First date

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Flutterbye

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First date
« on: March 09, 2016, 11:29:00 PM »
Hello all, this is maybe my first post. Good to meet you  :bigwink: Read some fantastic older threads on dating, wonderful wisdom about awareness of self & boundaries which really cheered me up.

So I've done a tonne of work on myself & went thru a lot of quite painful learning last year, I kinda put myself thru a boot-camp of facing my social fears.. meeting new people, socialising & altho I wasn't looking to date, unexpectedly found myself on more than one date.. all whilst trying to develop my (previously non-existent) boundaries. Wow, that was hard, hard work!

Feeling a bit more grounded within myself this year & better able to manage my symptoms (not perfect of course but getting there). My boundaries are coming along. I now notice I'm able to enjoy the company of some new people I meet (have that nice feeling of, "I'd love to see you again soon!") and better able to feel the early warning signs of people I don't like & deal with it quite well (a big improvement on my old pattern of: meet mean person -> EF melt-down -> instant enmeshment in abusive/exploitative relationship with mean person & take months to even figure out that I'm doing that again).

I still spend most of my time alone but am slowly getting better at socialising.

This week I was at a 3d dinner and unexpectedly got asked on a date. I'm off on a date in a few days. I've done well, I chose a café I'm comfy in that I won't stress about & am interested to see if I enjoy his company, it's worth a try. But.. eek.. some fears & doubts are circling up in my head,

- I'm not sure if I like him. There is something cold & off-putting there (even tho I can be an icycle myself); as I'm super intuitive/imaginative/emotional I don't like very logical/rational interactions much. Then again I feel that around many men or for that matter many people. I could dismiss the whole thing in impatience & miss out on a really nice person.. why am I over-thinking it and why can't I just give myself a chance, it's only coffee!
or
-  more dangerously, in this situation I could quickly get lost in EF and enmesh myself deep into a totally dysfunctional relationship where my inner child passionately works to change him (i.e. change the parent). this is a really big, strong pattern for me! I don't like a cold/lonely/anxious man, I feel an infuriating, cold absence of any connection at all but I behave as if I'm desperately in love with him & love him.. sometimes I think the feeling driving this maybe there's a very strong connection of hatred & I don't know the difference between love & hate

I'm in my early 40's and am quite sensible these days. But when it comes to dates, platonic or romantic, it's just a really big deal before, during and after. My mind focuses on it a lot, anxiety & ruminating.. I've found there's only so much prep I can do & beyond that it doesn't positively influence how the actually event goes, it's just a case of 'jumping in the deep end'.. can any other c-ptsd folk relate?

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: First date
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2016, 01:43:17 PM »
Hi Flutterbye,

I don't date. Well, not with a romantic interest that is. Your ahead of the curve, from my point of view. Congrats.  :thumbup:

Thanks for sharing, it's nice to know we cPTSD's actually date. Wow.  ;D

I'd like to say just one thing:
-  more dangerously, in this situation I could quickly get lost in EF and enmesh myself deep into a totally dysfunctional relationship where my inner child passionately works to change him (i.e. change the parent).
Perhaps you could promise yourself (or your Inner Child, or your Inner Nurturer, or your Inner Critic even) that for an X amount of months you will stick to just dating? At any sign of enmeshment (perceived or real) you will simply take one (1) step back (which may be a big one  ;) ), and you may keep dating, if you wish to?

Cheering you on.  :wave:  Your awareness of possible 'bumps' is an asset.  :thumbup:
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 03:14:30 PM by Dutch Uncle »

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Flutterbye

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Re: First date
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 10:16:35 PM »
thanks for your support Dutch Uncle  :wave: & your kind words. I don't think I'm ahead of the curve! I feel fairly disconnected from most people but tend to crave company, feeling anxious & restless much of the time.. so I have a lot of work to do still.

I was just looking for friends & got asked on a date unexpectedly. I thought it was worth a try & knew I'd be kicking myself for not going if I hadn't tried.

I felt mighty nervous & nauseous right before, a horribly familiar feeling before any date, but managed to not run back to my car! It was better once we sat down. I did really well in terms of internal safety & triggering. I was grounded for the date & didn't feel like I was spinning out of control or confused. He was a total gentlemen & very keen about doing everything a perfect gentleman should do on a date, that was a totally new experience for me (with my exbf's I've always been the one to initiate & pursue them). Sadly, I just felt totally disengaged and no connection whatsoever to my date. Nothing at all, no compatibility. It felt a bit like being with a polite, upbeat robot.. don't know if that's my inability to connect with people or a case of total incompatibility. lt was painfully lonely when I left because I went for a stroll outdoors and there were all these happy families, out enjoying the sunshine & I felt this wave of terrible regret & loneliness, like I'll never have those bonds & relationships in my life :(.

The day before, I'd met a new person who I felt a really strong connection to & would love to be friends with. So the comparison was palpable. She's responded to my message but seems very busy & not interested in catching up again in 3d, I don't want to crowd her or appear desperate & lonely. So that feels sad.

Back to square one again I guess, being an almost totally solitary person. But the good news is I didn't have a EF total melt-down on the date like I did a year ago, so at least that's progress. And maybe I have a little better self-esteem so attracted a nicer person rather than my past pattern of exploitative/abusive parent type dates?

thanks for the suggestion to stick to dating for a X months, did you mean to avoid a s*xual relationship? Yeah, that's a great idea, for me such a torrent of emotions comes as soon as things get physical, tho I'd probably feel guilty dating a man for months without sleeping with him, I don't think that'd be much fun for him!