23 and single - what do I need to work on?

JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831
I've been on the forum for quite a while now and reading the books and the blog for a long time before that, and it has all helped tremendously with numerous aspects of my life. I have better grades, more feminine clothing, I'm fitter, a better cook, have more fun in life etc. etc., just like Athol describes in the new book...

The only part where I'm stuck is that, well, I'm still single.

So I've decided to go through the different triage questions from the forum booklet as far as they apply to singles. This is long and detailed... be warned :P

Short info: I'm 23, haven't had a boyfriend yet, had PiV sex with one guy at 21 (mostly out of curiosity, but also because I thought it might help with whatever was blocking me from getting into a relationship, and with being nervous around guys... it at least helped with the latter). I've only kissed a good handful of guys, the first one at 19. I had one fwb-like situation (no PiV) with a male friend for a while, but was already in love with him for quite a while before I accepted his initiations. Unsurprisingly, it ruined the friendship as soon as he found out about my feelings, I felt horrible for about half a year and now have very limited contact with him (and don't want him anymore).
All the people I've ever been in love, or seriously infatuated with, were my friends.

1 - Rule Out Medical:

a) Physical health
I eat healthy (I'm not paleo at the moment, but I still consume lots and lots of vegetables, salad, fruit and meat/fish) and exercise a fair bit (climbing, badminton, occasionally dancing and running). I don't have any medical conditions that I know of and I didn't have any serious illnesses as a child. However, I've been sleeping an incredible lot lately and apparently my heart beats too fast. I have an appointment for a continuous ECG next week, so I'll find out whether there's really a problem or not then.
And I haven't had an orgasm yet. Not sure why, I've tried toys, different techniques etc; I get turned on easily, so I don't think it's hormonal.

b) Mental health
I don't have any mental illnesses; I had a phase when I was 16-18 where I had minor eating disorder issues, but got myself out of it (without therapy).
I now take good care of my body and am very in tune with it.

2- Structural Issues:

a) Career: I'm at college, just started my M.A. and am doing quite well; one of my professors asked me to become a tutor next semester. I occasionally work as a translator or proofreader during the holidays. My field of studies (comparative literature) is not exactly a high-paying job guarantee, but I'm a good student and I got really good internships during my B.A. which, along with the tutoring next semester and the time I spent abroad, build a good resume.

b) Financial: I get financial support from my father but also work when I have the time. I started saving money the moment I started getting an allowance as a child, and occasionally worked during the holidays or on weekends, so by now I have saved up enough money to support myself for almost a year even if I stopped having any kind of income tomorrow.

c) Basic health stuff: not overweight, no addictions, good hygiene, good teeth, good hair, I go to medical check-ups etc. when I'm supposed to.

d) Living situation: I moved around a lot due to the way my B.A. program was organized and because of internships; between high school graduation and now (that's a timespan of about three and a half years), I moved nine times. We also moved a lot when I was a kid (maybe 10 times).
I'm now back in the town where I graduated from high school, because I was accepted at the university here for my M.A. (which has a really good reputation). The housing prices here are insane (one of the highest in Europe, and the highest in the country), and it's almost impossible to get a decent room as a student, so I decided to save money and nerves and move back in with my mother. I pay her a small rent, and I do my share of the household duties, so it's more of a good roommate situation than anything else. We get along very well and help each other with chores whenever one of us has a more stressful phase at work/school.

e) Possibilities of meeting guys: this is kind of difficult.
I went to salsa class in the last town I lived in, and that was great and got me dates with three different guys along with being a lot of fun. I didn't have much time for dancing this semester but will get back into it now that most the semester is over and the holidays are coming nearer.
When I go out with friends, there is often at least one guy in the group. A lot of them are gay, but that doesn't show, so other guys stay away. I try to go out with just girls occasionally, but most of the time, their boyfriend ends up coming along and then I'm un-approachable again.
Also, ALL of my friends are now in relationships. Many of them live together. So generally there is not much "going out" at all, just board game nights at one of the friends' places, or playing badminton or Wii games together. It's a lot of fun but there are no singles there except me.
Guys have talked to me when I went climbing - they can give advice on how to get higher up, so they have a good excuse to chat me up. That happens occasionally but not often.
University doesn't help at all... if I add up all of the guys in all of my classes, I get the staggering number of five. I flirted with one of them once... and then his girlfriend picked him up after the class. Oops. One seems interested in me but shows up to class so rarely that it doesn't lead anywhere. The other two ignore me.
I semi-regularly meet for wednesday lunch with one guy who'd seem generally promising (highly educated, which is relatively important to me; good character, responsible, tall, relatively good-looking and obviously interested in something if he keeps wanting to meet me for lunch) if he weren't so unemotional. All he talks about during these lunches is work, unless I actively change the topic. He seems to like it when I joke around, but doesn't do it himself. I've pretty much given up on him by now. 



  • JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831
    3 - Critical moments and neglect
    I don't have a partner I could apply that to, so I'll try to apply it to my own life for now.
    My parents divorced when I was four. I don't remember anything from that time, so all I know is growing up with my mother. I think she did a pretty awesome job, considering that she had to job-hunt/work full-time, partly in a completely different culture and country from the one she grew up in, and take care of a kid at the same time, even though there were a few times that were extremely uncomfortable for both of us (unemployment, poverty, culture shock and reverse culture shock when we moved from one country to another for job/school reasons). I took on different adult roles from a young age (interpreting for my mother at kindergarten/elementary school age, emotionally supporting her when she was grieving etc.), which was hard but, in my eyes, not damaging. I still felt (and feel) loved and protected by her and go to her when I need help with something or emotional support.

    However, I spent most of my childhood feeling neglected by my father. I couldn't understand how my mother and I could, at times, barely have enough to eat while he was quite obviously rich, and concluded that he must not care that much about me if he didn't help us.
    I felt that he chose some random woman over me (the divorce happened because he was having an affair with, and wanted to marry, one of his college students), and I thought that he didn't really want me around anymore because otherwise he would have tried to get custody. (I later found out that he actually wanted to file for custody but didn't because he already had a bad enough conscience towards my mother).
    I know now that he loves me, but throughout most of my childhood, I wasn't so sure and I was extremely wary of anything he did or said, and of men in general. He started supporting me financially (generously) as soon as he could send the money to me directly instead of to my mother.
    He is/was also really bad at picking up non-verbal (or heck, even verbal) communication from other people and doesn't have much of a sense of what he can and can't say to people without hurting them. Hence my eating disorder problem at sixteen - I only got to see him once a year and on that occasion, he told me I was unhealthily overweight (my BMI was actually slightly lower than ideal; I was just developing age-appropriate curves).

    I've learned how to deal with him by now, and he's also gotten a lot better, so our relationship has significantly improved. I can spend the holidays with him and enjoy it and not get hurt, and he's happy to have me around as well.

    4 - Outside sexual sources
    Not sure if that applies... I occasionally (as in, maybe once every two weeks) watch porn, and read erotica maybe once a week. I haven't made with anybody since december 2012. Which I find quite unfortunate.

    5 - When did the sex go bad?, 6 - relationship at the start
    What sex? What relationship? :D

    7 - What's the Elephant in the room?
    The "I haven't had an orgasm yet at 23" thing?
    The "I haven't had a boyfriend yet at 23" thing? That's not really hidden, it's the whole point of this post...
    The fact that all the people I've fallen in love with so far were my best friends? (The first one was a girl, when I was twelve; the two others were boys, one gay, one straight and extremely alpha).
    The "daddy issues thing" is pretty much resolved in my eyes, although it was obviously blocking me before.
    The "moving around all the time" thing is resolved as well for now, I'm staying in this town for at least the next one and a half years and maybe even after that.
    I can't think of anything else right now but will brainstorm some more :)

    Please help me figure this out! What's keeping me from finding a good relationship?
  • JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831
    Oh, and the girly/feminine stuff: I mostly wear dresses and skirts (a bit longer if I have classes, shorter but not really short if it's my free time), makeup, shoes with heels, have long wavy hair (it's up or in a ponytail most of the time, but I'm working on leaving it open more often), and occasionally put on a little bit of perfume when I'm going out.
    I can cook, bake, listen, get along with little kids, and I'm reasonably (but not extremely) tidy.
  • JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831
    @LL80, thanks, I've been really relating to your posts as well, and feeling like I wasn't the only one around already helped quite a bit :)
  • kleyaukleyau Member Posts: 330
    edited June 2013
    What type of man do you want and what activities do those men do? 

    And why don't you do those same activities?
  • JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831

    I want a guy who is self-confident, productive and a good captain and takes care of himself; ideally also smart and funny.

    Climbers are usually productive and confident people, especially the ones who are already exercising in the morning - and I often go to the local boulder place, either on sunday evenings or on friday mornings.

    Salsa dancers are also usually confident and good leaders - I only went dancing once this semester, but I'm getting back into it now that uni is almost over.

    I'll be trying out CrossFit in september, partly for the same reasons: hopefully the box will be a place full of productive, fit guys that can be proud of their workouts.

