Dating After An Abusive Relationship— Can I Love Again?

calm woman healing in a field of flowers

I was thinking about a letter I received this week and I wanted to address dating after an abusive relationship. It can be tricky and it is something that many of you can relate to, unfortunately. But there are things we can learn from our past that can make our lives even better. Thank you for sending me a message Connie.

Here is Connie’s story:

I’m really confused with men and am wondering if maybe you could please help.

I’m a 41-year-old single mom of four young children. After almost 10 years I abruptly left their abusive father last November. I am interested in a guy I met a couple of months ago. I think he’s a player but I’m not sure. I immediately felt comfortable and relaxed with him very unusual for me. But he is very clear he doesn’t want a girlfriend and often he doesn’t respond to my messages. Sometimes he’ll stay most of the day but he always seems in a hurry to leave. I’m confused. I have very little experience with men. I tend to lose myself in the one I’m around. For the first time in my life, I’m getting to know who I really am, what I want, and doing things I’ve wanted to do for years. And it feels great!

Thank you for reading my rambling message!

Connie

First off Connie, I want to say I am so proud of you for being open to dating after an abusive relationship. I know it’s a hard thing to do. Domestic violence against women is more common than many people think.

Millions of women stay in abusive relationships because they are in love with the abuser.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone. Over 85% of abusers are men.

Domestic violence occurs in relationships that are long term and intimate. In other words… in your family.

Here are some more stats from the CDC

  • 22% of women in the US have experienced physical violence.
  • 71% of women who have had physical violence were 25 years or younger.
  • 9% of women were stalked by a partner at some point in their life.

These are terrifying statistics and I hope that any of you who are in a dangerous situation, will seek help because you are worth it and don’t deserve to be with someone who mistreats you.

Your life depends on it.

Abusers can be clever, funny, handsome, put you on a pedestal, and make you feel love like you have never before until something else happens.

There are several stages of an abusive relationship.

  • The first stage is to seduce and charm the pants off of you (literally!).
  • The second stage is often to isolate you. It is a psychological trap. It can also be a financial or an emotional trap.
  • The third stage is to introduce the threat of violence. This could be physical, verbal, mental abuse, or even the introduction of a weapon.
  • The abuser is sorry after the abuse happens, and his apologies make you feel like he is finally changing— until it happens again and the abuse starts all over.

I know what abuse is like personally, and have friends, family, and clients who are in or who have been in a similar abusive situation.

The CDC states there are 15 million children who are abused every year. One of these children could have been you, your own children, someone you would never expect, your neighbor, or someone you love.

This kind of trauma can affect your life and make love even more difficult to navigate.

So, if you are a victim of abuse, I hope you understand that you are not alone and can get help at the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-3224

Many women who are abused don’t even see themselves as a battered woman.

And this video can explain some of the things that happen when you are in an abusive relationship.

An abused woman can see herself as the only person who can save him, or fix him, because she is the only one who understands him, loves him more than anyone else in the world, and is the only woman who can help him.

So many abused women stay in a harmful relationship. These women can even be strong, educated women that get sucked into the wrath of a skilled abuser. But when manipulated by a person like this, your self-esteem can sink lower and lower.

Many women are also afraid to leave because they are fearful of what he will do to her, her children, or her family. So she stays.

So, once again Connie, you are one of the women who figured out a way to finally get out, and I hope any of you reading this and are in an abusive relationship, realize that you can’t save anyone, you can’t save him…

But you can save yourself.

I’m gifting Connie my “How To Heal Your Heart” Online Program to help her break through any trauma, amplify her love potential and increase her self-esteem to amazing feeling levels.

After traumatic abuse, it is so important to do healing of you from the inside.

It’s like learning a new dance. Maybe you naturally have rhythm when you are at the club… but you don’t automatically know how to Tango just because you want to.

You need to train yourself how to dance the right moves. You need to learn from someone who already knows the tango. It’s technical and you need an instructor. When done properly, it can be sexy, and graceful.

Without the proper training, it is clumsy and downright painful.

Dating is like the tango too, and most of us have no idea what we are doing, and we need a little help.

That is why I am here. To help you navigate dating and relationships with ease and grace.

Being a victim of abuse is something that needs to be addressed, and I understand because I have been there. I was in a verbally abusive relationship for years, and I was date raped in college by my own boyfriend.

