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How to overcome fears of intimacy and worries about being single

Community Member

Hi everyone, 

I've previously posted on Beyond Blue and found it to be helpful so am hoping that posting again might help me out somewhat. 

I just turned 25 and am feeling really low about the fact I've never been in a long-term relationship. I'm the only one of my friends who this is true for.... I feel really hopeless about the situation, and I find it is these thoughts that contribute to my struggles with depression the most, as I feel like I will never be able to develop a relationship with anybody. 

A large part of my worries stems from the fact that I have very little experience in the physical side of things... My first time was pretty terrible as it occurred without my consent, and since then I have found it extremely difficult to engage in physical intimacy with a guy. I finally got to a point where I did reach this point again with a guy, but I felt pressured into rushing things, and it was a really bad experience all round. After that experience I got dumped, and I felt absolutely humiliated as I was told that that was the main reason for ending things. I now know that that probably wasn't the world's greatest example of a healthy relationship, but I can't help but feel really hopeless about the situation. 

I can see that I have many things to offer someone - I think I have a nice personality, I've always had great relationships with my friends, I'm reasonably intelligent.... I feel like objectively I'm not that bad, but I feel like with the lack of experience, and the fact that nobody has wanted to be in a relationship with me yet, that the idea of me ever being able to make a connection with someone like that is near impossible. 

I don't know whether I should just resign myself to a fate of being a crazy old cat lady, or whether I should hang in there and just hope for the best. At the moment it just feels like I'm never going to have the experience of forming a relationship, and this makes me really really sad. 

Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts/words of wisdom I would love to hear from you. 

Thanks so much - Brooke x

11 Replies 11

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

dear Brookey, please don't feel worried about posting your comment, because I'm sure that it happens to most people on their first time, and I was the same as you with my first girlfriend who I married for 25 years.

There is one good need that our body does want especially when you are young and it's the urge to be sexually satisfied, of course that doesn't happen to all people, but in your situation there's no need for the guy to rush in and do it, and with me I asked my girlfriend to help me out, mainly because I went to an all boys private school.

Now I have let the cat out of the bag, because I was isolated and had no teaching of 'the birds and the bees', even though Dad was a doctor.

So for you just start a relationship before anything happens.

I could give you more detail but this post wouldn't go through, and if I did my respect would not be appreciated. L Geoff. x

Community Member

Thanks Geoff for your message. It makes me feel a little better to know that there have been others in a similar situation. 

I guess what I worry about though, is that I'm not even going to be able to get into a r/ship in the first place to have this opportunity, because every time I have started seeing someone I have never been able to get over that hurdle. I used to just think that if I waited to meet someone, that it would be ok. But now, after trying that a couple of times I realise it is harder than that, and that it's unlikely that anyone would be willing to take things a little slower with me. 

I guess I just feel like a relationship is something I'm never going to have the opportunity to experience. 😞

Hi brookey,

Thanks for posting to BB.

Rest assured, your fate is not crazy old cat lady. 🙂  I know what it's like to feel like the only one without a relationship. It can be really isolating and abuse of any kind can make it feel so much more vulnerable.  But this does not mean that you won't be in a relationship, and it doesn't mean that your past experiences are going to be anything like your future experiences.

You have a nice personality, intelligent, "not that bad" - what else?  What do you really like about yourself?  What makes you you?

The fact that you've been through some rough roads doesn't make you any less of a person, it makes you more of a person - because it means that you are mature, intelligent, brave and courageous.  It means that you value yourself because sex is more than just sex and how intimacy is important to you.  

I also think it's important to mention that your lack of experience is actually not that uncommon; it's just that we hear of relationships and sex so often that the vast majority of people who have intimate relationships later in life don't get as much attention.  I also think that the 'right guy' or the person who really deserves your companionship won't mind about the lack of experience.  

My advice - love yourself first, and then put yourself out there - just have coffee, chat with people. Start small.

Hope this helps. 🙂

Thanks so much for your lovely reply - I'm at such a low point in my life right now that that really made a big difference to my day. 

 I feel like there are some things that I really like about myself, and I do think that I deserve to be in a relationship, but yeah, it's just really hard to feel like someone else could like me back when that hasn't happened yet. 

