Are you wondering if there are signs that you are ready to date again after a toxic relationship?
Did it take you forever to get over the pain of your break up and are you hesitant to put yourself back out there again and be vulnerable?
Getting out of a toxic relationship is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do and it can leave you destroyed and exhausted. The last thing that you want to do is get into a relationship with someone else, someone who might just hurt you all over again.
I believe, however, that taking a risk and stepping back into the dating world is a brave step and an important part of the healing process. Love and happiness are the goals and you are the only one who can reach that goal. But only when you are ready.
So, how can you tell when you are ready to date again after a toxic relationship? Here are 5 signs to help you decide.
#1 – You are no longer obsessed with your ex.
Ok, I don’t mean to shut you down before we even start here. I am guessing that you are still thinking about your ex, especially as you consider getting back out there. Thinking about taking a risk, putting yourself back out there and starting all over again will naturally make you think of the relative security of your ex.
I say ‘relative’ – your relationship never really was secure, was it?
It is essential that, to be ready to date again after a toxic relationship, you have let go of your ex and the ‘security’ that that relationship provided for you. It’s ok to still think about them, to some degree, but the obsession that you felt about them needs to have significantly subsided.
Why? Because as you start to meet new people, if you are still obsessed with your ex, you will only compare them to your date and shut yourself down right away. You most likely will only remember the good parts of your toxic relationship and you will seek those in a new person.
And that is a recipe for disaster because if you find someone like your ex, you will only be repeating history.
So, make sure that you have let go of your ex before you put your toe back into the dating pool.
#2 – You know why the relationship was toxic.
A key part of being ready to date after a toxic relationship is understanding what happened that made your relationship toxic.
A client of mine, after finally escaping a toxic relationship, couldn’t let go of the belief that everything that was wrong in the relationship was all her fault. She believed that if she had only been more understanding, more sexual, more supportive, then her relationship would have flourished.
But the reality is that the toxicity was on both her and her partner. He was controlling and she let him. He was rough in bed and she shut down. He needed her unconditional support, and when he felt that she didn’t give him enough, he was abusive.
After working with me, she came to see that the toxicity wasn’t her fault but a combination of his abuse and her allowing him to abuse her.
Knowing this, knowing that she was a part of what happened but that it wasn’t all her fault, made her more ready to let another person into her life. She knew that she could change her behaviors and reactions and that might save any future relationship from becoming toxic.
#3 – You have rebuilt your self-esteem.
When we get out of toxic relationships, we often feel really horrible about ourselves.
Days, weeks or years of abuse and gaslighting have led us to believe that we are ugly, that we aren’t loveable, that we are worthless.
And the kind of person who believes those things about themselves will only attract other people who feel bad about themselves.
It is essential that, if you are struggling with low self-esteem, you do the work that you need to do to feel better about yourself. Spend time with people who love you, do the things that you have always wanted to do, don’t obsess about the past but look to the future, take care of yourself.
If you feel good about yourself as you head back into the dating world, you will attract the kind of person who feels good about themselves as well.
#4 – You know you will not ignore red flags going forward.
Be honest. When your toxic relationship started, you saw a lot of red flags, didn’t you?
Maybe he told you about toxicity with his ex? Maybe you saw how controlling she could be? Maybe you knew that he had no friends and was obsessed with you?
And, did you ignore those red flags? Did you believe that if you only loved your person enough you could fix them? Were you wrong?
Make sure that, going forward, you are willing to recognize red flags and act on them. Be prepared to walk away. Only by doing so can you find the kind of person who can give you the healthy relationship you seek.
#5 – You really, really want to date.
Dating is hard. Dating takes time and patience. Dating takes a willingness to make yourself vulnerable. If you want to date, you need to make sure that it is something that you really want to do.
Many people come to me, thinking that they are ready to put themselves back out there but they aren’t, for whatever reason, willing to put in the time and energy necessary. They want to sit back and wait for people to come to them. They want to say yes to dates but then cancel. They just don’t have their heart in it 100%. And, when they don’t find their person, they get disheartened and shut down.
So, take a good hard look at yourself and see if you are really and truly ready to put yourself back out there. If you aren’t, don’t do it yet. You will only set yourself up for failure and that will only set your self-esteem back again.
Recognizing that you are ready to date again after a toxic relationship is very important to doing so successfully, so that you can find the love you seek.
Make sure that you are longer thinking about your ex all the time. Take the time to look at what happened in the relationship so that you don’t make the same mistakes again and be prepared to notice red flags. Rebuild your self-esteem and don’t put yourself out there before you are ready.
If you can do these things, you will be ready to date again, primed to find the person who can make your dreams come true.