I met the right guy at the wrong time now he has reconnected do I tell him about the trauma

lil_fighter

Confident
I met a guy online and were long distance for three months to begin with. He was originally from the same city I live in but was finishing a university course in the north of the country. We really hit it off and it seemed like the perfect match. I helped him apply for a job and when he had his interview, we also had our first date on that day. It felt so positive when he got the job. I really liked him a lot but after one of our dates we ended up having a silly argument, he offended me with a tactless comment and I blocked him. Looking back it was silly but tactless of him. I was hyper-vigilant and overly sensitive to any "red flags" and not wanting to meet anyone like my dad but also trying to be hopeful that I would meet a good guy. A few months later, we reconnected and he apologised to me for being an "***hole". Around that time, I was working at an education project with young people, supporting those with learning difficulties and disabilities etc. I was working 1:1 with a teenager who had suspected mental health issues but none diagnosed. I kept warning my bosses that I was concerned as the boy had an obsession with sharp objects. Anyway long story short, I was in a situation where he tried to stab me and I moved out of the way. I left the job that same day. The workplace tried to convince me to come back but I chose not to. Financially it was tough but I managed to pick up agency work here and there. I was feeling low and very strange after that incident and in therapy, spoke about that but also blurted out that I had been sexually assaulted 8 years ago but had never told a soul. I had just carried on with life for those 8 year and struggled in silence. Perhaps being in a positions where my safety was compromised, it awakened something in me and I realised that I did give a damn about my safety. It triggered something massive.

Putting on a smile and a brave face was my defence mechanism but it was a destructive one as I never settled and was always going from job to job, never settling and when it came to dating I made bad decisions. So when this guy was back in touch with me, I felt that I had to be upbeat and happy despite what had happened with my workplace. I didn't tell him anything. We went on a couple of dates and he was just as serious about a long term relationship (even marriage - we are from the same cultural background). I felt like I was slipping away and was slipping into depression. I was also studying part time at university and was always around people but felt so lonely - because I was slipping away. With my defences stripped (when I confided in my therapist) and no financial stability, I just felt a relationship was out of the question. The last time we met, I paid for his groceries and gave him a massage. He said he felt like a king, I felt guilty because I knew I couldn't cope with the relationship (it was still very new) and I could see he was very into me maybe that's why I felt obliged to make him feel special but I desperately wanted to connect at a time when I felt so disconnected and unlike myself. I ended it with the guy (again) and told him I thought we would be better as friends. He couldn't understand why. I couldn't tell him that I was struggling. It was just really bad timing. The right guy at the wrong time. Of course, I blocked him on everything again - major avoidance.

Anyway, three years later I get an email from him. He said he still thinks of me and he just wanted to know the truth of why I ended it because he felt that I genuinely did care for him and it didn't make sense. Over the past three years I have qualified in the career I have always wanted to have, I have had a lot of therapy and all my friends and family say I am so settled and seem much happier which is true. I have also worked in the same job for the last 3 years helping others which has been rewarding. I feel like I want to explain to this guy what really happened back then. It is something I have always thought of doing and now I seem to have my chance as he has contacted me. I do feel terrible for the fact that he wanted a relationship and was so keen and I truly wanted the same but couldn't give him that. My therapist has said that I am being hard on myself as I was going through such a tough time and should not feel obligated but for me it just feels like the right thing to do. Not sure how to approach it though, maybe just explaining that I was going through a challenging time and that it was not personal to him. Seems such a lame excuse without going into details. I don't want anything from him, just to tell him what happened so that it puts closure on it for him. My brother did say this guy tried contacting him a few times on facebook. So he obviously wants to talk.
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry all those things happened.

I think if something feels right to you, then it must be right? You know your feelings, your level of comfort in disclosing, and how you want to give closure to him (and you).

The fact, 3 years later, you are both thinking about what happened, shows how important your time together was? From what you write, it sounds as though responding to him is more than just giving him closure, but helping you formulate it in your mind too? So closure for both of you?

I agree with your T, that you are not obliged to him at all. But it feels as though you know that.

