Tag: relationships

I’m Disappointed With Online Dating

People raved about online dating on a couple of sites that I really trust, Ask Metafilter and Captain Awkward. Five years ago, at age 18, I was excited to try it.

I found OkCupid too confusing to use towards the end of my time there. I couldn’t see who liked my profile or messaged me anymore. I tried following the help instructions and still had no luck.

I also tried Craigslist, Plenty of Fish, and Match. People on Craigslist sent mean emails about my weight. They told me that they were flagging their ads because they didn’t want to see fat people on the site. They were very persistent about booting me off of the personals section.

All of the dating sites I’ve tried share the problem of people writing very sparse, vague profiles. For example, people wrote, “I love to laugh,” “I like to watch movies,” or “I’m looking for someone adventurous.” Their descriptions sounded alike. I had no idea from reading these profiles how these people thought or what it would be like to spend time with them or anything like that.

Very rarely, I’d have a brief relationship with someone I met online. I think all of these relationships fell apart partly because of my poor social skills, and partly because they had no respect for me.

I didn’t just want to date. I wanted to make friends, too. The only site I could find for talking to people as friends was the platonic section of Craigslist. One person I met wanted to start a business with me without a business licence, another associated with people in a violent gang, and so on, so nothing worked out. If there were more sites for people looking for friends, I would’ve tried them.

I’ve been trying so hard for five years to meet people online. I’ve gotten nowhere. It seems to work for other people. The person who runs Captain Awkward married someone she met online. I don’t understand why I have no luck with it. I just spent another $60 on Match the other day. I probably made a mistake doing that, since I’ve been on it for over six months and only gotten one date out of it.

Also, I hardly ever see any people near my size on these sites. I don’t care whether a romantic interest is fat or thin, but I know that other fat people are more likely to be willing to date me, so it’s discouraging to see all of these thin people. However, there are even fat people who aren’t willing to date fat people. Dating while fat sucks. Match allows me to see what body type(s) people selected (Plenty of Fish doesn’t show this) and only a small fraction of people are willing to date a fat person. It’s very intimidating to think of not only my weight, but all of the other factors working against me. I’m currently on disability, I don’t drive (I use public transportation and would not ask a romantic interest to help me get around), I’m Unitarian Universalist and Pagan (everyone seems to want an Atheist or a Christian) and so on.

Maybe it’s time to give up trying to meet people online.

My mom and therapist think that I  should switch to meeting people in person. I’m not confident that I can succeed at that, either, which is why I tried meeting people online in the first place, but I’ll try..

My Thoughts On “How to Be Single and Happy: Science Based Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity While Looking for a Soul Mate,” by Jennifer L. Taitz, Psy.D.

My Thoughts On “How to Be Single and Happy: Science Based Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity While Looking for a Soul Mate,” by Jennifer L. Taitz, Psy.D.

Dr. Taitz’s book helped me get into a better mindset about being single. She validates how hard it is to be single when you want a relationship, but at the same time, encourages you to take responsibility for creating a life that you can feel awesome about with or without a partner. She supports her ideas with specific research studies. For example, she backs up her ideas about self compassion with a study by Jia Zhang and Serena Chen, who asked 400 students to write about their biggest regrets. The group who was told to think about them from a compassionate, understanding perspective accepted themselves more and improved more (46-47).

Love isn’t entirely within our control, so we shouldn’t go overboard strategizing or planning for it (xviii). The healthiest way to increase our chances of finding love is to work on our happiness (5). It’s important to look at the whole pie and not get too focused on one slice, whether it’s love or another one. I admit that I used to daydream a lot throughout the day about romance, but reading stuff like this has been helping me chill out.

The acronym DEARMAN gives us a blueprint for solving conflicts (p.211). I like it enough that I’ll refer to it in the future if conflicts come up.

This book is a good dating guide and, more importantly, a good guide to having a healthy attitude about life and growing as a person.

Works Cited

Taitz, Jennifer L. How To Be Single and Happy: Science Based Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity While Looking for a Soul Mate. Penguin Random House LLC, 2018.

