Dear Mik and Emily,
I hope you can help me. I’m 24, have just finished my Masters degree at Bristol, and I’m still a virgin. I’ve recently started online dating, and am upfront with people that I have a speech impairment, but pressured situations make it so much worse and I end up struggling or giving up half way through dates because I know I’m not being understood or listened to. I’m a really interesting, lively person, but my disability sometimes makes me seem shut off and rude. Any suggestions?
And thanks so much for writing in to us. First of all, please don’t stress about age and virginity – we certainly don’t all lose it when we’re 16, and that’s MORE than okay! I’m normally a big advocate for online dating when people need to improve their confidence and chatting skills – but I’m going to go against the grain here because that’s certainly not your problem! You seem really confident and comfortable in yourself and your ability to turn the charm on – the problem is that meeting someone for the first time, especially when you’ve built up excitement and attraction over text, is really scary! Maybe online dating isn’t for you; it seems like you’d be much better meeting people at an event, evening class or on a night out – there’s no previous pressure to deal with, and you’re just chatting to a new friend, if it turns into something more, then great! Maybe join a networking group for new graduates and focus on speaking to as many new people as you can, no pressure involved, and see how it affects your speech impairment. I’m pretty sure you’ll be surprised by the results! Then get yourself to a bar and do it all over again in a more romantic setting, with no tinder-like expectations weighing upon you. Hope this helps, and good luck!