I'm a man in my thirties who has not had a relationship for about 15 years. I think I overreacted to getting hurt when my ex girlfriend dumped me and I spent many years thinking that I just didn't want ever want to have a relationship again. I remember actually hoping that I would never have strong feelings for anyone, and annoyingly it seems this has come true. I have become very lonely over these years and I really want to be close to someone, but the idea of a relationship absolutely scares the life out of me and I have made myself quite sick with worry when on a couple of occasions I have met up with a girl that I have met on a dating website.

Rather horribly my ex girlfriend from all those years ago was sexually abused as a child, and although she did not want this to effect her sexual relationships as an adult it did mean that sex was a bit awkward. I was never allowed to touch her anywhere intimate with my hands. This was not something that I minded, we found ways round this and I was really happy to be with her. However, during sex sometimes she would suddenly see me as the man that had abused her as child and so obviously we would have to stop immediately and I would try to comfort her, although at that moment she would not want me to be near her. This used to make me feel really guilty because I had been enjoying having sex with her, but she had not been enjoying it at all, quite the opposite, she had seen me as her abuser. I found that this freaked me out and I don't know how to feel about sex. I know that sex should be an enjoyable healthy fun thing, but when I imagine myself in a sexual situation it seems perverted and bad. I don't think I have the right attitude towards sexual relationships. I feel kind of bad bringing this subject up as she was the one that suffered sexual abuse as a child, not me, and yet I am feeling sorry for myself about it.

I have spent so long being single I often wonder if I might be gay. I have never had sexual feelings for men though, so I think this is just my own paranoia. The idea of myself being gay isn't something that I like. I don't consider myself homophobic at all, and I try to tell myself that if I am gay then there is nothing wrong with it. I think I'm quite open minded and although I have not had close gay friends for many years, I have had gay neighbours that I regularly chatted and joked with, but I just don't want to be gay myself. I worry that maybe I am gay but maybe I don't want to admit it because I don't like the idea of it. I worry that I don't really know my own mind or how I feel about things. I have also started wondering if I'm not gay, but instead something completely different which is bad, like a pervert or someone like the man that abused my ex girlfriend as a child.

I don't really have any ambitions, but I have always wanted to meet a nice girl, settle down in a rural area by the sea and have children. This is something I remember thinking since I was quite young. I think that I know this to be how I truly feel in my heart, but I find that more and more I can't be sure about how I feel.

Over these 15 years I have masturbated sporadically. Sometimes it will be once every two weeks, and sometimes there will be a week or two where I will masturbate 2 or 3 times a day. When I masturbate I think about a kind of mixture of memories of what sex was like, but instead of my ex girlfriend it will be a different girl who will be someone that I think I fancy, and this person has changed over the years due to changes in employment and changes in social circles. It seems that the girls I fancy tend to always be in relationships, and I wonder if this is deliberate because I guess its safe to fantasise about someone I can't have and I will never have to face the trauma of getting dumped or disappointing someone.

Something that I am not proud of is that very often over these 15 years when I have masturbated it has been over pictures of women in pornographic magazines, and these days on the internet. I think that this has messed up my expectations of what sex and relationships is about and it seems like I don't really have an interest in having sex myself, just looking at images. I often decide that I do not want to look at porn any more because I strongly feel that it is wrong and perverted, and so I will fight with myself and not look at any for a month or two, and then I somehow end up slipping back into it and starting all over again when something has upset me. I clearly enjoy porn, but at the same time I really, really, really hate it. Its something that I don't want to look at, and yet it is something that I find myself wanting to do. I wish that instead of this I was keen to flirt with girls and try and start a proper relationship, but I'm not sure what I really want, its as if my desire for a normal relationship has been broken and spoilt by porn. The porn I look at varies from very soft stuff with pictures of women with not much nudity to harder stuff where women will be having penetrative sex with a men. When I look at porn I fantasize about touching the women in the images sexually and I think that maybe this is because I was not able to do this with my ex-girlfriend, and I'm uncomfortable with that feeling.