Image Credit: Amazon

Our Culture’s View of Attachment Styles

There are three main attachment styles: anxious, secure, and avoidant. Anxious people have a strong desire for closeness, avoidant people have a strong desire for space, and secure people are in the middle of the spectrum. From what I’ve read, it seems like our culture celebrates avoidant people and has contempt for insecure people. I agree if two people with differing needs interact, one person’s need for more space will trump the other’s needs for closeness, because boundaries are important. However, both groups deserve our compassion, and there’s a lack of compassion in our culture for insecure people.

One example of a post that has lead me to form my opinion about society is this one on Ask Metafilter. The poster asks about whether to end her friendship with someone who no longer responds to their invitations to meet in person, but continues to text them. The majority of the answers focus on how there might be something going on with their friend, such as depression, and how she shouldn’t keep asking him to hang out. I agree with both ideas. However, the people answering her question don’t show much compassion for how painful it is to be blown off by someone they’ve had an established friendship with. I said that I think it was mean of him to just ignore her initial request instead of saying that he only wanted a text based friendship, but nobody else shares my opinion.

As you may have guessed, I’m in the anxious category. Right now, my social life just consists of my parents and a couple of my mom’s neighbors, who I only see briefly when I visit her. I’ve wanted to make friends and find a partner, but seeing posts like this online make me more hesitant about trying to connect with others. These posts are triggering me. They make me feel like people would ooze with hostility for me if they knew that I have a vulnerable side when it comes to relationships and want direct, clear communication. I think that as long as anxious people express their vulnerability respectfully, this style is just as valid as being secure or avoidant, but it seems like the rest of society doesn’t see it that way.

My Thoughts on Improve Your Social Skills, by Daniel Wendler (Kindle edition)

I found this book to be comforting. He believes that the reader deserves a place to belong and wants everyone to feel loved and accepted (Wendler, 1). He describes the reader’s life as a gift to those who love them and those who will love them in the future (Wendler, 1). The book makes me more hopeful that I’m worth connections and will be able to find them. I feel calmer. I’ll return to these sentences again and again. I admire Wendler’s gentle compassion and am inspired to be gentler and more compassionate, myself.

Wendler has studied social skills in his free time and gone to school for clinical psychology. At the time that the book was written, he had given hundreds of hours of social skills coaching (Wendler, 4). As a child, he was diagnosed with autism, and it was difficult for him to understand socializing (Wendler, 4). When he was in high school, he realized that his problems weren’t due to a character flaw, but due to the fact that he needed to work on his social skills (Wendler, 4). People have criticized my character and personality before, so it’s a relief to hear that I can learn how to improve at socializing.

Wendler reassures the reader that if they experience a social failure, worst case scenario, they can always try again with someone else (Wendler, 14). He explains how to look for signs of comfort and discomfort in someone’s body language. There’s a chapter with tips for making conversation, such as that asking questions shows interest. The chapter after that covers group conversations.

He writes about empathy, starting with understanding your own emotions. He says, “Your problems matter, because you matter,” and I appreciate his caring (Wendler, 71). He encourages the reader to act on their empathy (Wendler, 78).

The chapter about meeting people is built upon the idea of participating in groups that are related to your interests. I’m uneasy about his suggestion to make conversation with customer service workers, since they may be too busy to talk, but the chapter is otherwise good (Wendler, 90).

Wendler explains what makes someone a good friend, which is helpful both for figuring out who to be friends with, and for being a friend. He says that a good friend likes the person, cares about them, accepts them, and treats them respectfully (Wendler, 97). I love that he devotes an entire chapter to explaining how to support your friends. One of his suggestions is to ask someone if they want advice before offering it (Wendler ,113).

There’s a chapter about dating. His outlook about relationships is very healthy. He says that both partners need to have other relationships, hobbies, and goals outside of the relationship and support each others’ interests in these things (Wendler, 137).

I recommend this book to anyone who wants suggestions about improving their social skills.

Works Cited

Wendler, Daniel. Improve Your Social Skills. 

