Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

Never Been In A Serious Relationship

Question:

I’m a 23 year old woman and have never been in a serious relationship. I often find that I’m interested in men who are not interested in me, and the one’s that are interested in me I don’t have feelings for. I even tried dating the men I didn’t want but who wanted me, but, I did not develop any feelings for them. Or I began to like them less the more I got to know them.

People say I’m beautiful, interesting and have a warm personality. However, I am clueless when it comes to dating and always seem to do the wrong thing. I’ve tried different ways of meeting people such as,  parties, social and sports clubs, etc. I am introverted but fake being confident. At the end of the day I just feel like I am still too introverted and unique for anyone to seriously be interested in me. I try and avoid men that only want sex but that’s all I keep meeting, or, I meet men who just want to be friends. I’m worried that at the end of the day I’m just really an unlovable person who will always be alone. I don’t mind being single most of the time but sometimes the thought begins to nag at me. What can I do?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

Some people wrongly believe that all of their problems would be solved if only they had either lots of money or were very beautiful. As you already seem to know, that is not true.

Towards the end of your E. Mail question you state that you fear that you are “unlovealble.” I suspect, educated guess wise, that this could be at the core of your problems and not the fact that you are introverted. There are lots of introverted people who are fat and “ugly” (whatever that is supposed to mean) but meet lots of people and get married. There is nothing about introversion or extroversion that guarantees much of anything.

I do not know why you believe you are “unloveable” but that inner belief contributes to you not meeting the right man for yourself. You see, it goes something like this: “I feel unloveable and, if I let a man get too close to me, he will see just how unloveable and ugly I am underneath. So, I must hide this.” Very often it happens that we avoid intimacy not out of fear of other people but out of the fear that we will reveal the things about ourselves that we hate.

What better way to avoid intimacy than to “seek those who do not want me and reject those who do want me.”

Of course, there could be and probably are additional issues that get in your way. For example, if you grew up in a home where you witnessed a lot of verbal or physical abuse between your father and mother, you may fear intimacy out of the notion that you could become victimized by some man.

Many therapy patients have told me that their parents were married and divorced so many times, and that his is true of the parents of their friends, that they do not believe in marriage. However, some of these people will get into long term relationships but abandom them later. You do not go that far. 

There are also those people who fear becoming dependent upon another person. They either believe that they should be able to fend for themselves throughout life or that they could become exploited by a man.

There are many other possible factors such as child abuse, rape, trauma, etc. Perhaps you have not psychologically fully separated from your parents or feel guilty if you marry and “leave them.” I do not know you and there is rarely a single explanation for these problems.

Therefore,  here are some of my suggestions for you:

1. Psychotherapy with someone who is skillful in helping people with these types of relationship problems. In fact, this should probably include group therapy rather than individual therapy alone.

2. While you are in therapy, getting involved with someone so that you can explore what issues are coming up with your therapist.

3. Those men you had no feelings for: I would suggest you date someone not high on your list but give it lots more time. What are “feelings for someone” anyway? We promote “Romantic Love” a lot but that is often unrealistic and that is why many marriages end in disaster. What about someone your respect? Someone who could be a good father, loyal husband, can make a good living, shares your values and beliefs about life?

Think about it, those usually prove to much more important than “falling in love.” Well, that is my opinion, anyway.

Let people get to see that warm side of you. It is not true that all men want is sex. Reject those guys who just want sex, but, stick with those who want that but a lot more.

Good luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    Why are therapists always trying to steer people away from romantic love, toward 'good providers', 'upright citizens' etc. Is that really supposed to make for a good life? No sex, no pleasure, just money in the bank and a quiet, steely self-righteousness? Not my idea of a life worth living.

    Peronally, I think if you follow your gut and do what gives you pleasure it will all work out in the end.

  • Anonymous-2

    Telling people to ignore their feelings is very bad advice, and I am surprised that a professional would suggest doing this.

    Possibly the woman in question needs to be more tuned in to her own, true, desire (not less!). She may not be allowing herself to go for men she is truly interested in because she is out of touch with what she really wants. More (not less!) following of her passions is probably what is in order.

    Also, oftentimes, people who are introverted and feel different can benefit from exploring their creativity, it can be a way to find themselves and connect with others at the same time.

  • Anonymous-3

    This person has the exact same problem I had. So I read the advice as if it were written personally for me.

    I was thinking I was 'unlikable'. And yes I was hiding so-called the real me from the men I liked, and didn't hide it from those who liked me but I was not interested in(who cares if people I don't like get to know the worst side of me?), so those men I didn't like casually approached me but I rejected them in the end.

    So now I'm trying to accept my worst side and trying not to hide it from my guy friends these days. I like all of them, they are not perfect but they make me laugh, so if one of them would one day come around I sure would accept him.

    Good luck!

  • Anonymous-4

    The suggestion that she get involved with someone in order to report back to her therapist on how she feels in that relationship seems misguided, even slightly creepy.

    She will be reporting back on a fairly artifical relationship, so one wonders how useful the information will be in the first place.

    Should she tell the fellow that she is mostly only with him to report back to her therapist? If she doesn't, she will be in a relationship with a big secret being withheld possibly the negative feelings she would report back would be a consequence of that 'hidden agenda' more than anything. If she does tell him, and he decides to stay with her, she'll be in a relationship with someone with presumably quite low self esteem, and any negative feelings she would report on could arise from that fact as well.

    The true creepiness of the psychiatrist's fantasy of 'objectivity' is evident here.

  • Anonymous-5

    iam going through the same, i know am lovable have been told plenty of times, but i seem to be doing all the wrong things in rship, i have tried speaking up but i still get dumped within usually not more than 3months, i have tried changing the type of man but it still doesnt work. telling the woman above to get into a romantic less rship for me would make me feel like a failure because i cant get a man i love, or loves me to settle with. my mum and dad had verbal marriage and i didnt like that, but that doesnt mean i live like them, i wanna be free and i feel like a not is stuck in my soul, and am sad and weary

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand