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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 722
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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There, I am a 22 year old male and I am seriously

Customer Question

Hi There, I am a 22 year old virgin male and I am seriously depressed and have been for many years now. I am not religious.
I have met girls who fancy me in the past and have started dating a girl for the first time who I have been seeing for over a year now (who I really like), however, my inability to show interest means that she is slipping away and starting to see other guys. I don't think I will find anyone else as the only reason I started seeing her in the first place is because our families arranged it.
I was severely bullied all of the way through school by both genders and I have anxiety issues resulting in an inability to approach/flirt or tell girls I like them. It is like running up a against a brick wall and I feel like no matter what I do I will never ever get passed it. I am on antidepressants which have improved my mood at home, but at uni, the depression comes back and I often spend all of time exhausted, lying in bed (My studies are slipping because of this). All anyone talks about is sex and relationships. People on my course are getting married and I have never even had my first kiss. I made the fatal mistake of telling someone I was a virgin in first year (now doing a masters) and have been ridiculed ever since. I am at a stage now where love songs, sex on TV, innuendos or even seeing a couple walking side by side on the street causes a sinking feeling in my stomach, followed by a massive low, and sometimes a crash where I have thoughts of suicide. I will not meet a girl at university as I have a posh accent and go to Plymouth, where I am ostracised for my background. I have tried on-line dating and tinder which didn't work for me.
I have looked at other peoples questions on-line and most people say not to think about it and focus on doing the things you love. However, as my depression has worsened, I have found that there isn't anything I love doing any-more and I feel too lethargic to do something as simple as getting in the shower. I feel like my problems are insurmountable and can't see a future where a girl sees me as a boyfriend let alone a husband, especially as no-one wants to be with someone who is depressed. I don't want to live a life where I am constantly spiralling down due to loneliness and I feel like suicide might be a more attractive option.
Sorry for the ramble, I thought it was best to give some background. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated with regards ***** ***** girl I am currently dating and relationships in general, but please don't suggest anything too drastic, like going to singles nights, as I simply don't have the confidence for something like that. My dad has already suggested that I go and see a prostitute, but its not just the sex part that bothers me, it's the fact that girls don't see me as a man and that no-one wants any level of intimacy with me once they figure out that I lack confidence. I don't think therapy would work for me as I am unable to talk about the subject without immediately busting into tears like a 6 year old. Thank you for your patience.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 years ago.
The tears you have inside of you may be a wellspring to nourish your true self. You need to discover an interest in yourself and a willingness to try things that GIVE you energy--like physical exercise. (What do you do with your spare time outside of studies? What are you doing in your pursuit of a masters degree?) What is your relationship like with each of your parents? I'm going to ask you 6 questions below, and I want you to answer each one separately for your mother and then for your father.The following 6 questions can help you decide what your attitude was toward each parent from around age 3 to 16. Answer each by circling 0 =never my attitude; 1 = rarely my attitude; 2 = sometimes my attitude; 3 = often my attitude; 4 = usually or always my attitude. never/rare/some/oft usually1.I worried that my (mother/father)might leave me. 0 1 2 3 42. I was comfortable with (m/f) and enjoyed closeness. 0 1 2 3 43. It was wiser not to trust (m/f) too much. 0 1 2 3 44. My (m/f) usually didn’t want to be as close as I did. 0 1 2 3 45. My (m/f) was & is reliable and dependable. 0 1 2 3 46. My (mother/father) often wanted too much from me. 0 1 2 3 4Please report your score for mother & father separately for each question, because that will help me to recommend a potentially fruitful path forward for you in your depression.Another set of questions I have concerns your contact with each parent:1. How would you assess your parents' marriage? (0 = divorced, no contact or hateful, 1 = separated/divorced, some contact, 3 = married, not verbally intimate,4 = married, not sure how they get along, 5 = doing OK, 6 = separate interests & some mutual enjoyment, 7 = pretty happy together, 8 = very happy. Or write your own assessment in your own terms.2. How far from your parents' residence are you located at your uni?3. How much time did you spend with them over the year-end holidays?4. How many times per week or per month do you usually have face-to-face, verbal (phone) or written (letter, text, email) contact with each parent separately. (Answer for each parent separately, and explain any aspect you want.)5. What are the most common subjects of conversation with each parent? What percentage of the words in these contacts does each parent typically express compared to you? (eg 80/20, 50/50, 30/60)I'm well aware that a young man in your position cannot make great strides forward, but must begin with small steps. Having patience with yourself is one of those steps forward. So having some patience with the focus of my responses to you and the time it may take for my recommendations to you to ripen is one of those small steps.You have been generous with your deposit, and I will be generous with my time and understanding. I taught a course on love relationships to upper division students at a predominantly male technical university for 21 years, so I have advised students with the same issues as yours.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Dr Brown, thank you for getting back to me so quickly. Here are the answers to your questions:
1. 0,0
2. 4,1
3. 2,2
4. 1,1
5. 3,4
6. 4,4
1. 8
2. about***** 3 hours by train.
3. All of my time. (sometimes go out with friends etc).
4. I'd say I speak to each parent equally, about twice a week, sometimes more. They call me a lot now that they know I am depressed.
5. Common subjects of conversation: University work, my brother, home life, dads business. They frequently ask me if I am feeling depressed. They mostly do the talking > (90/10).I think it is important to mention that my issues with my parents are mostly from the way they treated me in the past (i.e until very recently). I have answered the above questions based on past treatment because it still largely sums up my own attitude towards them, despite their recent improvement, which I am not quite ready to accept. My dad used to be unbelievably impatient and aggressive when it came to my inability to learn (due to dyslexia and my own stubbornness) and my mum used to call me an idiot on a regular basis. Now they keep the pressure well off and don't want me to stress about work, but instead want me to 'just be happy' (more of a command than anything). My dad recently told me that he doesn't think I know what a negative presence I am. To be honest though my parents are no longer a major contributor to my depression, which now, almost entirely, stems from my inability to find a significant other and my constant feelings of loneliness and insecurity.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much for your responses. I'm formulating a recommendation, but it's too late tonight for me to get into it. I still also want to know what you're doing your masters degree in, and in what ways that focus of your energy might light your lights, as well as perhaps pay your future bills. And is it really what YOU most want to be developing in yourself? And what other activities make you feel alive? I also wonder if you perceive a spoken or unspoken comparison between you and your brother in your parents' attitudes. I also understand how it doesn't ring true now that your parents have agreed that they "just want you to be happy." It sure doesn't erase 2 decades of seeing yourself in the mirror of their expectations as a "biological misfit" because you didn't fit the profile of what they wanted to raise to make their time away from their OWN goals worthwhile. (You might look up the 9 personality characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder to check off how many your father and your mother might manifest. I'd bet on your father for somewhere close to the minimum of 5.It's quite common for one or both children to be striving to merit their parents' love by carrying out some aspects of THEIR dreams. And not succeeding too well at that, because they haven't yet found the freedom to earn their own happiness by discovering and pursuing their own dreams. I was trapped in MY father's narcissistic vision for mhy life until I was 20, and it still affected me for decades afterwards.