A Therapist and a Forum Reacted Badly to Me Saying That I’d Like to Have Close Friends

Content note: interpersonal difficulties

I told my (now former) therapist that I’d like to have close friends. I mentioned that I’d like it if we could share details with each other about our lives, and she said, “Why should they share details with you?” which made me angry cuz it seemed like she was accusing me of wanting to interrogate people, when I meant it in a spirit of curiosity, warmth and openness. If she wants to be a private person in her personal life, that’s fine, but it’s not fair that she shit on me for wanting to get to know some people well and let them know me. I wasn’t saying that every conversation had to be a deep heart to heart or that we’d need to talk every day like I would with a partner. I hate it when people twist my good intentions into something bad, something that they act like I’m appalling for.

Shaken, I told a forum about my experience with her and asked, “Is it okay to want close friendships?” Without knowing anything about my behavior, only the fact that I want close friendships, several people ganged up on me, all of them accusing me of similar things: being imposing, invasive, intruding into peoples’ personal space. I wouldn’t do something imposing or invasive or intruding like asking someone I didn’t know well a personal question or continuing to try to befriend someone who wasn’t interested. I hate it when people accuse me of acting in ways that I don’t act. It’s not fair. I don’t deserve to be labelled these things just for asking if it’s okay to want close friendships. I’m furious!

I’m no longer interested in becoming close with anybody. The therapist and the people on the forum got hostile in response to me expressing a desire for closeness with others. If people in environments that are designed to be especially supportive are getting hostile with me for this, people in everyday life would probably react with even more hostility. I thought that closeness was something good and special, but it seems that at least some people view overtures of friendship as a threat. I dunno how to tell who would be this way and who, if anyone, would be like me (which I doubt, I guess I’m just fucked up), so to be on the safe side, I’ll treat everyone as if they would consider any overture to mean that I’m a bad person, and not make any overtures at all. I need to protect myself from further hostility. My mental health can’t withstand it. I’ll just deal with being isolated for the rest of my life.

Switching Therapy Agencies

My (now former) therapist and I had an argument today, and the thought of facing her again stresses me out so much that I decided to switch agencies. She said that not every friendship will be a close friendship and people don’t have time to invest in friendships. I thought that friendships are supposed to be close, so I was upset to hear that, and I said, “That destroys me.” She accused me of having a mean tone. I got defensive and said, “I don’t appreciate the accusation.” She said, “You’re putting words in my mouth.” I said, “I’m not.” She said, “It seems like you’re trying to pick a fight.” I said, “I came here for therapy, to feel better and cuz Social Security forces me to. You’re just making me feel 10 times worse.” She made another accusation, I forget what, and I got so angry that I lost my temper, saying, “Shut up, asshole!” and I left.

I have a long history of difficulty getting along with therapists and people in general. I don’t want life to be like this. I constantly feel like a bomb could go off. People seem chaotic and threatening to me. That could be related to my schizophrenia. I wanna be able to be comfortable around people and have positive relationships. I wanna be a force of good in the world, someone who people can be comfortable around and who has a positive impact on peoples’ lives. I’m gonna go over my notes about the Nonviolent Communication book, by Marshall Rosenberg, again and start reading The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Anger, by Russell Kolts. I like that it has compassion in the title, since that’s something I value and a trait I wanna cultivate more of.

I hope to turn over a new leaf at the next agency. I’ll talk to the new therapist about the difficulties I’ve had getting along with other therapists. Maybe they’ll have ideas about how to make this relationship go better. One idea I have is to end the appointment early or leave the room for a little while and come back if I start getting upset.

I’ll continue updating the blog about my progress learning to manage conflicts.

Uncertain About a Friendship

My friend Clare has been saying things like “I guess,” or “I don’t know” in conversations, which makes me worried that she’s not engaged in the friendship. I also don’t feel like I’ve gotten to know her much from our conversations, even though she keeps agreeing to schedule instant messaging sessions with me every month (she lives in another city). I just messaged her to let her know what I observed and ask if she’s happy with our friendship/communication. I’m really nervous cuz I’m making myself vulnerable.  Every time I’ve done that before with anyone besides my parents, the person hasn’t cared enough to talk things out with me. They always drop me when I do this. I’ve been criticized for using a direct and sincere style of communication. People have told me that our friendship isn’t a priority for them. Exes have brought up how mean they’ve been to me and told me that they’d rather break up than treat me better. I don’t understand why I get a cold reception from people when I’m warm and transparent with them. I feel alone and wonder if I’ll ever have good relationships in my life besides my parents, kitty, and therapist.