Why The Pressure To Be in a Relationship?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am someone people would consider anti-social and I agree. I find it very difficult to speak to people, I have my entire life, and even my mother describes me as a quiet child. My personal life consists of the same routine. After work, I run between two and three miles Monday thru Thursday then I watch T.V. and fall asleep. Friday thru Sunday, I study and complete all my homework. I follow this same routine weekly, I pay all my bills online and normally only go to the grocery store when I am completely out of food, even then I might not go for 2 or 3 days. I started this routine about 6 years ago when I stopped taking all my meds. I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, I question this diagnosis. I am not happy with my life but I am content, somewhat. Recently, I feel myself feeling unusual; Iike my routine is no longer working. I feel like I am about to do something terrible, like I am barely hanging on. I have to remind myself everyday of the consequences of my actions and I question how long that will hold up. I feel like I am losing sympathy and compassion for people, everything, and myself. On top of that, people at work and my immediate family have been pressuring me about dating and having children. The truth is I have never been in a relationship, I’m still a virgin; I have turned down every man that has ever asked me out on a date. Working in an automotive plant, this can happen up to two or three times a day. I do not know why but I avoid all relationships even friendly ones. I cannot begin to understand why my mother and brothers want me to be with someone.

Why do they bother me so much about being with someone? Why is my routine not working anymore? I’ve never tried therapy but I’ve had psychiatric forcing pills down my throat when I was 17 and 18, can therapy help me? Even if I’m not sure what my problems are? I always hear so much negativity about people who are anti-social and the crimes they have committed, I’m I destined to end up as them; I’m I fighting a losing battle?

A. There is a difference between being labeled antisocial by others and having an antisocial personality disorder (ASD). Someone can be described as antisocial if they limit their interactions with people but it does not have the same meaning as antisocial personality disorder (ASD), as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of mental health disorders. ASD is a chronic mental health condition that is characterized by not knowing right from wrong. Individuals with ASD also tend to get into trouble with the law, they can be violent, impulsive, and they generally express a blatant disregard for others. They also often have difficulty relating to others and their relationships can be dysfunctional. If you’d like to read more about ASD, please follow this link.

You may be not very social in the sense that you rarely spend time with others. You seem to avoid relationships. Some possible reasons for this may include fear. Perhaps you fear rejection or you have social anxiety. Social anxiety is characterized by an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. It can arise when an individual is worried that people may criticize or judge them. It is also a characteristic of schizotypal personality disorder.

Schizoid personality disorder is another disorder to explore. Hallmarks of this disorder are avoiding social activities where interaction with others may take place and not enjoying the companionship of others.

Another possibility may be that you lack the necessary social skills to be an effective communicator and this hampers your ability to relate to others. Additionally, you state that you’ve been a quiet person all of your life. Maybe you are used to being “the quiet one” and it is easier to remain in this familiar role. If you lived your life as an introvert, the thought of being more of an extrovert may be uncomfortable and frightening. It may also be that you’d rather be alone and do not prefer the company of others.

I am not sure if medication could help unless the reason you do not to interact with others is fear (i.e. social anxiety). Some individuals with social anxiety take antidepressants or anxiety medication and find them very helpful. On the other hand, if you do in fact have bipolar disorder (as diagnosed), you may find medication very beneficial. Perhaps the only way to know if medicine would help is to try it, under the supervision of a mental health professional.

I believe therapy could be very beneficial. If you are open to therapy, I would strongly recommend it. Here’s a website that may help you locate a therapist in your community.

Lastly, you also asked why your family is pressuring you to have relationships. I cannot know with certainty but I believe it may be because they are worried about you. Also, they probably do not want you to miss out on the many wonderful benefits that can accompany relationships. Therapy may be able to help you in this area and I hope you will consider it. Thanks for your question. I wish you well.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Dec 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Why The Pressure To Be in a Relationship?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/12/28/why-the-pressure-to-be-in-a-relationship/