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A certain question has bugged me for over forty years. Why do I never have relationships? First you need to have a date, and how seldom have I ever been able to have one? Think of it! Im now 64, and for so many years, countless thousands of people have looked at me with their eyes sparkling with friendship and interest, so I know how popular I am. Yet I waited 40 years for my first long-term relationship, and apart from this no man ever wants to get to know me better. I felt as though Ive gone through my life with a sign between my eyes: Friendship only! Do not come closer!

The first time I posted here, last summer, this was still a life-long mystery. Now Ive found the missing piece of the puzzle, in the last week everything has suddenly slotted into place! Solving the mystery at last is an amazing feeling! Its like finding the Holy Grail! In fact Im so fascinated at the revelations that I dont even feel bad about the dark side!

I think that if you really want something with all your heart and mind and body and soul and spirit and strength, then you are very likely to get it, though it wont necessarily be what you expected. For example, when I first sat on a horse I was almost sick with fear, yet I learned to ride well enough to own and train a very fast lively thoroughbred. I was allegedly a useless hill-walker, but in time climbed to 18,000 feet in the Himalayas. Once the bug bites, sheer determination takes over, and then I can find out how to do it! The only goal that has ever stayed out of my reach is ease in finding relationships. Now Ive recognised that Ive hardly ever sought a relationship with the same wholeheartedness as the other things.

Ive been seeing a counsellor about the antics of He of Two Girlfriends, and of course counsellors love tracing everything back to the relationship you had with your father. Ive been through this before, but it never seemed to lead anywhere. This counsellor asked me to write a letter to my father. For five pages I described his utter disregard for any of my normal human feelings. Daughters were fed, housed, clothed and educated and that was it! My father had dug himself into a rut of utter boredom, and every attempt of mine to enjoy life resulted in me being treated with contempt. Then I had to read this account aloud, which brought home the horror of how he had treated me as never before!

My mother had endured terrible parents and her biggest dream in life was to be a part of a happy family, so she worked hard at being my best friend, except in one thing. She was wilfully blind and deaf to my fathers contempt for me. Instead she brainwashed me into thinking I lived in a happy family to fulfil her own fantasies.

Every time my father started his horrible whine of contempt about what a trial I was to him, I stood up for myself, so my mother insisted he was such a good father I should think myself lucky because her parents were even worse! Then my little brother saw me getting upset and decided to taunt me. According to my mother I shouldnt object to that either.

In my teens, I escaped to the local riding school at every opportunity to see one special horse. Showering love on a horse was so peaceful and rewarding compared with life in my happy family. So the criticism started. You ought to be spending your time with boys! People insisted I should look ahead to needing a good husband and a happy family.

Swap the words father and husband around and the goal I was being motivated to seek was described in exactly the same way as the abuse I was urged to accept! My mother made it sound as though all fathers were abusive, only some less so than others. If Id really swallowed what she said, I would surely have become a man-hater! Since I was forever asking why my father couldnt be as good as other peoples fathers, I obviously knew better, but the message was that I needed to be extremely wary, or else I just might find a man like my father! In my teens and early twenties I either did not want to marry, just to buy the horse I loved, or didnt care if I ever married or not.

I knew very few young men, so when my mother motivated me to go looking, I had to trudge off to places which didnt really interest me. So the boys I met were incompatible from the start. I sat there uninterested, hating the discomfort of clothes I had to wear to avoid being called frumpy, shy, and utterly wary of any man who approached me. To cap it all, Id been urged not to be fast so I thought I was doing all the right things!

On the other hand any girl next to me was likely to be full of eagerness. Boys picked up on that, and on my apparent lack of interest, and I wondered why I never had boyfriends! I came to life when I was riding that beloved horse!

Ive followed this line of thought further and seen everything that ever happened to my love life fit into the pattern. I know very well why thoughts of sex and babies didnt motivate me. On the one hand Ive always had reasons to feel very cautious about the relationships I was expected to want. On the other hand, the natural world has always offered me profound joy. The more deeply I love it the more intense happiness it gives me in return.

