Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Rape Victim in the Dating Game

Ugh. So there I was, freshly dumped. My body ached from the sexual tension of waiting for my soldier to return. I had had sex for only 15 days with only my soldier in the last 15 months. The tension made every muscle in my body hurt. The tension was painful and truthfully, I cried from the conflicted emotions of needing the intimacy I had waited so long for and the reality it wasn't coming. There would be no release from this pain; it was only going to get worse. The next person I would sleep with was not going to love me and I was not going to love him. Instead he was going to have to deal with a tortured individual,and in a new relationship where we had not established trust, especially at that level. My next sexual experience was going to be scary and with a new person who would likely be freaked out by my response.

I was basically doomed to being a psycho rebound. It hurt my pride at the thought. I take my reputation rather seriously. The idea of this label was powerful and depressing. My ex had left me in an incredibly vulnerable state. I had to make a decision to jump back on the horse, or falter and develop intense, debilitating phobias. Neither decision was one I wanted. My idea was to coast into another great relationship. However, my body was so twisted by the sexual tension and tortured by the physical flashbacks, I felt dating so early was the lesser of two evils.

After I was emotionally capable of being seen in public, I started slow. Divulging my recent trauma to every single guy I thought about dating was hardly the sexiest dating conversation, but I was so jumpy and awkward, that not divulging it was worse.

Slowly I went on a number of dates. Being out in public was as traumatizing as developing a romantic relationship with a new person. Yet it was healing. Painful, but healing. The fact that I'm an extrovert made going out at a crucial stage in my recovery an absolute necessity. My sense of humanity was waning. Initially I felt like a lost and frightened girl, at other times I felt like a robot. There was no one to run to. I was alone in this town. There were no friends to run to. The only way i could think of to pull me back into society was dating. Terrible idea i know, but i dod not know anyone. The necessity to have in person social interaction was crucial. All my friends on Facebook kept me grounded, but I was sinking further into a dark, dark place. My brother in Italy realized I was suicidal, so he called daily. He made me promise each day to talk with him the next day.

That is a trick they teach you in suicide training. Get the person to sign a pact, make an agreement, delay daily until everything gets better. With my training I knew what he was doing, but I let him do it. As much as I thought my son needed a family- and I knew a few friends who would take him in and give him that- I knew he would always regret not having me around.

So I met a few guys. Narrowing down the guys I had met to sweet guys was my first priority. There were 2 or 3 guys I met that fit the profile. They may not have been the most handsome men in the world, but they were all attractive. One guy in particular I had clicked with. He made me feel truly safe, which was surprising, considering the circumstances. Another I quickly wanted nothing to do with. Nothing particularly "wrong" with the guy, just not a good match. The third guy was handsome, but tall and muscular. He was intimidating next to my frame. We had had a great time together, but his playfulness was a little too tough for me in my delicate state and I was actually afraid of him. Not for any good reason. But I was not sure he would not push jokes or other things too far. There was incredible chemistry otherwise, but I was scared. But the size difference intimidated me. He could easily have raped me and I would never be able to stop him.

The nice guy drew me to him quickly. Mentally I acknowledged that I needed to pick a good guy. Strong and yet gentle. Sweet and yet sexual. Whoever I picked next could hurt me worse or comfort me in a time of need. Whoever I picked needed to be good for me. Not necessarily the one. Just a good match. This sweet guy was a surprise match. He made me feel safe and respected. He was kind and doting, without being overbearing. He was confident and intuitively reacted to my needs as I slowly opened up to him. But he was not intimidated and actually initiated intimacy with me.

In that moment, he was just what I needed. He made me laugh, our conversations were exciting, and he wanted to be around. Being around him helped me to feel human again.