Relationships and Romance

ayase

State Alchemist
@IdiomaticLynx I am once again grateful for your response and understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think conversational skill itself is where I fall down. It was once upon a time, and a lot of that advice is stuff the me of ten years ago would have greatly appreciated (that might have saved me some counselling and therapy sessions) but I’m pretty comfortable in social settings now. It’s more that I find very few people seem to want to take conversation in deeper and perhaps more challenging or uncomfortable directions (I mean like, one who isn’t also related to me would at least be a start) and I think that’s mainly down to me being willing to be more relaxed and open in conversation than most people, rather than less.

Part of that, I strongly suspect is that most people my age or older have settled into their circles of friends and partners and aren’t really looking for any more. Moving on to that point about growing those social circles, that’s not necessarily a killer because the small circle of friends I do have are younger than me anyway (and their attitudes and interests are far less boring) which might have given me some scope for expansion if it wasn’t pretty much a closed circle with only us in it (and isn’t going to do anything on the female company front considering we’re all male). We met via education, which was great because we all at least had a common interest and work we had chosen to do (although going back I perhaps should have picked a less male-dominated field, I go to university for four years and don’t make a single female friend, is there any hope? I might as well have, it doesn’t seem to have done anything for my employment prospects given my current situation) but now that’s over I don’t really know where to look.

It’s like I need to break out of my regular social contacts and find new ones, but the common interests that bind me to other people (say my current friends, or even here on AUKN) aren’t introducing me to the kind of people who interest me (no offence to anyone here, you’re all great even on the occasions you do leave me hanging, @Rui and @Vashdaman especially since you guys actually challenge me on the regular, but I can’t really hang out and do stuff with you, or expand my social contacts that way since you all disappear when I shut my computer down) and, how do I put this without sounding horribly judgemental? A lot of people who share interests with me often just seem a bit wet, like I almost feel as though in order to meet people with attitudes and personalities I like, I’d have to feign interest in things I don’t.

Who even bloody knows? I’m just rambling now and I suppose I’m not really expecting answers from anyone here (and it wouldn’t be fair to) but thank you for your posts @IdiomaticLynx, reading other people’s thoughts on my thoughts is the kind of thing I enjoy, after all!
 

Rui

Karamatsu Boy
Administrator
That's relatable, @ayase - the way that our lives are organised (for us) sets us up to form social circles at school and in further education, then kind of cuts us loose afterwards with no real avenue for finding other oddballs who aren't satisfied with the groups they have. Especially when those groups begin shrinking due to moving/relationships/kids/deaths even before considering simply drifting apart emotionally.

I left the education system early and never formed any social circles there that I didn't dump the moment I was out of it all, so I'm aware that I missed a big chance to make some lasting bonds. I'm not a very sociable person. Had I not been dragged into another group of friends (who of course met at university) by happenstance through a now-defunct regional anime club, I think I could easily have been writing the same post you made last night. It's difficult to understand how new relationships work; I can go to an event and smile and talk to people but it's all performative, with everyone trying so hard to give off a good impression that they pretend to be milquetoast cardboard cut-outs of actual people. (Or in some cases, apparently trying to actively give off a bad impression. There have been some social interactions I've had with strangers which have really left me scratching my head!)

Actually connecting with new people in a meaningful way is very difficult. And there are definitely 'types' of people I find easier to deal with, which is why I enjoy your posts in particular. My partner is the same way, not filtering words or opinions, and even if we disagree it's always enjoyable to have a mutually respectful debate. Sensing that the other person is holding back or worrying about offending me makes me feel far more anxious than if they just came out and said that I was being an annoying moron. The truth is never as bad as the stress of navigating a relationship in the dark.

As I get older I've come to believe that the people who seem to be best at socialisation are actually kind of bad at it; it's easy to have lots of friendly relationships with people if you never discuss anything challenging, and it's easy to deal with major disagreements if you never really listen to what other people are saying in the first place. I've written that in a biased way because I simply cannot interact with people on that level but it really seems to work for those who enjoy that way of life. They're always surrounded by other people and opportunities. I only have a small number of friends offline - less than half a dozen - and they all live far away from me now. But each one of them is worth a thousand 'simple' relationships because I can talk openly to them and not worry about living up to some idealised standard. Making new friends feels impossible now that I know what I want because who else is going to accept me so completely - and be trustworthy enough for me to accept in return? And I'm part of the problem because I have a habit of ghosting people whenever things get too friendly and avoiding real world meet ups. I probably only stuck with my existing social circle because one of them married me and it was too difficult to avoid getting close to the others.

