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Old 09-06-2020, 03:38 PM   #1
PrettyBoy17
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Default Anxiety surrounding getting close to people/not being close to people

This could probably go in the relationship forum too, but I think it's more tied to anxiety...

I'm 32 and have only had one serious relationship and I remember thinking during that it was my only shot at being in a relationship in my life and considering it's been over two years since we broke up and I haven't even gone on a date, I guess I wasn't wrong.

I have a lot of anxiety when I think about the huge possibility that I'll never find anyone willing to date me again or even to be physically involved with me again. Being single right now doesn't bother me so much, it's just the idea that I'll always be single and may end up having to be celibate through the last of my "younger" years when there's so much I've wanted to explore sexually. And no, I don't want one-night stands with strangers...I would much rather be with someone I can trust to not make fun of what I look like or make me feel bad about myself or hurt me in some other way.

The anxiety that this (going to work and then spending all my down time home alone) is going to be the rest of my life takes up a lot of headspace. I have no idea how anyone in a rural area like me would find anyone though. I've been online and haven't really had any luck.

I guess there's also the anxiety that I have a horrible personality or I'm uglier than I thought. Or that I'm ultimately unlovable because I'm transgender (one of the many reasons I've always been afraid to transition...it'll just make me uglier and more unlovable).

There's also the whole, I've gotten used to not having human touch or closeness or emotional support in my life and the longer it is before that happens again, the more uncomfortable I will be having any sort of intimacy physical or emotional. Not being ignored and actually being seen is abnormal to me.

I don't know, I can't tell anymore if I'm more anxious about getting close to people and possibly being "seen" or staying invisible my whole life.
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Old 09-07-2020, 07:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Anxiety surrounding getting close to people/not being close to people

I can relate to this in a way. I think my fears are more about exploitation, and there's a lot of shame that comes with that. Have you been overly criticised and shamed for the way you look, or for your personality? That is a hard thing to get through. Are you aware of your attachment style? I understand that there are ways to develop a more secure attachment style. I don't know if you have work colleagues that you could have improved relations or friendships with...then maybe you'd be introduced to someone? I know it's all work and practice and can be a bit painful...or very painful.

I don't think any one of your issues makes you unlovable, and it's a really sad thing that you have come to believe that, and that it makes it so hard for you to find love. I really hope you keep looking and find love for yourself and find love with someone else. You absolutely deserve that, no question about it!

You have lots of young years left too I think/hope. I'm your age and I am attracted to guys 5+ years older than me usually...I don't think they are past their prime at all...and I hope they don't think I'm past mine 😬🙏
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:14 PM   #3
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Default Re: Anxiety surrounding getting close to people/not being close to people

I think a lot of the issues come from being "different". I didn't really understand as a child, I just knew I didn't fit in and I had difficulty with figuring out who I was and being acceptable in society. I grew up in a very conservative homophobic family (and town) as an only child and I can't shake the inner voice in my head that I'm a freak and a monster.

I realize I still look feminine and most people will just assume I'm a woman, especially since I don't have the guts to correct anyone. Or that I just feel that I deserve it for being a freak/monster.

I was made fun of for my hair (I have curly/wild hair) when I was younger and even in college. I've been shamed for having body hair even by my ex. He made it clear that I could have no hair on my genitals if I wanted him to even attempt oral. I should have just not shaved as receiving oral just seems incredibly boring and like a chore for me. It can also be hard to get my mind around not having the correct body parts. He also shamed me for having noticable hair on my lower back. I'm sure it wouldn't have been acceptable to not shave my legs or underarms. I definitely don't now, but I have a lot of anxiety about what a possible future sex partner would say about my body hair and would I have to remove it all again just to get laid without someone saying/implying that I'm gross?

And about personality, I've been called creepy before...I can see maybe when I was younger and didn't fully understand what was appropriate or not when expressing interest in someone, but I think a lot of it is since I'm perceived as a girl, it freaks guys out (I haven't really pursued girls that much) that my sexual attraction to them/pursuit of them is masculine and not what they expect. The only time I was really successful (in getting into a real/long-term relationship) is when I did nothing and did not pursue at all. I simply fell into the gender role I'm supposed to based on my birth certificate and society's perception of me. I've been afraid of people finding out that I find them attractive and try to hide it to the point that I'm too anxious to be in the same room as them sometimes. I'm rarely attracted to anyone in real life anymore and I'm starting to wonder if I've lost sexual ability...if I even ever had any. Most of my sexual experience have been failures...as in I don't usually enjoy it and I certainly never get off and have to finish myself off afterwards. And often, with my ex, I would express how much I wish I could have the same genitals as him so I could enjoy sex like he could.

And yet, I still have sexual desire I can't completely ignore. Without anyone attractive/available in real life, I end up fantasizing about characters in TV shows. I know I'm way too old to be doing that, but I feel so inexperienced sexually and just wish I could go back a decade or so and have the experiences I needed to be a fully functioning adult that understands their sexuality, their body, and can actually get their needs met.