And the crazy thing is — I was in denial that it happened and kept dating him after the rape.

My self-esteem was so low from bullying and teasing in school, boys not being interested in me ( I always thought it was because I was flat chested and not pretty enough), being a late bloomer, not being popular.

When I was 22 years old, people thought I was still in High School. I would swoon from boys who game me any bit of attention.

1 out of 3 women experience abuse or stalking at some point in their life. And oftentimes women will make excuses for the man. I know I did it many times.

excuses for men
A few weeks later my boyfriend’s roommate told my roommate that I needed to get checked out because my current boyfriend had Chlamydia.

After hearing this I knew I had to come out of denial and go to the doctor.

Things from your past can give you trauma, and the trauma makes it harder to trust a man because you don’t trust yourself.

Connie says she is confused with her new man. Even when a man tells exactly what he doesn’t want, it’s hard for us to hear it— because when we are together it feels so good.

Connie met a man who makes her feel comfortable but that isn’t enough for a good relationship. When we have good chemistry with a man it is hard to see past what is really going on and what is good for us in the long run.

When you are used to being abused by a man, any man feels better to be with than the abuse you used to be with.

The new man in Connie’s life isn’t giving her what she deserves and needs. He isn’t giving her a committed relationship and doesn’t return her messages.

It sounds like he spends time with Connie when it is convenient for him.

He may or may not be a player, but he told Connie that he does not want a girlfriend and he meant it.

Connie I have a tip for you. Stop messaging this man, even though it is hard not to— because you miss his company.

He is NOT ready for a relationship.

And there is some conflicting information in your message.

This part you say— He stays most of the day but he always seems in a hurry to leave.

If he stays most of the day, it sounds like he’s not in a big hurry to leave.

I’m not sure if you mean he is staying in the day when the kids are in school, but he doesn’t want to stay over.

So if you are OK with having a casual relationship with this man, that’s OK with me if you are not hurting yourself, but you cannot expect him to change and want a serious thing because that is what you want. So if you want a committed relationship, this guy isn’t it.

I have a feeling you don’t want a casual relationship, but he is there and makes you feel good some of the time — and you will take what you can get from him, even if it isn’t really enough.

He was clear that he does not want a girlfriend. I know it’s hard to hear what you don’t want to hear.

Just because you are beautiful, single, amazing women… it doesn’t mean you can change a man and make him want to be committed.

It is hard to not lose yourself when you feel comfortable with a man. The rose colored glasses we wear are thick! And I know because even though I know better…

I even occasionally wear a pair of them myself when I have good chemistry with a man who isn’t really compatible in the ways that are really important to me. I don’t want to make myself take them off, but I know in the long run it is better.

The rose-colored glasses skew our vision of what a man is really like. We can see clearly that he is a great kisser and makes us feel amazing when we are together, but our sight gets foggy when he tells us something that we don’t want to hear.

Like… I don’t want a relationship.

When a man speaks… you MUST listen.

When a man tells you he doesn’t want a girlfriend he is NOT saying, “I want YOU to change me to WANT a relationship”.

That’s not going happen.

I am so happy for you to put yourself out there again and I’m begging you to not give too much of yourself to someone who is giving you so little.

Keep your eyes open for other possibilities (other men), and don’t invest more of your time and energy than the man is investing.

You want men to see you as a High-Value woman, because you are!

A good rule of thumb is… DO NOT invest more of you time and energy than he is investing.

If you want to be the feminine energy, instead of the masculine energy, let a man pursue you, and not the other way around.

When you are a single mom with 4 kids, it’s hard to let go of the reigns and let the man do for you, because you are so used to doing EVERYTHING.

A masculine man will love to pursue you instead of you pursuing him.

So the place you are in your life, and the place he is in his life… it sounds like it’s time for you to open your options to other relationships.

If you have been abused and your trauma from the past is holding you back, please watch this amazing video, so you can open your heart and learn to love again.

With Lots of Love,

Dina Colada

About The Author

Dina Z Colada

I am on a mission for everyone in my path to have EPIC Dating, Love & Relationships. Everything we do is about relationships, because without others, we couldn't really be ourselves. I love to write about dating, love, relationships and sex. I have helped thousands all over the globe with my dating and love advice. I love writing online dating profiles for clients to help them and the singles online see the best of them! Your life is a wild ride, so you might as well make it epic!

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