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Never Had A Relationship

Question:

I’m a twenty-one year-old male, and have never had a relationship outside of close personal friends and family. I realize that being “shy” isn’t something terrible uncommon, but it’s come to the point where I would like some companionship in my life. (Not to mention some sex, but that isn’t my main objective.). I know that I must sound like a whining teenager, but when it comes to a girl that I’m interested in as more then just a friend, I fear rejection so much that I simply don’t let my feelings be known to the person of interest. In the past, I’ve simply dismissed my problem as me not having enough courage to remedy my situation, but recently I’m starting to wonder if it could be something more. Basically my question is this: Is there a reason for this, or am I just a weak-minded person? (The only past trauma I can think of is my Dad dying when I was 15. I was very attached to him, but my problem existed before that point. Although I wasn’t concerned about it until now. If it is relevant, my Father had a massive heart attack when I was between seven and eight years old, and died years later from complications of heart disease.)

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

I doubt that you are a “weak-minded” person. I also would not judge you if sex were your main objective. It is for a whole lot of young guys; it’s simply a natural part of being human and male, and nothing to be ashamed about.

<

p> It’s highly possible that you have a legitimate clinical anxiety disorder, such as Social Phobia, which is a condition characterized by excessive shyness specific to one or more social-interaction conditions (such as dating and/or public speaking). There is an intense fear of rejection that occurs that makes it all but impossible to even approach the feared social interaction.

<

p> Social phobia, if that is what you’ve got, is fortunately, a very treatable condition with well developed therapies that are proved effective for helping to minimize the problem and let people get on with their lives. You’ll want to find a clinical psychologist who can offer you a proper opportunity for diagnosis, and also “Cognitive-Behavioral” program for social phobia if it is appropriate for your case. It is very important that you ask for and get specifically that type of treatment, as that is the best type of psychotherapy available for addressing social phobia these days. Psychotherapy is in general a better treatment approach than medicine (in my humble opinion) for phobias, mostly because medicines that lower your anxiety tend to be addictive in nature and won’t help you to address the cognitive errors and distortions that you are likely making which set up your anxiety in the first place. However, medications for anxiety are widely available from medical doctors and are often helpful for many people struggling with anxiety related problems. Don’t hesitate to ask for them if you think they might benefit you.

<

p> My last suggestion is to rent the recent comedy movie, “The 40 Year Old Virgin“, which is a very funny and warm send-up of a guy who is much older than yourself with a similar problem. It works out for Andy (the main character in the movie), and I don’t doubt that it will work out for you.

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    The kid that wrote in was 21, try somebody that is 42. ME! Some people are just losers. Everybody can't be helped. I hope he has a better life then I have had. If there is help (which I doubt)I hope he gets soon, Me I have given up, I am justing killing time on earth. And yes I have thought of suicide. I think about it all the time. I won't ever do it, cause I am scared of death. so I just kill time. I hope his future is better then mine!

  • Maren

    As for a girl's point of view, I have serious trouble with anxiety myself. I need the guy to hit me over the head with something before I believe he actually is interested or notices I exist. Then if they do like me and I'm sure of it, I reject them because I'm scared of closeness. Talk about a mess. Sometimes, even with friends, it gets so bad I have to go home because I get so freaked out I can't stand it anymore. Girls are just as afraid, and the majority probably won't reject you in a nasty way if you were to try (if you're into the nice ones anyway), but I understand first-hand how scary that is. I constantly analyze myself and the situation until it becomes such a hassle I avoid dating completely. Then once I gather enough courage, I try it all again.

  • Anonymous-2

    Well I said I wouldn't try it, but I did. I was stopped. Somebody called Cops. I was hauled to hospital put I emergency room they did some very unpleasant things to me. Then I was put in ICU for two days, then a mental ward for a week. The whole thing was not a very fun experience. I DO NOT recemend it to anybody. I still thing I am fighting a loosing battle, but I am trying now. SO if anybody is reading this and has problems, PLEASE GET HELP

  • Anonymous-3

    Its not to late to live!!!!!!!!! I'm 24yr. and I just began living.... Its not to late, I'm in a relationship with my very first real boyfriend (not elementary - high school type/ play-play boyfriend) and I'm just enjoying it, relaxing and enjoying every moment of it. I had to learn to just let go and not judge men before I actually got a chance to know them. My advice to you is to: relax and just talk, with no expectations of the future just talk, let the talk build to a date, 1date - 2dates, then 10dates moves to a mutual friendship or even a relationship. Just take your time and don't lose hope. Never lose hope, I didn't, and I don't want you to!!!!!!

