Love-shyness as a concept is fairly easy to explain, but questions are often evoked about its scope and exactly how it affects individuals. Listed here are answers to the most frequent questions; more detailed answers can be found by registering on the forum and asking the members.
Demographics: Who is Love-shy?
Love-shyness is a term coined by Dr. Brian G. Gilmartin in his 1987 book Shyness and Love: Causes, consequences, and treatment. He chose the term to describe people who are shy, but want romantic relationships, and just can't get them no matter how hard they try. There is a large umbrella of interpretation possible and love-shyness is certainly a spectrum of disorders -- no two love-shys are alike, and many do not fall under Gilmartin's categorizations, but they are still love-shy.
The Love-shy term does not cover all people perfectly; some have had relationships in the past, while others have no problem approaching, they just can't get anyone to say "yes."
Other terms for describing the predicament exist. Many people use the term "involuntary celibacy" to describe datelessness. Varying definitions of this term exist, but generally a person has to be incapable of finding a partner for six months or more to be considered involuntarily celibate. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the term, because an involuntary celibate could just be wanting sex and not a relationship, and thus we believe the term love-shy is better, as it describes someone who wants love, but just can't get it.
That said, the suffering of incels is often the same as those of love-shys. The Love-shy term itself is just a shorthand for involuntarily dateless people, though many who are closer to Gilmartin's definition see themselves as love-shys, while those farther away see themselves as "incels," or "involuntarily celibates." It is possible for a person to be both incel and love-shy, and most are both, and most are both to some degree or another. For instance, a person could originally be incel, then suffer large numbers of turn downs, and eventually become love-shy and unable to approach.
In the end, it's a semantic game and people are free to use both terms interchangeably, but do realize there is a difference between the terms. [top]
In short, yes. While Gilmartin performed his study in the United States, love-shys exist worldwide, as evidenced by the membership of the Love-shy.com forums and readership of the site. As love-shy.com is an English language site, most of its forum members are from the US (where the site is based), Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Members exist from all over, though.
As far as race is concerned, there are members of all races on the forums. Going by polls, most are areligious, athiest or agnostic, but several members are religious, some quite strongly so. Religious and racial argumentation is generally minimal despite the fact that people can freely talk about it. [top]
Generally, to be considered love-shy, one has to be an adult, but otherwise, yes. Gilmartin studied love-shys of all age groups, ranging from college students to men in their 50s and 60s. All exhibited similar symptoms and voiced similar complaints, though the older love-shyes suffered notably more than the younger ones. The love-shy.com forum has active members of all adult ages.
Love-shyness doesn't simply start affecting people when they're adults, though that's when the worst of the symptoms tend to come in. The seeds of love-shyness are often set in childhood, as love-shys tend to fall behind socially and become pariahs, and suffer all the negative consequences that result. [top]
Generally not. Most love-shys have a fear of approaching that is the result of rejection, internal inhibitions, or a combination of the two. Many also suffer from things like Asperger's syndrome, and so may not pick up on cues that a potential partner is interested in them. This often gets misinterpreted as homosexuality or asexuality, when in fact the love-shy is dying for a relationship, but just doesn't know how to express it. Many love-shys would love to jump into a relationship, they just can't, for whatever reason. They often are too "slow" when it comes to processing social signals to pick up on the fact that a partner might be interested in them. Of course, this doesn't mean they are retarded; most love-shys have above-average intelligence, they just suck at picking up on social cues.
Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't homosexual and asexual love-shys; they exist, but as a minority. Love-shy.com has several confirmed asexual members. As far as homosexuality is concerned, many love-shys are accused of being homosexual and made fun of, so it's kind of a sore issue. Most love-shys support things like gay marriage but the tone of the forum is decidedly hetero. So be prepared. [top]
Does love-shyness affect women? Indeed, it does, despite the fact that Gilmartin only studied love-shy men. The argument that not as many women are as effected by it as men seems to be true, coroborrated by the much higher incidence of Asperger's syndrome in men, but that doesn't make the suffering of women who are love-shy any different. Women can find a supportive environment on Love-shy.com, despite the fact that many men in the forum are frustrated with women. There are plenty of men on the love-shy.com forums who are supportive of women's issues, despite notions to the contrary.
