Sexual Assault Sexual Abuse and Relationship Distance

Strangelongtrip

MyPTSD Pro
When I first started dating again after being in an abusive relationship that included multiple rapes I did it with a sort off blind abandon, whoever I could get to love me etc. I would have sex 3 dates in. This mimicked that 3 dates in I was sexually assaulted in my first relationship, and I though if I just "got it over with" then the rest of it wouldn't be so bad. I picked people no matter how little we had in common.

I did a lot of healing and now I find that I just don't date, or it goes nowhere. I'm also worried that I can only feel true romantic affection towards someone if they don't live near me because there's no probability of physical contact, even if I do desire physical contact at this point. When someone is close to me, or close enough they could touch me, I panic and become aloof or boring or push them away. My T thought maybe I only can develop feelings for people who I probably won't meet because they live far away and this makes me safe.

I feel physically ill thinking about being in relationships that could easily happen, ei people who live close to me, because it's dangerous in my head. I also am terrified of people near me thinking I'm interested in them. People who live far away? I can easily pine for and be attracted to. I can even fantasize about being close to them/moving with them because it's like, not real. I feel like there's just something broken in me. I also don't know if I'm just super picky now, and I'm also gay so there's just less people to pick from. I feel like I'm simultaneously discounting/demonizing my feelings as being a part of trauma while thinking they are real. I don't know what's reality.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry you are going through this. It sounds really tough.
Do you want to be in a relationship?
It sounds stressful and triggering for you right now?

I don't have any words of wisdom other than to say I hear you.
 

Strangelongtrip

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Movingforward10 thank you, I honestly don't know if I want one. I just feel like I'm supposed to a bit. Like I'm pressuring myself to and I can't still, which makes me feel weak. I think if I developed a relationship with someone over time, it may be different. I'm just worried that that's just not something that happens, you gotta move fast or you'll be a friend forever. Idk. There's people I think are cute etc, but I can't like...make a relationship happen like that. I think maybe I'm just pushing myself too hard.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Maybe you are pushing yourself too hard? Maybe look at where the pressure to be in a relationship is coming from? Because it is perfectly ok not to be in one, or not to be in one until it feels better for you.
What does your T say about being in a relationship and if it's right for you at the moment?

People do seem to develop relationships over time. I've seen them do that. So maybe being in a relationship that progresses to 'sex' (whatever that means because it can mean so many different things for different people) is something to explore if you find someone you like and you want a relationship?
Where does the narrative of you have to move fast or it won't happen come from? Maybe that is something to explore with your T too?

(But I hear you. I'm recovering from sexual trauma too and I would always have sex immediately whether I really wanted to or not. Mainly because I didn't know what else to do and felt I had no other qualities to offer and make them stay).
 

Strangelongtrip

MyPTSD Pro
@Movingforward10 to your last note, that's exactly how I felt, and that's how I was taught by my first boyfriend. Sex was all he wanted from me. I feel like I've made progress on that but it's flipped, like I can't do the sex thing at all.

Where does the narrative of you have to move fast or it won't happen come from? Maybe that is something to explore with your T too?

This I think is a narrative I'm stealing from the queer community that since I came out later than normal (like 22 lol, still young but I don't feel it now at 23) no one will date me, so I better date some people quick and get sexually experienced with women so I'm not like a social outcast. I feel like I already am. I know the right person would be fine with where I'm at, but like I don't really think that person exists.

There's a narrative that queer people move quickly, the whole U-Haul narrative (what do lesbians bring on the second date? a uhaul har har, even my 81 year old granddad knew that joke!!), and I feel like if I can't fit into that narrative, I will be excluded, and if I don't commit quickly, they'll be off to someone else. It's probably an unwarranted narrative that I'm just using to make myself feel bad about needing time to feel comfortable with someone. It's also probably got a lot to do with anxious attachment/abandonment issues.

I also don't like....flirt normally. I've tried it, and it makes me uncomfortable. I can be kinda sexual but like I feel weird about it if I haven't established that it's okay with the person I'm flirting with. The way I flirt is just like building a friendship, or like I'll read books people recommend or watch movies they like, and talk about them with them. Like I'm more attracted to someone on an intellectual level than on a sexual level. I feel like because of this, people think I'm just being friendly, or misunderstand my intentions. So I go really slow. And like, I feel like that's not how relationships work. You're supposed to know you have feelings before or you'll be a friend forever. Idk.

What does your T say about being in a relationship and if it's right for you at the moment?

So I just had my last session with him because he's moving practices and I still don't know if they take my insurance (although I kinda feel like it's a good time for a break), he basically said you're so much better now but think about how much better it'll be a year or so from now. Which sort of pissed me off, because I feel like (and I've talked to him about, this isn't what he means) that I'm supposed to be like spiritually perfect before I can get into a relationship. He talks a lot about detachment and enjoying feelings without needing something from them which I've been trying as well.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
@Strangelongtrip, I totally hear you. I'm a lesbian so I understand the dynamics you say about our community. There is this 'sex positive' view that there is helped to create a lot of confusion for me. And also the use of drugs etc. Because what was harmful behaviour for me was seen as the norm, and that wasn't helpful for me.

Thankfully there is a large movement where I am that looks at sober meets and more inclusive events that are more cultural or arts based and it takes the pressure off from cruising and drugs/drink.

Maybe finding a section of the community that fits with your ideology more? And where these relationships can be built up?

Coming out at 22 is not late! Trust in yourself and your journey. Maybe it feels late because you're meeting people your age who came out earlier? There are many many people your age who will be coming out much later. And that is ok too. There is no 'best' , 'better' or whatever age or method to come out. It's personal.

And you, at age 23, have done so much healing already. I'm 41 and only starting this healing.

date some people quick and get sexually experienced with women so I'm not like a social outcast. I feel like I already am. I know the right person would be fine with where I'm at, but like I don't really think that person exists.
Sorry wanted to respond to this bit too. That person does exist. Loads of those people exist. Take it at your pace.
 

Strangelongtrip

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you @Movingforward10 ! I've met people through writing accounts and such that have been awesome and not like that. I'm hoping to go to grad school for writing or at least do community writing events so maybe I can meet people through that! Or create my own local queer writing or photography group.

I don't know why people who would be mean to me about those sorts of things bother me so much. Like, if someone was mean like that I wouldn't want to be around them anyways. I think it's because I'm fed a lot of "your life is going to be so hard, you'll never find someone" stuff about being gay so I internalized it.

And thank you, I hope people like that will find me, or I find them!
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you @Movingforward10 ! I've met people through writing accounts and such that have been awesome and not like that. I'm hoping to go to grad school for writing or at least do community writing events so maybe I can meet people through that! Or create my own local queer writing or photography group.

I don't know why people who would be mean to me about those sorts of things bother me so much. Like, if someone was mean like that I wouldn't want to be around them anyways. I think it's because I'm fed a lot of "your life is going to be so hard, you'll never find someone" stuff about being gay so I internalized it.

And thank you, I hope people like that will find me, or I find them!
Your plans about writing and grad school sound really positive and fantastic. And really impressive. And creating your own queer events sounds such a good idea - go for it!

Yeah, it's hard to turn off external homophobic messages. But they are wrong. It's another narrative we have to challenge.

If anyone is mean to you about anything like sex or coming out or whatever, then it really says so much about them rather than you. Because it really doesn't matter. What matters is whether people are genuine, kind, caring etc. Not what sexual experience they have.

I hope you can find a way of reducing pressure for yourself and move forward at a rate your feel totally comfortable with.
 
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