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How Do You Build Confidence As a 25 Year Old Virgin?

(39 Posts)
seekingadvice12321 Sat 19-May-18 15:23:05

I’m posting on here to get any advice on how to change my situation. I’m a 25 year old virgin guy. I’ve never kissed. I have very bad self-esteem. I got bullied quite seriously all the way through school. I had very few friends at the time and a girlfriend was out of the question.

I got called retard, fatty, brace face etc. I was overweight and the bullying made that worse. There was a game like tag that involved tapping me and then tapping someone else saying (my name) germs, no returns. I got things thrown at me a sometimes, had my bag hidden or thrown out the window, things like that.

That ingrained into me that I was ugly, stupid and worth less as a person than everybody else. I lost the weight when I was between 14 and 16 when I started playing a lot of rugby.

I never learnt how to date or interact romantically with girls. For the vast majority of people, you seem learn this very slowly from about age 10 , but because of my circumstances I never did.

When I went to university I was surprised at people treating me equally to other people, which I know is sad. I did get involved in lots of clubs and societies and did go out drinking sometimes, although I hate clubbing and dancing , it’s really not my thing. I would never have the confidence to approach a woman, I have no idea really how dating and relationships work. I was at university for 5 years. I did a year abroad and a master’s degree during that time.

To give a background of where I am now, the career I was going to go into didn’t work out. I’m now doing a job that’s poorly paid but that I enjoy which is working with people with mental health problems , learning disabilities and elderly people. I do a lot of applying for benefits, dealing with debt, arranging carers/cleaners, things like that. I’m looking at doing a graduate entry mental health social work program when it next opens.

At the moment I’m back at home and saving a lot to get a deposit to eventually be able to buy a flat in the future, which isn’t an ideal living situation, but the alternative is a local house share that would mean me saving nothing at all.

I don’t have a huge social life, only a few friends . I’m involved with a soup kitchen type thing and I enjoy the community of the people that come in and the volunteers and I’m in a hiking group. I am going away for a week with the hiking group and go to social events, but it’s a structured group thing rather than one on one friendships though if you see what I mean.

I’ve been doing online dating for the past year and a half and I’ve met 8 people, but nothing has worked out. I get very anxious before dates as it’s such a huge thing for me . I had a second date last night, which is only the second time this has happened. I drove an hour to where she lives, I picked her up and we went to a pub.

I got so nervous I had a headache in the day I had a headache and an upset stomach. She asked me how much I had dated. I had told her on the first date that I had never had a girlfriend as she asked how long I’d been single and I didn’t want to lie and I couldn’t brush the question off. I ended up telling her I hadn’t kissed and pretty much what I wrote in the first paragraph when she naturally asked why.

At the end when I dropped her off we had a long conversation saying that she would genuinely like to be friends and that I was a lovely guy and that I was better looking than my tinder pictures and she was surprised that I had never kissed. She said she can’t date a guy without a lot of confidence and that if I had confidence she would be attracted to me. She's said had to fight to get her self esteem up and doesn't want to go through that process again. We had quite a useful conversation.

I absolutely hate myself but I don’t know how to build self-esteem and confidence when I don’t know what I’m doing and facing a lot of rejection . I really believe I’m ugly etc but it’s now that that’s making me unattractive. I wish I could breeze in and out of relationships like most people. I would love to experience affection and to be loved but I don’t have the confidence and dating skills to get to that point. I feel I’ll never be able to experience relationships.

How do you build self-confidence and learn to date in this situation? Any advice would be welcome .

velourvoyageur Sat 19-May-18 16:12:39

Of course you're not unable to experience relationships OP! Maybe every time you hear this in your head, could you firmly try to interrupt the thought and say to yourself 'I'm not going to think this' - as really it's harmful, the act itself of allowing these words to roll out in your head, and just becomes an entrenched loop of low self-esteem mantras. It's not the truth. You sound lovely you really do (also the ugly thing - shelve it, honestly, it's not doing you any good & you've had 8 dates so you're clearly fine!). Being a bit of a late starter doesn't preclude that you will having success in dating.

