Hi, I posted this in response to someone elses message, but I thought maybe I'd post it in here as well on the off chance I get a response.
I feel terrified of starting a relationship or being intimate. In fact, I didn't even have my first kiss until I was 19. I am nearly 20 and still haven't had sex.
I've thought a lot about why this is, especially over the last 6 months of so. In fact, it has become quite an overwhelming thought in my mind that I ruminate on frequently.
The first, and most obvious, explanation I can provide is that my parents divorced when I was around 11. It was a messy, drawn out process, and left my mum in a tight financial situation. She was always upfront about what was going on which meant I wasn't left in the dark, but I think it also forced me to grow up a lot quicker. At present, I don't really have any relationship with my Father. I have been let down by him numerous times in the past, and any attempt I make to improve our relationship seems to fail.
My Dad cheated on my Mum multiple times throughout their relationship. I watched how hurt she was, and I think I decided from a young age that I didn't want that to happen to me. I wanted to find someone perfect, who wouldn't betray me. Obviously everyone wants the same, but I have a real issue with trusting people. Much like you, whenever anyone gets close, or even remotely suggestive, I push them away. I'm a fiercely independent person, something I always viewing as a positive and admirable trait, but I am realising that it has its consequences. I have struggled with the pandemic due to a combination of issues, including my fear that I am unattractive, unwanted, and unworthy of being loved. I want to let people in, but I'm scared of being hurt. I have been diagnosed with depression and am currently taking 50g Sertraline after Citalopram left me feeling like a zombie.
There was one boy I met when I started university. He seemed very interested, and we grew very close over the course of a few weeks. One night we had quite a bit to drink and he lent in to kiss me. I had never been kissed before so I immediately backed away. I really liked him, and I really wanted him to kiss me, I was just terrified I would do it wrong. Anyway, I took another fat gulp of my drink, and then when he lent in again I let him kiss me. Things escalated, and we nearly had sex, however he couldn't get an erection. Then he went home for the weekend, and when he returned on the Monday he said he didn't want a relationship. I was really crushed.
Firstly, I would like to point out that whilst I was drunk, I was in control of my actions. I know it might sound insane that I had my first kiss and nearly lost my virginity in the same night, but it felt right and I don't regret it. I mean, would a couple of awkward kisses behind the bike shed when I was 14 mean I was more emotionally prepared? I don't know, maybe. I really enjoyed the night, hence why I was so devastated when he said he didn't want things to go further. I felt so stupid for believing anyone could ever be interested in me. The fact he seemed so interested and then went cold after that night had a big impact upon me. I blamed it on myself. I believed it was because I was so inexperienced and a bad kisser. I felt like the most unattractive, unwanted person on earth. I had been so vulnerable and exposed in front of him, and it really dented my self confidence.
We got on so well that I didn't want to lose the friendship. I didn't tell him he had upset me until weeks later, and didn't even confront him about why he rejected me until about 6 months after over email. I suppose I hoped he was just mortified about his performance issues, and he would change his mind. We get on so well and are so close, and the more time went on the more I fell for him. Due to the pandemic, I was unable to meet many people at university, and so we've ended up living in a house together next year. To make matters even worse, he has developed a crush on my best friend who is also living with us. He told me about it one night walking back from the pub, as he didn't realise I still had feelings for him. I just completely broke down. As I've said before, I have depression, and was really struggling anyway at that point. Hearing him say he had feelings for my best friend just tipped me over the edge. I knew it was coming, I had watched him fall for her for weeks, but it was horrible to hear. It was like any hope I had of him ever liking me completely evaporated. I would like to say that I haven't just been diagnosed with depression because I had some teenage heartbreak. There a multitude of issues that, when combined, pushed me into a depression. I am also genetically predisposed.
Hearing him say he like my best friend is what forced me to confront him over email over what exactly he wanted from me at the start of term. I explained how I blamed it all on myself, how it made me feel, and I asked him why he rejected me. He responded by saying he was interested at first, but after that night he just didn't feel a romantic connection. He also didn't dispute me when I said I was a bad kisser. It gave me the closure I needed, but also amplified my fears that I am inexperienced and unable to be intimate. It solidified in my mind the belief that it was all my fault. I still struggle with the thought that if I had been more sexually experienced and performed better, then maybe things would be different. I've fallen out with him multiple times over the year, and the root cause always seems to be my anger that he rejected me. Whilst it was cruel of him, he cut off things when he knew he didn't have feelings for me, rather than using me for sex. He has also apologised multiple times, and been an incredibly supportive friend, especially with my depression. In fact, he has done everything he can to make things right, it's me that can't get past it.
There was another incident at uni where I ended up talking to this guy. I wasn't head over heels for him, I was still hung up on the guy I've just explained about. Nonetheless, we ended up in his room one night and he lent in to kiss me. I completely panicked and backed away. Then I made the situation worse by suggesting he tried again. The whole situation replays in my mind frequently and just makes me feel ill, along with the night I nearly lost my virginity. Now, any thought of being intimate makes me feel almost ill. I messaged this guy the next day to say I only wanted to be friends. In hindsight, I was just rejecting him before he rejected me. He is a lovely guy, and I regret not taking the opportunity to get to know him better and seeing where things could have led. Even if they led nowhere, it could have been a nice experience.
I guess I also have to admit that throughout school and college no boys ever seemed interested in me. I have never been asked on a date. I have never held someone's hand, or been bought a valentines present, or kissed someone and felt like they enjoyed it. This is a huge knock to my confidence as a nearly 20 year old women, and lead me to think there's something wrong with me. I'm intelligent, I always try to be kind, and I think my looks are average, and yet I've never been wanted.
I feel like society nowadays is obsessed with sex and relationships. Every drinking game at uni involves weird sexual questions. I was so embarrassed to start university and not even have had my first kiss. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I don't like not being in control or not knowing what I'm doing, which I think worsens the issue. The one time I did put my full trust in someone it backfired completely, and now I don't think I could do that again. There's also the issue that no one ever seems to be interested in my anyway, so I suppose I don't really need to worry about fearing intimacy when it won't even happen.
Anyway, sorry for the long post. It's been nice to explain everything. I have told people close to me, but I feel like I'm a bit of a broken record sometimes. It seems a bit pathetic to be so heartbroken over a guy I literally only kissed once. I guess it would be easier if we weren't such close friends. I just don't seem to be able to get past this. I don't think I will until I do meet someone I feel comfortable with and am able to trust enough to be intimate. Unfortunately, with covid, it isn't easy to meet people.
I know I need to stop equating my self worth to my sexual experience, or how many guys are interested in me. I am more than that. I just wish I could really believe it. How do I move forward?