Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Love Shyness - Definition

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

Don't let anyone tell you that normal doesn't exist. There are many characteristics which can be defined rather rigidly, with exceptions representative of pathologies. For example, it is normal to have four fingers and a thumb on one had. To not have this is a pathology. This isn't a judgement - five or three fingered individuals aren't bad or worse people, they are just different. Political correctness to me means not to discriminate or bully those things people can't choose - having said that there is nothing wrong with pointing out what is and to always remember that you cannot easily derive an ought from an is. (Such as you cannot say six finger/thumbed people are bad just because it's "not normal")

Certain pathologies are rather consistent amongst populations where one particular pathology is present. When this happens, one can actually derive a normality within a sub-population of abnormal people! To put this more simply, internet trolls/kooks are very highly likely to be male. It is therefore normal to be a male internet kook, but abnormal to be a female internet kook.

Love Shyness, as defined is only relevant to the male heterosexual population - however there are likely female love-shys (and homosexual male love-shys), but they are unlikely to suffer the same problems as a male love-shys due to cultural considerations.

From Gilmartin's book:
This book is about heterosexual, "single, never married" men who have never voluntarily chosen to remain "single, never married", but who have been constrained to remain that way because of severe shyness in informal social situations involving women. This form of chronic, severe shyness can best be labeled "love-shyness". And it afflicts approximately 1.5 percent of all American males.

Indeed, [this book] is devoted to men who would like nothing better than to be able to marry and to have children, but who are not moving towards these goals because of severe bashfulness, shyness and social timidity.

Love-shyness is a life-crippling condition. Victims of love-shyness cannot marry. They cannot have children, and they cannot participate in the normal adolescent and young adult activities of dating and courtship.
This book was written in 1985.
Today many young women complain about what they perceive to be a serious shortage of eligible heterosexual men who are desirous of a permanent, intimate, committed relationship with a woman. As this book will make quite clear, the love-shy constitute a rich and long neglected supply of such men.
Looks like nothing has changed in the past 25 years! It would be interesting to see if the new sexual revolution has lowered the rate of love-shy males in the population.

Why is shyness a problem?
To be shy is to have one's actions (or lack of them) misunderstood, misinterpreted and misread by others. An extreme fear of the pain of anxiety prevents the shy person from taking the kinds of action that are in accordance with his or her values, wishes, knowledge and rational judgment. More simply put, shyness inhibits people from assuming a sense of responsibility for their behavior. It makes them feel and truly believe that they are not in the "driver's seat" of their own lives and destinies.
We all get shy at some stage don't we?

Well there are two kinds of social situations,
1) Personal social situations
2) Impersonal social situations

Impersonal social situations deal with public performance, etc. Essentially a "scripted" environment. On the other hand personal social situations are "unscripted" and deal with one on one or group talk where one has no "script". The love-shy are particularly susceptible to shyness in personal social situations. While most people can get away with being shy in impersonal social situations, most people cannot maintain happiness when they are shy in personal social situations.

Next post I will look at what symptoms are common in love-shy males.

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