What’s my deal? Sorry...too general. Let me rephrase…

What the fuck is my deal? There...that’s better. Much more clear.

I’ve been attempting to date for...six or seven years now, and I just can’t seem to succeed at it. This is not because I can’t find dates. I have had many women interested in me over the years, and even several short lived girlfriends. If I so desired, I would still be in one of those relationships. The problem is my interest fades, and I can’t figure out why.

Recently I went on a date with an attractive young lady. I even was the initiator. I gave her my number. We went out and it was nice. Yet almost the entire time I was on the date, I was feeling that I just kinda wanted to go home. I’ve been struggling to put my finger on why. This is not an isolated incident. I went on multiple first dates last fall after I moved, and each time I was like “Sure she’s pretty, but I feel nothing.” It’s getting tiresome because I worry that I’m turning into a misanthrope hermit.

I have several theories as to what’s going on.

Theory 1: Overactive self-preservation instinct

This also falls into the category of “emotionally unavailable”. I was deeply hurt years ago when my fiancée left me. I was probably hurt in ways I didn’t even realize at the time. When she told me that the big reason she was leaving was sex, at the time it didn’t seem to really affect me, but I think I’m realizing now how deeply that cut me. Feelings of inadequacy have been pervading my mind since then.

I think the inadequacy leads to me closing off and shutting down any potential for me to get hurt, which earlier on in my recovery from that incident happened later than now. My first couple of relationships after that happened resulted in me experiencing moments of panic after misinterpreting a partner’s actions, and my brain shut down all of my feelings. It resulted in me no longer even being attracted to the person I was with, even if I was very much so weeks before.

I feel like perhaps that “shut it down” mentality now has creeped earlier and earlier in the process for me, and now won’t let me feel anything towards a person even on day one, despite prior to their interest me being attracted to them. Essentially the moment there’s mutual interest, my feeling disappears.

So after that match, it feels like I’m just going through the motions. I get on the date. They’re all excited and what not, and I have to remind myself “Oh yeah, make sure to return the compliment about how nice they look” rather than what used to happen when I was like “Oh wow...so pretty!”. Feeling like “alright, let’s get this over with” is just awful, and I don’t want to do that anymore.

Theory 2: Self Worth and Body Image

I wrote about this in my recent posts, but I’ve had body dysmorphia issues for a while now. There’s also been some gender dysphoria tied into it. I’m sure there are a ton of people who look at me and see a gorgeous, supermodel-esque, confident woman, but I struggle to see anything appealing about myself. Body dysmorphia results in me seeing parts of me as exaggerated and strange. My face looks oblong and horse-like, to me. I see the inverted triangle body structure very prominently. My brain focuses on my shoulders, rib cage, feet, lack of hips, etc. I can’t see anything else.

Unfortunately all of this is tied to my confidence levels. I see an unattractive person, and I can’t really feel all that confident about myself. Even with my ability to logically deduce that I’m wrong doesn’t help me. I KNOW I’m wrong. I can tell that by how people interact with me, what they say about me, etc. That logic doesn’t change what I see and how I feel about what I see.

Fuck, I mean, people have referred to me as “a knockout”, “the perfect woman”, and how I’ve “ruined them for other women”. I’ve been told people wish they were me and really admire me. I hear all of that...openly disagree with it, and in fact usually am shocked and agape at someone saying that kind of thing to me. It’s SO FAR away from how I view myself. I hear all of it, and continue to tear myself down. I tell myself that “They don’t see the REAL me”. The me that I see every day. That’s a lie I tell myself, and a lie I believe.

I think my self worth issues have prevented me from doing a lot of things. I’ve convinced myself many times I’m not good enough to do various things, like continue fencing, start a community, reach for goals, go to things that I want to go to, and so on. Unfortunately I think my self worth issues run deep, too. I think they go all the way back to early grade school, and it’s going to take a terrible amount of work to fix, if it’s even possible.

Theory 3: Attraction or Envy?

