Dear Dr. Romance:
I'm not sure where to begin. I am single white male tall and stocky like a football player. My problem is I'm to shy and I fail to respond when women come on to me It's like I freeze up. I'm not out to get laid but to fall in love I fell in love once and it totally wasted me. I haven't even kissed a girl in ten yrs if you believe that.
When I was an alcoholic I had no inhibitions and it was no problem to meet women but I haven't had a drink in ten yrs. Now I'm sitting in the prison of Christianity and going nowhere Any advice would be appreciated
There are two factors that contribute to your shyness. One is that you never healed the hurt from 10 years ago, and you're afraid to open yourself up to being hurt again.
The other is that, when you make a huge change, like giving up alcohol, you have to re-learn how to do life. What ever age you were when you began drinking (I'm guessing early teens) is the emotional age you are now, because drinking stopped you from learning for all those years.
Are you going to 12-step meetings? If you are, that's a great place to learn with and from others who understand, because they'e been there, too. But, you're not going to learn unless you speak up and let your meeting know what your problem is. If you are in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and you have a sponsor, your sponsor can help.
You need to mentally practice how to talk to women. Watch movies, TV, and other people; and copy what the coolest men do. Women will respond to you, you just have to know the techniques. Think of what you are doing as making friends, not beginning a new relationship. That's too scary, when you don't even know the woman you're talking to. If you focus on just making friends with women, you'll relax a little. If a woman talks to you, and you freeze up, rehearse the scene later, when you're alone. Instead of giving yourself a hard time, just practice what you could have said, and you'll find it easier to respond the next time.
In your imagination, go over every time a woman approached you, and figure out what you could have done. Practice in front of a mirror. You'll find you feel more comfortable after you've practiced a while. You need to do some work on your old hurt, and resolve it. The Real Thirteenth Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs has exercises and guidelines to help you. "The Fine Art of Squirrel Hunting" is a step-by step guide to dating. "10 Reasons for Not Falling in Love" will help you understand why you are having this problem.
Christianity doesn't have to be a prison. It could be a fellowship, and a great resource for understanding people you can talk to, volunteer with, and get to know.
For low-cost counseling, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.
Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.