I don't know, it's kind of hard to explain. I think being in a relationship with a straight guy that saw me as a girl, helped me come to terms with being transgender. It's the whole not understanding how sex works with the body I have (I mean, I understand scientifically, but not in practice), being jealous of his body parts, and feeling emasculated at times and him not understanding why I'm so angry. He gave me a bike once that was pink, yellow, and covered with flowers. I'm already embarrassed that I struggle riding a bike and he gives me a bike that is so girly that I would be completely humiliated to ride. His thought process was since I like Spongebob, I should like the combination of pink and yellow and that I could just take the flower decals off. I didn't fully understand why I was so angry at the time, but he really was humiliating me. Emasculating me. And he just saw me as an ungrateful person and all the drama around the bike and him (and his mom) trying to teach me how to ride a bike led to tension/a rift in the relationship. Also my issues with sex...always wanting it and always feeling frustrated and disappointed afterwards. Trying to get him to try new things, since unlike him, I never got to experiment to find out what would work for me. And when I did find something that would actually arouse me, of course he didn't like it.

He also had a bad habit of always saying what I wanted to hear because apparently I'm just SO terrifying if I'm even just a little bit angry (I mean, way to continue pushing the narrative that I'm not allowed to express any emotions). So now, how can I really trust anyone to mean what they say? And of course it's my fault for having a wall up and being untrusting. I mean, it's not like he took my word for things either...didn't believe me about gender, didn't believe me about my parents being incapable of emotional closeness so I wasn't close to them (that was apparently my fault too..."my parents are doing the best they can!")

Also, saying we were fine, being distant, then all of a sudden he's been mad at me the whole time. So, great, I have to go into a future relationship constantly afraid that we aren't okay even if they say we are and always waiting for the "just kidding, I'm mad at you" to happen. Gotta get used to the constantly apologizing for everything I say, needing emotional support (as it's always too much since I can't get it from my family and have trouble developing close enough friendships for that to be a source), or for no reason/existing. I mean, might as well apologize. I'm sure I've done something wrong.

So, attachment style...I believe I have traits of both anxious and avoidant styles (so I have all the worst traits! lol). I tend to avoid close relationships because of past experiences, but if I manage to develop one, I tend to want to be around them all the time and have separation anxiety. I find attachment to be painful because of separation anxiety, which is another reason I tend to avoid it.

I'm able to understand and articulate what my baggage is and how a relationship would need to work to accomodate it. I just need someone to actually listen, have an open mind, and for once actually SEE me. I'm very good at compromise, am patient (I mean, I work with kids, so I have to be), and forgiving. I just need someone who is chill and won't push me when I'm agitated and will let me have a judgment-free space to have emotions that seem like an over-reaction sometimes...I'm so used to feelings being ignored that I got into the habit of being over the top to be noticed and it's a hard habit to break. Someone who will allow me space to calm down if I get too angry before continuing an argument so the argument can be rational and kind. I mean, I need 20 minutes to maybe an hour sometimes so it's not like I'm avoiding confrontation altogether.

I also need someone who is open to exploring sexuality and can understand and "see" my gender and understand how my gender impacts both the romantic and sexual aspects of a relationship.
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Anxiety surrounding getting close to people/not being close to people

Sorry if I'm a bit blunt, PrettyBoy...I really feel for you. I don't know your struggle, but I do know people who have struggled like that, and I know how desperately I've wanted things I thought I would NEVER get even close to, in the past. I think you could probably get pretty close to your goals...but maybe you'd need to really accept where you are now in relation to them? I know relationships are a struggle, and it's clearly something you want to work on, which is awesome, cause there's a lot of people that just are not interested in working things out. Do you think maybe if you focused on getting along with people...I don't mean that you should not be yourself in any way...but if you like someone just considering what you might both like to do together...so not necessarily getting much closer, but just getting along...maybe that could open up some more opportunities? Also, do you tell people when you're feeling a bit anxious, or if something's a bit triggering? I just used to get really tense and really socially anxious and that's something that's helped...just excusing myself. I do hope you find people that want you to be you and give you happiness.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Anxiety surrounding getting close to people/not being close to people

I do get along with people. I'm one of the more amiable and conscientious people around. I get the impression that most people like me. That doesn't build friendships though and it certainly doesn't give me opportunities to date. With the latter, my niceness is never going to make up for how I look and my gender.

I don't really want people to know I get anxious and shy around people I find really attractive. That's embarrassing enough as a teenager, let alone as an adult. Besides, I don't feel like I've been here long enough for anyone to know my faults yet.

I also don't know anything about rural life...I've always lived in cities, either in a suburban or urban environment. There were people like me around and the options for socializing and entertainment were different. I don't know...maybe there actually is someone single around here that I would find attractive enough to pretend to be a girl for like my last relationship.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Anxiety surrounding getting close to people/not being close to people

Hey PrettyBoy, I read a lot of my own anxieties in your post and to some extend, we share the same background (trans, same age, horrible exes, ..).


For me, I discovered:

- Dating while not being out is hell and makes everything worse
- Getting into the local queer community normalizes bodies like mine in my head and there will be (even cis) people that'll find you attractive as who you are - Besides potential partners, this is also an important ego boost and should not be dismissed
- Setting clear boundaries is so important. I was treated like **** from my exes, now I recognize the patterns and call people out when they're being unfair or manipulative.
- Despite having multiple people I like or love that want to do sexy stuff with me, a lot of anxiety still kept me from having a fulfilled sex live. Most of them stemming from my ****** exes.