    I'm helping out at a summer festival organized by my university next week, so I can meet guys from my university (again, the fact that it's voluntary, hard physical work means that the guys there probably won't be the slacker type).
    [Deleted User]
  • Raspberry_roseRaspberry_rose USASilver Member Posts: 994
    Hmmm, it seems like your biggest obstacle is finding them. Maybe join another mixed-gender activity?
    One of my sister's friends is the only girl in the golfing club. Yoga is not your friend, but lifting free weights in the gym IS.
  • JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831
    @Raspberry_rose, golfing is definitely not my thing, but lifting weights might be. I'll look around for affordable possibilities of trying out a gym in two weeks (when I'm done with university)!
  • Raspberry_roseRaspberry_rose USASilver Member Posts: 994
    So don't golf. Just keep an eye out for things to do that appeal more to men that women, that also appeal to you?
  • pterodactylpterodactyl PNWMember Posts: 127
    edited July 2013
    @joanna @raspberry_rose I've lifted weights exactly twice in my life (started a weights class last week) and was chatted up each time. Definitely try it out!

    ETA: I'm guessing Crossfit would be similar, lol.
  • neenneen Member Posts: 3,390
    edited July 2013

    I enjoyed reading your story....I would continue your Wednesday lunches. Sounds like a semi decent companion. :)

    As far as a suggestion....try a dry bar for new hair styles. (not a cut just styling)

    nothing makes me stronger than your fragile heart
  • UnibewUnibew Member Posts: 116

    @Joanna.  Did you ever take note to IOIs when wearing a ponytail?  This is just my favorite hair style that I'm not getting at home.

    Do you have non-credit classes where you are.  Welding (non-credit) would be fun.  Everyone would be willing to hold you hand when you try to "strike an arc".  Strike an arc is what you do to begin running a bead to join pieces of metal. 

    Along this same line, Art Metalworking would have a similar bunch of people trying to learn this hobby.  When my son was 10 or 11 we signed up for a Bricklaying class.  We had fun together.  I'm sure there would be many guys there wanting to be your partner. 

    I took a Roof Top Maintenance and Repair class.  You would not believe (and I couldn't believe) how I was able to snag the cutest (and only) blonde in the class of 12 as a partner.  I played up our interactions by carrying her books.  You might find a basic Heating and Air Conditioning and Ventilation class.

     Our county has many home repair classes that all ages and both men and women sign up for.  See what you can find along these lines. 

    @thinksalot.  Always remember and Never forget "There is no virtue in shyness". 

    You could have easily have left you seat and cruised toward the drinks or other refreshment and pass by her positon.  And you should say "hi" and nod toward the drinks or refreshments. 

    At my age for making a decision to do something I set up three or four things that would happen and then I go ahead and go on a do it. 

     Example.  My plate is empty, no one is at the refreshments, she is not fully occupied, she glances out the corner of her eye once or more times, I make sure she sees me get up, THEN I would cruise her table and nod for her to join you.  I also plan what my conversation is going to be.

    My best one was when I had my birthday I brought ice cream for the two females during their break time. "Your friends should have got the ice cream for you". "So how old are you?"  Me: it's a number between one and one hundred.  No clue.  Me: Everyone's favorite number. No clue.  Me: It's a number between 68 and 70. And as I walked away "It's a Sexual Position."  Finally an nearly silent "ugh".  Oh yes, she nearly always had a ponytail.   

  • UnibewUnibew Member Posts: 116
    @Joanna.  You would wear leather when you weld.  Sorry, I forgot to mention that.
  • JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831
    @neen, I've never heard of dry bars before and just looked it up. It seems to be an American trend and there isn't one in my hometown yet as far as Google can tell, but I guess I can get the same deal from a normal hairdresser :)

    @Unibew, as far as I can tell, ponytails have exactly zero effect ;)
    The university doesn't offer things like welding, but the adult education center does. They're all booked out for the summer, but I noticed they have a few other interesting things that I might look into - theatre fencing, for example. That should be fun!
  • JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831
    @thinksalot, I'm already reading HUS (and The Rules Revisited).
    I probably need to work on signaling interest and on making myself more approachable... 
    It's difficult to figure out how I can make myself approachable when I'm out with a group without seeming weird and like I'm having some kind of problem with the group, though^^
  • TimitzTimitz Silver Member Posts: 820
    You just have to go to where your targets gather and not come off as unapproachable. Being friendly is the way to go with that. It sounds like you are in a good position strategically. Now you just have to be patient.
    "You must be like water which always seeks the easiest and best path around obstacles." Sun Tzu
  • JoannaJoanna GermanySilver Member Posts: 831
    I signed up for a salsa class on wednesdays, the first one is tomorrow :)

    @Hamster_Free, I think the eye contact thing is something that I can still really improve on. Thanks for reminding me :)
    Unibew[Deleted User]
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