 I think as well I was previously quite optimistic about the whole idea of waiting for the right person and things would be ok. I thought I met the right person, and when it still wasn't ok I think that really screwed with my mind in the hope that I carried for things eventually getting better... 

I suppose all you can do is know that the one constant in this world is change - and that it's unlikely for my experience to remain the same forever 😛


Community Member

Hey Brookey

 Well I posted on here about two years ago with similar concerns about my perpetual singledom, and I was 37, I subsequently found myself in a relationship about 8 months later, which was great! I of course am not saying wait another 12 years, I'm sure you won't be waiting that long. But I can say looking back that these stresses about being single really aren't worth the headspace we give them , I personally wish I hadn't spent soooo much time worrying about being on my own , after all it's not a competition, you are on your own journey here and these things will happen in their own good time. It's also important to remember just how young you are, you're 25, so much time ahead of you.


So go easy on yourself , please.

Community Member

Hey tboy, 

Thanks very much for your response. I really do appreciate the time people make to respond to a complete stranger on here - I really think it is such a lovely thing to take the time to respond! So thanks very much 🙂 

 Yeah - I definitely can see how regardless of the outcome for me, worrying about single won't help me. I'm hoping to kind of find peace within that at least. 

I feel like at 25 I have so much pressure on me to be in a relationship still though! Even the other day, at the doctors office, I was getting lectured about how I shouldn't leave having a baby off too long (I have some potential fertility issues). 😛  

I'm going to keep hanging in there. Feeling so ridiculously down about my life right now, so just hoping the phase will pass and I'll be okay sooner rather than later. I just wish I could somehow convince my brain to be just a little more hopeful of the future - at the moment everything seems like a big mush of black nothingness, and I don't have a clue what to do 😞 



You're not alone brookey,

 I just broke up with a girl I had been seeing for awhile and it feels awful. It feels like I will never ever find the right person and that my future is hopeless. This is ridiculous of course. You will find someone and you will find happiness, just as I will. We just have to stick in there and keep trying, don't let the world win, beat it, own it, win it! You might have felt that the person was the one, but if they broke up with you because of the sex thing then that tells me that he most definitely was not. And speaking of the sex thing, our culture makes it seem like that everyone is and should be having regular sex from the age of 16 onwards. This is a lie. Everyone is different. I'm a 20 year old male and I have confidence issues in regards to sex and it is hard to date people knowing you will have to let them know at some point. But the right person will understand and they will help. 

 Good luck in your search for the right guy, don't be too hard on yourself. When you find him you won't be there thinking that its taken forever. 



Community Member

Hi Brookey,

Thanks for your post it sounds similar to where I am at the moment. 

I totally have myself convinced that I will be an old spinster cat lady. 

My intimate experiences from my past have not been pleasant and a history of sex not through my own choice has left me very wary. 

I am terrified of physical contact I can't even bear being hugged. honestly no one will ever want to be with me if I can't stand being touched let alone touching someone else.

So I should probably get a cat soon haha..... Otherwise I will be all alone.

Some part of me keeps hoping that one day I will find someone who understands and will be happy to take it very slow, and that physical contact becomes something normal and comfortable for me.

At the moment I try not think too much about it all. I keep hoping tho 🙂

Don't give up, I really believe you will find the right person sooner rather than later.

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hey brookey, thanks for your post!

Up until about a year ago, I was exactly like you - that friend in your group who'd never been in a relationship, didn't know the first thing about intimacy, and was destined to be single forever. 

I decided to consentrate on making myself happy, rather than waiting for someone else to do so, and within six months of totally rethinking my whole approach to relationships and that false thought of "I need someone in order to be happy", I happened to meet someone, and we've been together for half a year now. He's the opposite of me - a former player, very experienced, had a couple of relationships. And that never stopped us. He knew I was very scared of intimacy, and he was completely okay with waiting months until I was comfortable. 

It sounds cliche, but hang in there, because I honestly was in the same position as you, and I would never ever have guessed this would be my life one year later. Focus on YOU, not the people in relationships around you. It's that old saying, if you can't love yourself, how is anyone else going to?