Are you perhaps worried that when you will kiss someone they will somehow know it's your first time? Because most people instinctively find their rhythm during their first time kissing(/having sex) and at the same time even people who've done lots of snogging need to adapt to a new person - anyone you're kissing will just put any initial awkwardness down to that. You also don't need to 'confess' to anyone that you haven't kissed anyone before, they don't need to know. In the same vein, going into detail about the bullying could be something to save for rather later on when you're in a steady relationship. As for when someone asks when your last relationship was, you could just say that you've been dating but haven't had a serious relationship before, do a breezy 'just hasn't happened for me yet' if someone does push.

Also obvs don't get blathered but have you tried having a small drink before you go out, just to take the edge off your nerves? Remember to smile and make eye contact, shoulders back etc, these things go a long way to making the other person comfortable and giving the impression that you're relaxed.

Congrats on the second date and the new potential friendship - that sounds like a success to me. Do follow up on that (if you want to).

seekingadvice12321 Sat 19-May-18 19:39:36

Thanks for your response. I will try to not run those thoughts through my head it's just very hard not to.

About the kissing, apart from being very embarrassing I just don't know how to do it. A quick peck should be straightforward but for making out, I wouldn't know what to do. I think it's become a huge mental block. I'm very wooden and don't know when it's appropriate to go for a kiss. I'm terrified of coming off as a creep if I misjudge this.

Thanks for the suggestions about how to answer the relationship questions. That's helpful.

velourvoyageur Sun 20-May-18 05:00:49

I think you will know what to do though, that's what I mean by 'instinctive'! Actually I was on a date a while ago where someone actually asked 'can I kiss you' and I thought that was very sweet (in a sexy way) and straightforward - could that be something for you to try? You could also maybe try to hold her hand first - e.g. if you're sitting opposite, first reach out and maybe just use a finger to lightly stroke her hand and see how she responds?
I do empathise that people will be less forgiving towards you for misjudging the moment than if it were a woman (and as a woman I don't feel this wariness is misplaced given that men can be physically intimidating just standing there, it's just an unfortunate state of affairs when it comes to people like you who don't have bad intentions!) and I'm glad you have this sensitivity - but otoh I think your worry could really be countered by simply asking. It's become more mainstream to do so, so you don't need to feel self conscious about it, just have 'smiling eye contact' and observe her face closely. Are you ok with deciphering facial expressions/body language?

Also if you do kiss and it's just a peck, and she seems to be into you, you don't have to draw away entirely - you could maybe laugh and say 'ah that was a bit awkward' and then move back in. Remember awkwardness can easily be recovered from, too, it's not the end of the world.
If you don't mind my saying, I don't think you're doing yourself a favour with the language you're using - 'huge mental block', 'very wooden' etc - language creates the perspective you use to process your environment, and these issues seem to be taking on monumental proportions for you when they needn't. 25 is not old!

velourvoyageur Sun 20-May-18 05:04:50

(just to clarify, of course women (/people) are also totally justified in not wanting physical contact even if they do not fear for their safety - hopefully people know what I mean!)

PickYerWillyCircus Sun 20-May-18 06:01:38

Try the Rob Kelly Thrive method if you can. I did this a few years ago. It's brilliant for 'resetting' your inner voice & the way you speak to yourself.
I promise you, you won't be all the things you say & this will get better as long as you put effort into working on yourself.
Don't put too much pressure on yourself to fit in with society timelines. You're not the only one. Not everyone is shagging like rabbits from teen age. Most aren't.
You sound like you're in a good place elsewhere in your life, you're doing absolutely fantastic, considering the really shitty time you had.
Also, PP has given some great advice above.

Sally2791 Sun 20-May-18 06:16:32

You sound like a thoughtful man who is very self aware those are great qualities to have. Just keep on dating, don't rush into giving your full life history. Pay attention to her and genuinely listen to her. She may have similar fears. Let nature take its course

velourvoyageur Sun 20-May-18 06:27:35

Oh I just wanted to say - I'm really sorry about the bullying at school - I hope you have properly acknowledged to yourself that you didn't deserve that? By that I mean that in a different school environment you would not have been treated like this. Kids are followers, it just happened there was a bullying culture in your school and (wrongly) no one in authority did enough to change it, it had nothing to do with you (having braces and being overweight are not unattractive, and in any case appearing unattractive should not attract nastiness).

seventh Sun 20-May-18 06:39:22

You sound absolutely adorable - a really lovely guy.

