Dr Frankie Bashan
Dr Frankie Bashan

At 25 years old I’ve never had a serious relationship with a woman.

Dear Dr Frankie:

Although I knew I was gay from a fairly early age, I’m 25 years old and I’ve never been in a serious relationship with a woman.

I’m finding that have serious fears of attachment and intimacy. These were most likely due to some early relationships where I “merged” with my partner, and I’m worried that my inexperience, struggles with intimacy, and the fact that I’m still a virgin may be too heavy a burden for a potential love interest to bear. Should I abstain from romance to focus solely on myself for a while? Or do I throw caution to the wind and learn from the failures, hurts, and embarrassments that will inevitably come?

Signed, Scared to fall in Love

It’s moments like this, that I like pull out a rather severe quote from Lady Gaga:

Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams.
If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.

Don’t misunderstand me: I love Love.

I believe we each have an infinite capacity for it and we ALL deserve a loving, healthy relationship.

I ALSO believe in following your dreams, developing a career you are passionate about and finding ways to feed your soul. Before making a decision about which direction to take, here’s my advice:

You have to love yourself first.


It’s something said often, and taught rarely. You must love yourself first before you can truly love anyone else. You must develop a radically intimate, completely overwhelming appreciation for your faults, your shortcomings, your magic and your spark before you can rightly be part of a long term couple. But how to do that?


Do things you consider impossible.

To build confidence (and love) you must conquer things you find “impossible.”
What seems impossible to you? Getting a new job? Completing a triathlon? Getting out of debt? Pick something, and start working on it. Using a triathlon as an example, search for local triathlons in your city. Choose a “Sprint Distance” (it’s the shortest distance) and then search for “triathlon training” in your city. Join the triathlon-training group. This will do several things:

One, you’ll train properly for a race that you will complete;
Two: Because you’ll be on a schedule and will have paid money to be there, you’ll be more accountable to show up for workouts;
Three: You’ll meet like-minded people. These people will be going through the same training pain as you and can be your cheerleaders when the going gets tough.

When you complete that race (and you will), you will have conquered something you considered impossible. You will feel more confident. Confidence is sexy.


Without vulnerability, there is no growth.

These “..failures, hurts, and embarrassments …” you reference is just that: vulnerability. We cannot intimately connect with another human without exposing our vulnerabilities

Vulnerability can be uncomfortable, especially if you’ve had past partners who didn’t listen to you, were selfish or didn’t care for you properly. We have a tendency to internalize the “failures” of our relationships. Resist this. Every relationship is an opportunity to learn, love and be part of something other than yourself. Without being vulnerable, you cannot fully connect to another human being. If you’re having trouble wrapping your mind around how to be vulnerable, I recommend watching the TED talk from Brene Brown.

If you’re finding that your fear of intimacy is really disrupting your life, go see a therapist. Fear of intimacy is very common and something that can be worked on, deciphered and recovered from. You aren’t alone and you most definitely deserve to find out why.


As for following a career and finding passion: Educate yourself and spend time figuring out what you “want to be when you grow up.”

Over the course of your life, you will work many jobs, have many different pulls on what career path you want to take and find that either you want one path or you want several. Life contains no guarantees. Take this time to explore your options. Take classes, find internships or talk to women older than you about their careers. I’m certain they will all tell you it was definitely worth spending time developing a career or a passion and regardless of their relationship status, their career was important to them.

You’re in an excellent period of your life for exploration, confidence-building and spending time meeting people and finding out more about yourself. Instead of putting yourself down for having a fear of intimacy, spend this time on developing your self-esteem, doing things you find impossible and learning about how you are.


Good luck and take care.



Passion Planner
How to Find Your Passion in 5 Creative Steps
The Power of Vulnerability: Brene Brown