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Old 12-22-2018, 03:30 PM  
Sporty McDaniel
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Member Since: Nov 2018
Location: North East America
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Default Re: I Feel Like I Can't Love (Romantically)

Originally Posted by kiwi215 View Post
(Background: 23-year-old straight female. Basically zero attachment to either parent or any kind of parental figure in childhood. Emotional neglect/abuse. Was never diagnosed with an attachment disorder, but I have BPD and the criterion related to attachment is a huge one for me... I get intensely attached to females who are a little older than me... like a mom... then am devastated when they leave my life.)

So I feel like I can't love someone romantically. I've never been in a long-term relationship. My record is I think 3 or 4 dates, only "dated" a couple guys, and have occasionally had meaningless, impulsive one-night stands with guys I had never met. I rarely feel romantic attraction. I don't even know that I would call it that. Perhaps there have been one or two guys who I looked at and/or knew and felt like, hey, there's a little something about them that's kind of attractive, I guess... The few dates I've been on were mostly because I just wanted to try it out or I couldn't say no. I don't think I'm asexual or anything like that. I feel pretty confident that I'm straight too because I like sex with guys and couldn't imagine sex with a woman. So I don't think that this is a matter of sexuality (although I've questioned it for sure, especially given that I can hardcore attach to females and idealize them and just want to be around them all the time and hug them, etc., but that's really more of a I-want-a-mother kind of thing; the idea of having sex or a romantic relationship with these people is super uncomfortable). I will note that I recently feel an interest in this one guy, who must be roughly 10 years older than me, maybe a little less, but he was actually one of my college teachers (he was a doctoral student at the time studying psychology, teaching one of my psychology classes... I was a psych major). I think the main part of the attraction is that I'm attracted to his intelligence. I don't necessarily see him as "hot" appearance-wise, but then again, there aren't very many guys out there, if any, that I look at and think, "Damn, he's good lookin." (But I do that with females sometimes... with their facial beauty... and those are the kind of people I attach to).

I do want to get married one day and have kids and all that. It sounds nice. But whenever I try to imagine myself living with a partner and being that close to someone, I just can't really fully imagine it. Trusting someone that much, being so close, being comfortable enough to share my entire life with them, raise kids with them, be tied together... wow. I just feel like I'm not capable of that.

So I ask myself why this might be...? Of course I do definitely think a big part of this has to do with my attachment style as a child and lack of attachment to my mother and the emotional neglect/abuse and all that. But I want to understand it better. And most of all I want to know that it is possible for me to love romantically...

I have Borderline PD, and I also once had a therapist suggest to me that perhaps I have Avoidant PD or at least some traits of that as well, but when I told her that I DO desire that kind of close romantic relationship, she was like oh, nevermind. I do have Social Anxiety Disorder, so I'm sure this is part of the issue... When I go on dates, I just get so anxious and am so concerned with how that person sees me that I just can't relax. So that gets in the way, but I feel like there's something more. I still feel like, even if I could get past the anxiety and start to relax and have a good time, I still feel like it would be hard or next to impossible for me to fall in love with someone. Now maybe it's just because I haven't experienced that yet? I guess that would make sense... It's hard to imagine something you haven't experienced yet. BUT STILL. I just have this feeling that it's almost not possible for me to love romantically. I feel too emotionally damaged.