The whole mechanics of kissing -

when you first kiss someone new you just tend to follow their lead ( or I do) until you get to know them better.

It's actually a copy cat thing until you feel more confident , imo.

So truly no biggie at all that you don't have your own style.

Naturally if the guy wanted to lick my face and suck my tongue out of my mouth that would be a 'no' - but that doesn't generally happen during the first few kisses

I think you need to go on a few 'fake it till you make it' dates

Don't think about lack of confidence, enjoy the company and listen to what your date has to say.

Don't give them the whole 'never dated/lack confidence ' story. If they ask, say that you haven't dated much and leave it there. Turn it back round to them and listen.

Try to smile and exude a happy vibe rather than nervous energy, if you can.

What's the worst thing that can happen ? And will it matter in 10 years? Exactly!

If the chance to kiss comes along just copy and be gentle.

I promise it will all be fine

Prawnofthepatriarchy Sun 20-May-18 10:24:34

Have been thinking about you since I read your OP but wasn't sure I had any relevant advice. So I asked my DS who's around your age.

He read your account carefully. The first thing he said was that you have a lot to be confident about. You're an educated, travelled man with a lovely approach to life.
Lots of women would be pleased to meet you, he said. Reminded me of his mate A who's in a very happy relationship now but 9 months ago was in your position. His gf knew full well how inexperienced A was when they started dating. She thought it would be fun for both of them.

First, and easiest, your appearance. Changing our thoughts and feelings is harder. Would you feel better if you lost weight, or got more muscled up? And notice your body language. For example, when you walk down the street, how do you move?; Stand tall, shoulders back. Confidence is attractive but you can fake it until it comes naturally, and looking it is half the battle.

Finally - and he learned this from his DF - always remember women are people too. Treat strange women like you'd treat a strange man (obviously not when you're on a date, but in everyday life). Putting women on a pedestal, in a special category, means you don't behave naturally.

Good luck. You sound a lovely bloke.

Northernparent68 Sun 20-May-18 11:07:19

If I were you I’d work on your confidence before you start dating. Get back into rugby, it ll improve your confidence and women find rugby players attractive.

Maybe also join a gym or take up boxing, which will improve your confidence no end. I agree with the above poster who said do n’t tell people particularly women about your lack of confidence, pretend to be confident and in time you will be. Fake it until you make it !

Murane Sun 20-May-18 11:31:22

Not every woman expects a man to be experienced and confident. My husband was in the same situation as you, but once he met someone who liked him and had an opportunity to do things then he had no problem with kissing or anything else. I was fine with his situation and his shy personality, so maybe it's just about finding someone who suits you and accepts you as you are. Imo the way to gain confidence and self esteem is by experience, my husband said if he was single again now he'd be much more confident. Stop being so hard on yourself and assuming women won't like you as you are. Some women won't - but some will. You are your own biggest enemy here. You don't have to change or lose weight or anything unless you want to. But you need to like yourself and accept that others will too.

Cricrichan Sun 20-May-18 11:37:25

You sound like a lovely, compassionate and interesting guy.

Firstly, many people are self conscious and believe themselves to be less attractive than they are. Everyone is nervous before their first kiss. Just because you've done it before doesn't mean that you're not nervous when it's a new person.

I personally don't think I could do online dating. I prefer to get to know someone in normal settings , grow feelings and take it from there. Then things just happens more naturally and instinctually.

Talking of instincts. We're animals so having sex etc is all instinctual, everyone knows what to do. You sound like someone who would take his time pleasing a woman. Maybe read up on it and when it comes to the time, do what feels right.

So many people I know had sex at the first opportunity to 'get rid' of their virginity and they regretted it. I was 30 and had been with my boyfriend for 6 months before we had sex and we were together for 10 years. I still remember exactly what it was like, where we were and think of it as a lovely time (so many of my friends lost their virginity drunk at a party with someone who didn't mean anything to them).

