I think I fear intimacy because when I engage with new men I get flashbacks of my ex. How do I stop it?

So I’m going to share something which is very personal to me but has been an ongoing problem. So three years ago in late August or early September was the last time I would spend an “intimate” night with my first love. After that day, I would experience an unexpected and shattering heartbreak which from the man I was still in love with. I think I became strong after that situationship was finally over. I had to learn how to love myself again and in time I started to get the hang of it. But the problem then that I was faced with is that in my heartbroken state I decided to completely stop having sex until I could say that I was healed. Despite deciding to abstain from sex, my healing process to get my self confidence back was productive. Eventually my inner voice was much kinder, less critical, more motivating, positive, and just a safer mental space to exist in. But, I had a one major obstacle. Abstaining from sex became my way of life unless my two criteria were met. The two things I needed to be met in order to feel comfortable sleeping with another man is that I needed to trust him and I needed to feel a connection. What I got instead over these three years was a series of attempts to date where I neither trusted the men, nor felt a deep connection with them. My sexual memory has just been about my ex. Honestly, there were times I wanted to forget him so I tried to force a connection. I would try kissing one of the guys I dated, letting them cuddle me or any other intimate thing (not sex)- and every time I tried to will myself to move on by initiating such intimate acts I would be get a sudden flashback of me and this ex in our intimate moments. Honestly it scared me away from wanting to be intimate-it made me feel bad about myself for still having these kinds of thoughts. I probably keep having the flashbacks because my ex is literally my ONLY Sexual partner so far. But how do I get over it?
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Superb Opinion

  • Easier said than done, but the only way to get beyond past memories is to make new ones to replace the old.

    You're stuck with those past memories and experiences because that's all you have to go by. They keep triggering because they're telling your brain what to expect in this situation, regardless of how things are unfolding in the "now."

    No matter what you try and do, you first need to accept that these memories are going to occur any time you try and be intimate with another guy, because it's a subconscious defense mechanism and your subconscious only has past experiences to work off of. That's what makes it so tough when your first experiences are negative ones.

    It sounds like you're going to need to take things really slow to mitigate the anxiety to a controllable dose, like cuddling and being together for a bit. Once you create new experiences with a new partner at that stage, those positive experiences will start to replace the older memories and not be so bad each time. Then move onto oral or hand stimulation, but again, over time. Build up new experiences step by step until all those types of intimacy start becoming positive experiences. This in turn will also help build your trust with your new partner.

    Eventually you will get to the stage where things like intercourse will be possible. Yes, you may still get flashbacks from your old partner, but with any luck, the above steps will make those flashbacks not so strong and you'll have the new memories with your new partner for your brain to work off of and hopefully push those remaining bad memories to the side and can just enjoy the moment with you and your new partner.

    But you also need to find the right guy who can understand where you're coming from, what you went through and is willing to be patient enough to help you through all this.

    Sorry to say, but I don't believe there is a quick fix for this sort of thing. It's something you need to work through, but you also need to find the right guy who can help you through this, take things slow and be understanding towards what you're dealing with.

    It's not your fault what your past partner did that created this trust issue and anxiety towards being close to others and it's not your new partner's fault either... But if the new guy really does like you and you both hit it off otherwise, then he should be more than willing to take things slow and help you get to a better place... Which in turn will put both of you in a better place.

Most Helpful Guy

  • The good news is that you are young and you have time to move past this. Perhaps seeing a therapist can help. Another thing that might work, but it would take a man who really cares about you to do it, would be to be up front with your next boyfriend about the circumstances and let him know it is something you want to get past. Then you could go ahead and be intimate without being so worried or ashamed of intrusive thoughts or memories. They’re just something that happens and it should help if you make new memories. I think honesty pays off in relationships and if this is something you can talk about with a boyfriend it might give you more power over it.

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What Girls & Guys Said

0 4
  • Seeing a therapist can help.

  • Not to overstate the obvious but have you sought counseling?

  • The first partner usually is difficult to move on, but eventually it will be just a part of your past.

  • Therapy?