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Social/dating catch-up in graduate school

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I have also never been in a relationship. And I was bullied and rejected by most my peers in elementary and high school (in my case, it was out of jealousy). I spent most of my teenage years being literally afraid of others because almost any interaction I'd have with my peers would be harmful/stressful/anxiety provoking to me. I also live with mental illness. I had a breakdown 8 yrs ago and the girl I used to be "died" after that. I'm a much better, happier person now even if the path to recovery has been incredibly painful. Most importantly, I am not afraid anymore of going towards others and to start friendships. I realized that I was creating barriers and walls and I'm glad that I came to a point where I was ready to break them for good.

The experiences you're describing are actually quite common. I understand where you're coming from, but I think you're creating a bridge between yourself and others from the get-go. People are now adults. They're not children and you're not a child. People evolve, change and mature. And that definetly helps to have more meaningful friendships as you get older in my opinion. It's easy to get stuck in this idea that people will conduct themselves in the same way they used to when they were kids or teens because of that "trauma" of being an outsider. Also, a partner does not have to be exactly like you for a relationship to be successful. I am not speaking from my own experience on this but from what I have witnessed in my close friends who are committed in serious relationships.

I think you need to give people a chance and not assume that they won't be willing to speak to you or be friends with you without having even tried. More often than not, lots of your peers are sharing these same feelings of loneliness but aren't talking about it in an obvious way for others to see.

Finally, one thing that's been really helpful for me (and saved my life at the time) has been volunteering for a cause. I met people who had similar values to mine and shared common interests. And meeting people through the Internet as it's already been mentionned is also something that's really helpful (MeetUp, Dating websites, FB, etc.)

Hope this helps. 



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On 11/11/2017 at 3:52 PM, Visualizer said:

She cannot make me feel any different when interacting with OTHER adults, but she can provide a kind of "oasis", a "safe space" if you will (I hate that word in general, but it fits here) where we can be there for each other in those moments we don't want to be in the adult world. She can go swinging on the swings at a playground with me, dream about unrealistic things without concern of whether they will ever come to be, play tag in a park, draw fantasy landscapes, or any number of other things. It would take a girl who's also behind in her emotional maturation, but at least I hope it's possible. 

Women are people. We exist for things other than your pleasure. You can't build a "perfect woman" in your mind and then expect to find her in the real world. That's not how things work. And if you're going around looking for your (preferably Asian) "manic pixie dream girl", you will not find her. You need to have realistic expectations. Wanting to be with someone creative or free-spirited is perfectly acceptable. Requiring that she draw fantasy landscapes or dream about unrealistic things is not. Seeking someone emotionally stunted is also not a good goal. 

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17 hours ago, Adelaide9216 said:

Also, a partner does not have to be exactly like you for a relationship to be successful. I am not speaking from my own experience on this but from what I have witnessed in my close friends who are committed in serious relationships.


Finally, one thing that's been really helpful for me (and saved my life at the time) has been volunteering for a cause. I met people who had similar values to mine and shared common interests. And meeting people through the Internet as it's already been mentionned is also something that's really helpful (MeetUp, Dating websites, FB, etc.)

My partner and I aren't exactly alike by any means. A better description would be that we're opposites who in many ways complement one another. That works really well for us. 

Also, my sister met her partner when they were volunteering for the same cause. My mom met her partner when they were both volunteering for the same political campaign. There's definitely something to be said for volunteering as a way to meet likeminded people, whether that's for friendship or something more.

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Okay, I'm just going to be blunt here because I really feel like you need a reality check.

1) You're not that special. You're not some tortured intellectual that we mere mortals can't understand. Especially not simply because you were a nerd as a kid, because c'mon, this is a grad school forum; we all were. 

2) Stop looking down on other people, especially people in your cohort. You all got accepted to the same place in the same field, don't act like you're sooooo intellectually superior. 

3) If you act like your affection is a great honor to be bestowed upon some poor girl who will regard it as mythical and otherworldly, you will probably never have a successful relationship. I need for you to remind and keep reminding yourself that you want to be excited about a person, not just excited about the idea of someone liking you. No matter where in life you are, no matter how many relationships you have had, in any relationship, you WANT the other person to be more into you than into the idea of simply having someone be attracted to them because the latter wears off really quickly while the former might never fade away. 

