Why am I terrified of expressing romantic interest in women?

I'm a 28 year old guy who has NEVER asked a woman out before. It may seem strange, but its true. I have been involved in a couple of relationships, but in both cases, the girls themselves asked me out. And my last relationship ended 5 years back. I have been single since then because I was focusing on my career, and I knew that a relationship would be more of a distraction than an asset for me during this period.

Anyway, now I'm scared as hell to approach women (I wasn't confident earlier as well). I mean... I have absolutely no problems striking up conversations with women. In fact, most women feel that I'm a really great guy with an impeccable sense of humor. I'm above average in terms of looks (most people say I'm quite good looking, but I don't feel the same). But I become totally nervous if I decide to express my romantic interest to someone, to the point that I begin to stammer, my fingers tremble and I feel a squeezing pain in my chest. So I can never do it, and the woman only ends up asking me if I'm alright or if I'm going though some health issues.

I just can't understand why it happens. I'm always ever so confident when conversing with people (both men and women), and I'm considered to be amongst the best and most confident speakers amongst my colleagues. But I seem to become a total trainwreck when it comes to confessing romantic interest to a woman. I'm really messed up, so I'm seeking sound advice here. I'm quite sure that it has something to do with me being terrified of rejection. I'm a perfectionist who strives for the best in everything I do, and I find it difficult to accept failures in general. So I consider a rejection for a woman as a huge personal insult and a big failure because I wasn't good enough for her.

P. S. I'm not the kind of guy to pick up girls at nightcclubs for one-night stands, so kindly refrain from posting these kind of answers.


Most Helpful Girl

  • Everyone feels nervous while confessing. You can either
    1. Chicken out and never succeed
    2. Stutter through it and possibly succeed.
    2 is better than 1. It's no different from having a project in front of a class. Either you do it nervously and get an ok grade, or you don't do it at all and fail. Just get over it and do it.

    • Agreed, but I feel its unfair that usually women never have to go though this confessing part because of some stupid 17th century outdated tradition says that men should ALWAYS make the first move, even though gender roles have changed so much in recent years. And occasionally, I feel somewhat jealous about women in this matter. Its like they can simply sit around and not have to raise a finger, but still they're offered dates on a platter by men (they can pick the best and reject the rest). I understand very well that it ONLY applies to initial dating, because it obviously requires equal effort and dedication from both partners to MAINTAIN a relationship.

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    • Using indirect ways of asking someone out will only cause unnecessary confusion. She'll most likely think that you don't like her enough to actually ask her directly, so you're definitely better off just spilling all the beans at once. It's just one line dude, you don't need that much confidence in order to say it. "Will you go out with me sometime?" is all it takes. It really isn't that difficult. It's only difficult if you make it difficult in your own mind. Of course it's going to be horrible if you expect it to be horrible. So just say it.

    • Yeah, you do have a point there. But I'd definitely wait for strong signs from her that she likes me, and confess my feelings only if I'm at least 75-80% sure of getting a yes. I'm not really THAT bad regarding any aspect (like looks, career etc.), but not that great either. I'd say, a typical average Joe. Anyway, I'll try confessing to her directly whenever i develop a liking for a woman. As of now, I don't really know of any woman whom I know well enough to date. Thanks for your answer!

Most Helpful Guy

  • My perception is that you need to change the way you think.

    Your perfectionism is hurting you, and holding you back quite a bit. I mean, wouldn't you rather have a less-than-perfect track record with women and find someone to share your love with, versus having a perfect (or maybe I should say, non-existent) track record with pursing women and also have no romantic love in your life?

    • Yeah, I agree with you. i should definitely take more risks in this matter, because no woman is gonna kill me for asking her out. She can only say yes or no.
      But the thing with me is, I don't prefer casual dating at all. So its only when I develop deep feelings for a woman, that I even consider asking her out (which usually takes months). So obviously if she rejects me without even giving me a chance, that would be really insulting and humiliating for me. Most other men don't feel its a big deal to be rejected, because they approach women too soon so its not really a bog loss for them if she says no.

