The other night I went to a pub quiz with a society at my university. How I managed to summon the Willingness and Opposite Action to do so is beyond me, but the fact is, I went way out of my comfort zone – and actually survived.
When I was there I met a guy. I was a bit tipsy and we ended up chatting the entire time – which was about three hours or so. I kept trying to get away, and he kept following me and taking interest.
He was very gentlemanly however, it was just my usual stuff getting in the way – if a guy shows interest or gets too close to me, it doesn’t take a lot for me to disappear.
He kept complimenting me and being flirty (in a non-threatening way). Of course being me I pretended not to hear, because I felt so awkward and self-conscious. I tried to change the conversation to be about him, multiple times. However, I then struggled to follow the conversation because our interests seemed to be very different; I was mostly pretending to be interested in what he was saying, although I couldn’t really relate. He is from a world of music drama art and creativity. I love that in people but I didn’t know what or who he was talking about half the time. I felt like my brain wasn’t working properly. I certainly didn’t understand his jokes even though everyone else did… and it was rather loud in that room. I just went along with it all, laughing when I was meant to, a smile plastered on my face – but inside I felt fake and the disparity was large. I was also becoming increasingly dissociative.
He asked me for my number and suggested somewhere he could take me for a drink on Sunday night (tonight). I was tipsy and spacey and with my inhibitions lowered under the spell of the alcohol, regrettably I agreed.
In hindsight, in fact as soon as I got on the tube after he walked me to the station, my belly flipped and I went into a state of panic. As I made my way home and started to sober up, a feeling of dread filled my insides in place of the burst bubbles of lost joy. Fear replaced illusory confidence as the chemically-induced euphoria I had been feeling just moments earlier evaporated. My temporary ability to attract and flirt with alcohol-induced flair was squashed as always; only to be replaced with shame, disgust, guilt and most notably fear.
The whole week I have been thinking about whether or not I should see him for that drink tonight. My anxiety around it was rocketing, and it brought up difficult relational experiences with guys from the past. The conversations I have had around it with friends also got me thinking about specific traumas in my life. I’ve been panicking and ruminating but it still feels so pathetic to me; because it has all been triggered simply by a nice guy I barely know asking me out on a date. I feel like I’m over reacting and am struggling to validate my experience.
I just don’t feel safe with men in a romantic way. It scares the shit out of me. I’ve been more spaced out this week; distracted, anxious, ashamed and trying to make sense of my past.
I feel so needy and long for affection. At the same time I want to shut myself off from the world and disconnect entirely. I desperately “want to want” to have a healthy stable long-term romantic relationship. It would be great to be able to lean on someone with such vulnerability and closeness, and somebody who isn’t my therapist. As much as I would like to start dating and branching out a bit more, I am struggling to see this as a possibility.
I’m not meeting him for that drink tonight.
I am absolutely fucking terrified of the world right now.