dating dilemma

I am a 38 year old black male and I seem to find problems dating, because I do not fit into any racial or social stereotype. I must admit I am very academic, a free-lance writer, political extremely well-read and travelled (that petrifies most of my contemporaries) but however a sexual masochist, I could only relate to s/m aficionados and dominatrix. It is probably due years of being raised in the vortex of certain patriarchal traditions (Anglo-American Puritanism and West African conservatism) and deeply sucked into the vast abyss and some of the darkest recesses of its intellectual vacuous ness i.e. bio-psycho-social and sexual repression. Yes you’ve probably got the gist now. I was systematically sexually repressed at home and abused at a catholic boarding school from the age of 14 until 16. I need help in a lot of ways. Two years of psychotherapy here in St Albans and two years at the world famous Tavistock clinic in London has not helped much. I could go on and on…

I do sympathise and I do wish you well but after 4 years of psychotherapy I’m absolutely certain there is little I can do in one brief letter! And in fact, no-one can actually wave a magic wand and do anything for you, not matter what length of time they have or how world famous they may be. What counsellors and psychotherapist aim to do is threefold – to help you explore yourself and your situation; to help you understand; and then to support you in taking your own action. You seem to have done plenty of exploring and have a degree of understanding, but it’s up to you what action you want to take about it.

The issue is that our upbringing has tremendous influence – it sets the blueprint for ourselves and provides a road map of our life. But once you begin to see the strings pulling you this way and that, you have the choice to let this go on happening, or not. You don’t need to fit into a racial or social stereotype to be able to date, unless you continue to insist on needing a niche to feel happy or in being with people who demand the same.

It sometimes strikes me that for somewhat inward looking, analytical people psychotherapy is both a gift from heaven and a total trap. Maybe what could help is something a bit more focused and snappy – a six or ten session short contract with a counsellor to do a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, . I do suggest you start looking for the upside in what you are seeing as problems. If your contemporaries find an academic, well-read and travelled free-lance writer petrifying then maybe you’re with the wrong contemporaries, or need to find people grown up enough to be on your wave length. You’re black, bright, cultured and have slightly outré sexual tastes. Good grief – sounds like a cv that could take you far!

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