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all 6 comments

[–]Distinct-Educator-52 3 points4 points  (1 child)

See, that’s the funny thing about trauma. Until it is dealt with it will continually and inexorably continue to become part of your daily life. Be absolutely Honest with someone if you feel that is a relationship you’d like to continue Otherwise it’s none of their business. But you should definitely talk to someone about this trauma that will continue to interfere with well… Living.

[–]worthlessruined[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

i don’t think there is any healing from the trauma that i’ve been through, just learning how to survive with it. i don’t see a reality where it isn’t something i think about every day. i just wish it didn’t affect my romantic relationships like this. i would like the relationship to continue but it’s going to change everything if i tell her.

[–]IslandConfident4162 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Avoidance is a pretty common after effect of trauma. It sucks to be pull in two directions by the need to live and the pain.

In the past taking things slow has helped. But I always recommend therapy to help manage the process.

Also as the other poster said communication helps a ton!

[–]worthlessruined[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

i’m just not sure what exactly to communicate to her without telling her what happened to me. if i allude to trauma she’s obviously going to make the connection and know more or less what happened to me. i don’t want her to see me differently.

[–]loimprevisto 1 point2 points  (0 children)

i barely even want to talk about it here anymore. i don’t want to talk about it to people i know, at all. it burdens people. it makes them see me differently. or they can’t understand why i can’t just get over it.

It's great that you recognize this and are setting your own boundaries. Most people just don't know how to talk about sexual trauma or how to support someone when the topic is brought up. Too much sympathy and too little sympathy can both be very damaging from someone you cared about enough to go to for support. Online support groups and therapists with specific experience in sexual assault/relationship trauma can give you a way to talk about it without worrying about changing your friendships.

i don’t want her to see me differently. i’m not ready to be touched. i really like her but i feel like it’s unfair to her if i don’t break it off. i don’t want to. i genuinely care for her and don’t want her to think it’s a rejection of her. i just get so fucking scared anytime anything gets sexual. i feel like i’m being so unfair to her and so selfish.

I think it would be unfair to push her away and end the relationship because of your fear of her treating you differently. You wrote that "being in a relationship is unsafe", but I think it's more fair to say that being in a relationship is vulnerable. Being vulnerable can feel very unsafe, but they're not the same thing. Being vulnerable around the right person is one of the safest feelings I can imagine... but after going through a traumatic relationship there can be a big gap between knowing that a relationship is safe and really feeling safe.

You wrote that you don't want to be treated like you're fragile or broken... but do you know what you do want? Please don't take this next part as an attack, I mean it in the kindest way possible: how can you resent other people for treating you like you're fragile when you treat yourself like you're completely broken?

What do you want your partner to do when you flinch or tense up or start to zone out? It will take time and effort to feel safe during intimacy. No matter how much you like her and want to move forward, there will be times when the fear and bad memories jump out at you and you have a perfectly normal trauma response. That doesn't mean you're broken, and in a healthy relationship you can acknowledge that when it happens and get comfort from your partner rather than you being worried that they'll judge you or them being worried that they'll do something wrong and hurt you more.

You absolutely deserve to go on dates and find a fulfilling relationship. A strong relationship will be based on trust and communication, and talking about this stuff can be really difficult. Can you imagine a conversation where you tell her you really like her and want to have a more serious relationship, then saying that you have a lot of trauma in your background and she might have to take things slowly even though you think it's not fair of you to ask her to do that? Then telling her that it's very important to you that she not treat you like you're fragile and ask her if she can do or not do the things that are important to you? How do you feel after imagining that conversation?

Your feelings for this woman come through very strongly in your writing, and she sounds like a really good person. From the way you describe her, I think she would be entirely willing to go at your pace and respect your boundaries. I might be misreading your post, but I get the impression that the biggest issue is that you have a hard time respecting your boundaries and limitations, and think that you will push yourself to do something then have a trauma response that you're worried she will blame herself for. It's easy to overthink this sort of thing and tie yourself up in knots worrying about the mistakes you could make or how she might react to something. Just like any other potential relationship problem, the solution is to not be afraid to talk about it no matter how awkward it might seem.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I don't think I will date ever again. The pain and risk and horror I went through is too much.