Romance has never been my strong suit. A lot makes two people one that requires a ton of dedication and empath. While I want to make good on those, there seems always to be something that gets in the way. Emotion stings my mind, and the feelings of others influence how I behave. Certain emotions, the sad sight of dwindling confidence, issues with distance, and eventual realizations have led to half-hearted relationships or some that have never surfaced. It isn't anyone's fault but rather a lot of realizations that are only apparent at some point after you've potentially committed, where it just won't work out at that particular point in time. You might be great best friends (or, as I like to say, friends with benefits), but not lovers. While this happens all the time and likely happens to everyone, I feel that as an empath and an introvert, the feeling can't help but be amplified as if you didn't try hard enough or there is something wrong with you. Those who know me might consider me a pretty desensitized or emotionally-neutral person, but that can't be further from the truth. I feel an emotion to a grand scale if you are a dear friend of mine, and a lot of my happiness comes from my friends being happy as well. When one isn't doing too well, it hurts me, and I'll do anything I can to help.
I was never a famous person, nor a normal one. There is no such thing as an average person, and life is not a popularity contest. I'm sure a lot thought of me as that one weird kid who never talks, but that isn't by choice. I want to talk to people and make friends, but I suffer from social anxiety, depression, paranoia, impostor syndrome, and the like. Meeting people via Discord made me feel accepted and realize that I am not alone in this oddity. Growing up, I also had my fair share of connections, which fluctuated a lot. I know it's part of growing up to have this, and it wasn't far from traditional hormones being like "SEX!!!SEX!!!SEX!!!". There's only been few and far between instances where I've felt a romantic connection to another, and it only happened in person once. Most of these connections either originated or grew exponentially online. I became what people call lovesick.
I've become "lovesick" to only a tiny amount of people over my life, and an even smaller number came to some fruition. Just that feeling that you and another have some mutual connection is something everyone needs to experience firsthand and preferably in person. Without it, this probably will be hard to understand. I can usually never gather the confidence to tell someone I like them because of the fear of uncertainty, which for someone who can be mentally unstable is like suiting up to be a crash test dummy. Regardless, I have done it before to varying success. I am naturally an unconfident person and a complete social outcast, so it's hard to approach someone first. Due to my lack of social skills, I cannot keep a conversation going. Only the same person can understand it and is okay with just communicating telepathically. When I feel love for someone, I feel it deeply. This is no "hey, I like you, wanna date? no? okay then" scenario. It becomes too strong to handle and for words to describe. When I do admit it, it's usually because it was to a point where I said to myself, "I got to get this out." Regardless of whatever happened, I kept true to my principles and would never deviate from what I am about to tell you.
Don't Burn The Bridge
Before I get the depressing things going, there's something that I understood before I even started venturing into the world of affection. If you get rejected, friend-zoned, or have a tough breakup, do not burn the bridge for the love of everything. I understand it hurts like a bitch, and there have been nights where I was unable to sleep and in tears because I realized that things that may or may not had a chance at working out in the first place didn't, even if we both liked each other to death.
What's there is still unique, and sometimes the friend zone is not permanent. Taking it out on the other person, whether in private or public, not only makes you look like an ass but also can toss you out of the friend zone into the "don't talk to me anymore"-zone. You do not want to be that person. I understand it can be challenging. I understand that you think about it a lot and can only think of what could have been. Moving on is something I struggle with as well, and I don't think I have fully moved on from some things either. But I do not take that as an opportunity to become some stalker, saboteur, or basher. If you do any of these things, you should take a hard look in the mirror and realize that you are letting it get the better of you too much, and it did more harm than good.
Beneath my extreme emotions of love, there was always that lingering thought behind the curtain. What if I'm not doing enough? What if they don't like me? What if it seems perfect? Is it likely not? I never really brought this up to my others, mainly because I was scared that I'd become a nuisance and fracture whatever we built. I didn't want this negativity to shower my honest thoughts, but as I learned, it's kind of like shooting yourself in the foot if you just let it build up, especially when I like to keep an open dialogue with whoever I'm with. There are ways to convey your thoughts to another, and it has to be done correctly. But I didn't do this.
