Learning to connect with people

So, I understand that one of the primary reasons I became addicted to porn in the first place was my inability to connect with others, which I believe is both a symptom and a contributing factor in my long-term depression. In my young, single days, on the occasions when I would feel connected to others, I would be so enthralled by the feeling that I would become clingy, almost forming an addiction to that person. I would become jealous and insecure, feeling that this new person was my only shot at a human relationship.

As one might expect, this quickly scared most women away. The fact that it didn’t scare my wife away is a bit surprising. Maybe at some level she liked feeling needed.

Anyway, fast-forward to me, now, post porn-addiction and trying to learn to make healthy human connections. I had two situations happen this week that were very similar to each other, from which I think I have now gained some insight.

In both situations, I happened to be talking to friendly, extremely attractive women. Not flirting, not discussing anything inappropriate, just talking about specific things we were mutually involved in. In both cases, these women were very “touchy” people — they would put their hands on my arm as they were talking to me and things like that. Aside from my wife, women don’t usually do while talking to me. I had always figured it was because women found me awkward and unattractive and didn’t want to get too close. I have always refrained from initiating touch because I don’t want to intrude on anyone’s space, and because I didn’t want to send any inappropriate signals.

But in this last week, two gorgeous women have engaged in conversations with me and initiated touch. One of the women also had a tendency to get very close to me while talking to me — several inches closer than most people do in conversation, in my experience. It didn’t feel like an invasion of space; I have to admit, I was comfortable with it. Or I liked it, anyway. Putting aside for a moment the question of whether it’s okay for women to put their hands on my arm or stand close to me while talking to me, or for me to let them (I’m still trying to figure this out), why are women doing this all of a sudden?

The only thing I can come up with is that I am able to make eye contact far more easily than I could a couple of years ago. I was listening to what these women had to say and offering my own thoughts. I was connecting.

On the other hand, I had trouble moving on mentally from these conversations afterward. Was I acting inappropriately by allowing this to happen? Is it okay to enjoy a beautiful woman’s hand on my arm or her looking directly in my eyes while talking to me? It is not my intention to be unfaithful to my wife in any way. I’ve also found it much easier to talk to men lately than it used to be, but in that case, there is no danger of romantic thoughts emerging. (Yes, I’m sure.)

I guess this is one of the challenges that comes with being able to interact with the human race for the first time in my life — I have to learn boundaries as well.

By the way, comments are more than welcome. I’m curious what others think about whether I should have handled these situations differently.

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About Cimachol

A Catholic revert who struggles with depression and wrestled with pornography addiction for decades before overcoming it. I try to help other people do the same.
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2 Responses to Learning to connect with people

  1. John says:

    I, too, am learning about boundaries, relationships, and appropriateness with the opposite sex. I believe I can connect with women on a spiritual or emotional level when I am living in recovery and some or many women can feel that authenticity but it also scares me because, sometimes in those moments, my inner addict whispers in my ear that I can take advantage of this for my own selfish purposes (whether that is based in reality or not is another matter). Nonetheless, I know such thoughts emerge at times, not all the time, but I know with beautiful or attractive women, I have become aware that such thoughts come up and I am learning to let them go and appreciate the moment I am having with them.

    • cimachol says:

      Thanks for commenting. I’ve been paying attention over the last week to the moments where I am connecting with people and whether I need to be more careful. While I’m actually connecting with a lot of people on a much more meaningful level — people of all genders, ages and appearances — I think somewhere inside there’s still that awkward teenager who assumes that beautiful women won’t want anything to do with him. So, if the person I’m connecting with happens to be an attractive woman, it just throws me for a loop, because it contradicts the way I’ve always seen myself. Someone told me yesterday that I’m easy to talk to, which really surprised me. Part of the reason I became an addict is that I saw myself as worthless and unlikable. Who cares if some guy no one wants to be around wastes his life with pornography? I haven’t completely shaken that perception and am thrown off guard when I realize that other people don’t necessarily see me that way.

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