Not really sure what I was going for with this ramble...! I'm really happy that this forum has such an open group of regulars, though, and that we can talk about complicated real life things freely.

R
 

ayase

State Alchemist
I can go to an event and smile and talk to people but it's all performative, with everyone trying so hard to give off a good impression that they pretend to be milquetoast cardboard cut-outs of actual people.
it's easy to have lots of friendly relationships with people if you never discuss anything challenging, and it's easy to deal with major disagreements if you never really listen to what other people are saying in the first place.
I may well have more to add later, but my immediate reaction is all of the this. I even had the thought after posting that I’m probably more than capable of being just about anybody’s friend (just the other day while sitting on a bench I found myself ironically playing counsellor to an old lady who wanted to tell me all her troubles... that kind of thing seems to happen to me unreasonably often, it’s just a shame they usually all have dementia and/or serious substance abuse problems*; why can’t some attractive young woman decide to suddenly confide in me out of nowhere?) but never anything more. And I don’t just mean lovers, even confidants, people who felt comfortable voicing their deeper thoughts and hearing mine would be something.

*which is probably what allows them to be so open. Perhaps I should just get anyone I like totally drunk or high, that might work. And also potentially land me in prison.
 

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
So... I'm seeing someone now ^^ We are casual and seeing if it can blossom into something more - he and I have history online (nothing bad, it's just complicated to explain) but have only met in person twice, once very recently after we both said that we might want to actually be a couple rather than just FWB. He's considerably younger than me, really nice, has interests that I think are cool and enjoy hearing him talk about, and he's super gorgeous. He doesn't communicate all the time online but we have talked at least a bit via IM every day since he came over on Wednesday last week, except for today but he was ill yesterday to the point where he couldn't manage to come over and see me so I understand he is probably just sleeping and feeling crap. It is hard for me not to worry in case he never falls for me but I can tell he likes me. I was actually gonna go on a date with someone else (who TBF lives in London - that would have been really hard for me to cope with and this guy I'm seeing now lives in my local area which is like a dream come true for me) and he respectfully made his case for me to try dating him, even if casually initially.

We've known each other for almost a year online though we didn't talk constantly but a lot of that was down to me and stuff that was going on with me... it was never just him being like "treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen" or w/e, he's not like that. His behaviour since I made that decision indicates that he is genuinely interested, and it was not just about wanting sex or "wanting something he couldn't have." I honestly really like him and I like that he's still interested even though I was not always showering him with attention, not because I enjoy wrapping men around my little finger but because it just makes it feel less one-sided, and appears to indicate that he genuinely does really like me, or I would think he would have given up by now? I really hope I see him again soon, I am missing him and thinking about him. Not that that's all I do I have been watching anime and reading manga as well and made a bit of art, I've also been walking more again now that my ankle is mostly healed up, but he is on my mind. Not sure what the point of this post is in terms of what replies I think it might generate or want it to... but I do trust him, that I will say.

EDIT: He just messaged me so that's reassured me a bit more as well, he thinks he's just really hungover 🤣🤣🤣 We had a nice lil chat and I sent him this meme to encourage him to drink water as he said he thought he hadn't had enough. I'm not planning to post here every day and be like "he hasn't messaged me all day 😭" then "EDIT: he messaged me! All is well 🥰" but it's actually really nice that he's checked in with me every day so far, I appreciate it a lot :)

Hydration is not an option drink water or face the wrath of Kirby.jpg
 
Last edited:

Vashdaman

Za Warudo
I also really want to say I enjoyed the recent posts in this thread, a lot of it is definitely relatable, and I think you smashed it with your observation about " the people who seem to be best at socialisation are actually kind of bad at it", Rui. Really wonderfully put.

Yeah I've found it hard to find people in life with whom I feel I can be completely honestly myself with. But it's partly because I've always felt in some weird middle ground. I want to be able to be completely honest with people, I mean like so I can share my struggles and joys, not only just the highpoints but the low ones too and everything in between. And I'm also pretty serious too I think and seem to enjoy talking about many serious subjects that others simply find boring, and it's always gutting to see someone's eyes mist over while you are in the midst of what you thought was a genuinely interesting thought that they might appreciate too, or even worse when it's important piece of yourself or history.

