Scared of intimacy- how do I approach dating?

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
So my trauma is SA based, and then later when I was able to finally date, for years, I was in a serious relationship (which had it's own bumps, but I know how to navigate them). Since that relationship ended I haven't dated and I am finally slowly starting to think about it, try... So far I have registered on dating app, had few conversations. I'm finding being on the app useful, as it allows me to see my strong and weak points, as well as to figure out what I like in a partner through the conversations I have. It kind of makes it clear for myself what I'm actually looking for.

Here is the deal though.

Through these first convos I am also seeing that I... seem to have fear of intimacy still. Yes, I had one long term relationship, but nevertheless, I seem to still have that fear. Also I haven't dated in a while which adds to it. I am better, somewhat. I know I am better, because for a first time in the last 2 years I am actually putting myself out there. For a first time in 2 years I actually want to. Well, it's all been only online so far but it's a start. For a first time in a while I'm thinking of wanting a partner, of what I want, and what I can provide for someone.

But I have so much I just need to talk about. How do I approach this? I mean I'm beyond the age where it's expected to be shy about intimacy, so how do I navigate actual real dates when it comes to that, without being taken as 'conservative' or who knows what else? Do I say anything, do I not? Do I just let things unfold and explain if I have to? I've had some bumpy reactions when I've said nothing and later had some reaction. One guy yelled at me for not telling him and ruining things. One other laughed. I know obviously the reaction tells me what I need to know about them, but should I have been upfront?On the other hand who wants to start relationship with the hard things first rather than having this nice lighter time before? Do I say other reason, like being shy etc(vs afraid, not cute for starting relationship)? Honesty is big thing for me and that doesn't sit right, but then again, neither does telling someone I'm afraid but want to try and sort of having to navigate that.

I'd love, love to be able to take this lightly, but I'm finding it hard. My PTSD starting trauma is related to this, as well as longterm childhood trauma of similar kind and so I've been afraid for the longest time. This was my starting off point before I had ever been in a relationship or knew what being with someone meant(which obviously I'm trying to workout in therapy, but currently I can't do that much because of isolation). It's easier in long term relationship because it can be hard at first but then I know the person). I have this part of me, that wants to be... lighter. To go on casual dates, to explore, and have fun and let things develop as they may, and then I have this part of me that is too afraid to let it happen. My roommate is 20 and dating a lot and that is awesome sometimes because it helps me joke around and take some of this lighter. But at the same time I can't tell her the real reason I can't let myself 'just go have fun' even if I've found someone I am attracted to. I have friends that know, but with the current social isolation and all that it's harder to get proper chance to talk about this. And I've been... dabbling in the dating app, occasionally going there, speaking to some people. Having ok end of conversations even when we see we want different things. But I've been finding it hard to respond when someone ask anything intimate related. And it's hard finding someone around me to talk about it right now. How do I speak about this? Who do I speak about this? I need to figure out how to move though it.
 

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
Do your homework and get rid of as much emotional blocks/baggage as you can before endeavoring to date.
Good advice.

Any idea how to, other than talking(in therapy or with friends or in a journal for myself) and just time passing? I always thought that if I managed to get over it for one person I'm good, but clearly it didn't really work that way.
 

The Albatross

MyPTSD Pro
Maybe read up on relationships? Contrast and compare. Practice the idea of someone... journal about what you think, what you feel, how it seems to fit or not fit as something you'd like to be open for right now.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
1 in 4 women have been sexually assaulted. Plenty of women and men take it slow. There will be a percentage of people that don't want to take it slow, and well, you'll be able to narrow them down more quickly over time, and find the people that do click with your speed. In online dating I have found it super helpful on dating profiles to be upfront I'm not looking for a one-night speedy hookup but something worth investing in and really enjoying. It changes the people that respond - I get more of the folks who won't laugh in my face. I'm working on all this myself too.
 
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