Im 23 and never dated after abuse

newclassroom

New Here
I'm a 23 yo girl who hasnt dated but now wants to but is afraid and doesnt know how to date people. I grew up in an abusive house where I was abused by my biological father at age 7 or 8. When I was hardly 13 I lost my virginity to a guy 4 years older to me. My 13 year old self had no knowledge of what consequences can follow after having sex. I was still innocent but had done it all with some guy who chased me and said he loved me and my 13 year old self believed him. I was with that guy for a year who emotionally abused me and would blackmail me to do things w him. It was consensual sometimes but I still had no clue of the things I was doing and giving him consent for. I had no knowledge about sex or relationships or healthy relationships. I was 13. This guy had also recorded some videos of mine and shown it to people after which I was shamed horribly by my teachers and classmates. There was another guy who I'd met when I was around 11 who forced me to give him a blow job and he recorded a video of it and ran away. I didnt tell anything at that time to my family because there was so much chaos and I didnt register in my mind and hadn't processed it to realize that I was raped by that guy. Then when I was 13 I met the other guy which I talked about before. Im still financially dependent on my abuser.

I have always been lonely in my life. I have no girl gang. I have forgotten how to make friends. I had severe social anxiety before but even now when I'm better I haven't made any friends. I get anxious around guys. I do wish to date but so many people of my age just look around to hookup. I just want to socialize and casually date someone without feeling getting physical. I dont know how to casually see someone who will be okay with not getting physical. I also have to say that I'm 23 and feel like I want to be intimate with someone but I will not just because I want to. I dont need to but I definitely want to date without being afraid and taking things slow. Please help me. I'm sorry if this post was very long. Thank you so much if you read till here

I have used dating apps but I do not know how to casually date without getting physical. I can communicate my boundaries to the person but what to do if I get the urge to be intimate with someone which I absolutely dont need to be but you know what I'm saying. Also I just want to socialize and have fun. Make friends who are girls or guys but I have 0 and no clue. I have always been lonely and I dont want to but what do I do? Dating apps do not help. I tried bumble BFF feature to make friends with other girls but it sucks because most of them are busy and live 20 kms away. I've tried joining clubs or going to events but I cant seem to make friends. Please help me
 

vleon

Learning
I'm sorry to hear about the abuse you suffered as a child. You seem to feel awfully lonely. Reading your post brought back memories for me from a time, a few years ago, when I had no close friends. I took long walks outside and felt a painful longing when I saw other people walking together.

There's a risk that the abuse you have suffered and the loneliness you're experiencing makes you extra vulnerable when dating. If you have a date, make sure it's at a place with other people around. If you have any bad gut feelings, trust them and try to understand them instead of ignoring them. Having friends while you're dating would put you in a less vulnerable position, so I would focus on finding friends first, if I were you.
I get anxious around guys.
That's perfectly normal considering your history. I would be upfront with this on a first date if I felt safe to do so. You don't have to explain the things you have gone through. (And I don't think you should talk about your abuse on a first date.)
I also have to say that I'm 23 and feel like I want to be intimate with someone but I will not just because I want to. I dont need to but I definitely want to date without being afraid and taking things slow.
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Is it that you want to be intimate with someone, but at the same time you don't?
but what to do if I get the urge to be intimate with someone which I absolutely dont need to be but you know what I'm saying
Once again I don't understand what you're trying to say.
Dating apps do not help.
What have been your experience with dating apps?
I tried bumble BFF feature to make friends with other girls but it sucks because most of them are busy and live 20 kms away. I've tried joining clubs or going to events but I cant seem to make friends
Is physical distance a challenge for you, as in, do you live in a rural area?
What happened when you tried to join clubs?
 

