Dating After Abusive Relationship
Starting over and dating after abusive relationship can be daunting but providing you have recovered sufficiently and rebuilt your self-esteem, know your own strengths and what you need from a relationship, there is no need to avoid meeting new people.
Abusive relationships, whether physically or mentally abusive, or both, are terrible, and getting out of one can seem like a huge relief. Although the vast majority of victims are female, some are male, too. But whichever sex, the trauma can be the same, and very intense and damaging.
It can certainly make the idea of dating again very difficult. There's an understandable reluctance to expose yourself to what might be more of the same. The inclination can be to put off dating, and that's a good move for a while. Eventually, though, you'll probably want to dip a toe in the water again.
Before You Start Dating
Something that will have been injured in an abusive relationship is your self-esteem. That needs to be repaired before you can date again. It takes time to overcome that, since the last thing you need is to repeat a cycle of abusive relationships.
You need to be sure that you deserve better, that you’re worthy of a good person and a real romance. Make a list of all your qualities, and don’t miss a single one out – you'll find there are many of them. Remember all the compliments you've had in your life and add them. It’s a good way to start to believe in yourself again.
What do you want in a partner and a relationship? Be as idealistic as you like, and once again, write it all down. Refer to if often, and believe you can have a relationship and person like that. Look at it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Understand that it can happen.
Enjoy being by yourself. Do the things you'd promised yourself. Take a trip by yourself; you'll come back stronger and more confident, with a greater sense of yourself.
Make sure you treat yourself well, with little gifts just because you deserve them. Don't allow yourself to feel negative about your appearance. Enjoy who you are. Go to the gym, exercise – the endorphins will improve your outlook. You can also take an evening class in something that interests you to expand your mind and keep it stimulated.
All of these things together will make you feel like a better person, one who not only has a lot to offer, but, maybe more importantly, one who deserves a lot, and won't fall into the same abusive trap again. Yes, you can wallow for a little while at the beginning, but you need to take positive steps in order to move on.
The more you love yourself, the better the person you’ll attract.
When you do finally go out on a date, you'll inevitably be constantly alert, and that's a good thing. Monitor not only your behaviour, but the other person's, too. Are there any signs he or she could be like your ex? Abusers can often be charming, but there's no depth to that charm. Now you're familiar with the pattern you should be able to pick up clues as to whether they’re abusers or genuinely nice people.
If you even suspect they might be abusers, make your excuses and leave. Don't even wait and hope you're wrong. It's better to misjudge a person at this stage and err on the side of safety. It can be depressing, but remain your own best friend until someone truly good comes along – but even then, it doesn't mean you have to enter a full-blown relationship with them.
Reproduced on Hidden Hurt with full permission of www.recentlyseparated.co.uk. Thank you!
For more and related articles, please check out www.recentlyseparated.co.uk .
In This Section:
Domestic Violence Articles
It's My Life Now - Starting over after an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence by Meg Dugan and Roger R. Hock. has been found to be helpful by a number of people recovering from an abusive relationship. Have a look at the portions available online to decide whether it may be of help to you - recovery is a very personal issue.
The Self-esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi - recommended by workshop facilitators.
The Self-esteem Journal: Using a Journal to Build Self-esteem (Overcoming Common Problems) by Alison Waines - A very helpful work book with exercises to dip in and out of while recovering.
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