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I have the lyrics from several Nickelback songs going through my head. My thoughts and emotions are all in a jumble as I finally begin to realize the damage that last year’s events have had on me. I am tired. My heart aches. I almost feel defeated.

I have not been sleeping well lately. On Saturday, I had a fleeting thought that something was bothering me, but I could not identify exactly what it was. I could only wait for the trigger that would set off the thought process and release the bottled emotions.

Last night, it happened.

I enjoy chatting online, on IRC. Short for “Internet Relay Chat”. I have met many friends this way. Last week Sunday, while chatting to someone I had met real life, I discovered that he was lightly flirting with me. I did not say anything to him, but logged off, feeling very happy, excited and cheerful. I then chatted to my best online friend for a few minutes, telling her what had happened. She agreed that he was flirting and warned me to be careful and take it slow. I agreed. Getting involved now was the last thing on my mind.

The next morning, while still warm and fuzzy, the “hold me, I’m falling” thoughts were well in check and it was a day like any other.

He did not come back on chat for the whole week. There were Internet connection problems. I played with the idea of getting his phone number and texting him, but never got round to doing it. He didn’t text me either. He could have easily gotten my number from his father.

Last night, it seemed like their connection might be working, when I saw one of the family come online, but sharing the computer between three people meant that I did not chat to him before going to bed.

Not long after my head hit the pillow, did that switch flip and I understood exactly why I had been sleeping so badly.

What did I have to offer this guy, should he have real intentions when flirting with me? As far as I was concerned, I was (am) damaged goods and came with a heck of a lot of baggage. I cringe at the idea of a man touching me intimately. Yet after last year’s events, I am led to believe that for a man to be happy in a relationship, intimacy is a prerequisite. While it was not outright rape, I felt wronged. Not quite dirty, but still, the idea of a new boyfriend did not feel right at all.

I have had these thoughts before. All I want is to be able to sit in a guy’s arms and feel happy. I don’t want anything beyond that point. Kisses, intimacy, nothing like that. Just to feel safe, secure and content. I don’t know where to start or what to do to make this a reality. Are there even guys out there that would be satisfied with only that?