Dating after leaving an abusive relationship

Katie - posted on 01/01/2010 ( 18 moms have responded )

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Has anyone had a hard time dating after leaving the father of your child? Any advice or recommendations???

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JACKIE - posted on 01/05/2010

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HI MY NAME IS JACKIE AND I'M NEW TO CIRCLE OF MOMS. I COULDN'T HELP BUT STOP WHEN I SAW YOUR QUESTION. I TOO HAVE BEEN IN AN ABUSIVE MARRIAGE FOR 12 YEARS. I HAVE 4 KIDS WITH HIM AND I'M CURRENTLY GOING THROUGH A CUSTODY BATTLE WITH HIM. HE ONLY WANTS THE KIDS BECAUSE HE CAN'T CONTROL ME ANYMORE SO HE'S TRYING TO HURT ME THROUGH THEM. I LEFT EVERYTHING WE HAD WORKED FOR WITH HIM AND NEVER WENT BACK ,THANKS TO THOSE WHO HELPED SUPPORT ME. I WAS ABOUT AS LOW AS A HUMAN BEING COULD BE AT THAT TIME AND I EVEN THOUGHT OF SUICIDE. I HAD NO FAMILY HELP BUT I DID HAVE A FEW AMAZING FRIENDS. MY OLDEST DAUGHTER IS 12 AN MY SON IS 10 AND I ASLO HAVE 4 YR. OLD TWIN GIRLS. I HAD BEEN A STAY AT HOME MOM WHO LIVED FOR TAKING CARE OF EVERYONE.....BUT ME. WHAT I'M TRYING TO GET AT IS THAT YOU REALLY NEED TO FOCUS ON TAKING CARE OF YOU AND ONLY YOU SO YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILD. IF YOU MEET SOMEONE THAT YOU ARE INTERESTED IN YOU HAVE TO FIRST ASK YOURSELF IF YOU REALLY ARE PREPAIRED FOR THE TIES THAT COME WITH BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP. I GOT A DIVORCE AND A YR. LATER I WENT BACK TO HIM DUE TO ME BEING SCARED TO TAKE ON ALL THE ROLES IN THE HOUSEHOLD, ESPECIALLY NOT HAVING AN EDUCATION. I WAS ON WELFARE AND COULD NOT DO IT BECAUSE I WASN'T READY. AT THE TIME OF ME LEAVING THE FIRST TIME I THOUGHT I WAS ON TOP OF THE WORLD AND THAT ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE. BUT WHAT I DIDN'T REALIZE IS I WASN'T ABLE TO DETACH MYSELF FROM THE MENTAL CONTROL AND ABUSE HE HAD ON ME. I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO FEEL OR THINK FOR MYSELF. I DIDN'T SEEK OUT THE RIGHT HELP AT THAT TIME. OF COURSE WHEN I WENT BACK THINGS WERE ALOT WORSE AND I EVENTUALLY TOOK OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT(HE HAD ALREADY GIVEN ME 2 BLACK EYES).ONCE I TRULY LET GO OF THAT LIFE...WHICH WAS VERY HARD AND IT FELT LIKE A DEATH THAT HURT SO DEEP I THOUGHT MY HEART WOULD LITERALLY STOP, THEN I WAS ABLE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH ME ,WHICH IS STILL AN ONGOING PROCESS. ABOUT 2 MONTHS AFTER I LEFT THE SECOND TIME A GUY FRIEND OF MINE WHO I HAD KNOWN FOR YRS. AND HAD HELPED ME OUT NUMEROUS TIMES, ASKED ME OUT AND WE HAVE BEEN TOGETHER EVER SINCE. WE ARE EVEN TALKING ABOUT MARRIAGE. MY STRUGGLE WILL NEVER BE GONE BUT I KNOW NOW THAT IT WILL NEVER BE THAT BAD. I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS MAN. I MEAN WE NEVER FIGHT, HE'S NOT SOMEONE I WOULD HAVE EVER THOUGHT ABOUT BEING WITH! BUT I KNOW THAT IF I WOULD HAVE STAYED WITH MY EX,I NEVER WOULD HAVE LIVED.I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD BE THIS HAPPY. I WAS A LITTLE DISTANT AT FIRST WITH HIM BECAUSE I DIDN'T THINK I DESERVED HIM OR I FIGURED HE WOULD EVENTUALLY LEAVE BUT ONCE I LET MY GUARD DOWN MY LIFE TRULY STARTED. SO AFTER THIS LONG LONG LONG LETTER, MY POINT IS THAT YOU AND ONLY YOU WILL KNOW WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT TO DATE. WHEN YOU THINK YOUR READY THEN GO IN IT ALL THE WAY AND KEEP AN OPEN MIND BECAUSE NOT ALL MEN ARE SHITTY! LOL YOU NEED TO WRITE DOWN ALL OF THE ABUSE YOU ENCOUNTERED AND GO OVER IT EVERYDAY AND USE THAT TOOL TO BE ABLE TO DISTINGUISH THE SIGNS OF ABUSE THAT OTHER MEN MIGHT PUT OUT. ALOT OF VICTIMS TEND TO GO FOR MEN WHO SHOW THE SAME SIGN AS THEIR ABUSER BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T RECOGNIZED THE SIGNS OF ABUSE. JUST ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU AND YOUR CHILD ARE FIRST AND FORMOST AND IF YOU ARE DATING SOMEONE AND HE TRULY LOVES YOU AND YOUR CHILD ,THEN HE WILL AGREE, AND ACT ON THAT FACT MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY. JUST HAVE FUN AND RELAX BECAUSE NO MATTER WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFE YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOU WILL BE FINE AND A GREAT MOTHER. GOOD LUCK TO YOU! SORRY I BLABBED ON AND ON BUT I HAVE A PASSION FOR ABUSED MOTHERS. WE CANNOT LET THESE BASTARDS TAKE OUR MINDS AND BODIES AND ABUSE US ANYMORE...IT ENABLES US FROM FOCUSING ON OUR MAIN PRIORITY, WHICH IS OUR KID OR KIDS!

