I haven’t seen much discussion of dating on this forum. I realize it’s the Steps 1-3 forum and I’ll also start off by saying that I am definitely NOT ready to be in a serious relationship, but I’ve spent a lot of my recent NC time thinking about dating, the type of person I would want to be in a relationship with, and the type of men I’m attracting who want to date me.
After four years of being with my exNP, the last year spent in therapy and trying to end the relationship (before I realized what he really was), I am 38 days NC after a restraining order was put in place May 2. Althought the restraining order was put in place to end his stalking, I’m also grateful that it has enabled me to keep NC! Amazing what several weeks of not being brainwashed can do to clarify your thinking!
Some topics I’ve been thinking about:
Due mostly to Facebook, several men who were friends have asked me out since my final breakup with exNC in March. I made it clear to every one of them I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, but still spent time doing things like dance lessons, dinner, movies. Although the activities themselves were enjoyable, it made me realize that I am not ready for anything serious. I don’t know if it’s me, or most men (it’s been a LONG time since I’ve been in the dating game), but they all seemed kind of persistent and pushy. Nice guys, all who I have known for years, but I was just annoyed by the lack of acknowledgement on their part that I’m not ready for a relationship, but at the same time I know it’s probably not realistic to expect them to get it.
2. Physical Relationship
A couple months ago, about a month prior to NC, I initiated a physical relationship with a man that goes to the same gym as me, and for some reason I am 100% comfortable with this. I think it’s because I initiated the relationship knowing he’s not interested in a serious relationship, and he’s not someone I would ever want to be in serious relationship with. I am attracted to him physically, he’s a mild mannered person, definitely not pushy, and about as opposite of my exNP as one could be.
3. Oh God, it’s happening again!
The last topic I wanted to touch on was the topic of how and why I (we?) attract the Narc type. Yesterday something happened that seemed so similar to how I initially got involved with my exNP, I was kind of freaked out.
I train in the martial arts. One of my coaches is married and an ex-Marine. At a team party two weeks ago, he was very drunk and kept texting me to go “make out” in his hotel room. I wrote it off to him being drunk. However, this week, he had what I know he thought to be a serious discussion with me about the two of us having a sexual-only relationship. I seriously believe he only broached this topic because he knows of the other relationship (above).
I felt like he was “testing the waters,” which is exactly what my exNP (also my coach at the time) did, although slightly more subtly and over time. This current coach said he loves his wife, does not want to leave her, but that they agreed to have an open marriage.
In the past, I think I would have taken him at his word about the open marriage, but now I just don’t believe anything like this no matter who says it! He said he’s had physical-only relationships outside his marriage and that’s all he wants. Exactly what my exNP said to me: It will be physical only, I’ll never ask you to leave your husband. Lie.
Of course, he was very nice about it because after all, he is a coach where I train and is fairly well known coach in his art.
I told him I am not interested in sleeping with him because of the nature of our relationship (coach/student) and I was never going to have a relationship, physical or otherwise, with a married man. He was pretty nice about it, but I could tell he was somewhat offended (Narc!), yet actually tried a couple more times by half-jokingly saying “Well how about just a massage,” and “Let’s just do it this one time; I’m really quick.”
I feel a little to blame because this coach has been very friendly and open since I started and I did confide in him the saga of my exNP. Is that because of me? Because of him? Do these guys really sense someone who is vulnerable? Due to the martial arts background, he knows of my ex but doesn’t personally know him. Time to put more boundaries around the relationship with this coach.
Thank goodness for this group, the reading I’ve done, and my therapist, who is the one who’s been telling me in every weekly session that she wants to make sure I don’t end up with another N. It was very clear to me what was happening as it happened and I was very clear in my mind that I was not going to sleep with him. I expect he’ll try again. He does know about the physical relationship I described above, and I wonder if this is the reason he’s trying this? (“If she’s sleeping with him, then maybe she’ll sleep with me.”) If not, then I guess I am concerned about what it is about me that resulted a very similar situation between coach and student? I also wonder how frequently men who are coaches try similar things with female students, especially in sports that are mostly male-dominated. I think it’s unethical.