In a world that is ever expanding thanks to the vast network we all have come to know as the internet, experiencing dating trauma while exploring that world is a real risk. Dating is meant to be fun and exciting and certainly can be with the right person, but when you meet the wrong person, that can turn your world upside down.
This has led to specific types of counseling and therapy to help those who have experienced verbal and emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault and other types of dating traumas or triggers.
You may not know what you’re feeling and may just know that something just isn’t right, but you know you need some help in figuring it out. Here are some typical key factors in how you may be feeling. less open to social situations, more isolative, moody, angry, fearful, nervous, more worried than usual, have a heightened sense of security and safety, sad, feel paralyzed and hopeless, startle easily with loud noises, have difficulty feeling anything, or maybe just not feel yourself. Your feelings about the incident, situation or person who hurt you may be conflicted and leave you confused about what to do, how to handle the situation and most importantly how to move forward.
Three important things to remember is that
there is a way out of the situation,
this is not forever,
and it is not your fault.
We’ve all heard the stories of people being assaulted on their first date, or the person who just seems so perfect for 6 months until their true abusive personality starts to seep through and they become either a verbal abuser, physical abuser or both, often also separating you from your friends and family so you feel trapped.
More recently, a dear friend of mine shared her online dating nightmare with me. She was no stranger to the online dating scene and frequently even joked that she was a “professional online dater”. She was confident in her ability to maneuver the online dating world and took necessary steps to keep herself safe when meeting up with strangers from her dating apps. She did, what everyone might say are all the right things to do. She knew his name, phone number, where he worked, they spoke endlessly in the evenings before she finally agreed to meet up with him. He had established trust with her already. She selected her typical public place for their first date and met him there. She payed extra attention to her drink at all times and even ordered a new drink when she returned from the lady’s room.
Despite all her great efforts, in the end, she was raped by him. She had no memory of how she had got to this point. It was confirmed later that she had been drugged. She was left confused because she had been so careful. She played the night endlessly over and over in her head, trying to find some clue as to what she could have done different to have prevented this horrible tragedy. She was left with that there wasn’t anything different she could have done to prevent this. It wasn’t her fault. He had deceived her, violated her and the most heart wrenching part of this story is not the physical violation of but the emotional violation is which she felt he taken away a part of her, her psyche and soul that might never be present in the same way again. She felt unsafe, less open to people, and she didn’t know the person she was forced to turn into. He had taken a part of her with him.
Dating traumas may also include someone emotionally responding to meeting a person that does not respect our simple boundaries we set, being stood up, being ghosted by that nice person who came on too strong and then just disappeared, difficulty connecting with potential relationship partners or wanting to date but not knowing how to go about it or perhaps, feeling fear surrounding the dating world.
There are still are far more wonderful success stories in the world than these nightmares that make the trouble of finding the right partner worth it, if that is what you want to do. It is important to know that the struggles you may be encountering are not ones you need to go through alone.
There is support and guidance to help you heal and move you forward to the life that you want. Healing from trauma inflicted by others or caused by a relationship issue, especially in such an intimate situation can lead to long term damage to your psyche and we are here to help smooth that process and find what it is you need in order to come to terms with what happened and do what is needed to move forward again.
You are not alone and don’t have to go through it alone.