We're all different and we all do things at different times. Be confident about everything you have to offer to some lucky lady and enjoy life smile

Cricrichan Sun 20-May-18 11:38:33

Sorry, I was 20 not 30

CantRememberHoliday Sun 20-May-18 11:52:44

Oh OP, you sound lovely, honestly!
I’m a few years younger than you and I’d say you shouldn’t rush into anything. I really want a relationship and keep going on dates with men from tinder and feel let down and upset afterwards.
I always ask myself what’s wrong with me, even when I didn’t like the man in person either. Dating is just so hard to do at times and I think women are conscious about men only wanting one thing (I’ve had a few) and also feel the pressure and any new kiss is awkward.
I feel the same way about myself and it puts men off, I must say, so I’ve learned to pretend to be confident without going overboard, which is a hard skill to learn. I also get a lot of my friends telling me I’m amazing and that all these men aren’t treating me right which is nice to hear but also frustrating as they all have amazing boyfriends or are sleeping around a lot as we're at uni but that’s not my thing.

Voci Sun 20-May-18 22:36:48

I’m not really sure if there’s something to learn tbf. Many people don’t know what they are doing. You are doing good, self-hate is unnecessary. There are several socially awkward characters in my ‘football’ (we’re useless)team. Quite a few have girlfriends/wives. The first thing one of them said to his now wife is that she has a disproportionate head so …

I understand that anxiety isn’t a rational thing, but a date is just a date. You’re meeting up with a person that means nothing to you, you don’t know her/him. Try to avoid building them up in your head, no need to picture a happily ever after/whatever you want to with a random person from the internet. I always assume she’s going to be a boring person. No need to tell them about your history. No pressure, you’re still very young.

Don’t try to be someone you’re not for someone else because that will end badly –obviously self-improvement is good as long as it’s in line with your personality. My personality seems to click best with what they seem to call unfeminine women (I find it quite a weird term but okay) on here, it’s not in my interest to modify my behaviour to change that. That’s okay.

KittyWindbag Sun 20-May-18 23:14:05

You sound like a decent, hard-working, thoughtful man. Lots of women are looking for men like you, please don’t despair. It may take time but all the chances are there for you. My advice:
1. The only things you must do for kissing to be successful is to have good oral hygiene and to follow the other person’s lead.
2. Don’t separate women into an ‘other’ category. You say you never learned how to interact romantically with girls. Just talk to them as you’d talk to any new person you were happy to meet.
3. Get a decent haircut and at least one nice shirt/ shoes to wear on dates. I know you’re saving money but knowing you look nice does wonders for self confidence. You don’t have to break the bank, the high street has lots of bargainous things. Go for a smart loafer and crisp shirts in a colour that suits you.
4. When you talk to someone, eye contact is key. Not staring them down but maintaining a friendly, smiling eye contact is extremely attractive and human beings are programmed to respond positively when others hold our gaze.
5. Don’t reveal all about your history with bullying on the first date. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I was bullied less aggressively than you when I was much younger and it has affected the whole of my adult life. Those formative years are so delicate and we often go through hell during them. But it’s a lot for a new person to take on. Some people will feel overwhelmed by it. You also don’t have to tell them you’ve never kissed or had a relationship. Don’t make things up but don’t talk about things you don’t want to talk about either. If it makes you feel anxious to talk about dating history just say you’ve had some dating history but things have never blossomed long term, and move on. You have the right not to talk about it if you don’t want to. Those chats are better for later if you are really getting on with someone and choose to open up more.

6. Have something to talk about. Watch films, read books, see current events and tv shows. Sorry that sounds super obvious but some people who feel shy have problems making small talk so here’s a good way to get in.

7. Write a list of positive affirmations. Doesn’t matter how wanky this makes you feel. It’s private only you will know about it. ‘I have beautiful eyes. I’m the best person at doing ——- at my job. I’m a funny, kind, generous person and I deserve happiness’ (etc) get up every morning and day them aloud to yourself in the mirror, looking yourself in the eye.

Are you on social media? Is that how you found your hiking group? Sounds like hiking is a great hobby for you but maybe the social events are a bit stale? Try to find other local groups with a younger crowd or who do less formal meet-ups. Hiking and pubbing with a bunch of mates on the weekend sounds like heaven to me.

