I spent a lot of time recently thinking about how CSA probably affected all of my failed attempts at relationships. I just turned 39 and I've never been in a relationship, never dated.
All of my attempts at getting to close to someone seemed to follow the same pattern. As a high school sophomore I had my first big crush on a quiet freshman named Charlie. I spent weeks trying to find out what he liked and disliked, hobbies, bands, sports, etc. so we would have something to talk about. I interpreted even his most subtle actions and comments to mean he might be gay, and might like me. I was totally projecting what I wanted to see on to him. We did become friends over the school year, and he became less shy, got his first girlfriend, and I became the tortured closet case, longing for him while he pursued someone else.
I did the same thing as junior, and a senior, and in college. I would be attracted to somebody about my age, kind of quiet, shy, and cute, and I would try to mold myself into somebody they would like, all the while grasping for any hint they might be gay too. I was hiding in the closet, I'd admitted to myself I was gay, but I couldn't admit it to anyone else. A big part of it was control, I wanted to be in control, coming out to someone would give them power. Maybe because my abuser had been the one in control? Seeking out other gay guys would've made more sense, but I was too afraid.
I cringe when I think about how I acted. In a way I was trying to manipulate others, instead of just being myself. I did and said a lot of embarrassing things, (attempts at flirting) especially when I was drinking with the guy I had a big crush on. (one of my abusers used alcohol to lower my resistance, guess that's where I learned that) All of those guys drifted away from me, they caught on I guess. Looking back I 'm sure they must have felt really uncomfortable. I wish I could apologize now.
Healthy people don't start relationships by trying to manipulate someone to like them, taking on their interests, overlooking the differences, pretending to be someone you aren't. But maybe my abuser taught me to act like that, (until I realized what I was doing)? I guess I was living in some kind of fantasy world; and being out and relating to another gay man as real person was too overwhelming.
I gave up on trying to find someone a long time ago. I read in the "Handbook to Higher Consciousness" it's better to be the right person, than trying to find the right person.
In the past I've acted out in risky self-destructive ways, sought out encounters in public bathrooms, etc, which led to me contracting herpes. That complicated everything and really sent me into a deep depression for a long time. That's another thread maybe.
Part of me realizes I need to come out and accept myself before I can expect somebody else to, but I'm not there yet.
There's a cute guy at the Starbucks inside the grocery store I go to. He's kind of nerdy and a college student, but he always says "Hi" or "How's it goin'?" with a big smile, even when I'm just walking by the coffee stand. In the past I'd get my hopes up and think it meant something, now I just enjoy the moment that a cute guy is being nice to me, and let it go.
But I'm still alone, and often lonely.
Digging in the dirt
Stay with me I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
Open up the places I got hurt