As a single mom, I used dating apps because there really was no other way for me to meet people. All told, I was on and off it for about 15 years. I had one relationship lasting 6 months, another 1 year, and now my boyfriend (I think he's the real deal) for 3 years. Often, it was horrifying and crushing to be dating with cptsd. I was deeply in need of healing and love, but there were so many experiences of being re-wounded, betrayed and disappointed. I actually think my distrust for people deepened over the years because of online dating which is why I went for long, long periods not dating.
The ones who hurt me the most were the "players". They learn techniques to figure out what "women want", draw us in, but only for the purposes of using us. Seriously, I think there are even online cultures where "players" share tips. The last one I encountered was so practiced that he really had me going. Took me out to nice places, texted me every morning to greet me, "mirrored" my likes and preferences, etc., etc. In the past, behaviors like that made me feel loved, attended to, and fed my emotional needs. But my experience and intuition told me that he was doing all that to use me for sex, narcissistic attention, and would eventually discard me, so I cut things off with him after a few weeks. I think that even if I was a good catch, they would still do the same things.
Interestingly, I truly believe that the "players" I encountered, at least some of them, really was interested in me and did feel some level of infatuation and love. I had one man actually shed a tear because of how much he loved me he said (he was drunk), but was super pissed that I remembered he did that and told me I'd better never mention it again. But maybe due to their own wounds, they cannot truly open up their heart to experience full-on love. They have to remain on the superficial level, manipulate and control emotions, so they don't ever have to feel the hurt that they themselves inflict on others.
I think some of the feelings you have for this man is real, and perhaps vice versa. But personally, I would run away from this guy as fast as my legs could carry me based on his behaviors.
Thank you so much for responding.
I think I needed a few days away from this person to really process, and I think it was better that we ended as friends.
Every breakup is hard, for folks like us, even the ones that weren't full on relationships. It made me feel better to know that there's someone else out there that's like me. I think it's true when they say that survivors of trauma often love the hardest, because they know what it's like to have been there, and would never want anyone to feel the same.
I hope that your current relationship is providing you all the love and support that you need. Thanks again.