I feel like I can't hope to date anyone now. Like anyone I opened up to about my history would run away screaming.
Grew up in an environment where the only example I had of what a relationship is was so toxic that, all through high school and college, I never pursued relationships. I'm not prone to anger, if anything I was conditioned not to defend myself - when I'd get planted on the couch and yelled at for hours I would simply shut down.
By the time I realized not all women are like that and I did want a partner in life, I had no idea how to approach women. I'm not a bad looking guy, and I've been moderately successful career-wise, but I'm scared of coming across like a creep (I don't even know how to broach topics like sex, public ed was useless and the main lesson from my hyper-religious parents was "don't") and I'm pretty sure anyone I opened up to about my past would get up and walk out of my life as fast as she could.
I'm not interested in meaningless hook-ups, and I will block anyone who suggests I hire a prostitute. I want a real relationship. I want to make someone happy.
Not trying to sound like a defeatist here, I'm just completely lost. Not one to lead off with my problems in a conversation (I loathe discussions which consist of finding things to be indignant about... wincing at my hypocrisy right now), but I don't know how I could discuss my history and lack thereof if asked. Do I talk about girls I admired from a distance but never had the nerve to talk to? I feel like I'd have to present a false face to be desirable.
Most Helpful Girl
You should maybe start out slow. Don't go in looking for a long term relationship (although there is a possibility of that happening). Just have female friends, then date, then try dating more long term to relationship status. You know right from wrong; don't be abusive, don't be manipulative, don't be taken advantage of but be respectful. You also know those negative traits are bad in a partner, so don't date women like that.
My uncle never dated or anything until he was in his 50s. He said he was too career driven and never wanted a relationship. Then something tragic happened and he realized he didn't want to be alone. He has been married for a few years and really loves his wife and her son. I'm saying it can happen, if you really want it. If you do want it, you have to put yourself out there.4
Most Helpful Guy
in my opinion, you definitely need some counselling. You've got some anger and confusion going on even if you don't realize it. It's like having an illness that you don't realize you have, but you have to get well before you're really fit to be around other people, or you'll just get them sick too.
Anyway, you don't take up a new job or hobby and expect to play at the top level from Day 1, right? You don't decide to be a runner and start by entering a marathon. You don't pick up a golf club the first time and go out for the Masters.
You need to get out of the house and find places to go be social with PEOPLE - men AND women. You need to be comfortable in groups, making friends and participating in conversations without feeling awkward. That's going to take practice, and you won't get that practice by staying home. Pull up Google or Yelp and find 20 places in your area where single people around your age group are likely to be, and go to those places and spend time. You'll find you fit in better at a few of them than at the others, so focus on those places. Become a semi-regular and make friends.
Once you can be friends with people comfortably, THEN you can consider dating. Remember that "dating" is the process of looking for potential relationship partners and *filtering out* anyone who doesn't have a high level of compatibility with you. It is NOT simply about who you find attractive (or who is attracted to you) - those things are important too, but you must also be COMPATIBLE in all kinds of important ways, and many people you have a mutual attraction to will simply not be compatible enough with you to be in a relationship. You need to accept that as part of the process - 95% of the women you meet will need to be "filtered out". That doesn't mean either of you is "bad", or that eliminating so many makes you a failure - it's simply the process. In fact, it's merely STEP 1 of the process.
Step 2 is actually dating - and you need to avoid spending more than $20 or $30 max on early dates - don't use money as a crutch; use your brain and plan interesting dates where you have lots of time to TALK to each other, and save the more expensive dates for later on. Early dates are about talking and spending more time figuring out compatibility - there will be lots to talk about.
Remember this: women find CONFIDENCE more attractive than just about anything, so work on finding your confidence. There are no shortcuts, but success is definitely possible for you.2