6th June 2021 at 5:21 am #126718driedflowersParticipant
I’m hoping to compare experiences with those of you who have tried dating…
I met somebody when I was (detail removed by Moderator) out. I had high anxiety about going on a date again and it was difficult to go and be “normal”: I had my ex’s scripts of all of my faults in my head the entire time, but i like this guy quite a bit having known him a little bit for a while, so i pushed through.
Anyway, this guy seemed the opposite of my ex – nice, kind, interested in what I had to say, a good person. we had a great date and he said he would be in touch. long story short, we went out more times but he became increasingly unreliable with messages and so on, while i became attached to the idea of a relationship with him. he obviously had some problems with depression and so on, and had quite a bit of work on, so i explained it to myself in this manner. in my mind, i had space to support him; i was feeling very strong in my recovery at that point. nevertheless, some stuff which i had repressed came up for me after i spent the night at his place, and i suddenly found myself in the midst of what was possibly the hardest part of the trauma. i was anguished thinking about how i could communicate this to him so early in the relationship without spoiling things, putting myself in a vulnerable position, or being a burden. eventually, he told me that he didn’t want to have a relationship because he didn’t want to be vulnerable to somebody else; his relationship with his ex ended very badly. he left the door open to something more casual (but then later seemed to rescind this and make it sound like it was my idea? i don’t know)
i thought it was because i was giving off strange vibes, because i was broken, and that i had ruined it. so, like an idiot, i told him in very vague terms what had happened to clear this up. he then told me that he had had some of these same tendencies as my ex in the past (i only mentioned the verbal stuff), but had hopefully worked through them now. i was deeply shocked and began questioning my own judgment, while wondering if he had truly understood what i told him. then, he completely disappeared for a couple of weeks with no contact. i felt awful at having confided something so vulnerable in someone so unreliable. since then, i have run into him on a regular basis and he has wanted to hang out in an impromptu fashion, but he went away for a while at (detail removed by Moderator) and since he has come back he suggested drinks a few times and then didn’t follow up, and (detail removed by Moderator) i saw him biking on the other side of the road and he said he was going in the other direction or something and couldn’t stop. i can’t understand how a person can be so inconsistent between words and actions. it felt very wounding, like i was nothing to him. he seemed totally indifferent.
anyway, this is a long and perhaps superficial story, but i am wondering how others have coped with things that didn’t work out when they started dating again? the thing is that i have thought about this person regularly and convinced myself that it could work if he would spend some more time with me or let his guard down a little, which is completely ridiculous – in fact, i know that we are incompatible and that i would quickly get frustrated. but, it is also starting to worry me as it’s now been quite a bit of time and i don’t understand why i am fixating like this when much of his behaviour has been unkind, disrespectful and immature, and deep down i know it wouldn’t work. yet, somehow i feel the need to convince him of how great i really am. this is similar to the aftermath with my ex insofar as i find myself still working to prove him wrong on every count, which is very unpleasant to realize.
before this happened i felt strong and in control, and now i feel very negatively about myself. i also feel terrified -literally – of dating. people i know are pushing me to date now that the pandemic is loosening up, but the thought of doing this really scares me. i don’t trust myself anymore, and i don’t trust other people. the physical stuff with my ex is very difficult, and my impression of the way i look is very negative; i feel this has been exacerbated by the situation with this man. i feel about as desirable as a potential partner as a potato. i think that friends are pushing me to date as a means to shift the situation, but i don’t think they understand at all.
i don’t know whether this is even related to my previous relationship, or whether i would be behaving this way regardless (though perhaps not to the same extent). my ex also moved into my neighbourhood and i now see him walking around, so i don’t know if that is linked, as i would feel safer if i had another man around even though i feel like an idiot admitting that. sometimes i am fine with thinking about an unpartnered life, but sometimes it makes me very sad because i would like to share things with someone. for right now, i am trying to catch up on the professional areas of my life that my ex almost destroyed, so i don’t think i have time to give to someone else. however, i’m also getting to the age where it will be too late to have children, so i do think about that a lot, even though i am undecided.
this is a jumble, but i’d be grateful if anyone can share their experiences, especially related to questions of attachment.
6th June 2021 at 5:42 am #126719KIP.Participant
Hi, I’m wondering if you’ve ever had counselling? I think it would be a good idea. As victims we seek validation from our abusers and they become our focus. When they are nice to us we feel secure and we search for that feeling. I’m wondering if you’re looking outwards for validation still when you should be concentrating on you and your recovery. I know I was very much a people pleaser and perhaps you’re the same. Looking to make him feel good and accept you to make yourself feel good. You might just not be recovered enough for a relationship at the moment. Unresolved feelings and emotions and trauma. Seeing your ex will trigger you too. I’d concentrate on the professional and friendship side just now where you can feel in control and if you date then look on it as just making new friends.
7th June 2021 at 3:46 am #126765driedflowersParticipant
Thanks Kip, I think you are right. This is good advice.
I’ve been in counselling for a while… I suppose it is a slow process, though. I find the slowness very frustrating sometimes… you just want to move on, but it’s like trying to walk in mud.
10th June 2021 at 3:50 pm #126972HeatherFlowerParticipant
Dear driedflowers, I can completely empathise with what you are going through.
The way you felt before the first date and suffering triggers from the past are something I have also experience and was very resonating.
If it’s okay with you, I would like to tell you about a positive experience that I had, which can maybe bring you some comfort.
The first and last guy I saw post-abusive ex was a very kind and nice person (which I didn’t even think was possible). However, due to external circumstances, we were at a crosspoint in whether to continue the relationship casually or end it. I knew what I wanted: someone with who I can build my trust again and take it step by step, or nothing. For the first time in pretty much ever, I took the step to speak my mind and cut it off clean.
I was obviously sad at first, but the confidence that came from putting my needs first was incredible. My self-love increased in every aspect from this one act. I took control of my life again and it actually made me feel good. Attaching myself too quickly is something I also deal with, but taking this step helped put things into perspective.
Learning to listen to my gut feeling is one of the most important things I’ve done during my recovery: if something is not right or not what you want, even if it hurts, following your own intuition is the best advice I can give. I try to think: “it will never hurt as much as what I’ve already been through”. Trusting yourself is something that takes time, you can start with little things (choosing a piece of clothing over another, choosing something to do, choosing to join a new place, etc.), and then gain confidence in your opinion again.
Also, don’t feel pushed to do anything you’re still not ready for. Just because there was a pandemic doesn’t mean everything that happened in your life before doesn’t still affect you.
I’m sorry your ex moved to your area, I can understand how upsetting and frustrating it must be. I know it’s complicated but all I can recommend is to try and not be too hard on yourself if you feel like you’re taking steps back because really, you’re always moving forward.
Wishing you the best xx
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.