This theory is probably less likely than the rest of them, but there’s a part of me that even wonders if I’m even attracted to the person. What if I’m not, and it’s just envy? It’s the classic “Not sure if I want to be her or be on her” thing. But what if that is the case?

I guess it’s possible to be both of those things...attracted AND envious. If I analyze my feelings, I certainly have known when my heart has fluttered in the past. In fact there have been many situations in which I have been so attracted that I can barely speak. So you know what? I’m wrong.

This theory is hereby invalidated.

Theory 4: Seeking Perfection

We all settle. There’s no perfect person. We all have our standards, as well. In the past, I’ve often dated people because...well...they liked me. Prior to transition, I was the shy kid most of my crushes thought was adorable, but would never consider dating. Rejection was just a reality for me. I was never someone’s choice, at least that I was aware of. I’m sure there were a number of folks that were very interested in me, but I was very blind to anyone looking my way.

After transition, dating became even harder. My dating pool got a lot smaller, and rejection just for being trans was commonplace. So after a while it became a thing that regardless of my attraction level to them, I’d date them. It gave me companionship, but my interest would fade. I settled a lot just to have someone.

My therapist has pointed this out to me as a possible source of my lack of interest.

One aspect of this may be that I’m very attracted to women that present how stereotypical cishetwomen present. The gay and queer community often sees woman presenting more masculine as part of culture. Let me just say...flannel is not attractive to me. So a lot of lesbian woman are often not attractive to me.

I find a lot of folks I’m very attracted to around me. So many! The problem is they are all straight. Every one of them. If they’re not straight, they aren’t into femme women. Or they’re hypersexual. Or they’re transphobic. Or have kids. Or married. Or a coworker. Or 15 years too young. Or immature, manipulative, objectifying, unintelligent, sociopathic, and so on. And so on. Actually scratch a few of those, because if they are a few of those, I’d never be attracted to them in the first place. You catch my meaning though.

I’m sure what you’ll say to this is “Jessica, those are standards, not perfection.” You’re right, but if no one meets those standards, are they too high? My attractions are narrow, and frustrating. I am so envious of pan folk.

Theory 5: Fleshy Meat Bags

Dissociation is common for me. I view the world as an ephemeral experience involving weird chemicals and electrical impulses that drive a fleshy, watery, meat bag machine to do things. My brain chemistry tells me that I’m hungry. It tells me I’m attracted to someone or not. I am controlled by my calcium wrapped neuronic lasagne noodle casserole’s whims, and sometimes the casserole reminds me that everyone else around me is nothing more than ugly bags of water and flesh.

It may be a form of external body dysmorphia, if that’s a thing. I don’t know. But people I was attracted to can literally in another moment be unattractive to me and back. It depends on what’s going on in the casserole at the time. Maybe it’s impacted by theory 1. Maybe when the overprotection instinct kicks in, I dissociate a bit and see the world as absurd and humans as a fleshy part of that absurdity.

I mean...look at us? We’re pretty disgusting. We’ve got this weird tuft of fur on our heads. Also...we have heads. Weird limbs and a chunky torso thing. We have noisy, gross processes that require us to shove other organisms into one of our openings, in which slimy secretions destroy it and turn it into something to make parts of the meat sack function more efficiently. Then later the unused junk gets excreted out another opening while producing odious gasses. And the rituals we’ve made up to make ourselves more appealing to others? Also absurd.

You know what else is absurd? Physics. Gravity. Consciousness. All of it. The entire experience of being here. Ridiculous. It’s all arbitrary. Am I describing nihilism...eh...somewhat. Nihilism is more about “Yes, asburd. So fuck it and do something that makes you happy.” Mine’s more “Absurd...no but seriously...ABSURD! LIKE WTF?!!”

So yeah...maybe that plays a role. I dunno. What do you think? About the only thing I can really conclude is that it's really a mix of everything that's playing in, but mostly theories 1 and 2 with sprinkles of 4 and 5. Otherwise, I got nothing.

If you read this far, leave a comment about what you think is absurd.

Also in case you’re wondering and missed that I mentioned my therapist already once, yes, I have a therapist, and yes, I go every week.

Stay Healthy!