DR. WALLACE: I’ll be graduating from college this year and I’ve never been in a relationship. I’ve certainly tried to pursue girls in high school and college, but no one seems to have ever taken a serious interest in me even though I’ve been on plenty of dates. It just seems that although most of the dates went well (at least from my point of view) and some even went very well, there was no lasting connection for whatever reason.
I walk with a slight limp due to a severe injury that I experienced as a child, and I’m slightly overweight because it is difficult for me to exercise in the manner that most people do. My parents have always told me that people are capable of seeing past my physical flaws and that the right girl will fall in love with me for who I am as a person, but I’m beginning to think that’s not necessarily true.
I feel as though my physical limitations may be holding me back from having a normal life, and I’m worried things will only get worse for me over time as I age and become even less mobile. Most of the people in my life are friendly, but some guys tease me about how I’m still a virgin, and this makes me feel incredibly insecure and inadequate.
Is there any hope for me, or will I always continue to feel like the odd guy out? — No connection yet, via email
NO CONNECTION YET: There is absolutely a happy future out there for you, and a few proactive steps might be able to help you find it sooner than it would eventually come your way.
I suggest that you seek out a few of your early dates that parted with you on good terms, as hopefully some girls you’ve known in the past would be quite willing to sit down with you as a friend and have a conversation with you. Ask a few of them for their advice! Request their honesty as to how you might present, act or follow through as a better dating partner in the future. The reality at this point is that you don’t actually know why your prior dates did not ever lead to longer, more sustained interactions.
You might be surprised to hear that there are other reasons instead of the physical limitations you have. When you asked each for a date in the past, you had the same physical attributes you still have now, and you were able to enjoy many first dates, and I trust some second ones as well. It’s just that nothing so far has turned into the special type of relationship you’d like to find yourself in these days.
You can also ask some other trusted females to get their advice, pointers, tips and suggestions. I know this might seem awkward to actually follow through on, but if you ask most people for help, suggestions and their honest opinions for a good reason, most of them are willing to help to the best of their ability.
Keep at this, as you already have a lot of good dating experience and you’ve been on many good and friendly dates in the past. It’s not like you’re too afraid or intimidated to initiate a date request. Take some time now to review your past dating experiences and think carefully about what else might have held you back. Couple this introspection with advice from girls and ladies you know. I feel you’ll be very well-equipped to confidently resume your dating career. And the sooner you do this, the more confident you’ll feel about your future. I feel the right match is absolutely out there for you to discover.
‘DECISION DAY’ MADE ME UNCOMFORTABLE
DR. WALLACE: This week was what we call ‘college decision day’ at my school. Everyone celebrated one another’s decisions about where we plan to attend college or trade schools after our high school graduation. We took a big group picture of our senior class to commemorate this event. Everyone was enjoying themselves and appeared to be proud and happy to have decided on making the decisions about their next steps in life. But for me, on the inside, I felt embarrassed and a touch ashamed of my college decision.
This wasn’t because I don’t like the school I am going to or that I am not happy with it. It was because it felt like everyone was going to a big school with huge athletic programs and Greek fraternity life and all the amenities that it seems that many people want to partake of these days.
I, on the other hand, am going to a local state school while I plan to be living at home. I know that this is the best decision for me financially, and I am not completely sure what I want to major in yet. Due to these reasons, when I see my peers’ decisions, I feel embarrassed in comparison. How can I feel content with my decision when it feels like I might have made the wrong decision? — Uncomfortable with my choice, via email
UNCOMFORTABLE WITH MY CHOICE: I can tell you firsthand that it does not matter what college, trade school or job one seeks right out of high school. What matters most is finding your path in life and seeking to work in a field that is meaningful and rewarding to you. I attended a small, rather quiet college back in my day and I never felt that I missed out on a big school experience. I bonded with a few key professors, I made some lifelong friends among my classmates and I was able to get a good education that helped launch me into my eventual chosen career path.
Many young people have what I call “too much peripheral vision,” and by this I mean they overly focus on what other people are doing rather than run their own race in life. In the end, what’s most important is finding a satisfying path for yourself rather than constantly comparing your experiences to those of others. Most stories, Facebook and Instagram posts, for example, are designed to make the individual look good, busy, influential and so forth. Almost no one posts their shortcomings, drawbacks and sour experiences in life.
Look at your new school as a new opportunity to make new friends and grow closer to a few of your existing ones who might be attending that same school. Take advantage of this time to truly take a serious look at various career paths and fields of study that you find interesting and compelling. You’ll receive a bountiful return of new positive experiences if you pursue your next educational opportunity with effort and zeal. Focus carefully on your own life and realize that you have a great opportunity that can truly shape your future in positive ways you have not even realized yet.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.