So I figure that when I think Im looking for a man Im not genuinely needy enough for him to be certain its really worth approaching me. Very occasionally I have been that needy, and then men date me, but they just happen to be the wrong ones! It probably shows in the length of time I hold eye contact. Now what have I been saying for years about the little badge between my eyes that keeps all men at a distance! I was so close!

I need to clarify this further, and I can do, but this post has grown long.

Larrylousmom, Im sure youll notice this thread. Ive been wondering how you can express such deep need of a relationship and yet never find a good man, but sadly Ive only managed to evolve a theory that fits what I know about myself.
Hi Folks, :wave:

I have to confess I’ve been away from here for a while and have some posts to catch up on. Meanwhile I see my counsellor today and here is a summary of what I have discovered.

I make friends very easily and thousands of people’s eyes have sparkled with interest when they talk to me so I know they like me. However it has been very rare throughout my life for me to have even a chance of a date.

Why? My father treated all my emotions with contempt, and my mother was blind and deaf to it, insisting I should be grateful because this was a ‘happy’ family and her parents were even worse. My father accordingly noticed that abusing my emotions had the consent of an otherwise loving mother, so repeated the offence.

This made me think that even loving fathers and happy families were foul. On the other hand, I could find an outlet for loving feelings by cherishing my favourite horse at the riding school. So I learned to find love and joy elsewhere, through Nature.

People kept on at me about ‘not spending so much time with that horse because you ought to have a boyfriend.’ This was a preliminary to finding a good husband and having a happy family. Swap the words ‘father’ and ‘husband’ and my goal in life sounded just like the miserable situation I wanted to escape from!

So I alternated between not caring if I ever married or not, and not wanting to marry at all. There were very few young men enjoying any of my hobbies, so I had no boyfriends in my teens or early twenties. I wasn’t needy enough to attract anyone!

My young brother married when I was 24, and that made me feel lonely. I had to go to social clubs that didn’t interest me; so all the men were likely to be incompatible. I was wary, shy, uncomfortable in the fashion clothes I had to suffer, and also I had been told I must never be ‘fast’ so I thought I was doing the right thing! No boyfriends!

Mid twenties. Happy on holiday. I relaxed enough to have a boyfriend. He left, I managed to interest a man who looked like him, because my loss made me needy, but was too shy to keep the second man’s interest.

Late twenties. Very lonely, hence needy. General shortage of unattached men, but I attracted a boyfriend. He moaned at me so much I seriously disliked him, but I saw this as a step towards getting a nice boyfriend! (Huh!)

Thirties. Fed up with shortage of men. Friendship bureau. Being needy, I fell for someone but it wasn’t mutual. I was heartbroken, so wrote to far too many men. They mostly interviewed me for the position of girlfriends, but rejected me for having idiosyncrasies. This is what I’ve always thought. Or – new idea – After finding some were so unreasonable that shades of my father came into it, I grew wary, rather than needy, so failed to attract the next men I met.

Anyway I seemed to be reacting to reactions to reactions until one decided to go out with me – Whinging Pete – who never stopped moaning at me for nothing. I put up with him just as I had suffered a boyfriend I disliked before. (Shades of my father?) When he finally ditched me, I realised what a wonderful life I could have, in beautiful countryside, if only I let myself enjoy it instead of trying to swap it for something else.

The love of nature had come to my rescue! Radiating happiness, I attracted a boyfriend whom I loved. (You see, the words ‘boyfriend’ and ‘love’ do not automatically go together.) He ditched me. I was heartbroken but managed to attract a kind replacement because I was needy. (He was incompatible.)

I cheered myself up by trekking in the Himalayas. Nature to the rescue again!

This is only Part 1, because this post is growing long. The idea is: underlying wariness made men wonder if I really liked them or not. If I ever got needy there was someone for me, but not guaranteed to be compatible. Difficult men awoke thoughts of my father and the ‘happy’ family, hence I grew warier. On the other hand I could always find emotional fulfilment in the joy of nature. So these two factors stopped me getting needy enough to attract anyone.

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