Jackey - posted on 01/05/2010

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Yes, I dismissed it all together for about 2 years( which is the age of my youngest) because I was very hurt and didnt want to bring any baggage on a date. I used the time to heal and work on me . Im kind of ready to get back out there have fun and make some new friends. I was telling a friend of mine the other day. Its been so long since ive been out what would I talk about when I go out on a date..the kids? lol. It takes time to get back out there, especially when you've come out of a previous relationship.

Courtney - posted on 01/01/2010

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I think that Rene and Christine are right. Make sure that you are really ready. Counseling may also help. Just being able to talk out your feelings can help you to realize what you need to work on. Do you still see/talk to the father on a regular basis? If so, try and limit that contact to just things about your child. I made that mistake with my sons' father over and over again. He was more of verbal abuser than physical (though he did get physical) and there we months where things were great between us and it looked like we could be friends. Then he would turn on me and the verbal abuse would start again. Having to deal with this while trying to date is not going to be easy and may even put a strain on the new relationship if you can't handle it. When I had to deal with this I was dating someone for the first time since my ex and we broke up because he couldn't take the abuse I was getting.

Also, make sure that you date away from your child and that you are really sure about the person before you introduce them to your child. There is this book that was given to me that has a section on dating that helped me. THE COMPLETE SINGLE MOTHER - by Andrea Engber and Leah Klungness, Ph.D. It was published in 2000, but it has some great tips. If you can't find it I may be able to send it to you.

good luck!

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18 Comments

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Free - posted on 07/16/2014

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Hi. This post has been a while, but the information really informative and practical. I am in a similar situation and I would like to communicate with you or any mothers who have similar experiences who would like to share the story. My email is morgand11@live.com

HCCN - posted on 11/03/2013

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I hope you all tune in as Huffington Post Writer and Author goes into detail about Dating Again After an Abusive Relationship.. November 5, 2013 @ 12 pm EST... Or subscribe to our podcast. To listen in visit talkzone.com/shows/200/healingconversations.html
Hope you'll be listening!!

Tawnya - posted on 01/05/2010

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Most definitely! I lived with a horribly abusive alcoholic for 9 years. Guys don't wanna date women with 2 kids and alot of baggage. I look at it this way; my kids will lead me to a good man. A good man won't be intimidated by them and if he's willing to take on my life, he's GOT to be worth being with.

Chrissy - posted on 01/04/2010

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I haven't dated since I left my abusive relationship with the father of my kids. It's been almost 3 years. On one hand, I'm not getting any younger, and it's time to move on. I know what I deserve, I just don't believe that I deserve it. On the other hand, I know I was so emotionally scarred and am still "damaged goods." If I can't love myself, I can't expect someone else to. Personally, I'm not ready. The one guy I even remotely had a chance to "date," all I thought of was my ex and I couldn't get it out of my head. I couldn't even kiss him, it made me nervous to do it all over again. The way I was treated is burned into my brain, and I need to fix myself. I can't even find myself attracted to a man right now, they repulse me because that's the place I'm at in my "recovery," if you will. I was addicted to being treated horribly. It took me 3 attempts before I finally went forward with a permanent restraining order, and if I hadn't, we would have gotten back together. I don't know if the 4 year order will be long enough, I just have to take it day by day.

I encourage you to feel you way through it, and trust your instincts. If it feels right, it just might be. Make sure you have a great support network of trustworthy friends and family that you can go to. Be able to live with yourself and be independent from a man, be the mother of your child.

