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  • In the course of any adult life, there will be periods when we'll end up involved in

  • that slightly odd, slightly unrepresentative and invariably slightly challenging activity:

  • looking. Most people around us won't be any the wiser, but with greater or lesser

  • subtlety, we will be scanning: suggesting coffees and lunches, accepting every invitation,

  • giving out our email addresses and thinking with unusual care about where to sit on train

  • journeys. Sometimes the rigmarole will be joyful; at times, a bore. But for a portion

  • of us, as many as one in four, it will count as one of the hardest things we ever have

  • to do. Fun won't remotely come into it. This will be closer to trauma. And it will

  • be so for a reason that can feel more humiliating still: because, a long time ago now, we had

  • a very bad childhoodone whose impact and legacy we still haven't yet wholly mastered.

  • It may not look like it, but babies are also looking out for love. They're not going

  • out in party smocks or slipping strangers' their phone numbers. They are lying more or

  • less immobile in cribs and are capable of little besides the occasional devastating

  • cute smile. But they too are looking out for someone's arms to feel safe in; for someone

  • who can soothe them, someone who can stroke their head, tell them it will all be OK when

  • things feel desperate and lend them a breast to suck on. They are lookingas the psychologists

  • call itto get attached. But unfortunately, for one in four of us,

  • the process goes spectacularly wrong. There is no one on hand to care properly. The crying

  • goes unheeded, the hunger unassuaged. No one smiles reliably or cuddles confidently. There

  • is no welcoming breast. In the eyes of the care-giver, there is depression or anger where

  • there should have been delight and reassurance. And as a result, a fear of existence takes

  • hold for the long termand dating becomes a very hard business indeed.

  • For those of us who experienced early let downs, there is simply little in us that can

  • ever believe that a search for love will go welland we will therefore bring an unholy

  • commitment to bear on ensuring that it doesn't. The dating game becomes the royal occasion

  • when we can confirm our deepest suspicion: that we are unworthy of love.

  • We may, for example, fixate on a candidate who isto more attuned eyesobviously

  • not interested; their coldness and indifference, their married-status or incompatible background

  • or age, far from putting us off, will be precisely what feels familiar, necessary and sexually

  • thrilling. This is what is meant to happen when we love: it should hurt atrociously and

  • go nowhere. Or, in the presence of a potentially kind-hearted

  • and available candidate, we may become so demanding and uncontained, so unreasonable

  • and urgent in our requests, that no sane soul would remain in contention. We will spoil

  • any potentially good impression by bringing a lifetime of self-doubt and loneliness onto

  • the shoulders of an innocent stranger. Alternatively, unable to tolerate the appalling

  • anxiety of not yet quite knowing where we stand, we may decide to settle the matter

  • by ourselves, preferring to crash the plane than see how it might land. We'll interpret

  • every ambiguous moment negatively, for sadness is so much easier to bear than hope: the slightly

  • late reply must mean that they have found somebody else. Their busy-ness must be a disguise

  • for sudden hatred. The missing x at the end of their message is conclusive evidence that

  • they have seen through our sham facade. To master the terror of another letdown, we go

  • cold, we respond sarcastically to sincere compliments and insist with aggression that

  • they don't really care for us at all, thereby ensuring that they eventually won't.

  • To escape these debilitating cycles, we need to accept that we're searching for someone

  • to love us while wrestling with the most fateful of background suspicions: that we don't

  • in any way deserve love. It's only by properly mastering what once

  • happened to us, the letdown we first experienced as infants, that we can start to separate

  • out past trauma from present realityand therefore learn to navigate the ambiguities

  • and occasional risks of adult dating. It isn't that we have been told that we don't deserve

  • to exist; they're just busy tonight. They don't loathe us, they're married to someone

  • else, as lots of people (who we carefully have chosen not to look at) happen not to

  • be. They're not peculiar, it's just unfair and overwhelming to ask someone you've known

  • for twelve hours to make up for a lifetime of loneliness.

  • We need to see that this is not the first time we have been 'dating'. We have done

  • it before long ago and it was the ways in which it went very wrong that holds the key

  • to our adult errorsour intensity, our coldness and our lack of judgement. The catastrophe

  • we fear will happen has already happened. The challenges we set up for ourselves are

  • attempts to get back in touch with a trauma we haven't either understood or mourned.

  • We can in time learn to ask people on a date because we grasp that we're not thereby

  • asking them what we think we're asking: do I deserve to exist? We're asking something

  • far more innocent, and far more survivable were the answer to be negative: might you

  • be free on Friday? And we can survive because, even though we once got terribly hurt in the

  • nursery, we are now that most resilient of things: an adult. So we have many other options,

  • we won't (as we once feared) die of loneliness if it doesn't work. We can take our time,

  • we can allow things to emerge, we can tolerate ambiguity. And with such security in mind,

  • we can begin to do that most momentous of things: without risking our sanity, see if

  • someone we like mightafter all -want to go out tonight

  • Our online shop has a range of books and gifts that address the most important and often neglected areas of life.

  • Such as finding a good enough partner, click now to learn more.

In the course of any adult life, there will be periods when we'll end up involved in

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B1 dating adult loneliness slightly trauma love

Dating When You've Had a Bad Childhood

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/02
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