    • I see what you're saying.

      Well, it doesn't have to be "casual" dating... it can be dating with serious intentions, but just see it as the early stages. Approach them earlier on once you've noticed that they've caught your attention, and if they accept your advances then you date them and see if it grows.

      Some attempts will work out well, and others won't. And the ones that don't work out can definitely suck. But at least by throwing your hat into the ring you've given yourself a chance to succeed, ya know?

    • Your advice makes perfect sense, but its easier said than done. I may eventually be able to do it, but I surely require a lot of time to be able to muster up enough courage to actually ask someone out. Thanks a lot for your time and great answer, much appreciated!

Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 7

  • so confidence isn't the issue here, you simply cannot express your desire for romance without becoming anxious. Its a really good thing that you're not the type of guy to pick up girls at nightclubs which means you're different from most guys and that is a great trait. If you are ever in the environment with many attractive women I suggest you pick one most to your liking and strike up one of your charming conversations, and perhaps bring across some of your whit to break the ice. If you believe the conversation is going well and you would like to take her out some time the best options is to tell the truth, women love honesty and they will adore it if you most simply tell them you don't know how to say what you want to say but you would love to take them/her out some time and if the women is interested she will most likely take it from there. "Fake it till you make it" if you ever become nervous around a female, fake confidence until you feel more comfortable. I know this is a rather immature trick but it works wonders, if you ever feel uncertain about doing something or saying something you really wanna do/say. You simply count to three and when you hit three you say it, say whatever you wanna say/do and you HAVE to do it on three. Otherwise you will talk yourself out of it! relax and enjoy the dating scene have fun, hope I helped:)

    • Thanks for your kind and detailed response. Of course, you helped! But its like the women today have REALLY high expectations from a partner, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to meet such lofty standards.
      I'm not picky at all, though. I'd rather prefer a woman with whom I'd rather connect intellectually, and not just physically. So its not like I only prefer the ultra-glam women. A simple woman who is kind and sensible, is what I'm giving priority to.

  • Hey, it's funny you live there, because the next weekend I have to pick up some stuff from a store nearby. Is there any chance you are free in the afternoon? Maybe I could come by and we can have a coffee or go for a walk or something.

    There, text that lady now if asking out in person is so terrifying.

    • Wow, what an excellent, laid back attitude such a text would convey about me! I'm quite sure no woman would be able to say no if I say something similar to your advice! Thanks a ton!

    • ;) good luck mate!

  • I think I agree with dodgersGM. If a woman starts to be appealing to you, ask her out for something low-key and less nerve-wracking. I'm a big fan of coffee dates. Then if she turns you down it won't be the same as if it was someone you'd had feelings for for months. Frankly, until you're in a relationship with someone, you don't know if a ltr will work out with them, so you can tone down the 'this is the woman I want to be with' in regards to anyone you haven't actually dated. So then the stakes don't feel so impossibly high. Hope I made sense and possibly even was helpful. BTW, I have a hard time believing anyone would make fun of you because of the country you come from! From your height I'll guess maybe Latin America or SE Asia. But we all know no one chooses where to be born, or we'd all choose rich countries. Maybe. There are things in life more important than wealth, and I think the West will have to rediscover some of them; why do you think so many of us are depressed?

    • Really good answer, much appreciated! Regarding the country aspect, it is indeed true that my country has a very poor image in the west, and we ourselves are to blame for it. A majority of our population is indeed 'not ideal', but ALL of us have been stereotyped as 'ugly, dirty and uneducated' by the western media and people.

      I personally maintain very good hygiene and keep myself well groomed, I'm reasonably proficient in English although its not my native language, and have decent education as well (I hold a bachelor's degree in software engineering) and a job. Regarding the 'ugly' aspect, the people around me consider me above average but westerners often dismiss me as 'ugly' only based on my ethnicity. I have realized that the only way I can get unbiased opinions on this site, is by asking questions anonymously. Otherwise, I only get insulted due to my ethnicity, and most westerners here attribute the root cause of my problems to me being a citizen of this country.

