Whether you were in a physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive relationship, it can be extremely difficult to heal yourself completely, let alone think about starting a new relationship. However, you should know that given enough time, counseling, self-reflection, and space, you will be able to return to a normal, happy, full life – and a life that could include a healthy relationship with a new partner.
Here are just a few things to consider before reentering the dating world after escaping an abusive or violent relationship.
Make Sure Your Are Ready & Make Time for Yourself
Ask yourself if you’re really ready for a new relationship before you start dating. Give yourself time to heal your body, heart, and spirit. Recovering emotionally and mentally from an abusive relationship can be a lengthy process.
When you start dating again, give yourself time to learn more about yourself and your new partner. If you have anxiety, fear, or depression, or just need someone to talk to, consider seeking professional counseling or therapy services. Or consider talking to a friend or trusted family member. Make sure that you make plenty of time for yourself – think about the things you love doing, your hobbies, and other relaxing activities.
Take It Slow & Communicate with Your New Partner
Even if you decide you’re ready to enter a new relationship, don’t jump in too deep right away. Give yourself time to adjust and don’t get too involved too quickly.
And communicating with your new partner or an individual you’re dating is a key part of a healthy relationship. It can help you both express any fears or hesitations. For victims of domestic violence, being in another abusive relationship is a likely worry, and one that your partner should be aware of. Take the time to learn about each other and discover how each person handles conflict in the relationship.
And make sure you are aware of the signs of domestic violence – like emotional abuse, violent or aggressive behavior, and making threats – but don’t expect it.
Watch for Old Patterns of Domestic Abuse & Trust Your Instincts
Erratic behavior, lack of empathy, and substance abuse issues are common signs of abusive partners. Watch for them as you enter a new relationship. And watch yourself for old signs of victimization. Bring these issues to a therapist or counselor to explore them further.
Similarly, trust your instincts if you feel any discomfort or uneasiness while dating somebody. If you’re uncomfortable, trust your instincts and end the date.
Understand It’s Possible to Connect with a Non-abusive Individual
Dating after domestic violence can be hard. Some victims of domestic violence might even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those suffering from this condition may experience flashbacks, anxiety, angry outbursts, feeling alone, guilt, and trouble sleeping, according to MedlinePlus.
While PTSD, depression, or anxiety after an abusive relationship is normal, know that that relationship doesn’t define you. There is hope of connecting with a non-abuse individual in the future.
If You’re in an Abusive Relationship Now, Take Action Today
If you are a victim of domestic violence, see these resources for victims of abuse. And if you require family law assistance from an attorney, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny. We handle divorce, child custody, and other family law matters, including resources for victims of domestic violence. These cases can present unique circumstances, like proving another parent is unfit or dealing with restraining orders or other court orders.
Contact us at 425-460-0550 for legal help with your case.