Posted in Self Help

Trigger Situations

This is quite an apt one to talk about this time around because it happened last week again when Miss X told me about how Mister Unsuitable wanted a go of a relationship with her. Today I want to discuss trigger situations. The major issue I am trying to deal with at the moment is feeling undateable and fighting the “left on the shelf” syndrome.

As I’ve said before, I’ve never had confidence around women to whom I am attracted. Before my ex-wife, I had never been out on a date and had never had a relationship of any kind. Of course, in my early 20s when all of my friends were dating, had had a few relationships and lost their virginities it made me feel quite inadequate. When I met my ex-wife in my mid-20s, all of those inadequacies and anxieties about whether I was just too unattractive or weird to ever find a partner fizzled away.

After all, here was somebody who was my type inside and outside. Somebody on my level, who was interested in many of the things I was interested in, that had a lot of personal qualities that I admired. Things were great. The lack of sex in the beginning didn’t bother me; I put it down to her nerves. I was patient and considerate and things in that regard proceeded at a very slow pace.

Cut to twelve years later and our marriage has broken down after she had an online affair, citing that she had never been in love me, that she had never had sexual desire for me… that she had always seen me as a big brother.

Naturally that was my trigger situation to sink into a pit of despair. My marriage had not just broken down but the years I had spent with this woman was now all a lie. It was a sham. It cut deep, of course it did and all of the anxieties, all of the rejected requests for dates, all of the “friendzoning” left me feeling ugly, undateable, weird, boring, unloveable and unworthy of romantic love or sexual attention from any woman and unlikely to ever be the object of somebody’s affection, love or lust.

Trigger situations are exactly what they sound like, situations or events that trigger the worst depression in a person and identified by all or nothing behaviour/thinking. An event sets off a chain reaction of despair that feeds irrational thought processes leading to further depression. My all or nothing thinking in this case was:

I am repulsive. I am unloveable. I am destined for a life of singledom

This is the pattern of thought I have followed for every female that has ever rejected me. I know it isn’t helpful; I know it is actually harmful to my mental health.

With every other trigger situation I have been able to fight back, step back and put a plan of action into place to combat the all or nothing thoughts and re-evaluate the situation for what it is. At the moment, these feelings of being unlikely to ever have another relationship is proving the tough nut to crack and I don’t know if I can overcome it without further therapy (which I cannot afford right now).

Last week those feelings came back again (as I mentioned at the top) only this time with the addition of “Miss X has chosen somebody else over me – somebody she tells me is unsuitable as a potential partner. She has chosen him over me because I am fat, repuslive and a failure. He is still the better option.”

Again, not helpful and probably not actually true in her mind but I have nothing with which to fight back as I have with the other negative self-perceptions and self-critical thoughts.

Currently exploring other options to help me out of this.



I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

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