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Diminished Hope


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I'm 26. I've been single for 5 years. Single can mean a few different things, I guess. In my case it means I've barely had so much as a hug in that time, and found nobody I can really connect with emotionally.

I have a lot of friends. I go out all the time. I chat with as many people as I can. I've been taking good care of my physical health and hygiene. I'm going to therapy twice a month to try and sort out my bullshit, too. People compliment me regularly, and suggest that I date. The suggestion alone is a bit disheartening, even if I know they mean well. I have online dating profiles all over the place, have sent out dozens and dozens of messages. It's a weird market, and even though I expect some rejection I've only ever had a few replies and never anyone interested enough to meet. Well.. I got stood up once, at least.

I've had two relationships, both long term. 2-3 years. Both started online. They were fine. Started off loving, evolved into neutrality and ended amicably. I still talk with them on rare occasion. I was home schooled, so I didn't go to high school, or college. That has set me back a ways in terms of social convention and dating offline, which seems like it has a lot of odd/arbitrary rules to it.

I do understand that the ideal is to love yourself, have a strong sense of individuality, be alone but not lonely and stalwart in the face of overwhelming odds. Seems a little bit ridiculous from where I'm sitting, though. My parents just got divorced after 25 years, as soon as they didn't have to feel like perfect role models for my brother and I. My grandparents just celebrated a 40th anniversary, but I get to listen to my grandmother drunk on holidays pining for lost loves and complain to no end about her overly practical husband who could never please her. My brother just had twins with a lovely woman who already had two children, and right afterward she kicked him out and started selling herself for a little money on the side. I'm sure he played his part in that spiral downward, but still. Every other couple I can think of in my life is either in the early throes of blind passion or struggling through a bitter aftermath.

So.. What am I looking forward to, exactly? It's obviously not like all the movies. Do I dress up pretty and put on my best face and go out and swoon some poor girl just so I can forget for a little while how that's likely to end? That doesn't seem fair to anyone. Yeah, I have a strong drive for intimacy, especially after all this time. Everyone seems to share that or else live in denial of it. But I'm afraid of it, too. How can you banish that concern without being willfully ignorant of the way it goes most of the time? Kinda like how donuts taste amazing, but they're really not very good for you in the long run.

I'm a bit lost in this. I don't know how to find reason again. :confused:

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Hi Chameleon,

I’m 64 and still have problems of my own. But for 24 years, until my husband died, we did have a wonderful relationship.

We were both a little off the beaten track, personality wise. Both had engineering-related careers. Both introverted and analytical. I was somewhat more emotional and he was somewhat more stable, so we had something to complement each other in that respect.

We met at work. Social convention at the time said we “shouldn’t” date each other, but we did anyway. It worked out beautifully – though not without problems sometimes.

It may be frustrating for you to hear this, but you are still young. Finding someone who is truly special for you and vice versa may still, in today’s world of online dating, be somewhat a matter of luck and timing beyond your control.

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Hi Devil's Daughter,

Thanks for sharing your story with me. You have life experience beyond my comprehension, and for that I take your advice to heart. Or at least to the pieces I still have.

As the days, months, and years roll by I can't help but feel like I have some sort of deficit in my ability to get close to people. Particularly as I watch other people bounce back from less fortunate relationships in a matter of months. Hearts mend, hope returns and they find someone else to share with.

It just isn't working that way for me. The longer I'm alone, the more it drags. I'm trying very hard not to become completely bitter in my outlook. It isn't so much frustrating to imagine that luck or timing beyond my control plays a part as it is small comfort. I don't leave other critical needs in my life up to chance, when I need to eat I get some food. This is a much stronger need, with no clear course of action for resolution.

Life is very mysterious, and I can't hold myself exclusively accountable for all of my failings. Perhaps I'm just destined to be alone for a long while. I guess I can't say I haven't learned anything from it. Regardless, I feel extremely lonely. I hear I'm not supposed to, that desperation is easy to pick up on and is highly unattractive. That does frustrate me. They can try my brain on for a while, maybe they'll have better luck with it. Or hey, they can keep it. I'm not so convinced I want it anymore.

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Hi Chameleon,

Considering I'm only 20 years old, and don't have very much experience with love and relationships, I can't give you a TON of advice, but I can try to help a little bit. :(

You say life is a mysterious thing, well... so is love. And honestly, I don't believe true love comes along very often. I understand that you're 26, and getting a little antsy to find someone to spend your days with, and to share life, and experiences with. Which is completely normal. It's comforting.

Sometimes, finding that special person just takes some time. And sometimes, it's where and when you least expect it.

I have been with a guy for about a year now, whom I love very much, and he loves me. He's 29, and an electrical engineer. While I am a psychology major, concentrating in sex therapy. He is very analytical, and loves math and science. While I am very much into literature, psychology, and studying human beings. We are complete opposites of one another, but have a wonderful, fun, and exciting relationship. Don't get me wrong, we have problems here and there, but always work them out.

The strange thing about us, is that I have known him since I was about 6. I have a brother who is 10 years older than me, who played hockey in high school with S (which is what I'll call my boyfriend). So they were very close friends. Of course nothing developed until about 2 years ago, when S contacted me, and asked how he could get a hold of my brother. I told him, and he asked about myself, and my family. Our relationship just progressed from there. He lived in Florida, while I was living in Tennessee, so we made special trips to see each other over a 10 month period. We saw one another about once a month for about 5-7 days at a time. I moved here to Florida a month ago to continue my education, and to be closer to S. I never, ever expected a relationship to form between him and I. If someone told me a year and a half ago that I would be where I am now, and with him, I would have told them they were absolutely crazy!

So sometimes, love is found in the strangest ways, and strangest places. Don't think so negatively about your circumstances, think positive! You're still very young, and have plenty of time to find that special someone. Just give it time. :)

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