Watch the movie "28 Days" with Sandra Bullock, towards the end, a man who was in rehab with her asks the therapist when he will be ready for a relationship. He's told to go out and buy a plant. If a year later, the plant is still alive, get a pet. If the pet is still alive in another year, think about it. That replays in my mind... find something I can use to keep me busy and keep me focused, something that's completely for me, not for the kids, not for the world, just for ME. Mine is gardening. The last few years, I couldn't keep up with plants and they all died. This past summer, I was able to grow and maintain morning glory vines AND collect their seeds to replant in the spring. On top of that, I maintained some other flowers and a small tree that, although has lot all its leaves, is still alive and waiting for the spring to come back to life! That keeps me going. I need to re-learn how to love myself, and what I'm interested in, find out who I am and how I want to define my life. Once I can do that, I can start dating and looking for a healthy relationship with someone who will be able to learn about the wonderful person I've discovered. Maybe that will inspire you, too?

Good luck! ♥

Marie - posted on 01/04/2010

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i havent dated for two years after my marriage broke down so i am sorry but cnt tell you any answers as i am finding it hard aswell

Joan - posted on 01/04/2010

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I have recently left an abusive relationship as well and have decided to be sure of who I am BEFORE I go out and look for another man. My son needs to be my #1 priority - my social life needs to come second to his needs. Secondly, I have also decided that my son will NOT meet any man before I am sure will be around for a LONG time- I don't want my son to look to another man as Daddy if he might not be in the picture for his whole life.
I may be wrong, but that is how I am responding to a siilar situation. Katie, I wish you the best of luck!

Susie - posted on 01/04/2010

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I am the same totally petrified that it goes wrong or i bring a stanger to my home that will harm my kids, my friend and i who is also a single parent we all feel the same i suppose all you can do is be vigiliant watch for any signs and make sure your kids know all the signs and we dont keep secrets in our house .

Cassandra - posted on 01/03/2010

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I spent a lot of time alone, I needed to get my head in the right place before I even thought about getting out there again. Don't rush it, only you will know when you are ready. It is hard, but I wish you the best.

Terri - posted on 01/03/2010

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Katie...i got out of an abusive relationship 2 yrs ago, the guy i was with choked me and tryed to throw me down the stairs, its very hard to date after that has happend,but it also makes you stronger, im currently pregnant with my 1st child and he may be the father, honestly i find it very rough, but i will do what i can to keep my child away from him. i do choose to go back sometimes because i miss him, but in the end you need to be confident and relise that your better off without him. be strong, fight your heart against him, and find someone worth your time.

Susana - posted on 01/03/2010

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Katie the best advice that I could give you is to give yourself time. Explore your world through your own eyes. Enjoy your baby or babies. Don't rush into anything other than friendships with guys.

Keyala - posted on 01/03/2010

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GIVE YOURSELF TIME. THERES NO RUSH, HAVE TIME TO YOURSELF 1ST AND WHEN YOUR REALLY READY THEN YOU'LL KNOW.

Crystal - posted on 01/02/2010

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Spend some time concentrating on you and bub.. getting your self esteem back, putting yourself first, doing what makes you happy, or finding out what that means.. work out what you want in a man, write it down and put it somewhere safe, refuse to settle for any less when the time does come!

I think you will know when you are ready, good luck!

Christine - posted on 01/01/2010

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I have to agree with Rene u have to ask urself if ur ready. I myself am going though alot trying to see if I am ready for a relationship again, I was with my daughters father for about 4 yrs and I do miss him and I still love him but I have moved on and relized I cant have him yes I have to deal with him when he calls and text me also picks up my daughter on his time he gets her but I have moved on, I have been looken and I have been talken to a guy that has asked me if I am ready to move on I said yes to him and its true I am ready it did not take long for me to want to move on because of the problums I did have with my ex he pushed me over a dog Creat a steal one and I was pregnet with our daughter at the time I had a nice mark on my side a size of a basketball I did not leave him when he did that and I should of but I have come to relize that when looken for a man dont judge them by looks or what they drive and things but get to know them before u introduce them to your kid I have been talken to that guy that I told I am ready to move on talks to me when he gets a chance to because of work but when I do he always ask how my daughter is and how I am which really makes me relize that he cares but I dont want to introduce my daughter to him till I am ready to and I know he is right for us but mostly her.

Rene - posted on 01/01/2010

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Hi Katie, the best advice I think I could give you is...ask yourself are you really ready? Have you spent time allowing yourself to heal. I too have been in an unhealthy and abusive relationship and I've had to spend a lot of time healing, getting to know myself again and working on areas in my own personality, I needed to realise my own value and know that I am worthy of better. I really needed to work on my confidence and my self esteem plus ask myself some really tough questions....like why did I end up in a relationship that turned so bad....what was in me that allowed myself to be treated so badly??? Tough questions - but I think that anyone that has been in an unhealthy relationship needs to ask these types of questions of themselves or they just risk finding themselves in the same unhealthy relationships again and again. I have a little magnet on my fridge that says...."We are not victims of circumstance, We are CREATORS of circumstance", this little phrase might sound rather harsh to some but for me it has been something I really needed to hear and keep on reminding myself of - it has helped me a lot. Maybe you done all of this and maybe you're in a really good place emotionally now - I hope so.

Anyway, I wish you all the best Katie - and remember to be strong and know and believe that YOU are an amazing woman, YOU are valuable, YOU are worthy and YOU deserve to be treated like a princess.

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