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Casual Contributor

Any advice or insight would be greatly received

I am new to this forum and like most before me have arrived in utter desperation.

I was sexually abused repeatedly and violently as a child. 

I managed to get out of the situation by getting married very young and moving overseas.My husband was violent and abusive.

Eventually I got up the courage to leave and came back to Australia with my children.

I was able to get on with my life and poured my energy and love into growing my children. 

I avoided any type of intimacy or interest in men.

I recently met a man who has PTSD from childhood sexual abuse.

We fell in love pretty fast and for the first time in my life I told someone what I had been through.

I was careful not to lean on him emotionally as I am acutely aware of how fragile he also is. 

The relationship was slow but very intense.

Because I have no real experience with PTSD I mistook his constant texting and need to speak to me for hours as romantic interest.I now understand it might of been symptomatic.

Even though he was very ardent in expressing his love for me he avoided meeting me in person for five weeks.

We spoke by video, phone,  exchanged photos etc. everyday.

He was very, very insecure about his attractiveness but I reassured him constantly.

We eventually went on our first date.

Everything went wrong.

He got stuck in an accident and was an hour late which piqued his anxiety then we go for lunch and he gets a flat tyre on the way to the restaurant ... he has a bad back so he couldn’t change the tyre and needed RACQ.

I could only watch on as he got more and more stressed..

He was also really physical with me, held my hand touched me every chance he got.

Becausd of my inexperience I was unsure what to make of it because he was also very disconnected from me emotionally. I couldn’t read the situation.

After the tyre got fixed we went to the movies and once again he was very physical with me but still a lot of disconnect. 

He had wanted to change at my house before the date but I’d made an excuse the house was a mess not to allow him in ... I had no intention of having sex with him till I felt comfortable and he is also by all accounts essentially a stranger till we know each other better.

So when he drove me home he already knew I was not going to invite him inside but got out the car anyway “to walk me to the door”

When we got to my front door he really started to push the physical thing, I’m in love with this man and I didn’t know what to do

I was afraid to reject him but also needed him to stop.

I started to cry, he stopped immediately and I don’t know why but in his arms I really broke down.

Eventually we said goodnight and he left.

Distressed I showered and missed a call from him. Then I rang him. I could hear the distress in his voice, he said a whole lot of random stuff and told me I need professional help.

The next day for the first time ever he didn’t text me first thing 

I was devestated

when I contacted him he told his back was bad and he’d taken painkillers

Next day still no contact so I text him

I then get call from him and he is crying... I have triggered his PTSD. 

He then text me we can only be friends

and maybe in the future have ‘ fun dates’

I was heartbroken and took it as a rejection

I tried to call him lots of times he wouldn’t take my calls but would text only 

Not understanding PTSD I got increasingly hurt at being dumped via text 

He text me I deserved to hear it in a ‘ non emotive’ state and he would call me.

It took a week

I cried everyday 

The phonecall I got was even worse, he was so so cold not even like the same man

He told me a friendship would hurt me and I deserved more, that I was a beautiful strong woman and he respects me but cannot have a relationship with me because after seeing me all his old demons were haunting him and that last time this happened his whole life fell apart, that he lost everything and that he still shares custody of his kids and needs to be able to look after them.

He would not say he didn’t love me only that he could no longer be ‘ in love’ with me anymore.

I asked him to take his time and think about things but his resolve was ironclad 

Everytime I tried to take a step toward him on the call he took s step back.

He said he’d call me in a week then never did. 

Ive broken and text him a couple times and I get text about how busy he is

I sent a text saying I’m here if he needs me then couple weeks later a birthday text and he sent back Thanks X

oIts now been a fortnight with no contact either way

I have no idea what to think or do

Is this guy just a player or is this typical of someone with PTSD and what should I do ?

I really love this man and I am hopeful he really loves me 





Re: Any advice or insight would be greatly received

Hi @Lostwithoutacom  thank you for posting and also sharing your own journey. We're here to listen and support you via the peers in this online community. This is a safe space online with a lot of mutual respect and I hope it helps to know you are not alone, many people have struggled with similar relationship dynamics on this forum and have made it to the otherside. Heart


It's amazing how self-aware and reflective you are with your own pains from early in your life, and I can imagine meeting someone else who understood trauma and pain was an incredibly comforting experience. The reality is, even though he may have many symptoms of PTSD, and it certainly is okay to have compassion for that - diagnosis and trauma does not excuse boundary crossing and disrespectful behaviour. I definitely applaud you for maintaining a firm boundary in not letting him in, he sounds like he wanted to be very physical very quickly but yet his demeanour was quite cold. Maybe he has a lot of internal afflictions himself, so please know when he tells you "you need help", it sounds like he is projecting his own stuff onto you, I do hope you realise you're valuable, resilient and wonderful as you are.


Do you see any face to face support for the experiences you've had in the past? A counsellor or Psych? We're here to listen, hope to hear from you soon Heart


Re: Any advice or insight would be greatly received

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and your kind supportive words.

I have not and will never seek help.

During the abuse I used to disassociate.

Ive read a lot of books and I think it’s how I survived as intact as I am.

Im sure this sounds very unbalanced but I used to leave my body so it felt like it happened to someone else

I am very self aware but I don’t think talking about my trauma will help me. My abuser is now dead and it gave me an enormous amount of closure much more than a lifetime in therapy ever could.

I acknowledge it happened but I can deal with this part of myself and I really don’t want to go over it 

The only real thing that worries me is I am very wary of men and I am aware Ibecause of my inexperience I could easily make bad mistakes

Thank you so much 


Re: Any advice or insight would be greatly received

Hello @Lostwithoutacom 

You are very clear about your feelings and values and obviously have done a lot of emotional work on yourself.

I can relate to a lot in your post.  These are just a few thought in response to what you have written. Just my personal response not even an opinion.  I had a lot of child sexual assualt but from different people from 6 to 15 and then as we both unfortunately know it often replicates in adult relationships.


Dissociation is common in sexual abuse and especially for children.  I experienced it a lot too.


I went the therapy route as much as I could afford. It has been 36 years now. I can also understand your refusal.  Most of my actual recovery has been from doing my own work. I also studied a lot.  I have been grateful for the work of good people and some pro bono, but also upset by people charging and not actually providing a service, just charging the govt for medicare and "being nice".


There is an idea in some religions about "wounded healers" that nobody is whole and committed relationship are about growing together to become whole.  Hollywood has other notions about romantic love.


My guess is that he is not a player, is genuine, and although the immediate meetings would have been intense as you have much in common, the timing may have not been right.


Maybe it is good that you could actually experience the flush of falling in love. Maybe that is a testament to your emotional work on your self.


I am also very wary of men, have only wanted them as friends, been single for 17 years since my marriage and very inexperienced with this day and age.  6 years ago I did a little bit of dating, and one fellow was very handy as you described but emotionally not a match. It was strange too quick and not right in the unfolding of getting to know someone new. I think you are reading it right in many ways. 


I also had an experience of and hoped for wounded healers in my marriage.  BUT the wounds were too deep, there was SOME healing, which was good, but much new truama, and it is better we are not together.  Getting my annulment from the church helped me work out a lot.


I mention it as I wonder if maybe it is what he feels and if he has closed off, there is not more to do.  Maybe he was not as ready as you.  Maybe he needs to do more healing on himself and his circumstances.  Just the dating sounds stressful and not contrived, but awkward ... ???


I hope you are finding ways to deal with the intensity and then the dissappointment.  Be very kind and do a lot of self care to get you through this period.

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