I feel stuck without close friendships or a relationship. I need help. I am a 44-year-old man, gay and have no close friendships or prospects of relationships. Because I have no friends, I don't go anywhere except to work and home. I've tried joining meetup groups for things I am interested in to try to make friends. People reach out to me but I fail to meet them half-way. There is a part of me that strongly resists. I have built a very strong shell around myself over the years after being hurt that I am afraid can never be broken.
It is very painful for me to admit this to myself or others, but I need help. One of my deepest core values is that meaningfuo, loving relationships with other people is what brings meaning to life. My life feels meaningless and I feel powerless to break free from this pattern of social isolation.
I have had therapy in my life, and I have addressed issues and felt like I resolved emotional traumas from my past such as abuse by teachers, classmates, growing up in an alcoholic home. I have had a few relationships in the past but not for ten years now. I have tried to make friends but always seem to choose really needy, boundary-less people who drain the energy from me.
I feel that ten years ago I gave up on people. I had a boyfriend for three years who was the love of my life and I wanted to get married and be together until "death do us part", but he abruptly ended the relationship without a warning and I was emotionally devastated. I was severely depressed and an emotional basketcase for 3 years. Then I shut down.
How do I "un-shut down"? How do I open my heart again? I have tried by putting ads on dating websites. I have met a few guys but there is nothing. I dated one guy for a year but felt nothing for him and then ended it. I felt bad because I really wanted to love again but couldn't. It doesn't even seem like a choice. It's as if I am now hard-wired to be alone.
But I don't want to be like this. I crave friendship. Intellectually I know a loving relationship is what I want in my life but my heart is frozen.
I am not a bitter person. Anyone who knows and meets me would think I am happy and pleasant and maybe even funny, in a calm way. But when I am alone and forced to face hiw alone I have become and seem destined to always be, I feel desperately hopeless. So I spend my time distracting myself by reading, acquiring knowledge. My only social outlet is the interaction with coworkers at work and online interactions with "friends" on facebook who "like" my posts but never ask to do anything with me in person.
I don't feel broken. I feel pretty together actually. I know I can be an awesome, fun person to be around. I am very caring and thoughtful. I know I am capable of loving someone. But hiw do I resurrect who I am really meant to be out of this walled-in person I have become?
My ads on dating sites get interest. I'm not unattractive and I look ten years younger than my age. But whenever I get a response, even if from someone I feel would be a good match, I freeze. It's like an automatic door closes between me and this new possibility. I don't eveb reply to the messages I get. I delete them, then deactivate my account for a time.
If you have any constructive feedback or if you have felt this way and managed to break free, I would really appreciate your input. Thanks.
Thanks Joy, I appreciate your response. :)