My name is Bruce and I have a really pressing question. I am seriously considering entering a Catholic seminary and becoming a priest because I have had very very poor luck with women. Maybe you can help. You see, I am in college and am 20 years old. I have always been an academic rather than social or athletic type personality.All through my life, I have encountered girl after girl which I set my heart on. I dreamt about them, thought about them continuously, and just wondered how great it would be to be together with them. My first was in 5th grade. Her name was Christine, and I really liked her. She kind of liked me, but after 5th grade, I went to a different school, so I never got to see her again. Then in sixth grade, I thought I met the girl of my dreams. Her name was Jamie, but she was really popular, while I was kind of thought of as the class nerd/bookworm. I thought about her a lot, but she never really seemed to like me. She even asked me out mockingly one time to tease me.Then I went to Junior high, and she went elsewhere, but I still thought about her. In junior High, I came across two or three girls that I set my heart on, and not one of them worked out. One’s name was Sarine, who talked to me, but there is no way I would have had a chance. The other was Keeley, who was really popular too; again she would have nothing to do with me. Then came High School.And back came Jamie. She had changed, and become very friendly, so at the get acquainted dance, I asked her to dance. She declined, the reason for which I was unsure of. I then asked her friend if she was going to the homecoming dance with anyone, but she already was. Shot down yet again, for the fifth time. Then in eleventh grade, I was talking to this guy Tony, and he was really popular; I asked who he was going to Prom with, and he said he was going with Jamie. Shucks, 6th time shot down. In 12th grade, I knew this girl Callie, but she was really shy. I though she was pretty, but my previous experiences kept m e from asking her out. Strike 7. (I should also note that during Junior High and High school at times when I felt like it might not work out with one of these girls, I did consider pursuing other girls, but these are the main ones.)After I graduated, I got a job along with going into college. I met a girl there, Michelle, who I thought was absolutely amazing. She was in High School, and After about 2 weeks, I found out she also had a boyfriend. Strike 8. And recently, I met a girl, in a club on campus, but she is in High School. Her name is Heather, and I think she is so fun to be around. However, I keep hearing her talk about the prom and other dances she goes to at all the high schools in my town. It really makes me feel out of my league. She, however is really kind to me, so I really want it to work out with me and her, but she is really popular, so why wouldn’t some guy already have her?She has the qualities that attract most guys-she is pretty and all,but she is also really nice and kind. So why wouldn’t some guy pick up on this before me? Whenever things go bad, I think of the saying ‘When you think things can only get worse, that is when they’ll suddenly get really good.’ At the end of each period of liking one of these particular girls when I found out it wouldn’t work between us, I said that to myself-‘When you think things can only get worse, they’ll get really good’ But then came the next one, and I would think it again.Next one came-same again. But things never got better. Why? I am really starting to lose faith in myself. People keep saying things like’ There will be other women.’ But there has never been one (relationship) that worked out for me.I have never had a girlfriend. I keep asking friends’What if Heather and I don’t work out?’They say ‘There are other women’ Boy, I think that sounds all too familiar. I am beginning to think there is something wrong with me in addition to being really really shy. I am not rude, perverse, or otherwise disrespectful to women. I don’t act weird around them; in fact I’m usually quiet so I don’t make a fool of myself. You ever get the feeling that something, some force, if you will, is trying its best to make your life difficult and miserable? What is wrong with me? I admit I seriously think there is something wrong with me, or I would not be asking you, but I don’t know what it is.I must also apologize for the incoherent nature of my writing-I amjust letting my thoughts flow, and don’t have time to make a grammatically perfect essay.I really hope that you pick this question for free, because I foundnothing in your advice archives that would help much. Thank you.Hopelessly helpless in Maine
In reading your letter it sounds as though you feel persecuted by a mysterious force. The force that is plaguing you is your own unconscious mind. What do I mean?If you reread your letter you will notice that you have an exquisite memory of each and every rejection that you have suffered and you have even numbered the failed relationships in order–strike one, strike two, strike three…Without knowing it, your mind has come to expect rejection. In other words, you have programmed yourself to expect the next strike to come. Now, you may be saying, but life has shown me to expect rejections.What I have found is that life usually deals us the blows that we unconsciously expect to receive. If we expect to find a lover that doesn’t value us, that’s what we find. If we expect a lover to mistreat us, that’s what we find. Realize that these expectations are not usually conscious. Consciously, most of us say that we want happy, healthy relationships, but what our unconscious minds expect and seek out is an all together different matter (see repetition compulsion and unfinished business in my Advice Archives).There are many reasons why you would come to expect nothing but more rejection. Certainly a bad experience can prime the pump, but usually there are deeper issues, which stem from your formative years. In other words, if you experienced rejection as a child, your mind comes to expect rejection in your adult relationships. So, examine your history and see if you can find any parallels.As I said above, I am sure that unfinished childhood business is at work due to the repetitive nature of your struggle with women (repetition is the clue). A hopeless feeling pervades your love life. That you must resign yourself to yearn from afar and can’t possibly receive love in return. As a boy, you must have felt hopeless to receive the love you desired, and this pattern has been recreated from childhood forward. Read the Archives to understand why the mind recreates the pain of childhood and figure out what type of healing your mind yearns for through the repetition. Identify your ‘happy ending.’If you were rejected by parents as a kid, then it would be no surprise that you came to feel rejected or unwanted, freaklike, a nerd, out of place, etc. The way we felt as kids follows us into adulthood. And, if you look at how you depicted yourself to me in your letter, you present yourself as a reject that no one would want (reread your letter).When one feels this way about himself, even if he never says it aloud, unconscious vibes are transmitted, kind of like radio signals. People pick up these signals and respond to you accordingly. If you feel like a freak, reject, then that’s how people respond to you.So, first and foremost, you need to improve the way you see yourself. I know you have had a lot of bad experiences, but, I do believe that they were due, in large part, to your inherent feeling of unworthiness.Also notice how you are silent when with women (as if to hide your inadequacies). But, the silence is read all the same as a gesture to conceal the real you that you are ashamed of. In addition, being quiet doesn’t work because women want to be talked to, verbally courted, etc.You need to begin to believe what I say and heal your flailing self-esteem. Surround yourself with people that like and admire you. Say good things to yourself. Every time you catch yourself predicting another failure, stop the thought and remind yourself that your past doesn’t equal your future; and that previous failures were due to a poor self-view combined with the expectation that you would fail again (self-fulfilling prophesy).It would also be good to join a support group (in my chat membership, such support groups exist) in which you can experience relationships with people who admire and appreciate you.You sound like a fine person, intelligent and sensitive, and if you can start to see yourself as I do, and surround yourself with those that do, you will begin to find women who feel the same way about you.One enters a seminary out of love for God, not out of a lack of love from women.Please let me know how you do.