One of the most crippling factors in my romantic development is the utter lack of experience I have in dealing with other people as romantic partners. I have no paradigm or schema for how to go about forming a relationship that hasn’t been learned from observation and media consumption. I rely on my traditionally comfortable modes of learning (textual, symbolic, and mediated) and it’s becoming obvious that my over-reliance on these modes greatly contributes to my inexperience and the interpersonal disconnect I have always had problems bridging without obscene amounts of time spent coming to know someone before I become truly comfortable with him or her. I’m trying to gain understanding of a concept through a culturally symbolic lens or from first-person accounts and observation, but romance and human engagement are more about direct experience, receptivity, and getting one’s hands metaphorically dirty and just seeing what works. It’s experimentation, and I tend to skew heavily toward interpretation and reflection on the witnessed experiments of others. I’m trying to learn rationally something I know must be intuitive if it’s to truly work for me.
The best solution I can see at this this time is attempting to muster some boldness to break out of my well worn social habits in an attempt to acclimate myself to different ways of perceiving and engaging with people. I’m concerned I’ve become too theoretical, clinical, and cold in my approach to people, but I really do not know how to reach out without fear nor how to gracefully accept or demonstrate sexual or romantic attention. I cannot keep waiting for a better body, a better job, or any other projected fantasy that I imagine will validate my desire for companionship and love and expect anything but further delay and seclusion. My journey through life has been uncommonly lonely thus far, and if I want to reverse this trend I must change my typical behaviors as well as the thoughts that support them.