While I was dating closeted (most of the time also to myself, playing a role, you know the deal), I seemed to attract assholes. In retrospective, it's more that I let them stay that was the issue. By already playing a role I had a hard time knowing who I was. So I let other people tell me, forced myself into narratives and let them gladly walk all over me.


But the longer I have my community and healthier boundaries, am more able to communicate my needs openly, the more I am able to trust people again. And not being on edge all the time is a really great starting point for new connections.


So I guess finding someone you want to have a relationship (and who want's a relationship with you) is nice, but without coming to terms with yourself, enforcing your boundaries and addressing what the last relationship did to you emotionally, it doesn't solve anything.


I'm not saying you should out yourself full pride style and with flags in front of your house, leading a parade. Outing is a very individual choice and the safety of it all differs so much, depending on were you live etc.
But outing isn't an all or nothing thing, you can be mostly closeted, but still be part of a community to feel less alone. A place were you can be yourself and experiment on how it feels when others might be attracted to the real you.


There are people out there who will like and love you and find you attractive without you having to hide yourself.

And the connections you'll make with those people will be so much better, because they will be with you, and not someone you thing you should be.
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:01 AM   #7
PrettyBoy17
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Default Re: Anxiety surrounding getting close to people/not being close to people

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pflaumenkeks View Post
Hey PrettyBoy, I read a lot of my own anxieties in your post and to some extend, we share the same background (trans, same age, horrible exes, ..).


For me, I discovered:

- Dating while not being out is hell and makes everything worse
- Getting into the local queer community normalizes bodies like mine in my head and there will be (even cis) people that'll find you attractive as who you are - Besides potential partners, this is also an important ego boost and should not be dismissed
- Setting clear boundaries is so important. I was treated like **** from my exes, now I recognize the patterns and call people out when they're being unfair or manipulative.
- Despite having multiple people I like or love that want to do sexy stuff with me, a lot of anxiety still kept me from having a fulfilled sex live. Most of them stemming from my ****** exes.


While I was dating closeted (most of the time also to myself, playing a role, you know the deal), I seemed to attract assholes. In retrospective, it's more that I let them stay that was the issue. By already playing a role I had a hard time knowing who I was. So I let other people tell me, forced myself into narratives and let them gladly walk all over me.


But the longer I have my community and healthier boundaries, am more able to communicate my needs openly, the more I am able to trust people again. And not being on edge all the time is a really great starting point for new connections.


So I guess finding someone you want to have a relationship (and who want's a relationship with you) is nice, but without coming to terms with yourself, enforcing your boundaries and addressing what the last relationship did to you emotionally, it doesn't solve anything.


I'm not saying you should out yourself full pride style and with flags in front of your house, leading a parade. Outing is a very individual choice and the safety of it all differs so much, depending on were you live etc.
But outing isn't an all or nothing thing, you can be mostly closeted, but still be part of a community to feel less alone. A place were you can be yourself and experiment on how it feels when others might be attracted to the real you.


There are people out there who will like and love you and find you attractive without you having to hide yourself.

And the connections you'll make with those people will be so much better, because they will be with you, and not someone you thing you should be.
It makes sense but it's disappointing that being able to ever date is contingent on being out. I should have never been in a relationship in the first place...now I know what I'll be missing. Before my first real relationship, even though I was sad about it, I had accepted never being in a relationship. Now it's harder to accept.

I've never felt that comfortable in LGBTQ groups either...nor do I really feel accepted there either. I'm always the only one never comfortable enough to transition because it will just isolate me more from humanity than I already am. There was a bisexual group in the city I used to live in and it just felt uncomfortable being the one who had only been with one gender (and that just barely) because of lack of opportunity. So I'm not really part of the community. The only time I get a sense of community is if I stay completely closeted and less detectable and just fit in with the majority.

Also, I just have to say, my ex wasn't horrible. I mean, he was stupid, but he lacked the intent to do any harm. It was my fault for wanting to know what a relationship was like. I knew it was my one chance and sacrificing the opportunity to transition seemed like an okay trade since I didn't have too strong of a need to do so back then.

And where I am now, there is no LGBTQ community. I'd be surprised if there were any others anywhere around here. Hell, I'd be shocked if there were anyone my age who was single of any sexuality/gender around here. But it's not like I could find anyone in the city now anyway, so even if I wanted to, moving back wouldn't help. And I definitely have not had multiple people I liked/loved who was willing to have sex with me, let alone REALLY wanted to. I haven't been with anyone I was really attracted to either. Another reason I'm afraid to transition is because I know it'll increase my sex drive and I don't want to spend the rest of my life even more sexually frustrated and angry about it than I am. I guess most people can't understand that as they have more opportunities for sex and intimacy.

But at the end of the day, I'm more worried about practical things...like who do I use for emergency contacts? Who will be my beneficiary for my life insurance, pension etc.? What happens if I get injured or sick and can't adequately care for myself?
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