Do you think you can be too damaged for relationships?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-06-2012
Do you think you can be too damaged for relationships?
19
Fri, 04-06-2012 - 10:23pm

I fell in love with someone once. I was fourteen, he was eighteen. And gay. It didn't work out. When I was in college, I had a years-long non-sexual but definitely non-platonic relationship with a professor 30 years older than me.

And that's the whole history of my dating/love/sex/romantic life. If you can even call it that.

I've never been the type to go looking for a partner. Not because I was above such things, but because I have such difficulty trusting people that I knew the only sort of person I could ever consider dating, let alone sleeping with, would be someone I already knew and respected.

I'm not ashamed to be a virgin at 30, and I also don't think there's any shame in being single. But I used to think that no one was ever interested enough to flirt at me, and that I had never really met anyone I'd consider flirting with. Only, in the last few months, I've started realizing that I was just REALLY BAD at noticing when people were flirting with me, and also that, every time I felt a flutter of interest in someone, I just ignored it, because I assumed they couldn't be interested in me.

I know why I'm like this. Long, boring story involving abuse and trauma in childhood. I never really learned to see myself as someone that anyone could possibly want to love.

I used to think this part of me just didn't exist, or was dormant or something. But now that I've started noticing that I actually am ALIVE in that particular way, I worry that once someone gets to know me they're going to decide I'm too much work, because who wants to have to prove constantly (or for however long it takes) that they're not just faking caring about you?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2011

Brittany, welcome.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-06-2012

Thanks, everyone, for chiming in -- there's a pretty resounding theme in all your replies, which is basically "GET THERAPY" -- here's the thing. Some of you know this, but going to therapy isn't like popping off to the doctor for a shot of penicillin to clear up an infection. I am never going to be "cured" -- so the fact that I don't happen to be in intensive therapy right this minute isn't relevant. If I wait for therapy to fix me up before I start giving relationships a try, I'd be waiting till I died.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008

well first I would do the exposure theory and see where it goes. You might join a group and see if you can practice on trusting anyone in the group. make it like a game.

The other thing about trusting is that since you have good radar you can then trust yourself and know that you are on high alert and that you have good radar and good gut feelings and intuiton and that should serve you well with trust. why didnt a therapist tell you about intuition?My intuition and gut feeling never fail me.

The other thing you can do is just jump in and take chances.. If you dont take chances in this life you wont go anywhere. Its like I wont learn

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Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

IMO establish a baseline of trust.

dragowoman

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2011

Not sure the human heart can handle that much multi-tasking!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-06-2012
I hope you underestimate its capacity, for my own sake and everyone else's.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2008

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is that I've been snubbed, burned, and ridiculed so much in my 44 years of life, that even if I met my dream woman this instant, I know I don't have the magic in me anymore. Trust has been beaten within an inch of its life.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-01-2012

yes definately exposure.. in a safe situation.. where you can give/trust people with small parts of yourself and see what happens when you do.. if something feels good then in serves to strengthen that trust level, if it feels bad then it will adjust the level down.. by small parts of yourself i mean something like 'i feel sad because..' say your team lost, or winter started.. small baby piece of the inner you.. something that you can open up about without too much risk of hurting yourself

I totally believe that you can learn to do this to a greater or lesser extent. Sure you may not ever be the totally open, heart on your sleeve type, but you can learn to take down the wall brick by brick

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999

Brit, I don't think there is an answer.

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