Dating after healing from an abusive relationship can seem daunting, triggering, and even impossible. However, the most important thing to remember is that you are always in control.
When you’re in a toxic relationship, you may have let yourself ignore red flags and shut down your emotions. In cases of severe emotional abuse, gaslighting, and manipulation, you may have even dissociated yourself entirely from the relationship.
I was in a long emotionally abusive relationship, which caused a lot of trauma within my mind and body. It took me nearly two years to break the trauma bond, rewire my brain to combat the gaslighting, and break down my toxic traits of people-pleasing and codependency.
As I am now just getting back in the realm of dating again after over 1.5 years of blissful solitude, I have used a technique called intuitive dating.
What is intuitive dating?
It’s an approach to dating, leading with your intuition. After healing through therapy and somatic healing with the modalities of yoga, writing, and hypnotherapy, I am more in touch with my mind, body, and spirit than ever before. I can gauge who a person is just by asking myself these three questions.
1. Do they make me feel safe to be myself?
When you endure an abusive or toxic relationship, you learn to shut out your intuition. You ignore red flags, repress honest emotions, and even begin to disassociate from the relationship’s trauma. Safety is a feeling that is lacking when in an abusive relationship, so this should be a priority when dating from the very beginning.
Emotions are information, and this one simple question of how the other person makes you feel will be telling of who the other person is. Pay attention to your emotions when you speak with someone. If someone judges, criticizes, or makes you feel insecure with the way you show up to the world, it’s a sign they are not aligned with you.
Your number one priority in a relationship is to be safe to be your most authentic self, especially if you previously compromised yourself in your last relationship.
2. Do they make me feel seen, heard, and valued?
You should never have to feel like you need to beg to be seen, heard, or valued. In an emotionally abusive relationship, your emotions may have been dismissed, or you may have rejected your feelings yourself.
You may have felt invisible, so a potential partner needs to give you kindness, respect, and security by celebrating your presence.
Is this person asking you questions about your values, dreams, and ambitions? Do you feel like your answers are being received in a way that they are truly listening?
When you build a trusting relationship with yourself, you will initially feel nervous that someone will break your trust. However, the truth is we can never truly trust anyone. The only person we can trust is ourselves.
Trust we can uphold healthy boundaries if necessary.
Trust if someone is showing red flags in the beginning, we can walk away.
Emotional safety is a priority when dating again after healing from abuse. Now that you are attuned to your mind, body, and spirit, you can trust that the way someone makes you feel is always right.
3. Does this conversation energize or drain me?
An unhealthy person will drain your energy, but a healthy person will energize you and leave you feeling fulfilled.
Someone depleting you will only talk about themselves, doesn’t ask you questions, or constantly victimizes themselves.
Someone energizing you will listen to your stories, respond with curiosities, and carry a balanced conversation.
Recognize that a person draining your energy is a sign of who they are and how they show up to the world. You are not responsible for carrying anyone’s pain or grievances. A person that energizes you is a sign they are emotionally healthy.
Intuitive dating is all about listening to your mind, body, and soul and how it responds to someone else’s energy. Dating is more than just a conversation. It is an exchange of energies that is transferred through emotions.
The way someone makes you feel is information on what kind of partner they would be in your life. We often fail to follow our intuition and let our brains overcomplicate a relationship dynamic that can keep us stuck in an unhealthy cycle.
Dating after healing from abuse is a healing process within itself. You are proving to yourself that the healing results are paying off for you to find a partner you deserve.
You deserve a partner that reciprocates your capacity to love and feel so deeply. Trust your work of healing has prepared you for finding the love you deserve, because the love you gave to the wrong person always makes its way back to you.