Ask Amy: Dating confidence can't be faked
Dear Amy: I'm 26 years old, and live in a large city.
I have a wide circle of close friends, but I've always struggled with dating. My longest relationship lasted for about two years, and that ended nearly five years ago.
My friends and family often tell me, "You can't love someone if you don't love yourself."
I know the reason people say this is because I have never loved myself. I was a very anxious child; as a teenager I was diagnosed with body image dysmorphia and depression. I have battled (and have conquered) an eating disorder, as well.
I am in therapy and take medication. I have a stable job, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet. Sometimes I receive compliments from people about my appearance, but I feel they are just giving a compliment in order to be nice.
Although I lack self-confidence, I believe I appear confident on dates ("confidence is attractive!" right?), but I don't believe I come off as haughty. I'm careful to take things slowly, but also express interest.
I sometimes have multiple dates with one person, but eventually the connection fizzles out. Although at this point, I always expect that to happen, I will happily put in the effort.
Do you agree with my friends? Do you think that others can see right through someone with low self-esteem?
-- Not Confident in Nebraska
Dear Nebraska: I agree with your friends and family - and what I think they are trying to tell you is that the most important relationship you will ever have, is the one you have with yourself. In that regard, there is always room for growth!