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Posted byu/[deleted]7 days ago

Dating just reminds me of the abuse

It took me a while to figure this out and put it in words, but I think I get it now.

I was with my ex off and on for 5 years in a shared workplace. He cheated, lied, degraded me, abused drugs and alcohol, would take off and return without warning. If I dressed up, or if I let go during sex-- he'd get suspicious and disengage. Every time I showed love, or asked a direct question, or expected anything of him he seemed literally frightened and would run. I had a psychotic break the first time we broke up.

I've been away from him for two years, and single for one. I took an entire year off from dating of any kind. Now I'm exploring that again and I feel petrified. When you first meet someone, you can't hold them to promises. Sometimes people ghost, sometimes people date multiple others before committing, sometimes people hold back in the beginning. This is all normal, but it feels like all the trauma I endured from my ex. I find that I don't get excited over people, I just feel dread, panic. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, to find out I've been duped or that someone hotter took my place. I'm getting older and want marriage soon. The dance you do at the beginning of a relationship is supposed to be fun, but to me it feels like I'm suspended in terror. The health and the kindness of the man isn't the issue, its the not knowing, its my insecurity.

Does anyone know how to fix this?

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I've been through the trial of dating after abuse, and the most reassuring thing that helped me become closer with my partner is "one day at a time".

If you go into dating with a head full of expectations, you will always find ways that they don't fulfill exactly. That will lead your brain to correlate it to past trauma of unfulfillment and want to bolt. Tapping into the present moment, and acknowledging that you have no obligation to this person other than the moment you are in, which you can end at any time, can allow you to put down the long time anxieties of "are the bad things happening again?" They can't happen, because you aren't at that point yet. You are right right here, right now. And if those things genuinely do happen, you have everh right to walk away.

Wanting marriage is perfectly normal, but seeking it out can actually put you further away from that goal. Often our traumas and insecurities within ourselves can push the best people away because we can't acknowledge ourselves as we are, let alone other people with different quirks and baggage. I don't know how much recovery you've accomplished in your year alone in regards to be content by yourself, but it seems to be the key in being content with someone else. If you beat yourself up over little things, you will do it to someone else. This goes for most negative traits. However, if you understand and love yourself unconditionally, you can certainly accomplosh that with another.

Instead of looking for a person to marry, perhaps reframe it to being open to people you get along with. Connect with. Cherish their input. Respect their ideas and opinions. If you find there are blocks on this road, you can ask yourself if you also have that block with yourself. If you do, that is a personal issue to work on. If you don't, you likely don't agree with that human on a fundamemtal level, and it's okay to walk away. You definitely don't have to agree on everything, but HOW you disagree and agree is very important.

Lastly, if you find a person you can really be yourself around, and they do something that triggers you: tell them. Open up the doors and let them know what is bugging you. The only way that person can do better is by knowing better. If they dismiss you, move on. If they give you the space and support you need to overcome that hurdle, you've just made it one more day wuth that person.

Always follow your gut.

I hope something in this rant might be helpful. I've been going one day at a time for over a yeaf and a half now, and we have both learned so much about eachother by letting go of the attack/defense mentality and fostering teamwork. He says something that I think implicates something lowly of me? I tell him. He acknowledges, apologises, we share, we recover and improve. Another day in the pocket.

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