The idea of how to date after a toxic relationship can feel scary, anxiety ridden or shameful. Remember, the fact you got out in the first place is enough to celebrate your courage to date again.
A whopping 80% of Americans experience emotional abuse. It’s concerning that it’s not talked about or taught in school. But that’s a post for another day. How to Date After a Toxic Relationship:
1. Don’t Rush
One of the biggest issues with unhealthy relationships is rushing it. Trust is the foundation of any healthy sustainable relationship. It can’t be created by oversharing or forcing to get to know someone. It has to be built which takes time. Think of it as having your date earn your trust vs. giving it away freely.
2. Build Self-Trust
One of the biggest problems that stop my clients from successfully dating is trusting themselves. It can feel like self betrayal knowing you might have painted red flags green in the past. It’s important to recognize that you are not the things that person did to you. Don’t forget that you’ve already trusted yourself to leave a toxic relationship. You have the skills and awareness now while dating.
3. Meet Friends or Family
When we leave toxic relationships we usually find that our friends or family didn’t like our partner. If you’re serious about making it “official” then make sure you meet their entourage. It’s important that this other person has friends or family you can get along with. And it’s just as important for them to meet yours. Ask the ones who you trust most what they honestly think of them.
4. Communicate Your Needs
It’s easy when there is initial chemistry, but the question is, are you actually compatible? Your needs are essential. For example, I had a client who needed a partner that wanted to emotionally commit to a relationship. Having conversations around what her date was looking for was key to communicating. Chemistry will only last so long but your needs will last a lifetime.
5. Embrace the Healing Journey
Healing isn’t linear. There is no rule book to be “ok” again after toxic relationships. It’s important to accept that the journey can feel rocky. Although, part of it is putting yourself out there to try again when you’re ready. Another part is giving yourself time for breaks if it feels too much. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. Don’t discredit your progress along the way.
6. Go On Actual Dates
This might seem obvious, but Netflix & chill isn’t going to help you get to know someone in their “element”. Going on actual dates can decipher if you have things in common. It allows for both people to take their time and share interests. It takes the pressure away from going too fast and it gives you time to be present.
7. Recognize Your Triggers
It’s normal to be hyper aware when dating again. It can feel like you’re trying to prevent the other shoe from dropping. Except living this way can actually create more issues. When you feel triggered, acknowledge its source. This can help you rightsize it. It can also be helpful to talk this through with a friend or dating coach.
Want more tips on dating after toxic relationships? Learn more!