But at the same time, I can't help feeling I'm a bit of simpleton. I mean, I love the deep and complex subjects, but it's the small simple things in life that make me happy, and I am stupidly straight forward and easy to understand haha. It don't think it's a bad thing, but I don't think many people exactly find it exciting or sexy. Maybe a part of it is that while I'm undiagnosed I suspect on I'm on the autism spectrum, I first thought of it when a dyslexia tester told me she thought it worth my while to get tested for autism, and while I didn't get tested over the years I've realised it's likely. Like for example, something I've realised recently is how formulaic I am, once I get into certain patterns I feel comfortable with I simply don't break them, especially socially. If I am messaging someone regularly, all my messages tend to follow the same structure, of course the content will be different, but the structure and flow is the same, even the phrases I use will be the same, and I'll just happily keep it going. In the same way I was always the one who kept a joke going for too long until it gets boring for everyone else. I always thought these were just endearing quirks about myself, and well I guess hopefully they are, but it might be something deeper.

I do hope I am pleasantly surprising too, and I do actually like to surprise people in nice ways, but yeah I think I'm reliable and consistent more than I am exciting.

However some exciting news is that I've completely fallen in love with someone. And the best part is that I think she feels just as I feel. I've never experienced anything this wonderful before, so far it's been completely reciprocal and mutual and just totally magical. As readers of these thread may know, I've had my fair share of disappointment and let downs in life, but this connection and love I've found is like a miracle, I really feel deeply we fit in a way I didn't think was possible before I met her. We've known each other for about a little over two and a half months, she lives in Japan, we message everyday sending long messages but also managing send goodnight/good morning messages too despite the time difference. We talk about literally everything and anything, I mean my messages would be too long (they are like daily mini essays!) for most native speakers of English to enjoy let alone someone for whom it's a second language, but she really enjoys my company as much as I enjoy hers. And I love hers, so so much! She is clever and funny and thoughtful and kind and down to earth and incredibly sincere, and she just fills my heart with peace and happiness. We are totally a couple and send each other love everyday and are making plans of all the things we will do when together. She knows I'm just waiting for Japan to open up and I'll be there. We also write each other actual mini essays too, like film reviews and things, it's so great! I write her one every week in Japanese. I pinch myself all the time, I can't believe I've met the wonderful person in the world and she likes me too. I hope she doesn't ever get bored of me.
 
Last edited:

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
@Vashdaman I'm overjoyed to hear this and I'm so happy for you! 🥰 I saw my guy again today and it was really nice spending time with him again I really hope you get to meet your love in person soon :) <3 I have been thinking about how to open up more about my mental health issues and so on as I get to know this guy better - he already knows some of it, I guess I'm just thinking about how to bare my soul at the right pace 😅🤣🤔 I have always found your posts here really interesting, FWIW :) Best of luck to your awesome self :)
 

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
TBH I have been crying cuz I feel like I don't deserve this or other good things. Not anything he did or said he was super nice but yeah :( I think I am gradually learning to be kinder to myself and believe in myself more, but it is a bit of a one step forward two steps back kinda thing :/ I might paint something as I got lots of gouache paints recently and haven't painted anything with them yet ^^;;
 

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
The guy I mentioned previously and I have decided that what we're doing is just casual fun and I'm honestly cool with that and feeling really happy rn. Also got chatted up yesterday morning by a cute guy as I was on my way home from my walk and that's put me in a good mood too :)
 

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
In today's exciting developments, I met this extremely cute homeless guy and we chatted and he blew me a kiss and I blew one back XD (we told each other our names as well but obviously I'm not gonna share his name here cuz the usual reasons like privacy and whatnot) :) Also saw that guy I mentioned before again, he's nice to spend time with and his hair looks glorious when untied :) (sorry if this all seems a little trivial or superfluous but I hope someone finds it riveting, at least! Might as well inject a bit more positivity into this thread considering how sad some of my posts have been) :)
 

ayase

State Alchemist
I agree, and am aware of the term's origins, I think it is very sad that a term that was meant to be merely descriptive (and also was meant to be used by people of any gender) has been taken over by a bunch of horrible misogynists :( I am sorry that you feel bad, it's easy for me to say you shouldn't but that would probably come off as a bit condescending :( I do understand that having a hard time finding sex doesn't mean you feel entitled to it. I know someone really nice who's been in that situation for a while and he feels similarly as you do, I wish I could convince him he's good enough :(
Replying to this here because it’s not really about politics any more. You’ve not made me personally feel any worse than I ordinarily would so no worries on that front, I just feel like the term being used as an insult is probably not great for anyone who does have these issues and already feels deficient enough without people sneering at them (the sensationalist media is far more responsible for that than any individual, but that doesn’t mean we have to perpetuate their attitudes).

