Relationally Inept

And for the final November post (Yay, I made it!), it’s kind of a long one. Sorry.

In my age-old fashion, I’m going to be an open book for all the world to see. Or rather, for the 3,000 or so of you that check back here regularly. I have no idea why you read here. I can’t imagine there aren’t 5 million blogs that are more interesting or more informative. I know for a fact that I tend to be dry. But still, I learned early on never to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I am relationally inept. You female readers that used to wonder (before I met Jenna) why I was still single… you know who you are…. that’s the answer.

I’ve done a lot of thinking on the topic, thanks to some prodding by the lovely Jenna who has to put up with my ineptness on a daily basis. How does one become inept at relationships? Is it nature or nurture? HAHA. I had to throw that in. Of course, it’s a product of environment and experiences.

I’ve mentioned some of this stuff before, so try not to fall asleep. I was always a shy, quite kid. I was intimidated by girls from the earliest elementary school days, and that never changed. Of course, a shy guy is a target for pre-adolescent girls, which compounds the shyness.

Needless to say, I never had a girlfriend in junior high or high school. Not even for one day. I convinced myself I didn’t even WANT to have a girlfriend, and that made it easier to live with, because it was my choice then.

During those years, I was also involved in a couple of churches. One had such a small pool of members that there just weren’t any girls my age. The other was loaded with the type of girls that are snooty, judgmental, and holier-than-thou. There may have been exceptions to that rule, but it would have been like looking for a ham sandwich in a garbage can.

Since I was shy and quiet, I was a target for those girls as well. I must be weird or abnormal or creepy since I kept to myself. More on this later.

So, my confidence just wasn’t there to even know where to start. When I started college, I met “the most perfect girl in the world” my very first day… my very first class. We’ll call her “Blondie.” Obviously, she was not actually the most perfect girl in the world, but let’s just say… we didn’t have girls like that in my tiny high school or my tiny church.

Did I ask her out? Nope. I was too shy. But we did become good friends, and I thought to myself “hey, maybe the way to end up in a good relationship with a girl is to start out as a good friend.” It seemed logical. Only trouble was, that’s not how girls think, at least not at that age. So, she just dated other people and I was her “friend.” That had been the story of my life in high school.

My first actual girlfriend, who we lovingly refer to as “Ms. Right” on here, was… how shall we put this gently…. “non-traditional.” She was nearly 8 years older than me and was incredibly aggressive in every way. We ended up in a relationship because she decided we should, and I wasn’t smart enough or strong enough to decide for myself. And, if you’ve read here for long, you know what happened with that relationship. Not a happy ending.

So, now I’ve gone my entire life, experiencing only being a “girlfriend” to women, and now one relationship where I was basically told what to do.

During the mess with Ms. Right, I turned to Blondie for support, and she really came through. She would spend time with me at the hospital… it turned out she and Ms. Right had been friends for a while… she would help out whenever she could. And then in a tragic twist of ironic fate, Blondie ended up in an accident with a drunk driver.

I’m pretty sure that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. After Ms. Right moved away, I basically went into “workaholic – schoolaholic” mode, where I loaded up my life with insane amounts of activity so I wouldn’t have to have a relationship. I also got more involved in my church, which didn’t help either because several of the girls went to the youth pastor and told him I “made them uncomfortable” and that I was “creepy.” Their reasoning? I didn’t talk to them.

Duh.

There was a brief stint where I had a friendship with a girl transition into a dating relationship, and she promptly cheated on me with one of my friends. Needless to say, that did not help my confidence nor did it help my view of women and relationships.

I dated one more person after her before I met Jenna… and let’s just say that it was a disaster. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and she had expectations of me that I didn’t even KNOW about, let alone know how to actually do. Apparently they were things that “everybody” knows. Except I didn’t know.

Dating three people in 8 years is a pretty “light” schedule, especially when you factor in the amount of time I wasn’t dating someone, which was about 6 of those years.

Well, I should have payed more attention to what that last girlfriend was trying to say, because as it turns out, “everybody” does know how to express themselves and such. I’ve spent my entire life trying NOT to express myself, and it turns out that’s “weird.” The problem is, now THAT’S natural to me. Heck, I thought that was how men were SUPPOSED to be.

Apparently that’s not actually the case. But that leaves me with the question… how the heck do I undo 28 years of going the opposite direction?

  6 comments for “Relationally Inept

  1. November 30, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    I’m not only relationally inept, I am socially inept, and I won’t go into the kajillion issues that cause it. But, like you, I’m trying to undo 33 years of behaviors, and it’s not easy.

  2. November 30, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    Ah, empathy, how I love thee.

  3. RDC
    November 30, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    The honest answer is that it is a scary, risky leap of faith.

    See the other person as an extension of yourself, and take a chance at sharing those thoughts and feelings you usually keep to yourself. Having them bite you back is a small risk when compared to the risk you take keeping them closeted.

    I have become a better person in my relationship by doing this, as my husband has taught me that I am Good, in and despite my flawed and fucked up ways. I, in turn, face my demons and do what I can to conquer them instead of hiding them and denying them, because I have already been accepted and don’t need to wear a mask.

    Please excuse the corn factor of this comment. Real men cry, Incredipetey 😉

  4. BJD
    December 1, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    I think you’re a nice, quiet, thoughtful guy, and it takes until girls are well into their 20s before they’re smart enough to understand that that’s the best thing they could ever hope for. And guys don’t figure out who they are very well until they’re mid to late 20s, so you’re right on track. The “hot” guys and loudmouths and bigshots don’t look so good as women mature, and the good guys don’t want to become one of them to appeal to immature women.

  5. December 2, 2006 at 8:28 am

    If you are asking just to ask, just to provoke thought as is your style on this site, then I can give you some nice, motivational, placating answers. If you are REALLY asking, REALLY want to behave differently, I can give you some answers you are not going to want to hear (aka they will be a pain in the ass to you.) More importantly, I think you’re great. Everyone’s had crap relationships. We all handle them differently. You’re still here, and awesome and successful, (and DISGUSTING,) so to that I say: well done. xxx

  6. December 3, 2006 at 9:31 am

    Personally I think that you fit the description of every serial killer ever profiled. That and I can’t wait to see the neighbors on the TV when they say

    “he was such a nice, qiuet guy, had crazy dogs and guns but he was nice enough, I just can’t believe he liked his girlfriends with favra beans and a nice chianti”

    Besides you aren’t really relationship inept, you are just like all of the rest of the guys, scared, and confused. So you always fuck things up and blame the girl, because “She didn’t have the same feelings for you as you did for her” So sack up and take the plunge. Besides if you think Jenna doesn’t love you as much as you love her, then you’re a hand job and I will be over to shoot you in the face…and remember I can now do that from range…I have a scope!

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