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by Abigail Van Buren

Shy Guy Overcoming Addiction Flounders in the Dating Pool

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 28-year-old male who has never had a girlfriend or a meaningful relationship. I'm well-educated, nice-looking and have a good sense of humor. But I get shy and nervous around the opposite sex. Compounding that, I seem to have a serious "resting face." People assume I'm frustrated or angry/grumpy when it's just my normal expression. I'm worried it makes me unapproachable or appear to be unpleasant.

I have overcome addiction, attend daily support meetings and have almost a year of sobriety. I avoid bar/club scenes where a lot of people my age socialize. I'm beginning to feel very alone and empty. I asked out a temp at my job, but she had a boyfriend and offered to set me up with a friend of hers. I declined because I was embarrassed.

My friends tell me it's a game of numbers, but it hurts being rejected all the time. I see beautiful, nice women with men who treat them badly, and I obsess over what's wrong with me. My experience with women is limited. I'm not looking for a commitment, just some friends to share good times and laughter with. I'd love to have someone to spend time with before loneliness awakens previous bad habits. -- ABOUT TO GIVE UP IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR ABOUT TO GIVE UP: I doubt your "resting face" is what keeps women away. It's more likely the fact that you are afraid to interact with them.

Start by talking to some of the women in your support meetings. They already know something about you and the strides you have made in overcoming your addiction. And involve yourself in activities you enjoy that are more social. It may help you to develop your "people skills" so you will feel less anxious in other social situations. But do not allow yourself to use the fact that you are lonely to destroy your sobriety because it would be a poor excuse.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Addiction