I can’t speak for anyone else, but again speaking personally nothing will ever make me feel I am “good enough” to get anything I want in life short of actually getting it. It’s one thing to hear from other people that you’re worthy of success (whether that’s in love, wealth, career, whatever, and boy have I been told that a million times by people who care about me) but until you actually do achieve it, what evidence do you have that you are?

This is actually where I think cognitive behavioural therapy screws up a bit, because it’s evidence based and encourages you to avoid delusional thinking by examining whether the negative things you believe about yourself are actually true, but then when you fail miserably at everything that kind of falls apart because you then have ample evidence that you are in fact sh*t.
 
Last edited:

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
Replying to this here because it’s not really about politics any more. You’ve not made me personally feel any worse than I ordinarily would so no worries on that front, I just feel like the term being used as an insult is probably not great for anyone who does have these issues and already feels deficient enough without people sneering at them (the sensationalist media is far more responsible for that than any individual, but that doesn’t mean we have to perpetuate their attitudes).

I can’t speak for anyone else, but again speaking personally nothing will ever make me feel I am “good enough” to get anything I want in life short of actually getting it. It’s one thing to hear from other people that you’re worthy of success (whether that’s in love, wealth, career, whatever, and boy have I been told that a million times by people who care about me) but until you actually do achieve it, what evidence do you have that you are?

This is actually where I think cognitive behavioural therapy screws up a bit, because it’s evidence based and encourages you to avoid delusional thinking by examining whether the negative things you believe about yourself are actually true, but then when you fail miserably at everything that kind of falls apart because you then have ample evidence that you are in fact sh*t.

Speaking as a disabled person I believe very strongly that a person's worth does not lie in their ability to work, become wealthy or find a lasting romantic relationship. I'm learning to love myself and I want everyone to be able to do the same, and I don't wish to find the kind of success that is measured in a comparative way by other people being "failures" or "losers". Not that I think you think that way I just thought my perspective and life philosophy might be helpful/relevant here :) I am ambivalent about CBT also, I don't think it's useless but it has its limits and different people benefit from different therapies :) The only reason I use the term incel is because a lot of the most toxic misogynists of that variety refer to themselves using that term, but I agree it's not fair on nice people who fit the technical description, much as I don't like the way certain things I like are associated with racism cuz of the far right/nazis trying to claim ownership of them (such as norse mythology, some metal music, and so on).
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Speaking as a disabled person I believe very strongly that a person's worth does not lie in their ability to work, become wealthy or find a lasting romantic relationship. I'm learning to love myself and I want everyone to be able to do the same, and I don't wish to find the kind of success that is measured in a comparative way by other people being "failures" or "losers". Not that I think you think that way I just thought my perspective and life philosophy might be helpful/relevant here
I think self-worth is for everyone to decide for themselves, if you can be happy just being you without feeling there’s anything more you want, so whatever you get beyond that is a bonus, then that’s great. I can’t imagine that will ever be enough for me personally, I just want my stresses and frustrations to end (preferably before my life does) and the causes of those are love and money or more accurately, a lack of both. “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love” as the (multi-millionaire) Beatles once sang, but if I can’t have the love I at least want the money, it’s the only way to grant yourself freedom in this world.
 

Neil.T

Titan
I feel like I want to wade in with this point a bit because I very much have a stake in it.

I remember some years ago when I first came across the term "involuntarily celibate", and it was like a eureka moment: for the first time, it felt like I had an absolutely perfect description of my situation. The very next thing I learned was that the term was associated with misogynists. Well, that was short-lived, I thought.

I'd found something that was like a little light in the darkness, only for it to be almost instantaneously snuffed out. It just angers me that a perfectly valid description that could perhaps help someone better cope with their situation and maybe even open a pathway to helpful discussion between similarly-identifying individuals has ended up with a poisonous reputation and is reduced to acting as yet another "warning flag" against vulnerable individuals, in turn forcing those more sensitive souls who might use the term to have to bury it to avoid negative association and closing down that potential pathway.

