(TW: Depression/mood disorders and anxiety)

Valentine's Day is, without fail, one of my lowest days of the year, especially as I get bombarded with ads and other items in the media about everlasting love and happy couples. Yet, year after year, I am at home alone on Valentine's day, and the only cuddles/love I get are from my two cats.

So, how exactly did I get here? In high school, I was pretty much a leper as far as being considered for any relationships was concerned. I was awkward, geeky, and dealing with an as-of-yet undiagnosed social anxiety disorder. University was largely the same thing, especially as my social anxiety and generalized anxiety issues wound up getting worse, not better, overall. Dating? I could barely convince myself to talk to people at any functions, let alone try and ask the ones I had an interest in to go out on a date with me.

Shortly after university, I met a woman who I thought was the one. She was funny, smart, intelligent, and had a good heart. It turned into an LDR because of work, and though things were strained at times, I loved her and she loved me, and we got engaged. Shortly thereafter, she became pregnant (despite her being on BC), and we were both over the moon as we both wanted children.

As some of you know, however, at the 20-week checkup, we got the devastating news that our baby wasn't developing normally and had virtually no chance of making it to term, much less surviving outside of the womb. Suffice it to say, having to end the pregnancy and say goodbye to the child that would never be was emotionally devastating โ€” you might as well have ripped my heart out and run it over with a truck.

After that, things became rough. I had to return to work back in Chicago shortly after we lost the baby, as I didn't have very much paid time off and was still new at my job and couldn't afford to lose the job given that the job market had just tanked. She was still far away for school because she couldn't transfer schools so close to graduation.

The fact that I couldn't move down to be with her became a point of contention between the two of us. In the end, she cheated on me repeatedly with a friend of hers as a way to get back at me. I found out about the cheating when she used the fact that she cheated on me as ammunition against me in a fight and said that if I'd moved down to be with her, none of that ever would have happened. I was devastated and called things off.

The failure of that relationship still weighs heavily on me, and I keep asking myself if she was right โ€” if I'd moved down to be with her, financial consequences and all, would we have managed to make it work? I can't help but think that maybe if I'd been a better fiancee, she wouldn't have cheated, and we would've eventually gotten married and had the family we both wanted.

After my heart was basically torn out and shattered twice in a year, I gave up on dating for two years. I didn't actively or even passively look. People tried to set me up on dates, and I politely declined their help, because I couldn't bring myself to open up to anyone again because I couldn't go through that pain again.

Eventually, I started dating again, but nothing has worked out. Sometimes, the women just disappeared after what seemed like a good date that ended on a good note when she kissed me at the end of the night. Other times, we both knew that it wasn't going to work, but wound up remaining friends. In every case thus far, it's failed before we actually get to the girlfriend/boyfriend stage.

The failures have gotten to the point where I'm basically giving up. My online dating thus far has been a disaster and I appear to be leper of some kind, given how few responses I get to my messages. All of my friends are in relationships and/or married and I'm always the odd person out at the get-togethers. Then, add on the fact that my annoying social anxiety disorder makes it hard for me to go out to the bars or anywhere else to meet people, and I'm basically fucked, and not in a good way.

As Valentine's Day approaches yet again with me completely alone, I can't help but think that I'm broken, that I'm undateable, or that I'm just an awful person who doesn't deserve to find love or someone to spend the rest of his life with. As of late, the last option seems the most likely and the most believable. Maybe I should just give up on the idea of finding somebody โ€” it's not like I ever will.