Dr. Love, WHAT SHOULD I DO? I am in my mid-twenties and have never been out with anyone let alone slept with anyone or confessed my interests to anyone.I was sexually molested as a child through my teens. I told no one until I was twenty when I moved away. I come from a small community where words spread very quickly. In addition my parents would would have killed the guy had they known.When I left I was finally able to confess my pain to friends whom I could trust. I have never had consultations on this, but took up Psycology in college in order to understand and help myself to privately overcome my anger, fears and depression.So far, I have rid most of my depression and anger, but I can’t seem to get past my fear of men. I am told daily, by people in my community that I am very attractive and personable, and I have respect from everyone. I even get asked out on dates. But before they even finish asking I lie to them, saying I already have someone or some other excuse.I have, however, developed a very strong attraction for a man who works not far from me. I make up excuses to visit his store and have bought items there that I don’t even need.I don’t know anything about him except his name, but for the first time I am finding myself attracted. Do to my fear I can’t flirt with him, and whenever he makes eye contact I turn away. I don’t want him to think that I am not interested, yet I can’t make myself indicate anything different and right now I am afraid of losing someone that I don’t even have.Fantasies have always comforted me, but now I am feeling desires and I do not know how to make them reality. Please help. Thank you.
I can give you all kinds of dating tricks, but they won’t work for you unless you heal the wound inside first.Reading psychology books isn’t usually sufficient to heal. The type of healing that you need can only happen in the context of a relationship, such as a therapeutic relationship.In the healing relationship you have a chance to experience the fears that come up when you try to get close to someone. And, in the safety of this therapeutic relationship, you can talk through and resolve the fears.I can’t stress enough how important this type of therapy will be for you. And, I make the distinction here between therapy in which you and the therapist talk about what happened or happens outside the room, instead of staying focused on your relationship together.It is only by staying in the room that you will be able to experience, first hand, what frightens you about closeness–fear of intimacy, vulnerability, dependency, etc. All these issues need to be experienced and worked-through in therapy before you can go out and make a relationship work on the outside.That doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold while you are working on yourself. You can also move forward with this man that you are attracted to.Search my Advice Archives under the key words: shy, scared to make the first move, and fear of rejection. You will find lots of information on how to get started.Bottom line, ask interested questions about the person you are interested in. Everyone likes to talk about his favorite subject–himself. Talking to him about himself will focus you off of yourself, and your terror, as well. But remember, your fears of talking to this man mask deeper fears of getting near someone and being hurt again.So, you must resolve these deeper issues before you can hope to make it work in any lasting way with this man.By the way, hypnosis has been shown to be a helpful therapeutic tool for helping a person break free of wounds that stem from sexual abuse.Please keep in touch and let me know how you do.