Getting into a relationship after leaving an abusive one can be challenging in different ways. For starters, the individual might be unaware of what a healthy relationship looks like.
In addition, since they were abused in the relationship, it might be difficult for them to emotionally connect with their partners, causing conflicts in the relationship. If you or anyone you know intends dating after an abusive relationship, here’s a walkthrough to help them do it the right way.
How to conquer the fear of dating after leaving an abusive relationship?
When some people leave an abusive relationship, they decide not to enter into another relationship for a long time. Usually, people make such decisions because of the fear of falling into the wrong hands when selecting another partner.
An abusive relationship can leave the victim scarred and scared of trusting again. In addition, it can make them develop some unhealthy behaviors that might affect them in their new relationship.
Getting over the fear of dating after an abusive relationship often starts with acknowledging that you were abused. Also, it involves seeking help from a professional and building a strong support system to help you heal.
The fear of starting a new relationship after an abusive one doesn’t fizzle away instantly. It involves being patient with the process of healing and learning to trust people again.
What does it involve to start dating after an abusive relationship?
When it comes to dating and love after abuse, it requires lots of learning and unlearning.
You will have to identify some toxic traits your ex-partner showed and watch out for them in your potential partners. In addition, you will need to learn how to open up to your new partner and trust that they will not abuse you in any form.
It is possible to fall into an abusive relationship again if you have not spotted the patterns that come with it. Hence, before you start dating, be sure of what you want and what you have to avoid before trusting your heart with someone else.
12 things to consider when dating after an abusive relationship
It is important to note that no signal indicates the perfect time to start a relationship after abuse.
This is because some unchecked features from your previous one can show up in your new relationship. Therefore, when starting a new relationship after an abusive one, there are some things to consider.
1. Try to heal from your past
After leaving your past union, you might be interested in entering a new one almost immediately. However, you need to take time to recover from an abusive relationship to prevent some hidden trauma from reflecting in your new relationship.
Sometimes, the excitement that comes with dating after an abusive relationship can prevent you from realizing that there are unresolved personal issues that you have not resolved for yourself.
2. Learn about both abusive and healthy relationships
Before dating after an abusive relationship, you need to educate yourself. This is the time when you learn all about abusive and healthy relationships. Knowing more about abusive relationships helps you understand all that you went through to heal properly.
It also helps you spot the signs of abuse when you want to enter a new relationship. On the other hand, learning about healthy relationships helps you know what to expect from your new partner when you start dating.
3. Don’t ditch your instincts completely
Because you have experienced an abusive relationship, there are some warning signs that you would naturally detect in a prospective partner without being told.
Hence, when you notice that an individual tends to be a toxic partner that would create an abusive relationship, it is best to end things at that stage. If you feel that everything is not right, you are likely correct, and you have to be careful of them before things become more intimate and complicated.
Before you start dating after an abusive relationship, you need to take things slow. Invest enough time in knowing everything about your partner, and let them know you too.
Be careful to confirm if they have some toxic traits that might make your relationship an abusive one. The both of you should get to the point where you are not afraid of expressing yourselves healthily.
Any victim of abuse experiences PTSD, anxiety, or depression when something reminds them of their abusive relationship. These triggers could be smell, taste, words, sound, shouting, music, etc.
When these triggers are in play, the victim remembers their abuser and begins to experience panic attacks, sad memories, etc.
You might not be aware of these triggers until you take time out to study yourself properly. When you can identify these triggers, you can discuss them with your potential partner to help you control them.
You might experience PTSD or unnecessary anxiety sequel to dating after emotional abuse, affecting your normal life.
Therefore, you need help to make you love the right way to have a healthy relationship. You can seek professional help from a therapist vast in this field to help you through the healing process. Professional help allows you to acknowledge your past and learn coping methods to deal with triggers.
7. Have a solid support system
Abusive partners can isolate their spouses from their family and friends when they are in a relationship. When you want to start dating after an abusive relationship, it is important to reconnect with your family, friends, and other categories of people who make up your support system.
If you want to start dating after an abusive relationship, you need to intentionally look out for yourself. Your self-care is important to remain emotionally and mentally stable.
You should look out for things that make you happy and do them more often. This is part of the healing process because it is important to boost your self-esteem and love yourself more before dating after a toxic relationship.
A healthy relationship needs trust to thrive. Usually, people who suffer abuse find it difficult to trust again because of their partner’s deeds. Therefore, it would be more difficult for them to be vulnerable around their partner.
However, if you want to start dating again after an abusive relationship, you need to learn to trust people. You can start slowly by watching their actions and trusting them in bits till you become comfortable around them.
Also, allow them to talk about their past because it is needed to foster trust as you begin a new relationship. If you see that your potential partner is willing to help you heal from the trauma of your past relationship, it is a signal that they might be the right person for you.
11. Tell your partner if their behaviors remind you of your ex
Sometimes, your potential partner’s behavior might remind you of abuse you experienced in your past relationship.
They might not be aware until you mention it to them. If your potential partner is the right person for you, they will correct themselves and apologize to you. When you openly communicate with your partner, you will feel more secure with them.
12. Define the kind of relationship you want
Anyone who leaves an abusive and toxic relationship will not want to return to a similar one again. Therefore, before you start dating after an abusive relationship, you need to be clear on the type of relationship you want.
Dating after an abusive relationship is like journeying into the unknown, especially if you didn’t learn from the relationship.
You need to be clear on the difference between an abusive and healthy relationship to not settle for another wrong partner. In addition, be patient with yourself during the healing process and learn to trust and love again.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.