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I'm afraid of relationships and men. How do I get over this?

Asked by aprilsimnel (30622 points ) May 26th, 2009

I just got off the phone with my (married) sister in Florida, who I went to see last week. During our talk today and when I was there, she lamented how I’m “so pretty,” but I don’t wear make-up or figure-hugging clothes or do anything to go out of my way to attract men. I like men, but I’m scared of them. I give men a lot of power, both the ones I’m interested in and the ones I’d rather avoid.

On dates, I’ve always gone dutch, and am uncomfortable with men paying. I don’t want to have any guy do something for me because I’m scared the quid pro quo will be sex, and once he’s gotten it, he’s off to the next woman. And if the guy is decent, I think that I’m going to be judged by my background and current financial status (which is bad). I assume that I’ll be judged by men in the same way I see women judge men, you know? Logically, I know this stuff is untrue, but I can’t seem to shake the fear that it is true. I don’t know how to handle male sexual attention, how to fend off the attention I don’t want, how to let men I like know I’m interested, how to feel confident that I’m worthy of the men I’m interested in or how to be in an mature relationship.

I never allowed the guys at school talk to me, even if I was attracted to them, I was ashamed of my poverty and family background. I’d flee into the library if I saw them coming. I didn’t feel good enough for them. I’d also feel guilty about putting off the guys in my neighborhood who, to me, didn’t seem to be going anywhere with their lives, but then again, maybe I was being a stuck-up bitch who thought I was better than other people. The men I actually dated in college I should’ve stayed away from. I let them bully me into dating them and they were awful experiences. Some of the men who approached me I could’ve gotten to know, but again, I felt I was unworthy of them and shied away.

Does anyone know what I’m talking about? What’s the truth about this stuff? I don’t want the next part of my life clouded by this fear of men. Right now, I’m more focused on getting a job in my field and figuring out a way to live in London, but this issue is going to rear its head again soon enough. Besides therapy, what to do?

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