I've had countless emotions that never saw the light of day. Things that I've wanted to say but just couldn't because I was trapped in my cocoon of "just keep things happy and sublime" and didn't see that there is something that I should probably address. While the small questions typically do resolve themself, I can't help but feel like I am someone hiding the truth because I choose not to bring up stuff that's on my mind even if we were as open as possible. Not only do I struggle with reading what's on their mind, but I also struggle with mentioning what's on mine.
Living In The Little Moments
I value the little moments a lot. While I might sound quiet, the voice inside my head is louder than anything else in the world. Honestly, I prefer just doing nothing, not speaking, and just cuddling, letting the brain do its work. My brain is an excellent communicator between me and someone, and I value it greatly. Most times, I don't even have to say a word. When I'm not with someone physically, we can often stay in a voice call and let our brains do the talking.
When it comes to doing things outside, I can be typically somewhat relaxed and like to do things with someone, but I have my limits. There are times when I've been forced out of my comfort zone, and it's not pretty. I've never had an other do this, but some real-life friends have done it. It's not that what they're doing is wrong, but mainly that they know I'm not comfortable going somewhere or doing something at that particular time. Instead of taking a step back, they then try to convince me repeatedly to do something I have already told them I am adamant about doing and almost trying to make me feel guilty. It's the equivalent of peer pressure, and I hate it so much. Not only does it get me more annoyed, but it also puts a lot on my stress and anxiety.
The little moments are also an issue for me. Because I value them a lot, it's also easy to be attached to them. I have done countless stupid things which other people likely do a lot, but they stick to me, and something small I've done months or years ago is still fresh in my mind, which eats away at me, and I wish I could turn back the clock to do something differently. I can never get rid of them, and big ones are just amplified to 11. I could have had great relationships or potential had I done this ONE thing differently, but I chose to do whatever I did at the time, and now I'm paying the price for it.
Since I have the attention span of a goldfish, it's hard to keep me engaged in whatever we're doing. Usually, in the beginning, you feel these crazy super levels of attachment, and then it just progressively wanes. While it might be more normal than I think, I don't want that attachment to fade away, but I can't stop it from happening. Is it a sudden burst of confidence? Or just feelings? I have no clue. I picture myself thinking that everything will align, I'll be able to do what I want to do, be with who I want to be, and so on. I go way over my head sometimes, and it just ends up killing every single thought I have when inevitably you step back and start to think about reality. For example, how exactly am I going to make things work if I'm not even in their physical presence of them? What if it's not what I'm expecting?
My brain goes in circles about what I want to do and loses focus. This could be the ADHD talking, as I tend to babble on incoherently at times and can be seen as someone who goes way over their head and thinks everything will fall into place when it requires more than the bare minimum. Things don't just happen on their own, and barriers are everywhere. You have to find a way around those barriers, or you're never going to meet your end goals, which I can't seem to figure out, so I continue to get stuck on them.
Feelings dry up, and I can't continue. It then makes me feel like a total idiot for getting my hopes up in the first place when the real world slaps you in the face. I should go into whatever happens next with absolutely no confidence, look like a dull person, and then have that low confidence reaffirmed when nobody shows interest.
Similar, But Polar Opposite
Another thing I learned is there can be people who are too similar, and that's a negative rather than a positive. You might now be thinking, "Are you on crack? If you're that similar, you must agree on everything and have the easiest relationship in the world!" and I wouldn't complain if you had that mindset. There seems to be this status quo of relationships where you should get someone you disagree with and drive you insane. I am not that person, but as I've learned, you can't have it where your other is a top-to-bottom clone of you. It might sound marvelous and pretty unreal at times, but it just causes more problems than anything.
For one, feeling "unreal" might be a bad thing for my case because if it doesn't feel real, you'll continue to have that feeling. There have been times when I've thought that I was living in a simulation because someone predicted everything I was going to be and wanted to do. It made me feel like I was talking to some robot programmed to exactly my interests and feelings. I'm not against it, but it just feels... off to have nothing to discuss.
