“Such a lonely little boy. Lonely then and lonelier now. How can you bear it?” Doctor Who: The Girl in the Fireplace by Steven Moffat
My therapist thinks I don’t know the difference between excited, stressed and scared. This is probably true (alexithymia, Asperger’s).
My therapist also thinks that it’s a bad idea to date purely because I feel lonely and that I just want someone to fix me. This is what I have suspected for a while, but I don’t know what to do, particularly as my parents have been encouraging me to date. Part of the problem is that (as my therapist also said), I feel a lot safer with women than with men (just don’t ask me why, as women on the whole have hurt me a lot more than men in the past; maybe that’s it, maybe I want to retroactively vindicate past relationships, although it’s probably more that I have some stereotypically ‘female’ character traits, doubly so now there are a lot more women (or a lot more visible women) in Doctor Who fandom). This means that I form friendships with women more easily than with men. This is problematic as (a) sex/love does get in the way sometimes, at least unconsciously, even if I say it shouldn’t and (b) in the Orthodox Jewish community male-female platonic friendships are more or less prohibited. So the only way I’m allowed to talk to like-minded women in my community is to ask them to date me.
I do also wonder how I’m supposed to cope with my feelings of loneliness and my sexual desires without even the hope of dating. I don’t know how to make new friends, or to turn my existing friendships (most of which are fairly formal and distant (emotionally and often geographically too) into closer friendships. And I don’t know how to cope with my sexual desires, which both my religious beliefs and my personal character restrict to marriage (I know I couldn’t cope emotionally with being promiscuous). I don’t even feel comfortable having crushes on people. I wanted to write a jokey thing on my Doctor Who blog about having a crush on a character in Remembrance of the Daleks (a crush on the actual fictional character, not (just) the actress who plays her), but I was scared to, ostensibly because I felt a frum (religious) guy shouldn’t write about having a crush even (or especially) jokingly, but also because I was scared to open up about my feelings like that. To be honest, if I feel desire for a woman (and I do, a lot, I have strong emotions and sex, love, loneliness, despair and self-loathing are all mixed up in me (alexithymia again)), I feel guilty, partly from religious reasons, partly from feminist reasons, both of which in different ways tell me that male sexuality is dangerous. I feel it to be dangerous. My worst mistakes come from loneliness and social anxiety rather than from sex per se, but sex is obviously part of the loneliness and my biggest sins (from both a Jewish and feminist viewpoint) have all been sex-related, even though, rather pathetically, despite all this I’m still a virgin (despite being headed towards thirty-five!).
The worrying thing is that if my therapist is right, and I think she is (and my rabbi mentor was saying something not entirely dissimilar), I have to deal with my loneliness and social anxiety before I can date. This might mean I will never be able to date, as my loneliness and social anxiety have been intractable for even longer than the depression (the depression has lasted eighteen or twenty years, maybe more, but the social anxiety at least goes back ten years further; the loneliness is harder to judge, but at least twenty years like the depression). Which means I might never know romantic love, and sex, and – even if I assume some middle aged romance – I will probably never have children. And I really want to have children. I see it as one of my main missions in life. I ended two promising relationships at least in part because of wanting to have children.
I feel pretty awful. I know I’ve said too much here and it will probably come back to haunt me, but I don’t care right now. Maybe I’ll edit later.