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Int4rw3b Personals
2009-10-12 9:43 p.m.

To respond to the personal ad, or not to respond?

Internet dating is fraught, I think, for countless reasons, but more so for someone like myself with severe Avoidant tendencies tacked onto my social anxiety.

The social anxiety makes internet personals really, really attractive — I can browse anonymously if I so choose, I can craft careful, measured messages/responses, I can present myself in the best light (though, in all honesty, my low self-image and pessimism means that I am often presenting myself in a slightly negative light, at best), etc., etc.

But. The avoidance thing makes it bad. Very, very bad.

'Cause, see, when I start to make a connection, or if my brain meats suddenly decide for some reason that things are getting too intense (and there is no concrete yardstick for what "too intense" might actually be, because my brain meats are BROKEN) then it is almost impossible for me not to violently withdraw. Which doesn't mean that I am cruel (as would have been my adolescent response), but that I literally flee. I shut it all down, delete all profiles and accounts, and head into serious lurking mode.

I recognize that this behavior may not be overtly, intentionally cruel, but is still awful to the other party in innumerable ways (severe cases of "WTF!?!" and "Did I do something?"). I just cannot help myself. The option is too enticing, too available, too consequence free...and the impulse is too strong.

Time will pass, my anxiety will fade, my loneliness will reassert itself, and I will find myself browsing around again. Knowing what is likely to happen. Not being able to help myself.

So.

To respond to the personal ad, or not to respond?

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