Why is it lame to say you had a lot going on? You can acknowledge that you shared a lot in common and how he made an imprint in your life, but that you were going through personal issues that you needed to deal with for yourself by yourself.
You don't need to go into any detail of events or specific trauma. Especially if this does not feel right for you.
 

lil_fighter

Confident
The fact, 3 years later, you are both thinking about what happened, shows how important your time together was? From what you write, it sounds as though responding to him is more than just giving him closure, but helping you formulate it in your mind too? So closure for both of you?

Thank you so much Movingforward10 for your response. This is very true, you have described it perfectly. I also agree about not going into detail. There is a way of saying something without actually saying it if you know what I mean. This feels safer and less exposing.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @lil_fighter, I think it's completely up to you how much you disclose about your personal information and circumstances. Anything you tell him to find understanding or closure will be you doing him a favour really. You could just say that you were having a tough time and leave it at that if you want. If you don't want anything more to do with him then you don't need to even do anything. Have no contact at all.
 

bird_on_a_wire

MyPTSD Pro
I think just projecting as happy, etc, is something some of us do for decades.

You titled this right guy at the wrong time, not quite sure if you feel that, and still think of him as 'the right guy' ? Or if you told him that, that is why he might be confused? As 3 years is a long time for not knowing him that long. But, I knew 3 men like that, sometimes wonder where they are, and have heard they've asked about me. Only saying that because years of living later for some reason they do? That being said, none I regret not remaining with. But nor do I have a single bad thing to say, nor think they wouldn't have been very good partners. It also never crossed my mind ghosting was a bothersome thing (though that didn't apply to those 3, entirely). I hope they are doing well. Lots of times I think it was a good thing for them they didn't have to go through stuff with me!

The blocking and such, well reactive and less mature, but that was a long time ago (as was his comment).

If you really do think he was the right guy, reconnect. If not, but you care for him enough to try to give him closure, you can be brief and not disclose. I would think if you never disclosed anything, something held you back? (Including but not limited to, lack of trust?)

Good luck!
 

lil_fighter

Confident
Thank you so much for your support and comments. I reconnected with him last weekend and we talked for two and a half hours about the whole thing. Can't believe we spoke for so long but there was a lot to catch up on. He was really pleased to hear from me. He said I had hurt him back then and it seems he went on to have bad experiences from women and moved abroad for work. He would like a future with me though and was very compassionate as I spoke about the trauma. He is abroad now and so our conversation was over the phone. It all felt very healing and he opened up a lot too. We agreed that we were both right for each other but it had been bad timing. He asked me about the future and whether I think we could still have a chance. He asked me about what I have in place to ensure I don't get triggered or let the trauma take over again. I explained that the issue had been that I had kept everything to myself for so long and when I finally opened up and saw a therapist, told my parents, friends etc. what I had experienced - it was only then that my life started to settle as I had finally admitted it to myself. I told him how I had gone to train in the career I wanted and how I am much more settled now with a great support network. He is very patient and compassionate but understandably is not that well trauma informed so did not quite understand everything. He did say however that he can imagine that for me, meeting him when I did must have been really difficult and trusting a man must have been hard. Especially as I had gone into his home. He was right and I was so pleased he seemed to get it. He is coming back to live in the UK next summer and we will stay in touch. It was truly so healing after all this time as I had felt so guilty for ending things without explaining. Funnily enough, he says he sensed back then I may have experienced something traumatic as he was confused about my sudden cutting off contact when we had got along so well and had discussed marriage etc back then (we come from the same cultural background). For me I am just grateful for the closure but also it felt good to talk about the sexual assault without feeling ashamed and for him to be so supportive. I know I hurt his trust back then and it will take him time as he said on the phone but he forgave me for not being straightforward back then and he did say he appreciated me reaching out. After our conversation, I got home as I had been sitting in a cafe (with a lot of privacy of course) and he sent me a message saying he will be visiting the UK in December and would love to meet up. Very positive and just shows me how important it is to speak up when it feels important. We may just stay as friends who knows but we shared a very personal deep conversation at the weekend, just as we used to in the past. I am no longer afraid of deep emotional connections with people and I won't push him or anyone else away again as I am grateful for good people and support ☺️
 
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