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Terrified, insecure, overweight, middle-aged single dad, clueless about other people. Now tell me why I should try dating.

(41 Posts)
SisyphusDad Fri 11-Mar-16 21:21:55

I’m a middle-aged, overweight, single (widowed) father to two pre-teen DSs. I have mental health problems that long, long pre-date my bereavement. They leave me feeling depressed and very anxious and insecure. They also mean that I have an Aspergers-like (complete lack of!) understanding of people and have never, ever been able to develop any form of successful (to my mind) long term relationship, from friendships to my late OH.

The idea of dating – or more particularly trying to build a successful relationship – terrifies me. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m convinced it’ll all go horribly wrong and I’ll get badly hurt and discouraged. Again.

I know I’m very needy and would have to fight really hard to keep that under control. Such inequality is no basis for a decent relationship and very unfair on a partner.

What I’m looking for, I guess, are some reasons why, in spite of all of the above, I should ‘throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in my sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’

All other things being equal, would you have the patience to give me a chance, or would you run a mile? I’d really appreciate your thoughts. Honest ones please, but be gentle!

FloralFondant Fri 11-Mar-16 21:33:17

Sorry but I'd run a mile. I don't like 'needy.' The other stuff is something I might contemplate I suppose but being very needy is not very fair on the woman you're potentially going to date.

Women doing online dating want to meet a really nice man to hopefully form an equal partnership with. You don't sound like you're ready for that. Being very needy smacks of being stifling and that's not many leaps away from making someone miserable and trying to control them

I'd maybe consider counselling and see how you go

MistressDeeCee Fri 11-Mar-16 21:37:27

Terrified, insecure, overweight, middle-aged single dad, clueless about other people. Now tell me why I should try dating

I would run a mile, OP. Only because Id be wary of becoming your support, outlet etc shortly after beginning relationship. & Id wonder why, given what you have outlined, you are looking at dating. How about taking a deep breath and aiming to take steps towards improving your own wellbeing in various ways? One small step at a time.

Its just a personal opinion however, everyone is different in terms of starting out on a new relationship

Custardcreamssummerdreams Fri 11-Mar-16 21:40:01

I would start with groups/hobbies with people you have things in common with and see how you go from there flowers this will also build your confidence smile

Walkacrossthesand Fri 11-Mar-16 21:42:03

Seconded - get yourself into a better place mentally rather than try to find a partner while you are needy, anxious and insecure.

I'm sorry you lost your wife. It must be hard, raising your boys on your own. Do you have RL support?

Whatdoidohelp Fri 11-Mar-16 21:42:10

Work on yourself first. For the sake of you and your children. Only then consider dating. Good luck.

SirChenjin Fri 11-Mar-16 21:49:21

I'm married so wouldn't give you a chance for obvious reasons grin

What I would suggest (gently..) is that mental ill health is difficult to cope with if you don't have the right treatment in place, and doubly hard if you're trying to start a relationship. My advice would be to try and get help for that, whether it's counselling, medication or other - and it may take quite a while for that to kick in. In the meantime, I'd focus less on starting a relationship and more on building friendships and your own confidence - look around for clubs and hobbies that you might be interested in.

You say that you're overweight - you'll know yourself, that's not good for people our age, so have a think about how you can improve your diet and exercise levels. A combination of approaches - mental health/physical health/emotional health. A healthy relationship will come when all of those things are working as well as they could. Good luck smile

RomiiRoo Fri 11-Mar-16 22:00:42

I don't know. You sound very down on yourself, but you have been coping with considerable difficulties and so there must be some resilience and strength in there to build on? But the building needs to come first from you, so you feel a worthwhile part of the world. This is hard, if you have given your energy mostly to raising children and coping.

I must say I liked the bit about throwing off the bowline and sailing away from the safe harbour - there is a spark in you, which has not been extinguished. But I guess, to pick up the metaphor, you need to make sure your vessel is sea worthy and you know where you are sailing too with a means of navigating. But yes, life is to be discovered.

In terms of making the vessel seaworthy, I would recommend seeing a good therapist. This can be invaluable in understanding patterns of negative behaviour and working out how to develop your positive aspects - and YOU are the focus. Once you have the vessel seaworthy, then set sail. Because then you will explore and discover, whether or not it takes you to a successful relationship. At least that is the theory I am working on.

timelytess Fri 11-Mar-16 22:02:07

Don't worry. Women are desperate. Smile and be pleasant and they'll flock to you. When you get one, be kind to her. It will be fine.

SirChenjin Fri 11-Mar-16 22:09:58

Yeah - I'd ignore that last one if I were you (apart from the bit about being kind obvs) grin

Gabilan Fri 11-Mar-16 22:13:42

I would avoid online dating if I were you. It would leave Smiley Smileyson of Happy Island feeling down. I'd concentrate on hobbies and maybe sports you enjoy. That should help you build a life and feel more secure. Then you'd look more attractive.

Hassled Fri 11-Mar-16 22:16:21

What has made you ask about dating? You say it terrifies you - so don't do it. Is there pressure from elsewhere to get dating? If you're not ready, you're not ready.

And yes to what everyone else has said - try and do what it takes to find some of your own happiness and contentment first. What are your boys into - any sport clubs or suchlike you could start to get involved with? That sort of thing is a good way to feel valued (because it is valuable) and to meet other people.

thecatfromjapan Fri 11-Mar-16 22:20:14

You sound so hard on yourself!

I thought RomuRoo said it all, really. It must be so tough going through a bees enemy and keeping it together enough to keep giving emotionally to the children, day after day. No wonder you sound a bit flattened.

