I want more. Dating isn’t more, it’s why I stopped trying that.

My latest PTSD episode was a negative experience for both David and I. You can tell someone what it’s like, you can tell them what to expect, but they don’t understand until they experience it with you. Even then, they only see the outside. It’s worse when they think they’re at fault. This really is just about me and what goes on in my brain. I hate that it can hurt someone I care about… and that there wasn’t much I could do to prepare him. I got blindsided and was scrambling to understand what had triggered me. Not a very helpful place to be when you’re trying to communicate what’s going on. Add Xanax to the mix and I don’t even remember most of what I told him. It was probably better for both of us that we had a Christmas pause. I wanted to make a play on words and say Christmas break, but to his credit we didn’t actually break.

We hiked several miles yesterday in the cold to talk about it, without spending too much time talking about it. I knew it had affected him, I just didn’t know how much. I hate that something I can’t control just brought a really wonderful month to a sharp halt. I hate that I killed the fun. I hate that someone hurt me so badly that I have a negative neurologic response that is so severe it put a relationship I value at risk.

I hate dating. I’m terrible at it. So I asked if we could not date. Anti-date, actually.

Dating doesn’t work for me. I like to do what I like to do while living out what I believe. I like creative energy and being productive and dragging people into my schemes and solving problems and drinking good coffee and walking and talking and eating bagels on Saturdays. Once in a while I like to get hella dressed up and blow money on an amazing dinner. Most of the time I like to cook. I like heavy blankets and BBC Masterpiece and pretending I’m athletic. I like people who see the world differently than I and I like ridiculous high heels. I really like burgers that ooze cheese when you bite into them.

I like all of those things by myself. I think I’d like them even more with another person. I think I’d like them more with this person. I like to share things I enjoy with people I enjoy. “Dating” doesn’t seem to really fit that – or me. I want to live my life and invite someone to join me, not spend my time barely scratching the surface and deciding if we have enough chemistry to try to ignore the problems.

When you’ve been hurt deeply, when you’ve broken deeply and when you’re healing deeply, the surface barely registers. It’s not enough to make me look up from my knitting. I want more. Dating isn’t more, it’s why I stopped trying that.

Then average-height, dark and handsome shows up across the table from me and I think I have to date him because that’s what you do.

Until a scratch on the surface digs up something much deeper, and you have to tell someone they’re free to go for fear of what you might pull them into. I had to be painfully vulnerable to hold my hand open and accept we might not be the best thing for each other. Living with PTSD requires courage, and courage is painful.

I drove home in my three most-feared driving conditions – wet, dark and fast. I was so relaxed I was in shower thinking mode.


It indicated how far I’ve come in processing and putting to rest my car wreck. It’s taken two years, but I was on autopilot and concerned with more pressing issues. I’ve beaten it… So I can beat the next one… the one that’s still blindsiding me with trauma. That’s when I said to hell with it all, I’m doing this the way I want. The only way I know how to not run this relationship into the ground before we have a chance to see if we want this to work.

“Let’s anti-date.”

He said ok.

13 thoughts on “Anti-Dating”

  1. I’m sorry things have been on the rocky side with you and David, but I’m glad he agreed to anti-dating you – he really must like you. I know dealing with PTSD has to be really difficult, and hard to control, but he sounds like he still wants to give it a go, and I hope the best for you both! Maybe anti-dating will take some of that pressure off

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    1. Thanks! That’s actually what he said – it takes the pressure off. Really easy for me to get intense about things that wouldn’t normally be a big deal, and this helps me put my energy toward better things, I think.

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    1. Thank you! I’m not sure we’d still be together if we hadn’t both acknowledged what a bad experience dating had been for both of us. Surface level wasn’t going to cut it, and at the same time he really didn’t want to get emotionally invested quickly and I didn’t want to feel like I had to be perfect or get ghosted. We’re just now starting to invest in each other, and things are good!

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      1. That’s awesome! I didn’t date much before I got married. Maybe because I can’t “surface level” do anything. Haha Or I was afraid of commitment? One of the two. Or both. 🙂 but isn’t it great when you can establish an honest mutual understanding? It’s cool that you were both able to express your needs by creating a new word. 🙂 I think more people should try it.

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        1. I don’t date much and maybe that’s why I’m not married? But yes, he’s the first time that things seem to authentically click, and there’s a lot of “ok, I understand and appreciate that about you, and agree.” I think for two people who are in transition and wanting better, it’s a satisfying approach. I’m putting his rebel streak to good use 😉.

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          1. Yeah, I became friends with my husband when I was 15, but we didn’t date until I was 22, but we obviously didn’t go through that initial phase of disillusionment where you think the person you are dating is perfect, because we already knew we were pretty awesomely flawed people through friendship. Haha That’s why I like your approach, because you get to be your true self and they can take it or leave it. 🙂 And if ya enjoy bagels on Saturday mornings, I’d say you’re a pretty good catch. 😋

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