Another Year Older, No Better Off

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The Grand Inquisitor
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12 Aug 2019, 8:24 am

I turn 23 on Wednesday, and unfortunately growing another year older has come to represent another year that I've desired a romantic relationship but not had one.

I first started wanting a relationship in 2008 when I turned 12. I think when the not having a relationship really became a problem for me was when my brother (who is a year younger than me) got his first relationship at 11 or 12, and me being the older sibling I was gobsmacked that it happened for him first instead of me. Sure, you can argue that you might not even be able to call it a real relationship at 12 but it's stillbmore than I've ever had at almost double the age.

Throughout the years people would tell me that a relationship would happen for me, and that I should be patient and all the rest of it. And of course it still hasn't. And as my peers continue to age and get more and more relationship experience, I'm lagging behind and concerned that almost all women my age will have had so much more experience than me dating that they won't be able to relate to me and my lack of experience is not only a cause for despair for myself, but possibly a barrier to entry to even have a relationship.

I always wanted to lose my virginity with someone else who was also a virgin. Now, being non-religious and looking for a non-religious partner, the chances of that are almost zero. I'd give anything to have started dating in my teens and have a normal dating life.

Now I'm always alone, depressed, rarely leave the house when I don't have to and feel hopeless. I don't want to get to 25, 27, 30 and never have had a girlfriend. I didn't want to get to 18, 20, 23 without ever having a girlfriend either.

This one significant facet of life where I am infinitely dissatisfied is virtually crushing my will to live. There seems to be no way to make it so that I can get a girlfriend, and nothing else can help.



kraftiekortie
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12 Aug 2019, 8:38 am

You're still very young, my friend.

Frankly, I think you overthink all of this. Overanalyze all of this. There are some women who like this sort of thing. Most really don't, though.

I guess I'm lucky I was in my 20's in the 80's, when socialization over all was more casual than it is now. But I still feel you will succeed, ultimately.

I wish you could get into University-----there you will meet people who are more into analyzing things, rather than just acting on instinct.

And then you have some women here on WP who are very analytical......



The Grand Inquisitor
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12 Aug 2019, 9:31 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
You're still very young, my friend.


Young in comparison to the likely expiry of my natural life span, yes. Young in comparison to when most people start to get relationships and stuff? Not so much. Anybody who knew I'd never had a relationship by 23 would be more likely to think that that is a late age to get to without ever having a relationship rather than that is an early age to start wanting a relationship.

kraftiekortie wrote:
Frankly, I think you overthink all of this. Overanalyze all of this. There are some women who like this sort of thing. Most really don't, though.


This is just how I see it. There's probably an analytical tint on the lens through which I see the world. I don't see analysing as a bad thing when you want to understand the reality you live in.

kraftiekortie wrote:
I guess I'm lucky I was in my 20's in the 80's, when socialization over all was more casual than it is now. But I still feel you will succeed, ultimately.

I wish you could get into University-----there you will meet people who are more into analyzing things, rather than just acting on instinct.

And then you have some women here on WP who are very analytical......

Well I hope I'll succeed, but the past hasn't been very encouraging, and I fear that even if I do succeed, I may have already accrued scars that will never heal. It's difficult to be optimistic when things aren't going your way, and never have.

I'd be open to going back to university, but having racked up almost $10k in debt and bombing out of my classes, I'm not in a hurry to go do that all again, without knowing that things will be different this time. I don't even know where I want to go career-wise. Figuring that out will give me a better idea of where I'll choose to study.

If I don't have to study at university, I probably won't. I'll be going for the cheapest option more than likely so I don't rack up more debt. If not for the money I'd probably go back to university, but I'm probably going to do what makes the most sense financially.

When I was at university I didn't tend to do well socially anyway. In classes people would establish their cliques and I'd tend not to be in any of them.

It would appear that I'm the common denominator here.



TheOther
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12 Aug 2019, 9:58 am

I have always had a really hard time with romance as well. Over the years I learned how to make friends really well, have found a great career for myself, but romance always eluded me. I have worked really hard at it, and made a good amount of progress to where I have at least had a few girlfriends and flings along the way. This is essentially what I have learned so far.

