Tips on Dating After an Abusive Relationship
Dating after an abusive relationship can be very intimidating and often overwhelming for many men and women. I actually know plenty of people who are firm in their vow to “single-hood.” Wonderful, if that’s what you want – I’m all for it. This is your journey and no one can take that from you, including me. How about the many other people who are searching for love but keep finding roadblocks along the way? Dating may feel like science, but it doesn’t always have to be. All that matters is being your most authentic self. The rest will fall into place.
Here are a few dating tips to help you stay clear of unhealthy relationships.
- Don’t fake the funk.
Social media is the best way to paint the perfect most ideal picture of your relationship. Everyone wants to be loved even if it means faking a failed relationship just for the sake of comments and validation. Before you post mushy photos of how great your relationship “is,” fact check yourself. Is this person nice to me? Does this person respect me? Does this person value me? Does this person and I share the same understanding of our relationship? Does this person take advantage of me or use me? If your answer to any one of these questions is no, respect yourself enough to move on and don’t turn back. An empowered man or woman will see their own truth worth and not allow such negativity or false hope to overpower them for the sake of “likes.” Plus, the other person doesn’t deserve to be recognized, especially if they aren’t nice.
- Set boundaries early on.
When my current boyfriend officially asked me to be his girlfriend (old school, I know) we both laid some very necessary ground rules. He shared his beliefs and I shared mine. Both of us valued communication and felt trust was an area that we both needed to work on. Boundaries allow everyone involved to be respectful and to be respected. If there are no healthy boundaries in place, partners may “cross the line” and your relationship could fall into an uncomfortable grey area. Talk about what is important to you early on and if your partner disregards your concerns, you must take action and exit the relationship. This avoids any further opportunity for miscommunication, disrespect, or worse – abuse.
- Talk the talk and walk the walk.
If your partner promises the moon and the stars and constantly lets you down, that is another way for you to see their true colors early on. The key in any successful relationship is “Be impeccable with your word.” Words paired with action are a perfect way for any partner to trust and to show their loved one they can be trusted. Words without action are just fluff. Words can also be manipulating, it depends on how they are being delivered.
- Stand beside me.
We all want someone to stand by our side in good times and in bad. Like when we’re knee deep in work and feeling overwhelmed because of pressing deadlines and all we need is a cup of tea with a splash of almond milk (Maybe thats just me). Standing by your partner means being their cheerleader, an encouraging teammate, and their co-captain. This goes for both partners involved. Life is difficult so having a supportive other half makes the journey less stressful.
- Love what I love (or at least be willing to experience it).
Being your most authentic self is the best gift you could give both your partner and you. Relationships shouldn’t force you to become someone you were not destined to become. If you love heavy metal invite your boo to the next upcoming concert, even if they prefer Opera. Experiencing new things because your partner loves it is a great way for you to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. For survivors, if you love advocating and attending DV rallies, invite your partner. If you’re passionate about volunteering with domestic violence organizations (like ours), sign up and get involved. Don’t be afraid to keep them engaged with your activism. If your partner ridicules you for your passions and hobbies, this is another clear indicator this person may not be right for you. PS. Guys who love charity work are our fave!
- Honor your gut.
Ever heard the saying, “I don’t have a good feeling about this” That’s your gut aka your intuition’s way of telling you something is not right. Your intuition is a free ticket to recognizing warning signs and red flags when they are right in front of you. The subtle signs can be hard to pick up early on, so honor your gut. To steer clear of abusive relationships you must jump on the truth train. If you hear abusive language – chances are its abuse. If you see abusive behaviors – chances are its abuse. If you feel the abuse – it absolutely is abuse. Allow your intuition to be your guiding light when your emotions are a jumbled mess.
- Your new partner is not your ex.
If are still comparing your current partner to your last one, it won’t work. Your new partner will begin to resent you for things they had no control over. Getting into a new relationship means starting fresh. If you can accept this new change, you’re setting yourself up for success. I’ll admit, I still catch myself playing the “what if” game. What if he does.. Stop playing yourself. Actions speak louder than words, embrace it. Don’t allow one abusive partner to ruin the chances for your future soul mate.
Your happiness begins and ends with you.
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