Also, that feeling of absolute similarity doesn't last forever since you'll start to find differences as it progresses! Good, right? Not so fast. They stick out like thorns on a cactus, and the imperfections start to add up. If you were visioning something perfect, it ends here. Striking a balance between similarities and differences is something I want to achieve, but it's an impossible task.
There are just times when you want to talk no more and cuddle, hug, or do anything else physically. It can start to eat away at you when you haven't done that for a while. You become desperate for any attention you can get, and then (implying you get the opportunity in person) you get your wish. Those insane feelings that you feel are true affection. Just being able to share that moment is one for the ages.
This seems to be some repeating cycle I get. I'll jump on an opportunity, feel satisfied and start to think things will be alright, and then the rotation starts again. I miss the attention and affection I shared with others. I miss them deeply but will likely not see them for a while (if ever again). Things don't get much better, as it turns from wanting into literal desperation being stuck in this constant loop. I want to break out of it but don't know how.
A Distant Collapse
This... is not a subject I am going to like writing about. Pretty much, I can point all of my failures in relationships back to this root cause. Distance. I didn't mention much about it until now, but I have very few real-life friends and have limited opportunities to make more. This means that my network of friends is pretty small and the only real opportunity for me to make friends is to meet them online via games, Discord, and the like. Let me first say that if you've been told that online friends are fake and offer no real benefit, that is BULLSHIT. I have met so many amazing people, and it led to getting my foot in the door of the industry I want to go in professionally. Without the people I met throughout the years, I don't know what would have happened. There's so much done for me that words are not sufficient. But, there is a sacrifice that has to be made, and that's you probably are not going to meet a majority of them in-person. In my case, I have the resources to meet them if/when the time is right and we so choose, but for the most part you don't get an opportunity to do real-life things with those friends because you don't live in the same area as them.
This also applies to feelings of love and relationships. I cannot count how many times I just wanted to be there next to them, but we're states or even countries away. We can't just teleport up the map or across the pond (please, Elon Musk or someone else make a goddamn teleportation device). If I had the same relationships or a potential for one and distance was not a concern, I say it would have fared better. But alas, it is. For everything on this planet, give me five fucking minutes together. Sometimes, I don't want to be bound by an Ethernet cable or wireless connection. I want to be bound physically by touch. So much wasted opportunity because I can't get to them at that moment in time.
I've had to stop countless times writing this section because the feelings got to me. I may not want to be constantly given attention and physical bondage, but it's still needed. I know it's weird as an introvert to want to do more extroverted things with someone since, in almost all other cases, I am a pretty closed person, but relationships are a bit of another story.
I know I'm going to return to this post at some point. Maybe in a few months, years, or decades if I still pay the server bills or have an archive of it. Maybe then I'll be able to look back and say that I've been able to find someone that checks all the boxes, and a screen and internet connection do not always bind me. Or there's some invention that makes these barriers less of an issue. I know VR is a bit like this, and while I think it can offer like 50-70% of the illusion of being there physically, it's not perfect. Sometimes, being some weeb avatar in VRChat doesn't cut it, and I don't see the "metaverse" fixing any of this. It is pretty mind-boggling that someone who's been "anti-social", as the older generations would call it, can feel such genuine affection and desperation to be with someone else. It's almost like many introverts are misunderstood and not as introverted as people think. We want to do things, but not all the time. Also, conditions such as high-functioning autism and social anxiety affect your personal goals because even if you are dying to do something, you can't because you are too scared or have no clue how to get the words out of your mouth. Or you're scared of thinking that you aren't deserving of anyone else because of your differences. Regardless of what it is, I can barely manage myself. I know I have some issues with being a bit too desperate and very emotional. A slight change of plans can be enough to send me into a spiraling depression without an end in sight, but as I've learned, there usually always is a way out of it somehow. This entire post may have been better suited in the drafts and discussed with a professional, and I probably should seek one, but I'm putting this post out mainly for others to find and know that they are not alone. Even if you are so introverted, there's just that feeling that you have that maybe having just one person you can be happy with is not a bad idea.