Is this Avoidance?


Lately I’ve been struggling with something. I have a fiance and our relationship is very stable and supportive. I’m currently doing my PhD and there is a younger man who I find physically attractive. For the most part, that’s it. I’m not interested in him, I don’t flirt with him, I just like looking at his face when he’s around. He’s also a nice person, so that helps. What started to worry me was when I began having dreams about him because they usually involved him pursuing me and I’d wake up thinking about him in some sort of sexual way.

Here’s the thing though. He has the same name as my abuser and I greatly welcome having a pleasant dream about anyone instead of a nightmare about my abuser. I also think that’s why I might be focused on him a bit. It’s nice to associate his name with a good person. What worried me again is when his face popped into my head when my fiance was rubbing back and trying to turn me on. I realized later that as much as I don’t like intrusive thoughts about this man, they are actively preventing intrusive thoughts about my abuser and abuse. I’d say 80% of the time my fiance and I have sex, I am trying to push away an intrusive thought about my abuse. For the most part it’s pretty easy to do, it just makes sex less enjoyable, but sometimes I’m hit with a flashback.

I have done what I can to avoid cultivating thoughts about my colleague and I’m quite certain I don’t have to worry about this being a problem for my relationship, but it’s honestly tempting to have a “crush” of some sort floating around instead of trauma.

Has anyone else experienced this? How do you cope? Am I just avoiding my symptoms? Is it dangerous?