  • We live in a world with a lot of people... I know its such an overused statement but if you are ever rejected there are always other fish in the sea. The point is that.. if you allow this fear you have to keep you from speaking romantically with someone, then you might miss your chances with a great girl.

    • Yeah, I agree with you. I wonder how some real douchebags are able to get dates with women quite easily, while I struggle in spite of being a gentleman (at least, I think I'm a gentleman).
      I have analyzed myself, and have found out the possible reason for this. The thing with me is, I don't prefer casual dating at all. So its only when I develop deep feelings for a woman, that I even consider asking her out (which usually takes months). So obviously if she rejects me without even giving me a chance, that would be really insulting and humiliating for me. Most other men don't feel its a big deal to be rejected, because they approach women too soon so its not really a big loss for them if she says no.
      I don't really have any glaring 'flaws' in me which could make women reject me, and I don't always prefer super glam women who are way above my league. But still, I hate the fact that ultimately it all comes down to 'physical attraction', which is impossible to predict.

  • Yoi just need to mecome friends with a girl you like. And at least you have dated b4. With my track record I will never have a date or a boyfriend

    • Most girls like you say that i need to become friends with her first. i have no trouble at all, befriending women. But then, there are others who say that becoming friends first is a sure way of being 'friendzoned', so its better to make it clear in the beginning itself that i would want to date her and not just be friends. I'm so damn confused. :(

      And you don't really have to feel that way, provided you're willing to break the outdated 17th century tradition and consider making the first move yourself. As I have mentioned in my question, the girls themselves asked me out in both my relationships, and the relationships were reasonably successful (one lasted 10 months and the other lasted 4 years).

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    • I can't really help you I don't think, but am curious, why do you say that people here would ridicule you for your ethnicity and nationality? :(

  • You're too proud to face the slightest possibility of rejection. Tone it down a little.

    • No, I'm not proud at all. Most people describe me as a humble and down to earth person. But I constantly have this feeling at the back of my head that in spite of so many changes in gender roles, its totally unfair that most people (both men and women) stick to outdated 17th century tradition which says that men should ALWAYS make the first move. So its like women don't even have to bat an eyelid because men keep asking them out, and they can pick and choose the best (while rejecting the rest). So I somehow have this nagging feeling that men are being victimized when it comes to dating, although I agree that it takes effort from both to MAINTAIN a relationship. Initially though, women certainly hold all the cards.

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    • Don't be so dramatic. Then gather some balls and ask a girl out.


      Sorry for all caps, I'm too lazy to type it all again in lower case!

  • i think you dont need anything. your situation is better than your wanting :)


What Guys Said 2

  • "... So I can never do it, and the woman only ends up asking me if I'm alright or if I'm going though some health issues..."

    -Oh No!

    Yeah I get your drift, I myself have had ridiculously bad luck with women. I should be put in the Guinness Book of World Records for my bad luck, LOL! I'm the same way with women. I have never even had one girlfriend, I've never even came close... like I said... bad luck! Anyways I have always got nervous around women I have been attracted to and I have been thinking, maybe me being nervous is a sigh saying we aren't right for each other. Maybe... maybe not, but there have been a few women I have liked who I have been very comfortable around and I figure that's how I'll probably meet my future wife.

    • I guess my situation has been a much better, because I was involved in two relationships where the girls themselves asked me out. But that was ages ago, and isn't relevant at all today. Which means, you and me are sailing in the same boat.
      Even now, a few of my female friends give out subtle signs that they may want something more then friendship with me. But like most men, its extremely difficult for me to judge if they're actually romantically interested in me, or they're just being super friendly.

    • hmm, LOL... I always thought this video was entertaining...

      How to tell if a girl likes you @bobbisworld

    • Tell me what you think of that video!