I was visiting with my therapist right after I separated from my mentally abusive husband, and we were discussing what I wanted to do and achieve now that I am not being held back. Right before our session was over, he mentioned that the next month we met, we would discuss dating. What I should be aware of and what I wanted out of a future partner. I completely froze! I was terrified to start dating again. One of my worst fears was to fall into the same patterns that I did with my ex-husband. When I was ready to get back out into the dating world again, my therapist urged me to take steps to reassure that what happened to me didn’t happen again.
Before you start dating, make sure that your self-esteem is repaired. When my ex-husband and I separated, I was a shell of a woman. I didn’t even know what it felt to be me again. Before the abuse started, you would never see me not smiling. I was a sweet, outgoing type of person that loved to have fun. I was encouraged by friends as well as my therapist to start making lists. Lists of my accomplishments I had made since the split, what I liked about myself, and then finally what I would want to see in a future partner. Also, I was encouraged to take time for myself. Do things that I never got to do while married to my ex-husband. I started going out with friends on Friday and Saturday nights when I didn’t have my daughter. I didn’t go crazy, I just had fun. Once your self esteem is mended don’t let anyone break you down again. You are worthy of receiving what you want out of life, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
When you start dating, constantly be on alert. Be aware of not only your behavior, but as well as the person your dating actions as well. Of course people can put up a front at first; my ex-husband didn’t become abusive until five years into our marriage. Abusers can be very charming, and not show any signs of abuse until your are head over heels. That is why it is incredibly important that at the first sign that your new flame can turn on you, get out immediately. Even if you love them, you can’t let yourself repeat the same patterns you have in the past.
When I finally started dating again, it was a pleasant experience. I learned that there are good guys out there that know how to treat a woman right. Holds her when she wants to be held, takes delight in making her smile, and just makes her feel good. I am currently in a relationship with someone who is amazing. However, even if it doesn’t last, I will walk away knowing how it feels to be treated right after being treated so badly for so long.