I really think you need to start looking after you, building your sf-confidence, finding a group/class to pursue an interest. I could see you being a bit vulnerable otherwise.

As for all the rest: everyone is insecure, you need to rembrrcthat. Very few people are perfect - or rather, they are, in their own, imperfect, way.

thecatfromjapan Fri 11-Mar-16 23:07:05

'Bees enemy' should be 'bereavement' - auto-correct is baffling, sometimes.

You know, I'm dealing with a depressed teen at the moment and it is pulling me apart. There are days when I find it hard to get out of the house. I can't imagine how you would deal with that alongside one's own unhappiness.

You need to embrace that resilience of yours and acknowledge what you have achieved.

MyMoneyIsAllSpent Fri 11-Mar-16 23:09:54

You say you are (sadly) widowed, so you obviously had a very successful relationship already.

I think you are being hard on yourself. Like other posters have said, we all have insecurities. But really, none of us are identical, that is what makes us who we are smile None of us are perfect but then, all of us are perfect smile

SisyphusDad Fri 11-Mar-16 23:57:11

To all of you,

Thank you for your empathic and supportive replies.

I'd be a poor OP if I didn't give you a bit more of the context, so here goes.

I do have a very good therapist, and we've been delving deeply into my psyche. She has the view, with much justification, that I can only move forward by engaging with the world (i.e. trying dating). I do see where she's coming from but I'm acutely aware (afraid) of my limitations and I feel that I do need to get myself more sorted before I inflict myself on the outside world. My problem is that I don't know whether it's my irrational fears or a clear and objective assessment of my own state that's holding me back. So I came up with the mad idea of asking the experts.

My dilemma is that I feel caught in the perfect Catch-22. I need a solid relationship in order to heal my problems, but until I heal myself I can't develop a secure relationship. Tricky, eh!

titchy Sat 12-Mar-16 00:04:25

Engaging with the world does NOT mean dating.... I think you need to engage with the world but categorically not through dating. Through work, interests, neighbours, pub quiz groups. Develop a life of involving yourself with people, groups. From that dating will come. If you want it.

Walkacrossthesand Sat 12-Mar-16 00:12:25

You've made a false link there, OP - 'engaging with the world' isn't 'needing a solid relationship'. I presume you have babysitting sorted in order even to consider 'dating' - well, use it to socialise ( club, Meetup, whatever) and forget the dating!

EasyToEatTiger Sat 12-Mar-16 00:22:58

I agree with titchy. It is far easier to engage with the world through things you enjoy. Dating, per se, will only bring up the problems. Work/interests, fun, etc won't. You need a solid relationship with yourself. No-one else can help with that. i know well that it is hard when you have or are living through mental health problems that this can be difficult. It is much easier to find a forum of real life people in a context of learning, or at least something that takes the pressure off you. Dating can take its time. Fret not!

whatdoIget Sat 12-Mar-16 00:42:49

What do you actually want from a relationship? Id be a bit suspicious that you're looking for someone to sort your life out. You need to sort yourself out first and become comfortable with yourself. Don't pin all your hopes on the mythical "one"
It won't work. You sound like youve got a lot of issues, and they are your own responsibility to fix.

whatdoIget Sat 12-Mar-16 00:47:00

Also, what do you have to offer another person who's in a relationship with you?

GiddyOnZackHunt Sat 12-Mar-16 00:53:11

Slightly confused. Did you have a comfortable, happy relationship with the mother of your dc? Or was it difficult?
As a middle aged, tubby, Aspie wife I can only suggest you join groups that reflect your true interests. I couldn't do OLD.
Make a list of your interests. Only join groups that are your 'thing'. You may meet someone who reflects your interests and to whom you seem utterly fascinating.

goddessofsmallthings Sat 12-Mar-16 02:10:05

I need a solid relationship in order to heal my problems, but until I heal myself I can't develop a secure relationship

Building a solid relationship with yourself" will alleviate, if not heal, many of your problems and you would be ill-advised to begin dating until you are coming from an emotionally secure place.

This isn't to say that you should avoid mixing and mingling with the opposite sex (if that's your orientation) but, as has been suggested by others, do so in terms of joining specific or general interest groups rather than dating sites.

And ditch those excess lbs - they'll soon start shifting if you adopt the 5:2 diet which lends itself to catering for hungry dc as well as greedy adults smile

JollyXmasJumper Sat 12-Mar-16 02:25:27

I would say it does not hurt to dip a toe in the water and see how it is but TBH, and that is a pretty common dating advice for men and women, the chances of getting a relationship without building first a fulfilling life for yourself are pretty low. High levels of self-esteem and a thick skin are critical to OLD as most of us learn the hard way. Focus on yourself, you will get there quicker than you think!

RomiiRoo Sat 12-Mar-16 06:20:15

I agree with previous posters - why does engaging with the world involve dating? Do you honestly, and I mean this kindly, think that the only way you can find self-worth or validation is through having a girlfriend? I really struggle with the thought that this is what a good therapist would suggest. Engage with the world, yes, the world is beautiful and needs compassionate souls, but there are so many ways to engage.

Giddy gives sound advice, Aspie or not - what do you enjoy doing? For you?

what asks what you have to offer a woman - see, we are not desperate souls who will take on anyone so as not to be alone. We know, possibly from having learnt the hard way, this is not a route to happiness! It is a route to misery and expensive divorce (or worse, failing to divorce).

If what you really mean is that you want some warm hugs, someone to share the days happenings with, and to have a connection with, that will come if you expand your engagement with the world in ways that are authentic to you.

That said, getting to the stage where you can imagine putting your head above the parapet and meeting someone is itself progress towards that goal. But (mixing metaphors like crazy), you need to be able to walk before you can run.

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