You may feel some hesitation to either start a new relationship or resume a current one after a rape. Don’t feel like you need to move swiftly; perhaps you should just feel comfortable in activities with close friends. Waiting for a bit may help you overcome some uncomfortable feelings. Dating by its nature can be uncomfortable and the potential intimacy can be even more so. Here are a few things you can do to help your anxiety level.
–Make decisions that make you feel secure. Past dating decisions you made may not apply now. You may not feel natural on dates as you did before. If you start to feel nervous about a dating activity this may be an indication that you’re not ready to do that activity yet.
–Control and plan the time you spend with someone. You know what makes you feel safe —makes sure your date makes you feel safe. You may want to double date with another close friend, or perhaps you may only want to go on dates during daytime hours. If you don’t want to be alone with the person, that is your right and prerogative.
–When showing interest, there are alternatives. You may have a date who suggests an activity that you do not feel comfortable with. Suggest an alternative. If you do not want to go to a bar, suggest a coffee house. Or if your date invites you to his home and you don’t feel comfortable, suggest a restaurant setting.
–Don’t feel like you have to explain. If the relationship is new or casual, you make the decision on how much and when to disclose what happened to you. You do not have to make excuses. If the relationship does go forward toward intimacy, you may want to talk about the assault.