DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Watched a few of your videos but am still in need of more advice. Long story short my love life is non existent, I’m a failure at dating, I’ve got next to no experience and I don’t don’t know how to fix this. In fact while I see my friends meeting people, falling in love, marrying etc I myself seem to be getting worse: I’ve gone from being rubbish at relationships/dating to barely being able to talk to a girl I’m interested in.
My friends tell my I have loads to offer and if I think logically I can see that: I’m told I’m not bad looking, I’m in decent shape, I’m financially stable and have my childhood dream job (firefighter) which I enjoy and I am passionate about. I have a variety of hobbies and interests that I frequently travel the world to pursue. My social circle is small but geographically spread out so my social activities are infrequent therefore I prefer smaller social gatherings and it takes me a while to warm to people socially but I’m told once I do I can be very interesting, funny and appealing. For some reason as soon as I meet someone I am interested in romantically I forget all that stuff, I get nervous, become consumed by the idea that they are ‘out of my league’ and I am just inconveniencing their day and it spirals from there. I don’t buy in to this idea that dating is about playing games with people but I do think you need to know how to date to succeed and I simply don’t know how. Suffering failure after failure, rejection after rejection my confidence is shot to pieces and I’m now terrified of approaching people.
The truth is I am happy with my life, my work and my hobbies but I would so very much like to share it with someone and I’m genuinely terrified of the idea that I might never meet that someone. My job sees me regularly dealing with people in their hour of need. I love being able to help these people but with it I see a lot of death and a lot of people who have died alone or live isolated and lonely; sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I’m seeing my own future.
I’d really like to do something about it and I realize the only person who can do that for me is me, but I need someone to advise me what I can do and where do I start?
Lost and Lonely
DEAR LOST AND LONELY: Here’s a secret, L&L: there is literally no difference between the people you’re friends with and the people you’re attracted to. The only thing that divides the two — the thing that’s causing you to stress out, forget about all the amazing things you bring to the table and forget that you’re a hell of a catch — is in your head.
I mean, come on: you’re a firefighter. Your job is to charge headlong into danger, to literally go where brave men fear to tread. That alone is going to be catnip to many, many women. Being brave and selfless, throwing your very body into peril for the sake of others? Even if we discounted the rest of your amazing qualities, that alone is going to make many people take one look and say “Hellooooo salty goodness.”
But you don’t believe that.
The reason why you’re so at ease with the people you’re friends with is because you don’t put the importance on them that you put on people you’re into. While you clearly care about them and you want them to think the best of you, you aren’t measuring your worth by your friendship with them. You don’t see being friends as a sign of your value as a man or as a lover, therefor you’re able to let your guard down and just relax around them. To quote the bard: there is no good or bad but that thinking makes it so.
That all changes as soon as you’re confronted by the possibility of dating someone. Now you’re feeling like it’s all on the line. Despite the fact that you are a goddamn real life superhero, you feel like you don’t have any inherent value that other people could possibly relate to and so now you have to be absolutely perfect, otherwise nobody could ever love you. And when you get rejected then it just becomes further reinforcement of the idea that you’re worthless and that you’re doomed to die alone, unloved and unmourned.
But here’s another secret: everyone gets rejected. Nobody goes five for five. It doesn’t matter how hot, rich or famous some guy is, there are women out there who wouldn’t f
k them with a borrowed vagina and 90s Brandon Frasier doing the pushing. I have watched as celebrities — people you would recognize if I told you their names — got shot down in front of me. Hell, I’ve had friends who’ve told certain individuals who were in the running for Sexiest Man Alive to piss off and leave them alone.
What you need, more than anything else, is to develop a case of the f
k-its. She seems like she’s out of your league? F
k it, you’ve got tons to offer, and she’d be crazy not to be into you. She turned you down? F
k it, she may be amazing but there are literally millions of other women out there who are just as amazing as her, if not moreso. All that she’s done is confirm that the two of you simply weren’t compatible. And if that’s the case? F
k it, there’s no point in worrying about her; you now know that you two were never going to work and you’re free to go find someone who is right for you.
Here is a third secret: most of the time, you’ll be rejected for things that have absolutely nothing to do with you. She may be in love with someone else. She may have just ended a relationship and isn’t ready to start dating again. You may look too much like her asshole ex and she’ll never be able to overlook that. You approached her when she had an awful day at work and she just couldn’t today. You never know because you’re not her and the only reason why you assume it’s you and not her is because you live 24/7 in your own head, therefor you naturally assume it’s your fault. But you can’t know that.
The more you’re able to decouple your assumptions about what other people think from your estimation of your own value, the less you’ll fear rejection. This doesn’t mean that rejection won’t hurt — it always stings when someone we’re attracted to isn’t attracted to us in return — but it won’t destroy you, either. It’ll just mean that you’re one step closer to finding someone who’s right for you and who gets just how goddamn awesome you are.
All that stands between you and some astounding dating success is adjusting how you see the world and learning to accept that you are a sexy bad-ass, a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus who’s being held back by the thinnest thread of gossamer. Once you can make that mental shift and believe in yourself and your own worth? You’re going to be amazing.
So, y’know. F
You’ve got this, L&L.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org