Romance is a subtle art, and is essentially comprised of all of the things that autistic people struggle with. 80-90% of it is nonverbal communication, subtle implications, and social status.

At the end of the day, I see it as a numbers game. There are fundamentally two things that you can do to improve.

1. Improve your chance of success per opportunity.
2. Increase the number of opportunities you are exposed to.

I think step 1. is largely comprised of the 'superficial' things most autistic people seem to hate. The truth is, improving here means complying with social norms. Wearing clothes that are stylish, being in good physical shape, being well groomed, and keeping neat and stylish hair and beard are the bare minimum. For bonus points, you need to have something that other people want. It could be money (in this day and age, that tends to need to be A LOT, as more people are able to be self sufficient. Being a good enough provider for basic needs is a bare minimum and offers no advantage). It could also be social status. If you are high up in an organization that people (and specifically women, assuming you are straight) desire to be a part of, they will want to share your status by associating with you. In my opinion, the best thing to focus on in this area is fitness, as there are very low barriers to entry, and they can produce some of the strongest instinctual responses. Specifically, I recommend strength training like weight lifting. Muscles are a visually obvious secondary sex characteristic, and while not all women will be moved by them, they likely won't put anyone off, and I would wager that a majority of women (even if its only 60%) like a strong man. Being strong also improves confidence, and following through with the dedication needed to get fit also builds confidence in ones ability to set a difficult goal, stick with it, and succeed.

Step 2. is about meeting more people. If you are not in places where single women are, you will not meet them. I think that bars and clubs are the default for this, and also a horrible path for autistic people. They essentially limit your ability to meet someone to specifically only nonverbal cues. A better approach would be things like yoga classes, salsa dance classes, and perhaps to a lesser extend outdoors groups like hiking groups and rock climbing. This can be hard, as most autistic men seem to be solely interested in super nerdy things like video games, books, science/technology, obscure metal bands, and collection based hobbies (stamps, models, etc). Try to find something that you can enjoy a little that is more mainstream, and has a large number of women who frequent and cycle through.

The elephant in the room, is that romance is an emotional beast. The true way to a woman's heart is to make her feel. If you can evoke strong feelings in someone else, you get their attention. This is why some assholes can be successful at dating (at least short term one night stand level dating). There is an old joke that you shouldn't want your significant other to get mad at anyone else. Those are strong emotions. If you can make someone feel the whole range of human emotions, they will feel strongly for you. I think there is a path to emotional connection which is based on manipulation, and does not work long term (though it can be VERY successful in the short term). This way involves artificially creating emotional situations (aka drama). There is a noble path, though, that comes from a place of inner strength, strong convictions, and being secure in ones own desirability. People will feel afraid to lose someone who has a high social value, will feel happy and excited to get their attention, and will feel sad when that person is not around.

There is no easy solution, but I hope some of these foundation concepts are helpful. If you've heard them before, I hope the way I phrase them is somewhat novel and helps them sink in.



Mona Pereth
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12 Aug 2019, 3:59 pm

To Grand Inquisitor:

What are your hobbies and interests?

1) Are there any activities you enjoy, and/or topics you are interested in, that are at least as popular among women as they are among men? If so, what are they?

2) What are your other (more male-dominated) interests, if any?


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12 Aug 2019, 4:30 pm

23 is still young. More people are virgins in their 20s than in the past. You're not that weird in this modern society.

I understand the frustration of people saying, "it'll just happen." For those of us who are let's say a bit quirky, it's not gonna just happen.

I'm heading for 40 over here. I thought something had "Just happened" for me, but it was a mirage. Nothing romantic ever works out or happens for me.

I've got a few male acquaintances now, which I didn't have 10 years ago, so at least I can have some different types of conversation these days than the same old same old with my female friends.


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12 Aug 2019, 4:45 pm

@ The other and Mona Pereth:

Your responses are better than anything I might have come up with.


:) I remember being 23.
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12 Aug 2019, 10:13 pm

The Grand Inquisitor wrote:
I turn 23 on Wednesday, and unfortunately growing another year older has come to represent another year that I've desired a romantic relationship but not had one.


