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Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

I don't know if what I'm dealing with passes as "tough times." I'm 22. I'm employed full time. I have more money than things to spend it on. I'm renting my own apartment. I play tennis on weekends.

The bad stuff? There is absolutely no one I can confide in. My family has been barely existent for as long as I can remember, and they stopped existing completely when I moved out of home 2 years ago. My Facebook account has one person added, and that one person cannot possibly account for an entire life of isolation, especially not when they live on the opposite side of the world.

I constantly manipulate everything I possibly can during my day to ensure I can spend as much time with them as possible. Eating? Sleeping? Haven't got time for that, I need to account for massive time zone differences. I often end up staying up all night, going to work just about ready to collapse, guzzling energy drinks to get through it and crashing when I get home. I couldn't get a good night's sleep even if I was trying to. I always wake up after 4-5 hours, and then I keep waking up every hour until I drag myself out of bed.

Trying to associate with people local to me has always ended miserably. I can't count how many social groups I've alienated myself from anymore. I can't count how many relationships I've been extremely invested in have gone to hell. I can't count how many times I've sunk low enough to resort to using hookup apps for some company, only to end up feeling like I've been guilted into the sex. It's honestly a miracle that I haven't contracted any infections yet.

I know this section's meant to be about focusing on positives, but it seems like that's all I'm ever going to hear. I have suffered from this isolation for too long. I want to just let everything go. Quit my job, spend the next three or so years living off my savings, spend as much time with my overseas friend as I can, and when the well runs dry, well...that's too far away for me to think about. I guess that'd be as good a time as any to give up.

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

Hi @cole on sea thanks for reaching out to the community and welcome to RO!  I have moved your post to tough times as it seems like you are going through some full on stuff at the moment and I want to make sure the RO community can view it and give you as much support as you need. I also had to edit your last sentence just due to it's detailed nature, it could bring up some stuff for other readers (have a quick look over guidelines here Smiley Happy )

First off you're very level headed, even in your opening paragraph you noted the positives in your life being your sport and your income. Well done, sometimes it's easy during the dark times to only focus on what's wrong - that first step to recognising the good is amazing self care, aside from the fact that you've been strong enough to reach out for help online. Also you have long term visions of travel and seeing the world - amazing!


The social bonds is such a frustratingly sad experience at times, and it is not uncommon, there will be some RO members who will be able to share experiences and help with this one for sure. Recently I have lost a lot of friends as well due to various peaks and troughs in life, and it can really shake the ground beneath you. When you say the relationships end miserably, what do you mean? What usually happens to cause this?


Besides tennis have you sought out any other organisations, i.e. volunteer work, dodge ball teams (yes they exist and they are insanely fun!) or maybe a second social tennis group? Would that help or is it not really what you're after?


Are you still using the dating apps? I think it's really important to keep yourself safe, and I hope that you know you are worth the whole universe and more, and when you're on those apps you're in a safe headspace. Would you ever be up to talking to a local counsellor or lifeline?

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

Hey @cole on sea, welcome to RO! I think @Bree-RO's suggestions are pretty great, and it seems like you're very self-aware, so talking to someone could be really useful for you to look over your past experiences and find revealing patterns or behaviours.


I thought I'd add that this forum also has places where you can introduce yourself! Feel free to check that (and other) threads out Smiley Happy

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

Sorry about that. I've used a lot of chat services in the past, and it seems like they won't take you seriously unless you describe what you plan to do; just assumed it's standard practice.


I can be rational, sure, but I use it for all the wrong reasons. Also, I don't exactly plan to travel; my friend has said that they would not be in a position to see me in person any time soon. If I were going to let things go, I would just spend as much time playing video games online with them as they're available for. A lot of people have said I should go travelling next time I'm on annual leave, but it wouldn't appeal to me at all. 


It seems like interacting with people is always frustrating and upsetting for me. When I reflect on past relationships, I can't see much positive, but I can see all sorts of negative. It's usually a result of me expecting too much; I don't know whether I'm meeting all of the wrong people, or I'm just not that fun to be around, but no-one ever seeks me out for anything. If I want to see someone, I have to be on their back, constantly trying to guess when they "might" be available and when they "might" hang out with me.


Even that's no guarantee; punctuality has almost never been a luxury I've enjoyed from my "friends," and there's even been plenty of cases where late is the good outcome; I've lost count of how many times people have just not turned up. No explanations, no apologies, no reschedulings, it was like I hadn't even spoken to them the day before.


Why does it end miserably? I guess I get wrapped up in trying to explain to them that they're being extremely disrespectful in the hopes that they'll change their attitude, and when they don't, I get angry at them, and I don't let it go until they get sick of it and block me. Even that hasn't stopped me sometimes; I've made a habit of putting a lot of effort into doing everything I can to circumvent people's attempts to stop me from communicating with them, just so I can keep lashing out at them.


I honestly don't know if I want to volunteer; call me entitled, but I think it's about time the world gave me something for a change. I always hear all these sugar coated nothings like "you're worth so much more," but my experiences tell a different story. I already play for two social Tennis groups, but that's not really helping me, it's just something to do on the weekend. I've only been going for 4 months, but I'm definitely not going in the hopes that I'll make a friend from it. I feel like I've scoured every corner of my state of residence for a local video game community. I can't find anything.


Most of the time I don't bother with dating apps. For every one person I do see, there's about fifty that I don't. I've talked to all sorts of counsellors, psychologists, and even a psychiatrist; I'm yet to take anything from the appointments. Lifeline was appalling for me; I tried calling once, and they hung up on me because "I seemed distracted." Like never mind that I'm mildly Autistic and can't handle a phone call to save my life, the organisation that's supposed to stop people from wanting to kill themselves thinks I'm not worth talking to.

