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Hello Sabrina,
Welcome to the strange new world of dating as a "healthier" person.  You didn't mention your age, or if you've (or parts) had experience with any long-term committed relationship.  Finally I was ready for a *healthy* relationship as an integrated woman, and I encountered an issue that I hadn't anticipated.  If you're looking into men 35 and older most likely they're either confirmed bachelors (not willing to give up the single lifestyle for ANYONE), or divorced with varying degrees of baggage. Enjoy
the dating experiences, and keep it slow.

  I'm dating a 48 year old divorced dad that is the non-custodial parent of 2 teenaged sons. To prep him for dissociation at first I mentioned that I had a therapist, and said nonchalantly that I had integrated from a dissociative disorder.  When he used
the word dissociate correctly I felt it was safe to go into a bit more detail about my trauma past and healing journey. 

I can't dissociate anymore now, and as a result I really feel the full impact of loneliness- and being integrated does really mean I'm alone when I'm alone.  A big part I've learned while dating is that I need to be comfortable with myself.  Good
luck, and write back if you want to.

"Life isn't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride"



Dear Sabrina,

for  me  it  was  being  able  to be assertive  --  not fearing  the potential  partner's reaction  to  my history  in  the mental health system --  i  thought  if  the  person  has  a  fairly  decent  response  to  my  past  problems  and possible  current  problems --  that  it  would  be  safe to invest  time  and emotional  attatchments  --one  thing  i  had  to  realize  about  myself  (co-concious selves)  i  tended  to  date  abusers  simply  because  abuse  had  been  the  normal  i  grew  up  in  --  when  i  did  decide  to  enter a relationship  --  i  found  a  man  so  opposite  of  anyone i had  been  attracted too --  ie  i  was  a  female  chauvinist  oink --  but  this  man  was  and  still  is  so  non  abusive, loving  giving  and  supportive  --  we  have  been  together  5  years,  married  4  of  them -  what i did  between  men  was  spend  time  learning  about  the  " abused  spouse / partner  syndromne "  --  i  needed  to   learn  what  a  realistic "normal " relationship  involves  --  i  needed  to  learn  to  stand  up  for  myself  and  when  it's  best  to  say  no  --  and  it's  safe  to  say  yes  --  i'm  pretty  blessed  with  my  husband  --  he's  really  very  tolerant  to  others  popping  in  and  out  --  integration  was  simply  not  possible -  too  many  splits  -- 

one  of  his  best  qualities  is  patience  --  when  we  first  met  i  was  really  confused --  why  is  this  man  so so  different  from  anyone  i  ever  dated  (physical  appearances  and  attitudes  )   i  really  tended  to  expect  abuse  to  develop  because  it  usually  did  in  the  past  --  when  i  finally  got  it  into  my  head  this  man  is  not  going  to  abuse  me  -- the  wedding  bells  began  to  ring --- 

we  are  a  pretty  normal  married  couple  --  we  laugh  play  argue  and  all  the  normal  things  people  in  love  do  --  first  i  had  to  learn  just  what  that  "normal " relationship  involves  -- 

bill  cosby  is  one  source  i  read  about --  he's  pretty  funny  about  the  sillyness  of  seriousness  in  relationships  ---  i  hope  some  of  this  helps  --- 



Dear Sabrina,

I definitely "relate" to the problem of being attracted to abusive men. I did this for years & years. I did it for decades. If the man wasn't abusive, or neglectful, or distant, or two-timing me (or all the above) I thought there was something wrong, and dumped him! I can't tell you how many men I dated--badly--over the years, but it was well past 100. & lots of these bad relationships happened after I started therapy. BUT -

Eventually I started to realize that I was duplicating my past environment (abusive father, distant mother). I worked my way through my "must have excitement" phase, and my "must date non-ordinary people" phase. I quit dating men who lived far away (one of my favorite methods for not getting close to someone.) And I created a list of values I wanted to share with someone. For me, these included my attitudes about politics, family, religion -- even preferred types of entertainment. I used the modern online dating services--but I was rigorous about crossing-off anyone who showed the slightest hint of an abusive nature, even if it was 'all in fun'. & to my continued amazement, about 4 years ago I found the 'right guy'. We're not married yet. We're still dating. But he has been with me through thick & thin (including my episode of breast cancer & serious financial 'disabilities'.) He's stood by me during ups & downs with my family - and I've stuck by him, too, when he had job and health issues. Our relationship is a miracle to me, one I never thought would happen. It was easy from the beginning. We've rarely had major stresses and strains, and when we do, we talk about them immediately. We agree on the 'important things' so there's not nearly so much to fight about. I am very happy. I think you can find this kind of relationship too - & I believe that all of us who have suffered from abusive histories DESERVE this kind of cooperative, caring relationship. Don't settle for less.

By Susie