LJ27

New Here
Hi OP

I am on the same boat as you (abusive childhood and SA) I have avoiding dating for years since I left my abusive ex
It does get better.🐧

I did make friends on bumble BFF you just have to be confident to ask girls to meet up as most girls will not initiate
This has majorly helped me grow as a person and know how to connect and uphold boundaries ect
I think my advice is dont let your loneliness make you want anyone make sure you know what you want and be able to state boundaries vleon above is right!!
We are vunerable to abuse because of our past. Domestic abuse is a cycle which I learned in therapy so this is something to be aware of while dating
I do feel uncomfortable around nice guys because its so unfamiliar and am attracted to bad guys so I have to go against my subconscious mind when dating 😓

Dont date until you feel that you have a strong sense of self and self esteem that you will be able to recognise and stop abuse from happening
Also making friends first is good because you can ask them for advise and also I feel that would my friends would know/help if I was being abused again
Dont tell guys everything on a first date [wait until you trust them] as some men on the apps are predators 😅

Also I have found that focusing on myself has helped ease loneliness eg education, work, fitness as this is not wasted time and builds my self esteem
Sometimes I have trouble dating as I am afraid to trust myself so I ask myself 'would I set my friend up with this guy?' if not then dont date him
It has taken me a while to get here but I feel ok to date now because I would walk away from a man who abuses me because I want a happy relationship
Hope this helps 😊
 

MnM

Confident
There's a lot to unpack in your post. As others have said, I can so relate, and I can feel your lonely lostness. When we don't know, we truly have NO idea.

I'd suggest just making friends. Platonic friends. Get a feel for what safe touch and talk feels like. Live in the safety realm - feel what it's like to eat with others, to spend time with others, to trust, to feel how a relationship moves and grows and breathes.

Make a safety checklist. What are the red flags? Write them down.
What are the green flags? Write them down.
Write down everyone you know. Give them a safety score. Can you trust them? Have they been there for you? Do you have a safe place to crash if needed? Someone who feeds you? Holds you? Someone you can be completely brutally honest with? Who still loves you through it?
Find those people first - build up your foundational safety mechanisms first.

I imagine you have a therapist, but if not, get one.
Build your intimacy with your foundational people (above).
When you're ready to date, bring in your safe people. Ask them what they think. Tell them everything. You have zero (assuming here) experience with safety or what safe relationships look like, so bringing in your safe people for advice and counsel is imperative to you having a safe experience.

Think of it like training - ask them to train you how and who to date.

These are all things I wish I could tell my younger self.

Build your safety net, then lean like HELL on them.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
I heavily agree with making friends first. Friends have been what has been the most important to me. Dates come and go, some are outright harmful, but the friends remain.

When we've been used only to red flags, it might be difficult to even identify a relationship that is okay. I'd say the main feeling in a relationship is a feeling of clear sky. Like, going to see that person doesn't bring any fear about their behaviour, in the sense of something actually bad they could do, not doing something that triggers you. It can take a time to identify our triggers too—but I'd say friends typically won't trigger these buttons too much.

I realized this when I did leave from a friend to go see my now ex. A few hours of niceness were immediately replaced with an unfathomable sensation of heaviness, confusion, haziness. Sheer fear. And resentment. Before that, I just was eating pasta and talking about hair. That was pretty much a contrasted benchmark.

I do trust that one. Build that benchmark so you can test against it and have a good idea of what's good and what isn't.
 

newclassroom

New Here
Hi OP

I am on the same boat as you (abusive childhood and SA) I have avoiding dating for years since I left my abusive ex
It does get better.🐧

I did make friends on bumble BFF you just have to be confident to ask girls to meet up as most girls will not initiate
This has majorly helped me grow as a person and know how to connect and uphold boundaries ect
I think my advice is dont let your loneliness make you want anyone make sure you know what you want and be able to state boundaries vleon above is right!!
We are vunerable to abuse because of our past. Domestic abuse is a cycle which I learned in therapy so this is something to be aware of while dating
I do feel uncomfortable around nice guys because its so unfamiliar and am attracted to bad guys so I have to go against my subconscious mind when dating 😓

