In my relations with the opposite sex, I don't think I've progressed much since I was 13. Then, I'd look at the girl I was interested in and realize that I wasn't getting anywhere with her, and feel bad. Now, I hang out with her and don't get anywhere, and feel bad.
I appear socially functional, women like me fine, but no one wants to be intimate with me. I find that women I'm friendly with this way don't tell me when they've acquired a boyfriend; they just disappear for a bit, and then return to have dinner with me regularly again. They know that our friendship is a substitute for dating for both of us, and they don't want to hurt me or make me jealous, nor do they want to lose the friendly nonthreatening guy friend in their lives.
Various people have given me advice about my neurotic and painful social life. Setting aside the nut cases, misogynists, and people with a Solution for Everything, most of these boil down to one of:
1. Be a jerk. You're a Nice Guy and those don't get anywhere.
2. Ask out loads of women you don't actually like and end up having a sexual relationship with the 1 in $large_number who'll actually sleep with you.
3. I'm just as miserable as you; let's marinate in it.
#3 is pretty understandable, although unattractive, But I totally reject 1 and 2. I don't see mistreating other people as an effective strategy for achieving happiness, and neither do I think hanging around with ditzy red-faced divorcées at the local crappy bar will bring me anything good. If this is a sales gig, then I'm out of luck. In the Economy of Sex, which isn't something people like to talk about, I have a product that's hard to sell: I've always been eccentric, I've never looked the way you're supposed to look, and my lifetime success rate of zilch has at this point really colored my view to the point that I don't expect any success at all.
The really painful part about it, the part that I can't face most of the time, is that my "backup nonsexual friend" repeating situation means that the people I keep on caring so much about in my world rarely care nearly as much about me. I'm just not worth as much as they are. I should, perhaps, be grateful that any of them spend time with me at all, right?
When I was a teenager, of course, this was all going to get better as soon as I got to college and people had values more like mine. That's 20 years ago now.
I don't need any more friends like that. Not any of you. I'd rather be alone than condescended to any more.
I see right through your plastic mac.