  • Ms. Fakename

    I am in the same boat my friend. 23 and nothing at all I don't even go out on dates cause it seems t hat men have absolutely no interest in me. And to top it off all of my close friends are females, sadly I'm not even gay. It's like being trapped in an imaginary cage. I also have a social anxiety problem and some depression going on but I've never gotten treatment cause up until recently I thought it was just me being stupid. I've been thinking about getting treatment but I also want to get through it on my own, I guess it would be reassuring (funny thing: I study Psychology). I still don't know what's going to happen. Sometimes I think there's really no cure for this but then some of my friends and what I've learned about these things is that it's never too late to do something to improve your quality of life, specially in such basic aspects. All I can say is, let's make it happen... its better thatn giving up (even if you're 42!)

  • Anonymous-4

    To the last comment, at 42, you are not a loser...nobody is..honey there are just some people that are amazing in their own way and need that one special person to find and appreciate that. Have a good heart and strong convictions and face life forward. If you see yourself as a loser...how do you think others will perceive you? see yourself as you want to be and others will follow.
    Good luck to all. as a depressive, social a disorder, panic disorder, anx disorder chick..I know, life kicks me hard, but I have shin pads made of steel and when I fall...I jump kick back up and make life live for me again...

    peace and blessings 2 all

    rue

  • 22yearoldvirginwithsamenproblem

    to the guy that's 42 yrs with the same problem. Im a guy that stands out too justice i mean... you should get something in return from god for taking all the grap of this world god damnit how can you have hold on for so long? I thought about it and if i was 42 i'd give up to and wait till it's time. But this is a cruel world men... If you'd get a million dollars that wouldn't make you happy at all wouldn't it? i didn't think so. men oh men... the world sucks men. i don't know what to do i think it's to late for me 2 find a girl who's in the same position as me.

  • Thanos

    I am 18 years old and I believe that I have Social Phobia. I had never had a relationship with a girl too, though I have 2 girls that are close friends and they have helped me a lot.

    When I was younger, in school I was critisized from the other kids because I walked kind of strange. This happened because I changed 3 different schools (I have only 4 close friends right now - I have kept 2 of them since my childhood) and maybe I didnt fit too much with the guys of my age. Because of this behaviour I became really not confident with myself in front of others. I fighted that in my self and I can say that I have made a huge progress so far. However now I am in university, I still dont stick with the other guys in my age. I dont like drinking alchohol (I never do) or smoking, or going out late at night and I dont feel nice in places like cafeterias or clubs or bars that are too crouded. In addition I can never imagine myself having a one night stand or kissing or having sex with a girl that our relationship isnt serious. I really want to fall in love and get married with someone but its so hard to find the one. It is also really difficult for me to be loved by a girl because I dont stick with the croud - girls always go with the ones that dont deserve them.

    I can say I am a handsome guy, I love music and I compose songs, I love designing, painting and photography as well. I really believe that if I could change my self I wouldnt change anything about me. However I still have problems going on with society. My 4 friends help me a lot and we have a nice time together but now I am in university I dont have the chance to talk to them as much as I would like.

  • bootyboot

    i too had a similar problem. at 25 i am in the first month of my first real relationship! i've dated some and had sex, but never did i get involved with anyone. i either ran away or never got the guys that i liked. my parents worried, and i'm sure they are relieved that i'm dating someone.

    anyway, i was sure i was going to die alone and was so sad that no one wanted to be with me, but once i decided to to go for someone who was interested in me even though i wasn't super attracted to him, i found out people can grow on you.

    so don't worry, relax, your time will come. maybe not soon, but i will happen, just put yourself out there!!!!

  • entropy

    I'm 28 and never had a relationship...even a short-lasting one...most of my friends (who are all females) are in relationships and as it happens have no time for me. I've had a therapy 2 years ago, quite an intensive one, but nothing changed really. I have problem striking a conversation with people though sometimes I can be relaxed funny and witty ( some say so)...My work sucks (I mean I suck at it which sends me down in the dumps) I have nobody to talk to and even my closest friends (I have only such) can't help me and who wouldn't get tired of somebody's constatnt whining? I don't really see the point in having another therapy as I believe I've already done what I could, I need people not a therapist for whom I would be another case. But however hard I try, I always lose, even if I meet new people it is always a one-time experience. I see myself as a loser, contionously analyse people's gestures, comments, interpret each detail and if I like somebody I get really tense and can't behave naturally. And never did I make any move on a guy...and vice versa. I'm quite pretty, look much younger than my real age...but of course "I'm stupid, not interesting, ignorant, an asshole (couldn't think of some other invectives English is not my native language) etc. It happened only once in my life that somebody said openly he was interested in me and saw me as an interesting and special person but it was not possible as he was not from where I am. Doesn't sound very desperate but I've had suicidal thoughts for a while now. Today I took a day off work as I felt so bad (numb with no energy at all, crying). I would have done it but the only thing that prevents me is pain. But finally I will find a painless method. It runs in the family.