That kind of thing actually makes me despair. Way to go, humankind. 👏
 

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
I'll keep this in mind in future, it's helpful to have you guys' input, thankyou. Would appreciate any suggestions you have for what term to use instead to describe those incels who are misogynists, without throwing shade on involuntary celibates who are not? :) I've had similar feelings about certain things being snuffed out due to political/political correctness reasons that could have really helped me too :(
 

ayase

State Alchemist
I'll keep this in mind in future, it's helpful to have you guys' input, thankyou. Would appreciate any suggestions you have for what term to use instead to describe those incels who are misogynists, without throwing shade on involuntary celibates who are not?
I mean, misogynist itself seems like the sensible term to use to describe misogynists (provided they actually are, I think it’s another very overused word that is meant to describe a very specific hateful mindset that women are intrinsically awful and worth less than men, but is these days often applied to casual sexism that would be much better addressed calmly and rationally rather than throwing around a term that implies people who say or do thoughtless, sexist things hate women: eg. “women are worthless sluts” = misogyny but “women are bad drivers” = sexism). I don’t really think it’s relevant to define a misogynist by how much sex or not they are having.

Further to both that point and what @Neil.T has said, I do find it ironic but unsurprising that often people don’t seem to realise (or don’t care) that using gendered insults like “virgin” and “incel” against men is just reinforcing the gender stereotype men should be studs who have lots of sex, which is really not a whole lot different from calling women “sluts” or “whores” to reinforce the stereotype that they shouldn’t be having lots of sex.
 

Neil.T

Titan
it's helpful to have you guys' input, thankyou.
You're very welcome, RadFem. This thread's all about constructive discussion leading to better understanding, for me. 🙂

I must also stress that I didn't actually see the part in the politics thread where the discussion originated, so I'd just want to make sure that you're comfortable that my comments were in no way a broadside at any one person or group of people and were more of a lament over how society finds a seemingly never-ending number of ways to drive wedges between things. I really hope it didn't come across as some kind of personal attack or anything.

Would appreciate any suggestions you have for what term to use instead to describe those incels who are misogynists, without throwing shade on involuntary celibates who are not? :)
I mean, misogynist itself seems like the sensible term to use to describe misogynists
I was going to go exactly where ayase did. Those kind of people would be misogynists whether they described themselves as incel or whether they were getting sex on a daily basis, quite frankly. 🤷‍♂️

I think it’s another very overused word that is meant to describe a very specific hateful mindset that women are intrinsically awful and worth less than men
This is also a very valid point, of course. There's a tendency within human society for a "race to the top" in using the strongest available terminology to describe something. (That point of mine there probably belongs back in the politics thread, but I don't ever read it. 😛)

Fun fact: when I was single (see: my whole life until only a few years ago), I genuinely feared being branded some kind of "sick, perverted sex pest" if I were to make a false move in my attempts to change my situation. The paranoid perception of an increasingly distressed mind, or a justified concern in light of the above paragraph? Your milage may vary.
 

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
Fun fact: when I was single (see: my whole life until only a few years ago), I genuinely feared being branded some kind of "sick, perverted sex pest" if I were to make a false move in my attempts to change my situation. The paranoid perception of an increasingly distressed mind, or a justified concern in light of the above paragraph? Your milage may vary.

I had the same fear when I was younger and fresh out of some horribly messed up relationships with guys who were selfish in bed and made me feel bad about wanting to get off. I still find it really difficult to ask for what I want in that context now, in significant part cuz of those formative experiences. I'm really sorry you felt that way Neil.T, I know it sucks.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Fun fact: when I was single (see: my whole life until only a few years ago), I genuinely feared being branded some kind of "sick, perverted sex pest" if I were to make a false move in my attempts to change my situation. The paranoid perception of an increasingly distressed mind, or a justified concern in light of the above paragraph? Your milage may vary.
More awesomeness our ridiculous society has brought about - I feel like for the most part, women still expect men to make the first move, but men (and women, actually) seem to be increasingly given the impression that making advances is a form of sexual harassment if it turns out they’re unwanted, but until you make an advance you can’t know if it’s unwanted or not. So nobody makes a move, and people stay alone. Cue resentment, and the creation of both male and female incels.

I think recent social attitudes, helped along by the sensationalist media, have done a wonderful job of making everybody scared of each other (covid certainly hasn’t helped there, but that probably does belong in the politics thread).
 

RadFemHedonist

Vampire Ninja
I'm not saying that the gender stuff you are talking about is untrue but I feel like a creep for making the first move too sometimes, I think it's partly cuz when I was growing up I was taught a combination of "bcuz you're autistic that makes you basically a guy" (all that extreme male brain nonsense) and "bcuz you're autistic you don't care about other people and have to psychologically abuse and berate yourself into doing so until there's nothing inside you but shame."
 
Top