The Grand Inquisitor wrote:
I don't want to get to 25, 27, 30 and never have had a girlfriend.


Same here, dude (except I turned 23 a few months ago)...

The Grand Inquisitor wrote:
And as my peers continue to age and get more and more relationship experience, I'm lagging behind and concerned that almost all women my age will have had so much more experience than me dating that they won't be able to relate to me and my lack of experience is not only a cause for despair for myself, but possibly a barrier to entry to even have a relationship.


This statement couldn't describe me better. We're in the same boat...


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The Grand Inquisitor
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12 Aug 2019, 10:38 pm

TheOther wrote:
I have always had a really hard time with romance as well. Over the years I learned how to make friends really well, have found a great career for myself, but romance always eluded me. I have worked really hard at it, and made a good amount of progress to where I have at least had a few girlfriends and flings along the way. This is essentially what I have learned so far.

Romance is a subtle art, and is essentially comprised of all of the things that autistic people struggle with. 80-90% of it is nonverbal communication, subtle implications, and social status.

At the end of the day, I see it as a numbers game. There are fundamentally two things that you can do to improve.

1. Improve your chance of success per opportunity.
2. Increase the number of opportunities you are exposed to.

I think step 1. is largely comprised of the 'superficial' things most autistic people seem to hate. The truth is, improving here means complying with social norms. Wearing clothes that are stylish, being in good physical shape, being well groomed, and keeping neat and stylish hair and beard are the bare minimum. For bonus points, you need to have something that other people want. It could be money (in this day and age, that tends to need to be A LOT, as more people are able to be self sufficient. Being a good enough provider for basic needs is a bare minimum and offers no advantage). It could also be social status. If you are high up in an organization that people (and specifically women, assuming you are straight) desire to be a part of, they will want to share your status by associating with you. In my opinion, the best thing to focus on in this area is fitness, as there are very low barriers to entry, and they can produce some of the strongest instinctual responses. Specifically, I recommend strength training like weight lifting. Muscles are a visually obvious secondary sex characteristic, and while not all women will be moved by them, they likely won't put anyone off, and I would wager that a majority of women (even if its only 60%) like a strong man. Being strong also improves confidence, and following through with the dedication needed to get fit also builds confidence in ones ability to set a difficult goal, stick with it, and succeed.

Step 2. is about meeting more people. If you are not in places where single women are, you will not meet them. I think that bars and clubs are the default for this, and also a horrible path for autistic people. They essentially limit your ability to meet someone to specifically only nonverbal cues. A better approach would be things like yoga classes, salsa dance classes, and perhaps to a lesser extend outdoors groups like hiking groups and rock climbing. This can be hard, as most autistic men seem to be solely interested in super nerdy things like video games, books, science/technology, obscure metal bands, and collection based hobbies (stamps, models, etc). Try to find something that you can enjoy a little that is more mainstream, and has a large number of women who frequent and cycle through.

The elephant in the room, is that romance is an emotional beast. The true way to a woman's heart is to make her feel. If you can evoke strong feelings in someone else, you get their attention. This is why some assholes can be successful at dating (at least short term one night stand level dating). There is an old joke that you shouldn't want your significant other to get mad at anyone else. Those are strong emotions. If you can make someone feel the whole range of human emotions, they will feel strongly for you. I think there is a path to emotional connection which is based on manipulation, and does not work long term (though it can be VERY successful in the short term). This way involves artificially creating emotional situations (aka drama). There is a noble path, though, that comes from a place of inner strength, strong convictions, and being secure in ones own desirability. People will feel afraid to lose someone who has a high social value, will feel happy and excited to get their attention, and will feel sad when that person is not around.

There is no easy solution, but I hope some of these foundation concepts are helpful. If you've heard them before, I hope the way I phrase them is somewhat novel and helps them sink in.

So I was focusing more on my style right up until I gained about 65 pounds in early 2018. I was already a bit on the overweight side before then, and now it's obviously worse.