The presence of many female members who are active posters on love-shy.com forums confirms this. Many are love-shys themselves; many have tried to gain the interest of a man they believe to be love-shy, and are trying to figure out how. [top]
Asperger's Syndrome, as described by Hans Asperger in the 1940s, is a condition that makes a person incapable of sorting out subtle social cues, among other things. Asperger's tend to have obsessive hobbies of a very specific nature, getting down to trivial details. They also tend to be very patterned and stereotyped in their behavior, performing repetitive movements like bobbing back and forth in a chair. They absolutely detest change, as a constant state is most natural to them. Asperger's is esentially mild autism, and while sufferers can perform the basic tasks of life, the typical fast-moving social cues are lost on them. They have a tendency to be of above average intellegence.
Love-shys suffer disproportionately from Asperger's syndrome relative to the general population. In a 2004 letter, Gilmartin noted that as many as 40 percent of Love-shys may suffer from Asperger's. Curiously, in a poll on WrongPlanet.net, roughly 40% of poll takers claimed extreme difficulty in romantic interactions. Many members of the Love-shy.com forum have been formally diagnosed with Asperger's. It is very likely that Asperger's and datelessness go hand in hand, though many Love-shys do not suffer from Asperger's. [top]
Love-shys suffer overwhelmingly from social anxiety, and it is one of the clear hallmarks of love-shyness. Often this anxiety is internal and not much can be done about it, and this makes love-shys stressed in any social situation. Often this distress is misinterpreted as aloofness or arrogance, giving love-shys an unnecessarly bad reputation. Social anxiety is indeed a prison that is difficult to get out of, and we are constantly discussing ways around it in the love-shy.com forums. [top]
Depression is a disorder by far not unique to love-shys, but affects love-shys in a disproportionately higher frequency than the general population. Many love-shys suffer from depression that is both caused by internal physiological factors and the fact that no one seems to understand their problems. This can cause a vicious cycle that can lead to suicide. Treatments for depression and suicidal thoughts are outside the scope of love-shy.com's abilities, and should be handled by medical professionals; however, Love-shy.com aims to help those suffering from both. By far one of the best ways to cope with depression is the creation of a "hopeful environment," and that includes being able to talk to understanding individuals who understand exactly what you're going through. And that's what the Love-shy.com forums are for. [top]
Love-shys run the gamut of the political spectrum. Love-shys as a whole tend to lean towards the left/libertarian side of the political spectrum, as noted by Dr. Gilmartin. A poll of Love-shy.com members confirmed this about the site's members. However, there are quite a few who lean to the right side of the political spectrum as well.
Love-shy.com itself does not subscribe to a specific political ideology. We're generally interested in what works. Our site administration has members from all over the political spectrum and we generally do not get into big political arguments. Controversial political arguments tend to center more around what society should do for love-shys instead of partisan politics. [top]
We support full freedom of speech on the love-shy.com forums. Dateless people are a controversial topic and the nature of it demands that all ideas are given time and allowed to be expressed without fear of censorship. We do ban obvious trolls and people trying to take advantage of the free speech system, but no one has gotten censored for expressing legitimate viewpoints, no matter how much the membership or administrators may disagree with them. In short, there's a lot of disagreement between love-shy members, but somehow we manage to be a productive place where members can discuss ideas without censoring speech, unlike some other forums claiming to support dateless people. [top]
The site with a url "loveshy.com" (note the absence of a hyphen) is a link-farming website designed to siphon traffic. It is not a legitimate website devoted to Love-shyness or helping love-shy individuals. Love-shy.com (note the hyphen) is and will always be the legitimate destination. [top]
Love-shy.com has occasionally come under attack from people who have nothing better to do than harass and make fun of dateless people. The bitter irony is that by admission, many of the trolls themselves are dateless; they just refuse to get help and instead try to look cool over the internet. We at love-shy.com refuse to "look cool," and we refuse to look edgy by making fun of people who are going through a great deal of pain. And we have a moderator force that quickly polices out trolls. This way legitimate discussion can be maintained. [top]
"Doesn't labeling yourself as "love-shy" or "incel" make your problem worse? Don't make this problem your identity for crying out loud!"