4) Please stop fetishizing Asian girls. You absolutely are, and it is in no way okay. It's also super not okay to be looking for any type of girl based on their having "childlike" or "virginal" personality aspects or features. That's, if not borderline pedophilic, definitely majorly creepy.

My sincere hope for you is that you work on making some friends first. Especially try to make some female friends, but -- this is the important part -- WITHOUT having the goal of a relationship in mind. Your posts continuously read as if you have never actually interacted with a woman in a casual setting, or if you have, you certainly haven't tried to respect her or see her as anything other than as a prize to be won. Maybe once you learn this *literally bare minimum* skill of viewing women as real people rather than a "dream girl" AI you think you can plug specifications into, you may be able to attempt dating. But friend, you need to gain a heck of a lot more emotional maturity if you want to have a successful, adult relationship. Right now, you read as if you're looking for the type of "relationship" sixth graders think they're in where their parents drive them to the movies and they stare at each other over a tub of popcorn. I think you could benefit from seeing a therapist for some extra help in developing your emotional level and your interpersonal relationship skills. 

Finally, It's great to have someone that you don't have to be serious around all the time (my favorite moments with my partner are when we're just being goofballs together), but you need to remember that you are an adult, that anyone you want to date must also be an adult, and that relationships are not something separate from the rest of the world. A good relationship is not an escape from adult life, but an equal partner who walks side by side with you through both of your adult lives. 

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I know the original post is over a year old at this point, but...anyone else get major 'incel' type vibes from this?

Lots of good advice has already been given so I won't throw in my two cents but I'd basically echo what @eevee said above. 

Yikes. Good luck with the process of maturing emotionally.

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On 1/21/2018 at 12:12 AM, ShewantsthePhD101 said:

...if the thought of dating inside academia didn't creep me out before, it certainly does now.

Lmao I know. This is really bizarre.

I'm still in my early 20's and looks very young (ugh) and I would RUN, not walk, away from this guy. He doesn't even want a girl who is better than him intellectually. That's INCREDIBLY unattractive to women who are trying to get an education and establish themselves in their fields.

Edited by Grace Bones
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1 hour ago, Grace Bones said:

Actually, this is a great jumping-off thread for another topic: how to avoid creepy self-important weirdos in grad school? 

Yes. Yes it is.

When I have classes with people like this, I wait until the last minute to show up, make sure I sit as far away from them as possible and avoid eye contact when I can. I stay around the other women in the class, do not give them my phone numbers, and generally try to pretend I don't notice them because otherwise I'm worried I'll get followed, spammed with messages etc. I'm 24, but I look like I'm about 19, and I don't want or need this kind of attention.

In undergrad we had a guy in his early 30's getting his BA for the first time, and he was blatantly looking for a wife amongst us 18-19 year olds. I tried to be at a bare minimum not evil towards him because all the other women in my class told him where he could shove his perv attitudes and obsessions. To this day, because I tolerated him 6 years ago, I still get facebook friend requests every couple of months. I finally had to tell him we were not friends then and I have no interest in being friends or anything else now and to please stop trying to add me on facebook, commenting on my comments on mutual friends' pages, etc.

Some men, especially older men who specifically want to date younger girls, do so because they know they don't have the self-esteem or social skills to date someone their own age. Instead of working on getting to that level on their own, they either want to use younger girls to practice their romantic endeavors to "build up" to something more reasonable (like the op saying he'd probably only date the mythical girl who worships his every move for a few months because his romantic curiosity is greater than his attention span...ew) or because they think that a younger woman will not be wise enough or brave enough to notice or call out their inappropriate behaviour. Unfortunately, they're right.

When I meet guys like this in mixed classes (my university has some classes that are undergards-PhDs) I warn the young women who seem open to something to be careful because I've learned first hand what an inconvenience kindness can be. I actually wound up having a guy stalk me for a short while when I was younger because I didn't tell him to shove it when everyone else did. Age differences don't matter as much when the youngest party is 22+ because at that point, they have a little life experience, a little independence, and a more fully developed frontal lobe. But never should a PhD candidate be looking to date undergrads, specifically freshman or sophomores.

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If he was just getting a masters, then it wouldn't be so weird that he was dating undergrads, who are usually at most 1-4 years younger, or the same age. But wanting to date girls fresh out of high school as someone nearing their 30s? Extremely gross.

Besides, playing tag on the playground and all that? Undergrads don't do that shit.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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