    Editor's Note: Though you may have had psychotherapy, it isn't clear that the therapy was actually targeted to the problems you are experiencing, which may include social phobia (what is now starting to be called "social anxiety disorder") and a chronic depression. It may be worthwhile to explore targeted forms of treatment, specifically cognitive behavioral treatments for social anxiety and depression, and possibly also an antidepressant if a psychiatrist believes it would be appropriate. Please do not assume that all psychotherapies are the same - they are not, and though the one you experienced may have been intense, it may not have been useful for treating the problems you are actuall experiencing.

  • Anonymous-5

    Ok ladies and gents-- I am a 19 years old male, and I have never had a relationship. I'm shy, but I'm not too shy, definitely. I've gone on a few dates, and I have many friends. I'm not popular, per se, but I have little trouble making friends of either gender. However, Whenever I have confessed attraction to a girl, I get immediatley turned down. The only girls I've actually managed to go on dates with are ones that I was not much interested in. I've never had much trauma in my life-- at all, really. Parents are together, no one is abusive, no one close to me has died. No one really understands why I've never had a relationship. What the heck could be wrong with me?

  • 19male

    Okay, well it's obvious this post was done a long time ago. And I'm sure no one is really looking at it now unless you stumble across it from a search engine or something, but anyway, I have experienced the same things as this - I have never had a girlfriend. I have never even kissed a girl, or touched her in any romantic way. It is almost impossible for me to flirt even though much of the time, when I'm alone, I feel like I need a relationship desperately. I constantly think that I will be alone for the rest of my life, and I cannot figure out why. I am not attractive by any means, but I'm not unattractive either - yet no girl has ever seemed even slightly interested in me. Sometimes I just get really angry thinking about it, and I don't know wheather it is more a reflection on me, or them. Anyway, no one's probably reading this so...

  • Anonymous-6

    Hello, well I do not think it is too late for you at all, 42 or not its never too late!!

    I am 21 years old.....I get alot of attention from men of all ages and races, however I am sooooooooooooooo scared to look at them back....I dont know what I am affraid of!

    I have not always been attractive as I was the fat kid at school that everybody bullied! I use to always call myself ugly and cry constantly. However now those same people that bullied me are attracted to me.....Assholes!!

    Anyway....when I started uni at 19 I made a pact that I was going to put my fears behind me and just go for it. I became best friends with a guy and we used to do eveything together, we were inseperable. He kissed me one day and it was obvious that we had feelings for each other. However I became really distant from him after that and my character changed, I cannot explain my behaviour and what I was affraid of. In the end we fell out and I loved him sooooooooooooooo much!! I still do...we made up and are now just friends!!

    However my point is that I have always felt there was something seriously wrong with me and worry that I will be alone too. I dont believe that I have a social problem as I am a sociable person and have a variety of friends. What I can say is that I have spent the majority of my life watching violence between my mother and father and I know this has had a bad affect on me and my siblings. My dad has OCD and possibly biopolar.....he does not want help and as a result we have all suffered!!

    My brother and sister, seem to exhibit self destructive behaviour and violence like my dad...

    But anyway........I really dont know the explanation anymore!! I just feel that I want someone to hold me and someone to love, but dont know how to achieve this!!

    But it is comforting to know that I am not alone in this situation and that I am able to share my experiance with you!

    Thank you R.J x

  • life suck

    hi guys ... im 23 years old and i dont have any relationship in my life ....

    when i see the woman i like ... i get scare ... i get nervous .. even i know that the women give me the green light ...

    and when i got a date ... i became dumb .. i dont even know what im saying

    i dont know , whats the problem . i always try to change ... but no matter how i try i never developt ...

    im sorry my english is not to good ...

  • Anonymous-7

    I'm almost 34 and I've never had a girlfriend or sex. I don't believe I can ever overcome social anxiety. Also, I have lost too many precious years even if, one day, I overcome my social anxiety, I might not be able to find a partner.

  • dating Virgin 19yrs old

    I would just like to thank everyone who posted, I am so glad I came across this website as I have been struggling to deal with pressures to find a boyfriend. I am a female, not "ugly" and quite social but I have never been kissed, had sex or been on a date. I've turned down offers, I don't know what for but I've been feeling so excluded recently because I thought I was the only one, and i hate being alienated. Then again, I grew up ina family with parents having a messed up relationship so I try to get over that. So thank you again for your posts.

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