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Plus one on this. I'm 67 and lonely. My REAL self is handsome, funny, interesting, good listener, loyal, resourceful, even wise sometimes. My haunted self is fearful, anxious, easily discouraged, pessimistic, ungrateful. I show the first when I meet a woman, and then torture myself asking when and how to be honest about the presence of my other side. I was just dumped by a woman after a torrid affair, because I said too much too soon and she was afraid to commit to my REAL self for fear of my haunted self. Now I'm online dating and trying to handle it differently. It's important that I remember that everyone's showing their best self at first and withholding their dark side. And everyone has a dark side. So who's to say I'm being more dishonest than they are because I don't start by blurting out all of my shortcomings, real or IMAGINED?

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Replies to "Plus one on this. I'm 67 and lonely. My REAL self is handsome, funny, interesting, good..."

@anhedonius Welcome to Mayo Connect. As you can see, we are all patients, caregivers or family members here, and sometimes we wear more than one hat! We offer and share our experiences, what worked [or didn't], our stories.

You give very different descriptions of your real self versus haunted self. When does your haunted self present; have you done or thought about therapy work on the darker side of you? You're absolutely right, everyone has a darker side. Being aware of both sides, and how they affect you each day, helps you to see yourself truly. And gives you a starting point to address what you want to change.

Being brave and stepping in to a dating world, can be very taxing. I know it was for me, as an adult over 60! All I can say, is to be who you are. I told my husband I was on the autism spectrum before we got married, but he was not versed on it, and didn't fully comprehend how it affected me. We did not live under the same roof until 4 months after the wedding, and did a long-distance relationship prior to that. We both learned a lot about each other!

What you describe is enough to pique my interest. But not enough to know precisely what you mean by "REAL" self and "haunted" self. There are a few different ways to interpret what you describe but without more blanks filled in it would be inappropriate to comment. It sounds like you would like to know how to move forward through this so you can arrive at a point where you can have a lasting and fulfilling relationship and not be so lonely. Have you spoken to any professionals in the therapy/counseling world about these issues? That would be a good place to start if you haven't already done this, and it's never too late to start. I think you have a lot of inner exploration to do to understand yourself better. Hoping the best for you, Hank

Hello @anhedonius. I'd like to add my welcome to you as you have recently joined Mayo Clinic Connect. You have come to a group that will compassionately support you with our own personal experiences and information on what has helped us.

I agree with what @gingerw and @jesfactsmon have posted about the importance of personal sessions with a trained therapist in order to help make the "real" self come to the surface more often than the "haunted self" which is anxious, fearful, etc. (By the way, those are really good descriptors.) Often the haunted self does seem real, doesn't it?

If you have not had an opportunity to seek one-to-one counseling yet, I would encourage you, at the very least, to look into some of the books written by Dr. David Burns. He writes about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). His workbook can be really helpful in sorting out how to deal with "haunted self." I think you would find his writings very helpful.

@anhedonius Hi there! Checking in to see how you are feeling these days?

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