Dont date until you feel that you have a strong sense of self and self esteem that you will be able to recognise and stop abuse from happening
Also making friends first is good because you can ask them for advise and also I feel that would my friends would know/help if I was being abused again
Dont tell guys everything on a first date [wait until you trust them] as some men on the apps are predators 😅

Also I have found that focusing on myself has helped ease loneliness eg education, work, fitness as this is not wasted time and builds my self esteem
Sometimes I have trouble dating as I am afraid to trust myself so I ask myself 'would I set my friend up with this guy?' if not then dont date him
It has taken me a while to get here but I feel ok to date now because I would walk away from a man who abuses me because I want a happy relationship
Hope this helps 😊
Thank you so much for your advice girl. I do think that I'm ready to go out on a few dates before I start dating someone. The thing is that most guys talk about hookups and stuff and expect that after a few dates maybe a hookup is possible. Its annoying when men think like that. I'm at that point where I miss intimacy but it cant happen til I find someone I'm able to trust. Guys are not in it if theres no hookup possibility
Hi OP

I am on the same boat as you (abusive childhood and SA) I have avoiding dating for years since I left my abusive ex
It does get better.🐧

I did make friends on bumble BFF you just have to be confident to ask girls to meet up as most girls will not initiate
This has majorly helped me grow as a person and know how to connect and uphold boundaries ect
I think my advice is dont let your loneliness make you want anyone make sure you know what you want and be able to state boundaries vleon above is right!!
We are vunerable to abuse because of our past. Domestic abuse is a cycle which I learned in therapy so this is something to be aware of while dating
I do feel uncomfortable around nice guys because its so unfamiliar and am attracted to bad guys so I have to go against my subconscious mind when dating 😓

Dont date until you feel that you have a strong sense of self and self esteem that you will be able to recognise and stop abuse from happening
Also making friends first is good because you can ask them for advise and also I feel that would my friends would know/help if I was being abused again
Dont tell guys everything on a first date [wait until you trust them] as some men on the apps are predators 😅

Also I have found that focusing on myself has helped ease loneliness eg education, work, fitness as this is not wasted time and builds my self esteem
Sometimes I have trouble dating as I am afraid to trust myself so I ask myself 'would I set my friend up with this guy?' if not then dont date him
It has taken me a while to get here but I feel ok to date now because I would walk away from a man who abuses me because I want a happy relationship
Hope this helps 😊
Thank you so much for your advice girl. I do think that I'm ready to go out on a few dates before I start dating. The thing is that most guys talk about hookups. I'm at that point where I would want intimacy but it cant happen til I find someone I'm able to trust but like I said that guys just talk about hookups and are not in it if they arent getting any physical stuff after a few dates.
 

LJ27

New Here
Thank you so much for your advice girl. I do think that I'm ready to go out on a few dates before I start dating someone. The thing is that most guys talk about hookups and stuff and expect that after a few dates maybe a hookup is possible. Its annoying when men think like that. I'm at that point where I miss intimacy but it cant happen til I find someone I'm able to trust. Guys are not in it if theres no hookup possibility

Thank you so much for your advice girl. I do think that I'm ready to go out on a few dates before I start dating. The thing is that most guys talk about hookups. I'm at that point where I would want intimacy but it cant happen til I find someone I'm able to trust but like I said that guys just talk about hookups and are not in it if they arent getting any physical stuff after a few dates.

Hi OP hope it helped. :)
When I dated at 18 guys just wanted sex so they either wouldnt take no for an answer or ghost me for not putting out.
This does not happen at all now because I choose way better quality of men and none of them have asked me to hook up they want to take me out on dates
I do not know if this is an age thing (im 25) or if its a confidence thing. I will only accept perfection from a guy so maybe they know I wont but up with BS.
My advise is to make sure your profile has stuff about personality and pictures are not clubbing pics (I dont know if this will help either) NOTHING SEXUAL
I dont mean this in bad way I just saying look super classy in pics!
I really enjoy dating now because I fell like I have power and agency in dating ie I can leave whenever I want and its great
 
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