Let’s say you really took some time to find yourself after a toxic relationship.

You got into therapy. You took up a healthy hobby. You booked that healing retreat week in Costa Rica.

Maybe you moved cities or homes, gave your wardrobe a makeover, met some new friends at your Orange Theory class, or even switched careers, got a raise or got the training certification thing-y you’d been pining over the last few years.

You’re rocking life. Sure, the thought of dating makes you nervous. But you’re not getting any younger and life is short, so why not put yourself back out there again?

You’ve been nurturing and showering yourself with love. The past is the past, might as well not let one bad apple scar you for life, right?

And so… you get on Bumble, Match, eHarmony, JDate, Zoosk…the whole nine yards. You even go to singles Meetups and “networking” events with the intention that you’re “on the market” and available for a suitor.

And in the beginning, it’s a little rough. Lots of SWIPES left.


And the people you DO swipe right on don’t message you back.

Or you receive a litany of messages from guys old enough to be your grandfather. Ugh. Online dating is for the birds.

You finally go on a few lackluster dates with people you have ZERO chemistry with…and just when you’re starting to give up…that one guy you thought was REALLY hot with the excellent profile writes you back.

He was away on business and hadn’t been on the app in a few weeks.

You meet. The spark is instant. FINALLY.

He Good Morning texts you on the regular and sends you cute pics of his lunch and funny IG memes. It’s going GREAT…maybe a little fast.

He wants you to meet his Mom and it’s only been a month. He had a crazy Ex too (in fact, 3 of them) but you let this slide by your awareness, because lots of people have had toxic relationships.

And then the fights become more frequent. You’re anxiously checking your phone to see if he’s texted you back.

And over the next few months…you slowly lose yourself. Clinging to breadcrumbs and playing it “cool” so you don’t come across needy.

Until you discover a sext from another girl on his phone. Or he ghosts you.

How did this happen again? You were doing SO GREAT. You’d bounced back so much after your last Ex. You made your list of deal-breakers, your Vision board.

You’d been in magic manifesting mode.

You’d been putting yourself first and LOVING YOURSELF.

But here’s the rub: you’d been putting yourself first while you were *BY YOURSELF.*

But you didn’t learn how to put yourself first WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

And since intimate relationships are your vulnerable weakness (that have burned you in the past)…you default to your old FEAR-based programming instead of LOVE.

You didn’t learn how to effectively make empowering choices in a triggering moment…where you normally go unconscious.

And it’s in triggering moments: when things are moving fast, when you sense red flags… that you default to your old toxic behavior of avoidance, minimizing and rationalizing.

Learning to make empowering choices during triggering moments is vital for breaking the cycle of attracting unavailable or emotionally abusive partners.

When you master putting yourself first WITH SOMEONE ELSE, you not only save yourself months (or even years) with the wrong person…you naturally attract people who respect and value you.

You stop feeling guilty when you tell someone No.

And for crying out loud, you stop hoping someone will change when they show you who they really are.

Your confidence and self-esteem naturally soar because you’ve learned to do the “hard, but right thing” IN THE MOMENT.

You naturally attract LOVING, available people because you’re being loving and emotionally available to YOURSELF while you’re WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

Have you mastered being emotionally available to yourself while you’re with someone else? Share your story and comments below.

If you’re struggling with this, visit www.bethanydotson.com/freetraining to learn the 5 key shifts my smart clients use to break the cycle of bad relationships.