationships".
Now as you can see my conclusion is not quite what RocketFrog came up with. Now by all means this doesn't mean that RF is wrong. In fact I don't even want to get into right vs wrong on this. What I do want to take a moment to note is how different people in the nearly exact same circumstance can come to such different conclusions. Further down my exchange with RF continues:
I know. I am such a person. Throughout my twenties I painfully and embarrassingly attempted to figure out how I could turn myself into something that could be attractive, lovable, and able to function in a romantic relationship. After having spent the better part of a decade in such a condition, I sat down and thought about it for a long time, and concluded that for a creature like myself, expecting romantic success is, in fact, unreasonable – much like aforementioned one-legged asthmatic wishing to win Olympic gold in the 100 meter dash.Thinking back on my younger days it seems that I didn't really try too hard to figure out what I could do to change into that would make me attractive. No it seems I had given up on trying to fit the conventional idea of these things and went my own way fairly quickly (body image problems will do that do you). Problem is I have a hard time thinking that out of all the people I've crossed paths with the man that I've decided to be has been written off in terms of dating by all of them. Well in the past I had a hard time, I think I went my own way so long ago that I've been thinking on it for long its not that hard to believe anymore.
I still sometimes feel very lonely, but have discovered that there are some unexpectedly pleasant side effects to opting out of the whole dating racket. I am trying to find my happiness – at least as far as my identity as a gendered creature goes – in that. There is a certain serenity in no longer having to perform in the “how can I turn myself into an attractive, real man” discipline.
So where it seems that RocketFrog decided to leave the dating market and then realized that there was relief in not performing a certain discipline anymore I decided on not performing the discipline but then realized that I was out of the dating market after making the leap. But it gets worse.
Even though I don't want to perform the discipline and therefore seem to have been left out of the market I'm still left with the desire to date, have relationships, and have and be a companion. Now consider all that you see of people saying that everyone "is beautiful in their own way" or those who say something to the effect of "there's someone out there for everyone" or various other remarks and phrases meant to give encouragement to people with self esteem issues. Consider how those messages sound to a person who hears this stuff and still strikes out horribly. Or to one that has given up not because they have decided to find happiness elsewhere but because they see that despite there being so many different people with different tastes out there they are still lacking in success.
Now I'm not trying to make a play for sympathy here but I do think this may be worth looking at because I think these feelings are at the border of Nice Guy territory and I think understanding these feelings is a big step in helping such guys not cross that line (and maybe even bring back a few that did cross it). And I'll bet I'm not the only man (or woman) that is trapped in this cycle of dark despair.
So how about it guys (bear in mind I'm not excluding the non-men out there its just that is where my main focus lies)? Have you been lost in these feelings? Are you currently lost in their feelings? How did you overcome them or what did you try to overcome them but didn't succeed?
Here's a link to the rest of the series.