Post # 1
<div>Hoping for some advice on the below topic, input very welcome! Sorry for the wonky editing, I’ve tried twice to fix it and can’t figure it out.</div>
<div>I have had two relationships, both of which ended when they cheated on me. The first one was someone I was with in high school and university. The second was from ages 24-29. I am 30 now.</div>
<div>That second breakup destroyed me at the time and has taken me a year and half to get over.</div>
<div>I’ve done a lot of work on myself since then (therapy, self help books, took time to get to know myself better, intentionally stayed single to figure out my feelings). I can finally say I am over him and would like to entertain the idea of dating again or try online dating. But the biggest thing holding me back is I still don’t trust ME. Despite the work I’ve done on myself since the breakup, in both relationships, I stayed despite being mistreated (cheating was only one aspect of this, there were other major problems in both relationships). I can acknowledge I wasn’t fully happy but yet felt so “deeply in love” that the thought of walking away stopped me. In both relationships, it took them cheating on me for it to end. Some days I feel so strong and like I will never let anybody mistreat me again. And then I remember that I stayed in bad relationships that I could have left, and accepted being treated disrespectfully, TWICE. This keeps me from putting myself out there. Because I’m scared to repeat all my same mistakes again and stay with someone who is not treating me right simply because I’ve “fallen in love with them”. This was always my excuse to myself in the past. I realized that it’s a matter of respecting myself more which I have come a long way with, but am worried about repeating old mistakes I made in my next relationship.</div>
<div>Has anybody ever been through this? How did you learn to trust yourself in order to put yourself back out there to hopefully meet a good one? (and weed out the bad ones)</div>
<div>Thanks bees :)</div>
Post # 2
I don’t have much advice for you, but this is what helped me date after ending an abusive relationship.
I essentially decided that the moment I stopped ‘having fun’ I’d stop dating that person. By that I mean, a red flag, or a hurtful comment, or something that set my radar off. Zero tolerance. I decided to learn to trust my gut, and because I knew didn’t owe them anything, I was determined to not feel guilty. I wanted to know what it felt like to date someone and just have fun! I firmly believe that by not giving an inch on my standards, I set myself up to be receptive to a better relationship. I didn’t waste time with ‘forgiveness’ or ‘well maybe he didn’t mean it’ or fighting about treating me better.
Funnily enough, the first date I went on was with the man who became my husband. 7 years later, I haven’t stopped ‘having fun’ and I know that he’ll never set off those triggers for me.
Post # 3
JillJill, what you were lacking in those relationships was “experience”, knowing how to end a relationship gracefully. You were naive about what love is vs what you thought love was. These are very normal lessons of life we all go through. Unfortunately, they didn’t happen at a much younger age.
These are skills you have taught yourself since the last breakup. Think about how you felt any time in the past when you were first using a skill you had just learned. Riding a bike, you finally got your balance and made it a whole 30 feet. Now you want to take your first spin around the block by yourself……… it’s a scary feeling… You know you know how to do it, but can you pull it off in the real world? I will bet money that in every situation you moved forward, you practiced the new skills and improved your judgement about your limits. This is no different. We all are constantly growing, learning, and finding our way. It doesn’t happen without bumps and bruises, but it’s WORTH picking yourself up, dusting yourself off (which you’ve already done) and giving living-a-full-life worth another try.
Post # 4
jw2b : I definitely agree.
OP, I’m sure you’ve gained valuable experience from your past, so apply that hard-won knowledge moving forward. I’ve had my fair share of bumps and bruises as well, so hear me when I say, please don’t let fear paralyze and keep you from finding love.
1) Pick yourself back up…
2) Learn the lesson that was meant for you…
3) Move forward and apply that lesson…
4) If, God forbid, you find yourself hurt again, start back at 1….
🙂 At least that’s what I’ve learned. I suppose the important thing is to not give up.
Post # 5
I felt this way myself after ending a 20 year emotionally abusive marriage. I couldn’t even think of dating for a few years, and spent a lot of time working on healing, Eventually I knew I wanted to move forward, but I was scared I would make a mistake. I agree with all the other posts, and would add this. This may sound funny but for me it was about affirming what I wanted to experience in a relationship. I made a playlist of positive love songs that affirm all the values I wanted to experience with someone and sang along to it in the car for about four months. I met my now husband four years ago, and I can say that he embodies something in every song I sang. I have never been happier. Wishing you only good moving forward.
Post # 6
As soon as someone shows you who they are, make yourself believe it. Learn to think with your head over your heart. I know it’s easier said than done but you just have to. As soon as you see a red flag, leave. Buddy up with a wise friend who will tell you the truth and who you know wants the best for you…someone nonjudgmental who you can talk to and who will help keep you on track.
Post # 7
Many of us have been there. The thing that got me out there again was knowing that I survived. As bad as the pain was and hellish as the journey was getting over them, I did it and I survived. And now you are older and wiser. And now you know to love with your heart, but use your head and stay smart. You also have a intuition. I’m sure if you look back you’ll realize moments when your intuition was telling you to GET OUT. But you talked yourself into staying. Now use that feeling to help you next time.
And dating doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can date casually. Date, but don’t sleep with someone until your head, heart and gut all tell you this guy is safe and trustworthy. Don’t rush things. Many time the WHEEEEEEE I’m falling in love relationships are the worst ones for you. So take it slow. The right guy will wait until you are comfortable.
That won’t guarantee that you won’t ever get hurt again, but it will weed out a lot of not right guys.
Post # 8
Thank you all for your advice. At times this fear feels paralyzing and I think to myself that it’s better to just be alone rather than go through the pain again. I regret some choices I’ve made in relationships and tend to be too optimistic – I believe people’s words and see only their good side even when they show me differently. I know for a fact this is why I’ve gotten hurt. I feel like I wasted my “younger” years on guys who did not deserve it. But I agree with the advice about using my head above my heart and really hope I can put this into practice. Thank you!