99: Triggered – Dating while in Abuse Recovery

This episode is going to be a bit different than ones I’ve done in the past.

I recently went out on a date and it definitely didn’t go as well as I had thought it would.

I’m going to be getting very real and raw and definitely want to give you a trigger warning.

Nothing overtly awful happened, but I will be discussing what it feels like to be triggered and how I responded to it. I’ll also be sharing a bit about the aggressive nature of this date.

So if you feel like that may trigger you, please do not listen to today’s episode.

But if you’re ready to know my experience as someone on my abuse recovery journey being dating, let’s go.

I met this dude on a dating app.

I wasn’t truly feeling it, but I believe it’s because I was genuinely scared to go. I’m learning lately that I am hyper aware of my time. Time is something that you can never get back. The second that just passed? We’ll never get that back again. I am truly terrified of wasting more time on relationships than I already have.

My thoughts on this are better summed up in episode, but I’m not going to edit this much. While processing what happened, this is how my brain pushed out information. While it may be a bit difficult to follow, this is reality.

It was a continued one-up type of date.

I hate comparing and will never say that someone had it worse or better than me. But he was hell bent on one upping any sort of misery or frustration.

Got VERY physical. Aggressively grabbed my arm on more than one occasion and I just froze. I’m still working on forgiving myself for not speaking up, for not just up and leaving. I didn’t know how to respond and my body literally froze. All I could do was lean away from him. Every time I tried to get myself to speak up the words got stuck in my throat.
I realize I should’ve left, but I was so focused on not being rude that I just checked out.

He then got upset with me because I only had one drink and wasn’t super talkative. This was for multiple reasons, the first being that he had already given his commentary on my decision to homeschool my son (dude you’re here trying to get laid and you’re going to critique my parenting?! Get OUTTA HERE with that garbage, man).

He also got very upset when we started talking about singleness. This dude straight up knew what I do and then had the audacity to say “try getting cheated on” as if I hadn’t been before. Like dude, no.

After he made it clear he wasn’t happy that I was so tired and still chose to go on the date (even though I had already taken responsibility for that and apologized), he stroked my arm for a solid 15-30 seconds in a way that made my skin crawl.

It sent me into a spiral.

My son wasn’t home that weekend and I didn’t sleep at all. I kept playing the situation over and over again in my mind and it took me back to when I was 17 years old and my ex would grab me and yank me around.

I reached a really low point, a point to which I was actually fearful of myself. Thank God I have such a solid support system.

The online dating thing isn’t for me anymore, or at least not any time soon. I want to be able to feel their energy and talk to them in person before I go out with them.

I am still open to dating but definitely not trying to jump into it.

I’m working on giving myself grace, leaning into taking care of myself, and doing the best I can in order to forgive myself for not speaking up.

Dating after abuse is one of the most difficult things I’ve done.

I’m realizing that I have a lot of deep seated fears and realizing that by dating my physical safety isn’t guaranteed. Now, there’s no way to guarantee physical safety, of course. But knowing that at some point I’d be spending time alone with someone terrifies me.

So while I definitely am not happy I went on the date, I learned a lot about myself and where I’m at. I know that I need to work on speaking up and building up my sense of self so I don’t get hit with anxiety in those moments.

If this resonated with you, can you let me know? Please reach out to me on Instagram @karleigh.lynne if so.

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