For a long time after I moved out of my house and left the Narcissist I did not feel like I was ready to meet new people or start dating again. I went through a brief phase where I almost felt like I had to do it because he had moved on so rapidly. So I joined a few dating apps and did a bit of shameless text flirting, but the moment that one of the guys actually wanted to meet up, I completely chickened out. The entire idea of it made me feel nauseous, and that is how I knew that I wasn’t quite ready yet… so I stopped spending my time on it.
I have read many, many times on ChumpLady.com the various community members saying that you will know when you are ready to date again, and not to force it because at some point it will feel right. Well just within the last few weeks I feel like I have made that turning point (at almost 6 months out of my marriage.) I don’t really know how to explain it, I just reached a point where I felt like I was ready to put myself out there again and see what happened.
Lucky for me I had a well-timed event that allowed me to be out and about with a group of friends at my side making the entire process more comfortable… and what do you know… I happened to meet someone very interesting.
Here’s what my experience has been so far:
- I absolutely feel like I am analyzing everything that said new person is saying and doing trying to make sure that there is nothing going on that reminds me of the Narcissist.
- I notice that I am shyer than I remember ever being. Holding eye contact is a bit uncomfortable for me… I feel very vulnerable even answering simple questions about myself.
- I noticed that I am more comfortable hearing the new person tell me things before I tell them. I think it is because the Narcissist always used my information as a way to shape and mold his answers so that I would find him most appealing. So it feels safer for me to ‘give up’ personal information about myself after I have already heard it from the new person.
- For many of those “tell me about yourself” kind of questions, I don’t have answers. I spent 8 years shaping my life to the Narcissist’s wants, needs, preferences, demands… and because of that, sometimes I am not sure how to answer what kind of music I like best or what my favorite movie is. It is almost as if I can answer all of those things for the person that I was before I met the Narcissist, and I can tell you what the answers would have been while I was married to the Narcissist… but for most of them I will say that I am kind of figuring those things out about myself again.
- I am super cognizant of needing to take things very slow. I have learned my lesson from jumping into a situation at warp speed and I will never do that again. I notice within myself a desire to latch on to the good feelings… I don’t want them to stop. But I have grown enough to know that I need to prioritize me and be able to just enjoy the small things and figure out what this situation is all about.
- I definitely do not feel comfortable talking about the fact that I was in an abusive relationship… I feel like it will give off a perception that I am broken or damaged and that doesn’t feel good. So when/if the topic comes up of why the last relationship didn’t work I am sticking with this for now: “I tried for a very long time to make something work that just didn’t work, and eventually I had to make the choice to leave so that I could be happy.”
- The process of getting to know someone new has actually felt extremely healing to me with where I am at in my journey. Being able to openly and honestly talk about myself without fear of judgement, being able to laugh and just enjoy a situation, feeling like someone appreciates me for me… it feels like it is fixing things that were broken by the Narcissist.
- I’ve heard from several people that see me daily that I am glowing, I am smiling, and I am more positive than they have seen me in ages. The best way that I can explain it is that it feels like I have reached a point of really having HOPE again. I knew I made the right decision in divorcing the Narcissist, I knew I was focusing on me and that I was going to make my life great regardless of what the Narcissist had put me through… but I guess I hadn’t realized that on some level the poison that the Narcissist injected me with was still there. I still had subconscious worries of being damaged goods, unattractive, unlovable, unwanted, used, old, fat and destined to be alone. I think that those are the things that are currently healing.
So far, the rules I have given myself are:
- Say Yes – and I mean this in the sense of ‘put yourself out there and try new things.’ Have adventures, have experiences, give yourself the opportunities to find out what you like and what you don’t like.
- Prioritize You – I’ve been famous in my marriage to the Narcissist with always putting him at the center of everything and I will never do that again. So yes I will go on a date if I want to. If I have other plans that are important to me… I am not going to break them or change them no matter how bad I would like to see the person. I gave up everyone I loved and cared about for the Narcissist and I will never do that again.
- Be thoughtful & take things slow – Impulses are awesome, but they are not a wise plan for real happiness. So I have promised myself to be thoughtful about the things I do and say and experience, and take it one day at a time and one baby step at a time.
I promised that through this blog I would document my experiences and I promise to continue doing that through my healing journey. I have spent a lot of time and a lot of energy working on healing myself over these past 6 months.
I have been in weekly therapy sessions, I have been using EMDR and Brain Spotting heavily. I have spent a lot of time alone, thinking and writing and reflecting. I have spent a lot of time reconnecting with my friends and family and loved ones. I have done a lot of work to get myself ready to be at this place at this time… and I am excited to see where this next chapter of healing takes me.