At the end of the day I don't know what I really want or how how I really feel. I feel like I have completely lost touch with my emotions and am becoming more and more withdrawn. When I meet people I used to work with or old friends I find I don't know how to talk to them. I feel so out of touch with any feelings or joy and I have been thinking about suicide a lot recently, but I think that suicide is such a selfish thing to do to people who are your friends and family, or the person that has to deal with your body that I could not do that. I would upset a lot of people, and I don't think I really want to be dead, it just keeps looking like an option sometimes, but not one I can take.

I'm sorry that this isn't really a direct question that I have written here, but I needed to pour all this stuff out and I hope I have not annoyed the moderators of this website for writing so much. I can't tell anyone I know that I look at porn, and I have only briefly touched on other things with very close friends, but it has felt good to write this stuff down.


3508 days ago
I think it's great that you can write all that out, it will help you figure out a solution I think. Have you thought about finding a psychologist to review some of your viewpoints you shared?

You may very well have convinced yourself that being in a relationship isn't such a good thing, and now you want to be with someone. I doubt you are a homosexual. You've just told yourself over and over about the hurt and frustration you had with your ex so much that your mind has believed you. It can be undone, this thinking.

You don't need to end your life, you can change it! Therapy is a good way to safely discuss what thoughts you have and where the thoughts are coming from, and then learn to change your mind in the areas you really want to change.

It has been a long time, so it won't occur overnight, but it's well worth it! Imagine a great life with someone for even a few years... you can do this!


3507 days ago
I do not think you are a homosexual either. It seems like a lot of it is due to the past issues you have experienced with your ex.

I would suggest therapy for yourself. You can do this! Keep working towards making yourself happy. Good feelings dont always come on over night, sometimes a little work has to go into the plan.



3504 days ago

3504 days ago
hiya,the exact same thing happened to me in 1990,when i was 19.i was too young to realise it at the time ,but i was psychologically tortured,wittingly or unwittingly ,by my toxic boyfriend.i avoided loving ,decent kind men for 10 years.i missed out on so much love and fun.having a biological clock i forced myself to marry in 2000,and have suprised myself with a full recovery-mostly thanks to 2 wonderful babies.i m only sorry i did nt force myself to move on years ago,force myself to go out,dance ,love ,travel,be attractive,have fun etc.i would also advise my younger self-psychiatric help- medication to stop me crying and medication to enable me to sleep.you sound like a wonderful man.i wish you a big God Bless.

3501 days ago
Hi there, thanks for your responses, its nice to get some feedback.

After writing my problems down here I feel that I have a better understanding of my issues and it no longer seems quite so overwhelming. It seems much more manageable now. I think I also have a different perspective with pornography now, and having admitted to my usage of it I feel kind of different about it, its hard to explain but by admitting to it I feel now that somehow I can detach myself from it and leave it behind. Its not something I have looked at for a while again now, and I'm hoping that my eagerness to start dating and meet a nice girl will replace those urges.

I have also come to the conclusion that that I am not gay, and I guess that it was kind of obvious to me all along! The trouble is that I have spent so much time single that I sometimes lie awake at night trying to work out why, and I come up with all kinds of explanations to try and give a reason to why I have been alone for so long. It means that I end up questioning everything.

I think that I will seek out some psychotherapy, and as I felt a lot better about my situation after just writing it all down here, I'm sure sitting down and talking to a professional person will help me a lot. It won't be for a little while though as to force myself out of my (un)comfort zone I have booked myself a holiday for 3 weeks backpacking round Thailand by myself. My boss is always trying to persuade me to have a proper holiday and I have not been abroad in an equally long time as I have been single. I reckon I could probably do with a bit of culture shocking, and I reckon it will do me good and I'm really excited about it, but kind of nervous at the same time.

Anyway, I'm feeling a lot better about my situation and I realise that I've just got to sort it out.

Thanks for your replies.