We hear this argument a lot, typically from outsiders. To be sure, it is not a good idea to say, for instance, "I'm love shy, therefore I can't date" and throw in the towel. But in the end love-shy, incel, etc. are just labels describing a predicament and a set of personality and/or physical characteristics that make dating difficult. In the pre-internet age, it was very difficult to get any good advice regarding this matter, especially if you were a very shy, cloistered individual. Most of the standard advice is geared towards those of extravert temperament and so is difficult for love-shys to relate to. Also, much dating material is whitewashed and censored, which prevents people from getting into the nitty gritty of what the situation is and what they need to fix. Love-shy.com strives to be a place where all ideas can flow freely, and should not be condemned as merely a place where people use labels and excuses.
PUA, or pick-up artistry, has become a bigger and bigger worldwide phenomenon ever since its explosion in the late 90s and early 2000s. It ostensibly teaches men that they can objectively emulate certain behaviors to attract women, and that these strategies can be used to seduce almost any woman. Our stance on this matter is mixed, as several Love-shy.com members have spent thousands of dollars on pickup artist classes only to be left in the same love-shy rut. It is our belief that whatever plagues love-shies is beyond the reach of most PUA to fix, as learning "game" requires an ability to pick up the rapid-response behavioral cues that so many love-shys lack due to Aspergers or other conditions they suffer from.
At Love-shy.com, we do not believe in the more sleazy aspects of PUA, and there are many forum members who are against all forms of PUA, both due to the sleazy aspects and the fact that it doesn't work reliably or at all for them. The general stance of Love-shy.com is that PUA has serious flaws when applied to a love-shy individual, but the non-pickup aspects of "game" are important for avoiding the friendzone and suffering other abusive, imbalanced relationships as a result of being attracted to somebody while not being attractive to them. [top]
Love-shys are sensitive people. They can get very enamored with those they fall for, but tragically, the objects of their affection don't usually like them back. Love-shys are often treated with the phrases "oh, you're such a nice guy, but I don't see you that way," or "sorry, I have a boyfriend" or the classic "I wouldn't want to ruin our friendship." The unaware, naive guy will stay stuck to the girl as a satellite, or "friend" if you will, in the vain hope that she will change her mind. Meanwhile, the girl has several relationships with other guys, and relays her sob stories to the friendzoned guy while giving him no sex.
So, what to do about friendzoning? Well, there's an entire forum on this site devoted to help, but if you believe you're in this predicament, we're going to give you one piece of advice right here: Break your "friendship" off now! You will only suffer more emotional devastation and hardship in the long run. Do not pander any more to the girl, do not do extra, unwarranted things for her, in fact, it is best to cut off all contact with the girl and move on. Above all else, do not not not listen to the advice out there that the girl might "change her mind!" There's a 99% chance she won't and you'll be stuck in the cold while you could have been eyeing other prospects.
Friendzoning is good for no one, really. It ruins the friendzoned guy, teaches the friendzoning girl that she can always have bootlickers serve her in return for nothing, and harms society by making it seem like love-shys are these bootlicking pushovers who don't deserve respect. Do not give a girl unwarranted reward treatment! She has enough friends to yap about how bad her boyfriend is behind his back.
The important thing to understand is that the friendzone is an abusive relationship for both parties involved, but it hurts the friendzoned guy worse, because he gets nothing out of it. If a girl turns you down, it will always hurt, no matter what. But you must move on or else even more humiliation. This is problematic in an environment where there is a scarcity of options, which encourages this behavior, but you must avoid this behvior, no matter how bad it feels or how scarce your options are. [top]
LS.com FAQ 1.2 last revised March 08 2012 23:53:54.
Have a question? Want help with Love-shyness? Want to introduce yourself to a whole community of understanding love-shy members? Then create an account on the Love-shy.com forums!