Now, I don't see it being worth investing in style. Feels like putting lipstick on a pig. Not only is my weight now an issue but my posture is bad too. I do have a relatively modern hairstyle though

I want to be working out. The trouble is it's difficult to fit into my day. I get up at 5 in the morning for work, and I'm already having trouble getting to sleep early enough to get an 8 hour sleep, so getting up earlier isn't particularly viable. Then, when I get home from work I just don't have the energy to work out, and I sometimes even go straight to sleep after getting home.

I've started tackling my weight from the diet side of things though. Since July 1st I've been losing about 2 pounds a week.

I work a low-paid job and don't have any status to speak of.

I don't seem to have much that I'm interested in at all. Anything I am interested in is indoors stuff, and I guess you could say sedentary stuff.



The Grand Inquisitor
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12 Aug 2019, 10:43 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
To Grand Inquisitor:

What are your hobbies and interests?

1) Are there any activities you enjoy, and/or topics you are interested in, that are at least as popular among women as they are among men? If so, what are they?

2) What are your other (more male-dominated) interests, if any?

I don't have many interests and I don't really pursue any of them.

If I had to pick an activity group to go to, it would likely be around chess, pool, card games, and that's all I can think of. All are male-dominated, so nothing particularly helpful relative to finding a partner.



The Grand Inquisitor
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12 Aug 2019, 10:47 pm

hurtloam wrote:
23 is still young. More people are virgins in their 20s than in the past. You're not that weird in this modern society.

I understand the frustration of people saying, "it'll just happen." For those of us who are let's say a bit quirky, it's not gonna just happen.

I'm heading for 40 over here. I thought something had "Just happened" for me, but it was a mirage. Nothing romantic ever works out or happens for me.

I've got a few male acquaintances now, which I didn't have 10 years ago, so at least I can have some different types of conversation these days than the same old same old with my female friends.

23 is young to have gotten married and have a life partner. 23 is old in the context of trying to get your first relationship.

You're right that there are more 20-something virgins, but most of them are men.

And yeah it's definitely frustrating when people tell you to be patient. If 10+ years isn't patient enough then I don't know what is.



Mona Pereth
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13 Aug 2019, 1:33 am

The Grand Inquisitor wrote:
I'd be open to going back to university, but having racked up almost $10k in debt and bombing out of my classes, I'm not in a hurry to go do that all again, without knowing that things will be different this time. I don't even know where I want to go career-wise. Figuring that out will give me a better idea of where I'll choose to study.

What classes were you taking, and why were you bombing out of them? What were your major sources of difficulty? Also, what were you planning to study, if anything?


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- In longterm relationship with boyfriend who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2001.
- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


TheOther
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13 Aug 2019, 9:19 am

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So I was focusing more on my style right up until I gained about 65 pounds in early 2018. I was already a bit on the overweight side before then, and now it's obviously worse.

Now, I don't see it being worth investing in style. Feels like putting lipstick on a pig. Not only is my weight now an issue but my posture is bad too. I do have a relatively modern hairstyle though

I want to be working out. The trouble is it's difficult to fit into my day. I get up at 5 in the morning for work, and I'm already having trouble getting to sleep early enough to get an 8 hour sleep, so getting up earlier isn't particularly viable. Then, when I get home from work I just don't have the energy to work out, and I sometimes even go straight to sleep after getting home.

I've started tackling my weight from the diet side of things though. Since July 1st I've been losing about 2 pounds a week.

I work a low-paid job and don't have any status to speak of.

I don't seem to have much that I'm interested in at all. Anything I am interested in is indoors stuff, and I guess you could say sedentary stuff.


I can tell you what has worked for me, but of course this is just me and you will need to adapt anything to your own self.

In terms of exercise, time is hard for me to find as well. I find that 15 minutes 3x a week is actually sufficient (honestly, even 2x a week is good for starting out). The flip side is that the workouts tend to be pretty intense, as I combine strength training and cardio to save time.

