I have PTSD from child abuse, I'll spare you the details. My PTSD kicked in when I was about 18, which is when I moved out. I am now 20 and although I am successful in other areas of my life, I'm scared that my lack of experience and my PTSD inhibits me from dating. The only intimacy i've experienced is when I was kissed at 15, and nothing else. The PTSD also makes me sort of ultra-sensitive to touch, in the sense that even someone accidently grazing my hand makes me jump.
I'm no beauty queen but I'm not exactly unfortunate looking, I do receive attention from men, but I usually panic and can't make eye contact and I suppose this discourages them, I don't mean to but It's my instinctive reaction.
My question would be: What is the correct way to respond to a man who shows interest in you and and what point do i explain my PTSD, I know it's not a first date topic but I don't want to waste a man's time if he doesn't want to take things slow with regards to phyiscal intimacy and emotional intimacy. It may take me a considerable amount of time for me just to be able to hold someone's hand, and a year or two before I would be okay with having sex (this is an estimate). Is it even reasonable to expect guys to take it slow for my sake?
Most Helpful Guy
I think you're going to have to bring it up pretty damn fast. The reason when you 'panic and don't make eye contact' they vanish isn't because they hate you not making eye contact, it's because they misinterpret it as a lack of interest.
Similarly, if you're not comfortable touching someone, they're going to interpret that as 'no interest', very soon, within a couple dates if that.
Most will probably back out, and that's disappointing perhaps, but it's better that they do then start dating you and quickly find they can't handle it and are pressuring you or miserable.
A couple other points:
- for a lot of guys, lack of affection is probably a bigger short term issue than lack of sexual contact
- for most guys, if you're a virgin, intercourse does NOT need to be a short term goal if they're at all serious about you. The more important timelines are to get comfortable with and enjoy affection, and to get comfortable with and enjoy sexual touch. The second can come later then the first. You would have, potentially, a loooong time between sexual touch starting and sex without them feeling deprived. I mention this mainly because you mention time to sex. I'd guess even without PTSD, many guys are fine with waiting a year for a virgin to have sex, it's the in between steps that are more the issue.
- go ahead and warn them of a long time line. But between you and me, i don't believe it. Oh i believe you could date for 3 years and make no progress. But if you get a therapist or use techniques you've learned or learn them yourself and steadily work on this, this isn't a 'one year' project. Overcoming anxiety takes actually working on the issue, and working on it steadily is much more effective than working on it on or off. If you -want- to be able to enjoy affection with a partner, i BELIEVE you could be there in a weekend or two. What you need is a plan, understanding of how to work on anxiety issues, and a partner who is willing to be sensitive, careful and practice practice practice. Baby steps.1
Most Helpful Girl
I would just tell him str8 up.2