I went on a date last week. I had an amazing time. I laughed, flirted, and truly enjoyed myself. And then I felt guilty because I don’t know if I’m healed enough to move into another relationship with someone. I know, one date is not a relationship, but it’s hopefully the beginning of one, right?
The truth is, I’m terrified. I’m looking for red flags that this guy could be abusive and sometimes I find myself making things up in my own head. “Is talking about yourself narcissistic?” “Is high self-esteem a sign?” “I mean, this guy seemed really sure of himself so he must be a narcissist.” Those aren’t fair assumptions to make. But that’s what abuse does. It’s lingering. It doesn’t just go away once the relationship ends.
I’ve thought about staying single until I’m healed “enough”. And then I thought, what is “enough”? Where’s the finish line? What line do I have to cross to be ready for allowing someone else into my life? I don’t know how long it might take for me to stop being triggered by different things.
I left my husband a little over 11 months ago. Emotionally, I left a long time before that. I feel like my recovery is going to be lifelong. And perhaps finding someone who loves me unconditionally will be another step towards my recovery. My intent is not to depend on someone else for my happiness because I am legitimately happy most of the time. But I want romance, I want a partner to share my life with.
And yet, I’m still afraid that my picker is broken. I’m afraid that with each subsequent abusive partner, I lost my intuition and can’t trust myself to make logical decisions about a love interest.
I suppose all I can do is communicate these things to potential mates and hope they understand. I don’t want anyone feeling as though they need to fix me, but I do need a partner who understands the journey I’m on and who is willing to walk the path alongside me. That’s all I can hope for.