Sunday, January 4, 2015

NYE Trauma and its Lessons

I shared about a month ago about going on a first date with someone. And it's very hard to share today how that unfolded. Despite my knowing that this person had a lot of problems of his own, I decided to open up and get to know him. 

For about a month now we've talked, had a second date recently. He made me laugh more than anyone has in a long time. It felt easy and comfortable. And when I got upset, telling him this is all so weird for me because I miss someone else, he just hugged me tight and said "of course you do, and you'll always miss him". His understanding was a gift. A small bit of hope that someone can understand my love for Drew and not be threatened by it.

On NYE we went out with friends and ended up staying at a friend's house. Things happened. For the first time I invited a new man to touch my body. For the first time, I asked someone new to kiss me. We didn't go all the way with things, but plenty far. And in the moments that I became upset, he was kind. When I began to have an anxiety attack, he breathed deeply with me, and brought me down from it quicker than anyone ever has. His energy felt safe. Grounding. Dependable. I could not believe myself... I was actually deeply enjoying this whole bizarre "first" event.

It sounds lovely. And it was. Except that In that moment, I became bonded to him on a much deeper level. This was no longer a casual thing - and I imagine he felt the shift too. 

And that is when he tells me he absolutely can't do commitment. He knows his issues and he knows he would hurt me if we dated, and he doesnt want to hurt me.......

Too late.

No sooner had I bonded to someone was it ripped right out of my hands. By morning, he was distant, and he left early, saying a friend of his ended up in jail and he had to go bail him out. And so he says goodbye, and the door closes behind him, and I am left alone. 


With all of these emotions. With all of what just happened. Alone.

The trauma of Drew's death returns... Slams back into me with brute force. It is the first time in well over a year anything has brought me back to that horrible week. And honestly nothing since he died has brought me back to it so painfully.

I cannot breathe. I cannot think. I'm trying to crawl out of my own skin for how much pain and fear is surging through me. Suddenly nothing else exists - and every cell of my body is overwhelmed by the excessive resurgence of trauma. I am in shock.

I leave shortly after he, because I cannot face my friends - a couple - who are curled up together in the next room. I cannot bare the reality that they are there safely together and I have been left out in the ocean of my pain alone. 

I end up driving to the cemetery, and lying in the back seat of the truck in the freezing cold. I just lay there - talking in circles to a friend of mine on the phone - with shock permeating my bones.

Whether he made up an excuse to run away or had a real reason, the very worst of it is that he never bothered to call. Or text. Despite the fact that I was visibly upset when he left. No apology. No "are you ok?" Nothing. And still days later, nothing. He has run like a coward. And I have been broken open - left to pick up my own pieces of all of this and try to sort through the mess.

A few days later and some of the emotions are finally beginning to settle. I've had to take Xanax every day, and its been well over a year since I've needed that. But as things settle, I know, part of me pursued this because he was an unavailable person too. Because I knew it couldn't go anywhere. My counselor says that made it safer somehow to actually give me a chance to just try the next step, without any worry about more. It makes sense. I guess I just didn't expect to actually like the guy so much. To click so well. To enjoy each other's company so much. I didn't expect to want more.

I'm trying to find my peace with it. To find the gifts in it that I can learn from. I'll never feel it was the right way to handle things - hiw he disappeared on me - but maybe his way of leaving was for the best. At least this way I understand acutely who he is right now and know to listen to that and walk away. It is possible that a clean - though deeply traumatizing break - was the best he could give.

In the end, I'm really proud of myself for trying. And for choosing to trust someone new with a bit of my heart. I risked again in order to experience life, affection, laughter. 

I risked even knowing full well there was a strong chance I'd get hurt. I didn't quite realize just HOW much that was going to hurt. And how traumatic it would end up being. But in the end I think I am still glad. Because for the better part of it - he was actually kind and gentle. And for that time I did actually feel very safe and respected and cared for. 

It is excruciating to make the choice to walk away from those feelings - from all the things I miss so much and haven't had for two and a half years. It hurts to walk away from a person I actually did very much like. 

But at least the "firsts" of dating and intimacy are over. At least I learned that I do still want a relationship, and that with thenright person I can see how it could work. And at least I learned I'm also probably not quite there yet either... But that I will be again someday. Those are all huge lessons. Maybe in the end, it was his job to show me this.


  1. Sarah I said a prayer for you early this morning when I checked and found no post from you. I so wish I knew what to say that would bring you some comfort and peace. Please know I continue to lift you up in pray and send you much love and warm hugs. Diane

    1. Thank you so much Diane. Be on the lookout for my post this Sunday, it will have a bit more about this story, and some positive closure (finally!)

  2. Sarah - You describe well the trauma of dating again as well as the longing to find love and move on.

    1. Thank you Susan. It is so hard and so complex. I'm glad to put it back on hold again for quite a while.

  3. Oh, I am so very sorry this happened. Yet, yes, look at you trying and daring and being wildly brave.

    **blows kisses**

  4. Sarah, I did very much the same thing and my feelings about my husband and the "new man" who I trusted got so entwined that I still am sorting them out. Over a year now since the relationship ended, though, and my self-acceptance and self-worth have rebounded. And I'm very wary of men! I'm sorry it all happened to you and I believe you will mend and good will come to you from this experience. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much Spunky. I'm sorry you went through something similar too. Be on the lookout for my post this Sunday, I will have good news to share of some positive closure of this situation (thank goodness)

  5. You are very generous with your thoughts of good will. We are all very nice in learning to accept these emotionally searing lessons. I so understand you coming to the belief that it was this experience that showed you how love can happen again. But still, I have to say, what a jerk.

  6. Dang, I am so sorry that happened! You are so very brave for not only putting yourself out there with another man but also sharing it with all of us. I agree with Janice, he's kind of a jerk.

    1. Thank you Colima. It's not been easy. Writing openly about it especially so! Be on the lookout for my post this sunday, there has been some positive resolve with this person finally, so glad for that. All my love!