Also of note, I didn't have a whole lot of friends growing up and I still don't. Again, anxiety has gotten in the way... but I still feel like there's more too it. I remember one time on the playground when I was in maybe 1st or 2nd grade, a girl started talking to me and then asked me "Do you want to be best friends?" I remember that feeling SO WEIRD to me. And maybe kind of scary? (I think I said sure to her or something like that because I wanted to be polite, but nothing came of this anyway). I did not want to be best friends with her. Why? Maybe it was that "best friends" seemed so intense and like there were strings attached... like I would have to suddenly put all this effort into a relationship and there would be a lot of pressure. I also remember feeling like why would I want that? I was more comfortable playing alone, but I'm not sure if that's because I was indifferent/disintereseted in having a "best friend" or because I was too anxious to enjoy the company of someone like that (this girl I didn't know who randomly came up to me on the playground one day). Again, I had a couple friends, but I wasn't all that enthralled with them I guess... they were more like people whom I could feel comfortable sitting with at the lunch table and having at my birthday parties. These were people whom I had grown accustomed to through being in the same classes and slowly getting used to them and then being able to at least mildly enjoy their presence and not be too anxious. But I digress... back to the question of if my avoidance was due solely to anxiety or indifference/lack of interest or a combination of both... I *think* what I have come to is that it's mostly anxiety. I have considered perhaps that maybe I have some Schizoid PD traits, like being a loner/outsider and not really having close relationships. I also from the outside probably appear to be aloof and emotionless and unaffected by praise/criticism, but that's more because I work hard to NOT let my emotions show, when in fact I am VERY emotionally sensitive (BPD). I just don't show it. But yet, I often am comfortable being on my own and don't necessarily feel lonely or isolated or like I'm missing out. But then there are other times when I do desperately want some kind of closeness to someone... I daydream a lot about my attachment people. And there is some desire for a close romantic relationship. So in that sense that doesn't sound very much like Schizoid PD to me. I've never thought that I have Schizoid PD, and I don't claim to be an expert on personality disorders by any means. I guess it's just that at times I relate to some of those traits. And especially given my extreme attachment abilities to mother-figures, that doesn't seem very compatible with Schizoid PD anyway. It's all very particular I guess... I can feel attachment (which I know is not the same as love) to female mother-type figures, and I can have some meaningful relationships with friends (I now finally, amazingly, unbelievably to me, have one very close friend, my best friend, with whom I can share anything and everything with. I text her every day and genuinely enjoy interacting with her. We met in a mental health treatment facility and have a lot in common and over time we just became really close. Interestingly she's 20 years older than I am... and no, I'm not attached to her in that way. She truly is a friend and it's a two-way relationship... incredible!). I just feel like I can't have a romantic relationship with someone. But then again, I never imagined that I would have a relationship quite like the one I have with that friend! So I guess that gives me hope... that maybe, with a lot of time and the right person, I can slowly fall in love...

But I majorly digress!!! I didn't intend for that to turn into such a ramble about all that PD stuff. What it comes down to is that I have BPD and sometimes relate to what I know about some of the symptoms of Schizoid PD and Avoidant PD. More so Avoidant though. I'm not trying to self-diagnose and don't want to get too hung up on that anyway. I think what I'm trying to get down to is why exactly I feel like I can't love someone romantically and if that belief is true or not.

I don't even know what I was hoping to get out of this post, or if this is even the best forum to post this on... If you read all of this and made it this far, thanks! I guess I'm interested in what other people's insights are on this. I'm the kind of person who likes to try to understand these kinds of thing in myself, and actually I think typing all of this out has helped to an extent, but I still am left with a feeling of dissatisfaction. I want to know what the core of this issue is really about so that then I can work on it. I want to know that I'm not permanently emotionally stunted or damaged to the point that I am limited in my (romantic) loving abilities...

(Just a little disclaimer that this turned out to be way longer than anticipated and I don't have the patience to go back through and proofread/edit it!)

Actually off the top of my head I'd hazard a guess that you are well on your way to being pretty healthy, all things considered.

After the first couple of sentences I thought, "Aha! AvPD!" So yeah maybe there's some traits there that you mentioned something about having. But I'm just an amateur and not a professional or anything.

I don't think it's out of the ordinary for someone with your background to be a bit chary about a romantic thing. It sounds to me like you are just being cautious, but aren't really conscious of that. Something to think about, I'm wrong a lot lol.

Romantic love also isn't the end-all and be-all for some people at least, think of Buddhist monks and nuns. Some people just aren't cut out for it. Speaking from experience, it can be just damn near about the most painful thing it's possible to go through when it goes south. So just maybe being borderline you can thank your lucky stars you don't have that in your life, because if something goes wrong, you'll probably feel it way more strongly than other (regular?) people. Unless you really want it. But why want something you're not interested in? Because it's expected of you? There's all kinds of ways to live your life, you don't have to cram yourself into any kind of pigeonhole you're not comfortable with.
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