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

@cole on sea it seems like you've been having a really tough time Smiley Sad I think a lot of people can relate to feeling like they don't have many/any friends. How have you been holding up?


You mentioned you used dating apps to meet people for company - have you tried friendship apps? I think there are a few going around that can help you find people with similar interests (Eg Tinder Social). Maybe this could help you meet more likeminded people as you said you feel like you are meeting the wrong people. This person seemed to have some success using tinder with a disclaimer on their profile saying they were looking for friends - check it out if you want Smiley Happy


I also think it is important to try and manage expectations with other people. I struggle with this a lot too because I have high expectations for both myself and other people - but unfortunately people will never be able to meet all of our expectations because neither they, you or me are perfect


I'm sorry you had to go through that experience you had with Lifeline that sounds very upsetting. It can be so hard to find a psychologist or counsellor that you can connect with but it might be worth trying some different ones if you think having someone to talk to would be helpful for you?

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

Getting out is really hard. I miss a lot of work. I haven't actually started playing at that second social Tennis group yet; I heard about it a few weeks ago, but I'm yet to check it out. 


It's not a case of "feeling like" I don't have many friends. I don't talk to any of my work colleagues outside of work, and even at work, it's extremely minimal. Same deal with people at the tennis group I'm going to at the moment.


Like I said earlier, I only have one friend added on Facebook. I've known them for about 9 years now. They're the only person I talk to on a regular basis about positive things. That hasn't always been the case, though; last year, I was dealing with an ended relationship, and I was being excessively needy towards them. They ended up telling me that they don't enjoy talking to me anymore, so we stopped talking for the rest of the year. If I hadn't gotten in contact with them again at the start of this year, I probably never would've heard from them again. 


I tried an app called "Heyo" a couple of months back; it's like Tinder, except there's no profile pictures or information. All you see about the person is four interests that they have chosen before you say yes/no, and it's not for dating. I honestly had better luck on Grindr. 


I want to try Tinder/T.Social, but the mandatory Facebook account linking has put me off thus far. I don't use my real name on Facebook, or a picture of myself, there's nothing on my timeline and the only thing that people can see is my nearest capital city. I haven't been optimistic enough to go through the whole process of setting up a new email address just to make another account, and even if I had been, I really don't want to show a picture of myself, and that puts everyone off from personal experience.


I don't expect much from anyone, just something that shows that they're interested in knowing me. Not talking to me unless it's a response to something I've said, never asking about catching up and never showing up on time when I've arranged to catch up doesn't show that, and like I said before, I don't know if I'm just meeting really lousy people, or I'm the one that's just no fun to be around.


I do not believe I am capable of connecting with a professional enough to work through my problems. I need a friend. I need something that resembles that parental affection that I should've been getting as a kid. I've always gotten my hopes up with all of these past romantic interests, but they always lose interest ever so quickly. Again, maybe it's all my fault, and I'm just not the kind of person that people want to know, but everyone who's sitting on the sidelines with no actual involvement in my life seems to believe that "if they're put off because of your problems then they're not that good of a person anyway."


I'm wondering when someone who wants me to believe I'm worth something will do something that proves it.

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

@cole on sea hows the tennis been going? Do you enjoy playing?


Also you mentioned you've been searching for a video game community - do you know of any gaming/internet cafes nearby to you? There's one called Cydus in Melbourne. I've been a couple of times and I think it's the kind of place where you could ask others if you could join in on their games.


Also it does sound like you have been meeting some pretty unreliable people - please don't give up I'm sure someone will come along when you least expect it! It sounds like you are putting in a fair bit of effort by playing tennis so well done for that.


This is pretty obvious but please don't hesitate to come and chat on the RO forums whenever you are feeling lonely or down - it's great that you decided to reach out Smiley Happy

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

Hiya @cole on sea, I was reading through your posts and the sense of loneliness and isolation you are feeling is so strong. Is there are a reason you don't really talk to your colleagues outside of work, or people in your tennis group? Do you just not have much in common or is it something else? Often if our brain has convinced us nobody wants our friendship, it causes us to miss the little cues that signal people are interested in getting to know us socially.


You mentioned that you've seen a few different counsellors but you don't feel like any of them can help you. If you have a look through some of the threads here, there are lots of people who have felt the same way. Not everyone connects with the first, second or third counsellor they meet but it's important not to give up because when you do find the right "fit" it can be life-changing. I also find it helps to be up front with them from the start about the fact that you haven't felt helped by counsellors in the past, and letting them know that you're living with autism. That way they can adjust their style to suit you, rather than trying something generic and expecting you to flow along with it. Would you be willing to give it another go?

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

It's alright, I guess. I don't dislike it. I feel that way about a lot of things, though. I could look into Cydus, but unless there's someone there that knows what I'm like, there's really not much chance of meeting anyone. I really can't just go up to strangers and ask them if I can join in.

I should also add that Cydus is (or was when I checked last) a PC gaming cafe, and I've spent most of my life playing console games, so it wouldn't entirely be "in my element." I'm not saying I won't consider it, but it's still more or less something fairly new to me.

Re: Moved Post - Meaningful relationships? What're those?

@cole on sea oh ok well at least you are giving it a go. Are there any other sports or activities you have wanted to try out?


I'm glad you are considering checking out Cydus - do you know anyone that is also interested in gaming? Maybe someone from work? 


Another suggestion I have is checking out Facebook groups. I reckon they are a really valuable resource and there's pretty much a group for everything under the sun! I just did a quick search for Melbourne Gamers (if that is where you are located) and found a few different things you should check it out Smiley Happy


Eg "Melbourne Gaming Lounge: A place for video game nerds within Melbourne to talk games and related things, and socialise."