I use an interval timer application, and set it up to run for 4 one minute intervals with a 10 seconds break in between. The goal is to repeat an exercise for the entire duration of each minute, resting for 10 seconds between each interval. After the timer is up, I rest for 30 seconds or so and restart the timer. I go 3 rounds for a total for 12 exercises. I try to do one exercise for pushing movements, one exercise for pulling movements, one exercise for squatting movements, 8 core exercises, and I finish with a plyometric full body exercise. I also try to mix it up between static holds and full range of motion exercise. It sounds intense, but it is extremely efficient. You can start super slow. If you can only do a few push-ups, do your best to do as many as you can for the minute and rest until you can do one more. I have never gone nonstop for the full 12 intervals.

So, a typical session for me would look like:

1. Push Ups
2. Bicycle Crunch
3. Weighted Russian Twist
4. Static Plank
30 Second Rest
5. Pull Ups
6. Candlestick Crunches
7. Flutter Kicks
8. Side Planks (30 seconds per side)
30 Second Rest
9. Body-weight Squats
10. Figure Eight Leg Lifts
11. Hollow Body Hold
12. Burpees

There is a great exercise book is called Convict Conditioning. It is written in a kind of cheesy way, but the idea is workouts from prisons such that you can do them anywhere and with little to no equipment.

The 'beauty' of this system is that it is 100% free, I can do it anywhere (usually just at home), it takes only 15 minutes, and I get strength and cardio out of it.

It sounds like you have your diet under control, but personally I found a low carb diet and limiting the time I eat to an 8 hour window works really well. I think there is more to it than just purely 'calories in, calories out' in that there is something beneficial about letting your body go without eating for a long stretch (while still maintaining a healthy amount of calories within a 24 hour period). I also like to be really strict about eating healthy on weekdays, and then I treat myself on weekends. You still need to enjoy life!

As far as meeting people goes, there is no way around expanding your horizons. I find that I often can develop a casual interest (and, let's face it, some of them turn into special interests eventually :lol:) in almost anything if I force myself to try it a few times. Martial arts is a great way to meet people, and I find that I am drawn to it in that it seems like I am also getting a pragmatic skill set out of it. Brazillian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai gyms are everywhere, and they are extremely effective martial arts (and great exercise). There are even some women who go to them, though they are male dominated, most of them will have boyfriends already, and if they are single usually they're interested in the instructors/higher ranks (see what I said about social status).

Dance classes and yoga are extremely female dominant, and probably offer the best chance to meet a lot of women quickly. Just make sure that you can develop some actual interest in the subject itself, or it will come off as creepy.



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13 Aug 2019, 9:27 am

It would be much better for you, Grand Inquisitor, if you had something you were REALLY interested in. I'm really interested in the weather. I don't need a lover to love the weather.

I truly feel like women like guys better who have interests enough to not focus on THEM primarily (the guy on women). There is a fear amongst women of guys who become fixated on them.

I know this----because I was one of those guys. A woman I worked with wanted to "experiment" on me, so to speak. But I thought she really "loved" me. And I felt like I wanted to marry her. But she was not serious about me at all. We had a couple of dates, I became fixated on her, then she stopped taking my calls. I felt devastated about it for two full years. And my "friends who were women" just didn't want to hear it. And my friends who were guys didn't want to "hear it," either. And women felt disgusted about me---until it was evident that the obsession faded away, and it was evident I had interests other than "finding a woman." I did much better after the age of 23 or so.

My experience taught me that a man should never SEEM like he is pursuing women only. Not that I believe you give off that "vibe." But I'm conveying how things got a little better for me after a pretty long drought because I was fixated on this one woman----and on getting a girlfriend in general.



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13 Aug 2019, 12:05 pm

The Grand Inquisitor wrote:

I always wanted to lose my virginity with someone else who was also a virgin. Now, being non-religious and looking for a non-religious partner, the chances of that are almost zero. I'd give anything to have started dating in my teens and have a normal dating life.



Why is that something you feel like you need?
When I was 26 I dated someone who was 23. He was a virgin and I was his first girlfriend. He wasn't bad looking and I really didn't understand why he was single for so long. He had never even kissed anyone before.
I was pretty sexually experienced when we met but I didn't mind he was a virgin and we had a good connection. If you truly care about someone it doesn't matter if they are a virgin or not. I definitely didn't think about that during our physical encounters (or any other time, really) and I never compared him to anyone else, because that's silly and pointless. Most people don't, I imagine.


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