Dating a good guy after a toxic relationship:
It’s natural to want to forget your bad memories and bad relationships. Even more so when you finally meet the right person after a toxic relationship.
But it’s important not to hide from your memories or feelings—because they won’t go away on their own.
And if you don’t deal with them, they have the potential to damage even a good relationship.
Self sabotage is common at the end of a toxic relationship
A few months after my toxic relationship ended I started dating again. It was scary, and I felt vulnerable, but I was lucky enough to meet a good guy.
The type of guy I had been waiting my whole life for. Someone who valued women, and put my happiness first.
The problem was that it was so soon after the end of my toxic relationship that I still felt broken. My self esteem was so shot that I thought I didn’t deserve to by happy.
I was so scared that I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I refused to genuinely believe he was one of the good guys. The truth is I just wasn’t ready to date.
I was so afraid that I did everything to self sabotage my relationship.
What the research says about toxic relationships
Research has found that being in an emotionally abusive relationship can cause low self-worth, fear, anxiety, depression, and insecurity.
And often this lack of trust, and the negative behavior patterns you engage in are carried on to your next relationship.
So what do you do if you meet a good guy after a toxic breakup?
After many discussions with my therapist, I was able to understand the real impact of what had been an emotionally abusive relationship.
And what I needed to do, in order to ensure that my past relationships stopped affecting my future ones.
Fortunately your past does not have to dictate your future
You need to have faith that things can change. This is the moment where you can embrace your future, and get out of your comfort zone. You live one life, and it’s time to make the most of it.
Once I accepted that I had control over my own life, I stopped constantly waiting for my life to just fix itself.
I decided I needed to make certain changes in my life, to ensure that my previous relationship didn’t hurt my future relationship
The past has the tendency to repeat itself
One of the reasons it’s so important to make these changes is that unless you make changes to yourself, history is likely to repeat itself.
In order to be truly happy in your new relationship, you have to let go of what happened in your past.
Step 1: Spend some time accepting your feelings
Acceptance of the bad things that happened in our life helps us to move forward and get a second chance.
It’s important to understand that processing what happened doesn’t equate to dwelling on them.
Journaling really made a difference for me
When I started journaling I found it easier to sort out sort out my thoughts and feelings. It helped me process what had actually happened.
If you’re not a fan of journaling, you may consider talking to someone else about It might help to talk with someone else about it.
Someone you can trust. A therapist, or maybe a good friend.
In order to be in a healthy relationship, you need to make sure that the pain and hurt you experienced, has actually been dealt with.
Step 2: Understand your attachment style
Your attachment style has a huge impact on your relationship. Your attachment style is an unconscious process that determines the way you behave in your relationships. How secure you are, whether you feel anxiety, how you react to problems with your partner, or when you are dating.
Our relationship with our parents is what shapes our attachment style. But n emotionally abusive relationship does have the potential to change it.
Understanding your attachment style will allow you to better understand your thoughts, feelings, reactions and behaviors.
You will also be able to catch yourself when you make assumptions, or engage in unhealthy behavior patters.
Anxious attachment style
People who have an anxious attachment style tend to be preoccupied with their relationships and close connections.
They often feel insecure about themselves, and they may try to cover that up by feeling the need to become closer with others. They base their happiness on how others feel.
They also tend to sacrifice more then they should for their partner, apologize even when they haven’t done anything wrong, and regularly doubt themselves.
The unfortunate truth is that anxious attachment style people are more likely to enter toxic relationships.
Avoidant attachment style
How do avoidant people act? These types of people usually suppress their emotions because they want to avoid dependence on others and any form of intimacy,
They push friends or romantic partners away. They react to a fight by closing themselves off from their partner.
What my attachment style taught me
I’m more anxious attachment, which means that I need more reassurance from my partner in order to feel safe. My toxic partner was avoidant. This meant that while I needed closeness to him after a fight, he would need space, and push me away. That made me feel unloved and broken.
What my partners attachment style taught me
My new partner is of a secure attachment style, but still leans towards being avoidant. But simple being aware of our different attachment styles allows me to understand both our needs better.
If he needs 15 minutes after a fight to process what happened I’ll give it to him. He in turn knows that I need to be hugged after a disagreement so that I don’t begin to lose hope in our relationship.
Step 3: Identify your triggers
If you find yourself getting anxious, or reactive in your new relationship , try to identify what triggered your emotions and write them out to make better sense of them. Here are some things you can ask yourself
- What exactly was happening when you were triggered?
- What did you feel? and how did you react?
- Were your thoughts/feelings valid? Write down both the evidence which supports your thoughts, and the evidence which contradicts it.
Why identifying your triggers is important
Everyone has triggers or situations that upset them. But by identifying your triggers you will be able realize exactly what is bothering you about your relationship.
This will enable you to objective assess the situation, and ascertain whether or not you are overreacting. Sometimes a trigger may be a sign that you need to have a conversation with your partner about something extremely valid.
What my triggers were
I’m triggered when my partner ignores me. I tend to overthink and overanalyze situations. And so sometimes when he is quiet I’ll wonder why he is behaving that way.
Now that I notice how I’m feeling when he’s exceptionally quiet I’ll ask him if anything is up. If not I’ll distract myself so that I don’t keep thinking about it.
I’ve also told him that I feel this way so if he needs some time alone, he should let me know so that I know it’s not because of anything I have done.
Step 4 – Practice self love
It’s important to practice self-love in order to be kind to yourself.
Practice being kinder towards yourself starting today Observe the way you speak to yourself in your mind. How often do you criticize and judge yourself?
Acknowledge your negative feelings without judgement. Consider why you might be feeling this way before taking any action on them.
Another way to practice self love is by using affirmations, forgiving yourself for your mistakes and practicing meditation.
This 30 day self love challenge really helped me be kinder to myself.
Step 5 – Forgive yourself for your past
Be honest with yourself. Are you holding your mistakes against yourself?
Yes you dated a bad guy, but you weren’t necessarily aware of who he was at that time.
If you keep beating yourself up about your mistakes, you’ll continue to make them and will be stuck in a toxic cycle.
Forgiving yourself is difficult, but once you finally do it, you’ll feel like the world is your oyster. And then you can finally start dating a good guy.
Being angry at yourself after a toxic relationship is actually very common
Toxic relationships slowly destroy your feelings of self-worth. It’s hard to believe that you let those bad experiences just happen. And you slowly start to blame yourself for everything that happened.
I blamed myself for my toxic relationship for the longest time.
I knew I was angry at my ex because of everything he had really hurt me. But it took me a while to realize that I had been angry at myself.
How could I have let him treat me that way. I had let him get away with so much because I felt I didn’t deserve happiness.
What was wrong with me? How could I have been so stupid.
Here’s what I did to forgive himself:
- Create a list of all the things I was angry at myself about.
- Ask myself what exactly I was angry about and why.
- Then I wrote down what I would say to a friend who blamed themselves for these things
- Once I felt ready to release myself from these emotions I repeated to myself “I love myself and I forgive myself for what happened.” and then canceled it of my list
It will get easier
If you’ve been through a toxic relationship, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in your experience. And that you can start fresh and move forward with a healthier mindset is by practicing self-love.
I certainly did. It just required me to actually do the work that I needed to in order to experience the real thing.
I am now happily married – to the same guy that I originally tried to self sabotage with.