Good luck to you. You sound awesome, it’ll take time to build your confidence but I promise trying these things will all help in small ways. You have it in your head that you’re not worth loving, so you better start with loving yourself, corny as it sounds.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Mon 21-May-18 08:38:11

Ace advice, KittyWindbag. Listen to her, OP.

seekingadvice12321 Mon 21-May-18 21:13:25

Thanks a lot for all the messages and for not judging me. I will take it on board .

I will try some of the things suggested. I will exercise more, although I do already go to the gym regularly. I'll try to join some more groups to get out more. The tips on how to avoid bringing up relationship history are really useful and I hadn't thought of them. I hate having to discuss my situation early on but I also don't want to lie. It seems that so how long have you been single? Is a standard question to ask . I don't want to feel like i'm lying but it also makes my heart race and panic about how I can answer.

I will try the writing down good things about myself idea. That will be difficult. I have sometimes written down how ugly/socially incompetent I am etc when I've felt bad, I suppose like psychological self harm , i've never told anyone I do that. That isn't helpful and I need to take more responsibility to help myself.

I think the main thing is I separated myself into being lower than everyone else. Having relationships was for everyone else, not for me because there's no way anybody could find me attractive.

I will try very hard to change in terms of confidence now though.

TheClitterati Mon 21-May-18 21:38:32

Seeking you sound like a really lovely and interesting guy.

You are important, you do matter and you are loveable. You are enough!

Some great advice here - if it's too hard to believe in yourself just yet, believe in the universe.

seventh Tue 22-May-18 07:25:14

It seems that so how long have you been single?

It is a standard question.

I say ' a while, now, I've been concentrating on work and my friends, I think it's about time I look for romance - how about you?'

I've been single for 4 years - but I think the above answer gives a truth without going into too much detail.

I tend to turn things back onto the other person at the beginnings because , well, people feel happiest ( as a rule) talking about themselves and I refuse to give away too much info about me, too soon.

seventh Tue 22-May-18 07:30:11

Having relationships was for everyone else, not for me because there's no way anybody could find me attractive.

You may not believe me, but imo 90% of people don't believe they are good enough in some way or another , for something

It might be a relationship or their job or as a parent or as a son/daughter

You are not unique in this regard and I think your belief is something which you've decided upon after taking on the opinions of others over the years

And I also think that if you sat quietly and made a list of all your positive qualities and attributes you'd realise, over time, how exceptional you are

I can already see/feel how exceptional you are, just from a few words on a thread on the inter web grin

GinUnicorn Tue 22-May-18 07:39:16


Sounds like you are a lovely caring person. Just a thought but how about some social activities such as am dram to help with your confidence. These clubs are usually full of women and more female friendships might also put you a bit more at ease.

OutComeTheWolves Tue 22-May-18 07:48:54

I think a lot of women find confidence attractive. I would (and have) happily gone out with men who have poorly paid jobs, or who didn't drive or didn't have their own place, but they all sort of owned it (if that makes sense) and weren't apologetic about their circumstances.

As for not knowing when to go in for a kiss, my first date with dh didn't end in a kiss. When I was home later that night, he text me to say he wished he'd kissed me. When I replied agreeing with him, he text to say that it was going to be the first thing he did on our next date and it was. I found that quite sexy even though I'm not usually a fan of texting. Dh comes across as very confident, sometimes too confident, it was years later that he told me he'd resorted to texting because he couldn't tell if I liked him or not and didn't want to be rejected face to face.

If it helps, you should also remember that dates are two way streets not job interviews. You're using that time to figure out if you like her too. Because of your only 'criteria' for a girlfriend is someone who likes you, then you'll still feel unhappy and unworthy a few years down the line just with a different set of circumstances.

mmmccccccxxx Tue 22-May-18 08:29:55

You need to fake it till you make it, work on you self esteem go to the gym and buy yourself some
New clothes anything that makes you feel better.

I was once called the most ugly girl at school didn't stop most of the slime balls trying to crack on to me in night clubs later in life they obviously got a fuck you.

It took me years to build up self esteem but you need to wake up decide you're as good as the next guy she told you you were good looking so next date just go in for the kill (kiss her) if you balls it up move on to the next date.

Good luck you can do this ...

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