Hi everyone. Apologies for my first post being so long, but I feel that the background is necessary.
I am a 29 year old man from USA with social anxiety, generalised anxiety and on-and-off depression. I am writing here and not on an American site because having went to university and thus having lived a bit in the UK, I know from first-hand experience that anything related to healthcare, including mental health, is simply much better in the UK than in my home country.
I have been told about therapy, but sessions of talking with a therapist where I live cost almost the equivalent of 100 quid per session. As you can imagine, that is not an option. But just talking with ordinary people would at least help a bit, I reckon. Besides, I used to do therapy when I was around age 7, and it never really helped.
The main problem than irks and makes me feel depressed is when I think about how my 30th birthday is approaching, and I still have not been able to have a girlfriend. As if that were not bad and/or embarassing enough, I am still a virgin, and not by choice. It simply has not happened yet.
I really cannot understand why I got in this situation. I was born a very shy, introverted person who was extremely studious and naturally had social anxiety. Notwithstanding this, I remember as a child that some girls in school did tell me or others that they liked me. I attended a very rigourous high school (called secondary school+sixth form in the UK) where people only studied, and dating was close to nonexistent. So I did the same and did not pay much attention to girls, instead focussing on studying calculus, physics, economics, chemistry and other subjects.
My only hobbies were and still are very academic, introverted activities, such as chess, foreign languages, art, and mathematics, and managed to excel at them. In fact I am not using my real name because many people in the chess world would know of or at least heard of me. The downside is that very few women participate in these activities. A typical chess tournament could easily have a male-to-female ratio of 1000:1, and I am not exaggerating.
It did not help that I grew up in a very Oriental community in a very Oriental city (San Francisco, California, USA)--over 90% of my neighbourhood were and still are people of Chinese descent. Thus, they followed the Confucianist tradition of no dating or contact with the opposite sex at all until adulthood. So regardless of if you were focussing on your studies or not in high school, the girls would not date you because it was simply forbidden in their culture.
After graduating high school, I still had no girlfriend and was still a virgin. My only consolation was that at least I had a first kiss by then. I thought that this would all sort itself out in university. However, in uni, I overdid it with my studies. Being interesting in STEM, I was a double major, in other words I studied something similar to a dual degree; I studied two degrees at the same time. I studied mathematics and pre-medicine route molecular biology, which occupied almost all of my time. I basically did not date at all in uni, and was busy staying up very late trying to stay afloat with so much coursework and exams. I was essentially taking double the courseload as other students.
However, I graduated university at 21 and was still single and a virgin. I went to study a masters in engineering, but had to quit mid-way at age 22 due to health problems that only exacerbated with the anxiety that I already had. I then had more health problems concerning my digestive system up until recently.
During the whole period after graduating university I was still single and a virgin. It is true that I had the reason that from childhood up to age 22 I studied hard and focussed on that instead of dating girls. Still, this bothered me enormously, and I thought about it everyday. I fell into depression at age 25 because I felt that no man could possibly be in my situation. Certainly in the UK most men would never remain virgins past graduating university. I heard how such men were made fun of, especially with the film 40 Year Old Virgin, which basically is about such men. The added taboo and ridicule of my situation continued to cause me sadness.
I began to wonder if maybe I just physically did not look attractive. Maybe not only did American women find me unattractive, maybe British women found me unattractive as well. In any case, I never had a definitive answer.
At age 26 I fell into a deep depression, both with this preoccupation of being single and a virgin at such as high age. This, coupled with my stomach problems, caused me to lose a third of my body weight, which plummeted from ~80 kg to 55 kg. I continued to have recurring dreams about having a girlfriend, only to be disappointed upon waking up.
I had no social life at all, and obviously zero dating life, so I tried attending meetups and social gatherings in the city. I did meet interesting people, and attractive and interesting women, but nothing happened. I managed to go on dates that never led anywhere. My average dating rate was around one date per year--a very depressing figure.
What I gathered from this experience was that generally women did not like shy, introverted men. They wanted someone extroverted, smiling, positive and talkative. Basically all of the traits that were opposite to me. This also bothered me, because I was getting older and my traits did not seem like they were attractive. As if this were bad enough, the city in which I live has the highest male-to-female ratio of any other city in the Western world. In the age bracket of 20-40, it is normal for there to be at least 70% males, and the number keeps increasing. This certainly does not help with my situation.
So here I am, age 29, still without a girlfriend and still a virgin. Today is the last day of August, and tomorrow starts September. I will turn 30 in October. I feel like I am on the verge of turning 30 and remaining in this situation of having always been single and a virgin. It really is depressing to think about this. I always think to myself, "What man at age 30 is still a virgin plus has never had a girlfriend despite trying?" Some people think that people who are virgins at that age are because they are very religious. Except I am not religious at all and I am still a virgin. So I do not even have an excuse to explain why I am a virgin still.
I think about this issue everyday. You can say that yes I am young, I have my whole life ahead. I plan to move to Europe and start medical school someday, and to restart my chess career there. This is all great, but how can I be so good at these academic things, yet horrifically deficient in the love department? This is a major cause of my anguish.
I found out earlier this year that my mother has high-functioning autism/Asperger's, and she is awkward, introverted, laconic and shy like me. I fear that I may have inherited this disoerder, and in addition to approaching being a 30 year old virgin who has never had a girlfriend, I may have at least mild autism/Asperger's. Not only that, she has anxiety, which affects almost everyone and her side of the family. This just complicates my situation even more, adding more difficulties. I worry that I may turn 40 and be in the exact same situation, a virgin with no girlfriend (or wife). I also fear that no woman would want someone who lacks so much experience, as well as has problems of being awkward and having anxiety.
To compound this, I developed hypertension at around age 26-27. If you studied medicine, you know that hypertension in normal adults usually does not show up until someone is in their 60s. In my case it is mostly stress-related because I am constantly overthinking and stressing myself out. At least half of this stress comes from thinking about how I am still single and a virgin.
Maybe I should stop worrying about this. Some say it will happen when it happens. Except after decades it still has not happened. But I keep asking myself, "How can a chess master with STEM degrees who speaks five languages to advanced level and over five more to at least intermediate level do all of this, yet fail so badly with women that he reached age 30 still with no girlfriend and still being a virgin?" This is embarassing at best; humiliating at worst.
I keep thinking about how much of a failure I am to be in such a situation. I have a feeling that if I told this to a male friend, he would tell me, "What the hell is wrong with you, mate?" And if I told this to a woman, she would say, "Virgin at 30? No girlfriend either? What is wrong with you? What a loser!" All the while knowing that as a person, I am socially awkward, extremely literal, shy, introverted, nervous and other negative characteristics.
It is not like I am someone who has a recordbook who needs to accomplish this as a goal and thinks, "Right...had sex, done...got girlfriend, done..." I simply would like to have a girlfriend and share her company and experience sex like any normal couple does. There is, however, a need I feel that I should have done these things before I turn 30 just so that I appear at least a bit more "normal". I always feel this sense of "missing out" on what most people my age are doing. And those years are never going to come back. Time goes forward, not backward. That truly saddens me.
If you are reading this, I would like to hear what you say and what you think of this. I would especially like to hear from the women, and if my fears make any sense at all, as well as what you would think of a man in such a situation.
Thank you for reading.