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Dating After Domestic Violence

David Scott, P.A. Aug. 20, 2022

Bumps and bruises may heal with time, but the emotional pain you suffer from an abuser can last a lifetime.

After being a victim of domestic violence, you may experience intense feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, and anger. You may find it difficult to trust others around you, making it challenging to connect with someone new.

For many victims, starting a new relationship may be the last thing they want to do after suffering from abuse at the hands of a former spouse or partner. However, by allowing yourself time to recover, heal, and rebuild, you may be able to move on with your life and form a lasting and loving relationship with someone who deserves you.

Below, we’ve included some important tips for domestic violence victims who are considering dating again.

Make sure you’re ready. Before you think about someone else, it’s important to take care of yourself. That means taking time to rest and recover from the pain you experienced, enjoying time alone and being good to yourself. Work on rebuilding your self-esteem by seeking counseling from a professional and treating yourself by going on a vacation, working out, or taking a class that has always piqued your interest.

Learn more. Before beginning to date after going through the traumatic experience of domestic abuse, be sure to arm yourself with the techniques for identifying abusive people. Common red flags of abusers include:

  • Pressures you into commitment

  • Compliments you excessively

  • Depends on you for everything

  • Advises you how to dress

  • Becomes jealous, angry, or very worried if you are late

  • Always questions where and with whom you’ve been

  • Monitors your phone, email, or social media accounts

  • Constantly accuses you of infidelity

  • Tries to keep you from using your phone, going to school or work, or talking to your friends and family

  • Easily insulted and angered

  • Punishes, teases, or bullies children or pets

  • Goes through intense mood swings

If you ever notice that your partner exhibits any of these signs—or if you simply have a bad feeling about someone—you should take a step back and consult with a professional or contact a domestic violence hotline, such as TheHotline.Org, for guidance.

Be safe. Being safe during the initial stages of a relationship is important for everyone, whether they’ve been a victim of domestic violence or not. When you begin to date someone new, make sure you meet in public places and tell a trusted friend or family member where you are and who you’re with. Until you have established a comfortable and trusting relationship, do not ride in your new interest’s car or visit their house alone.

After suffering abuse in a violent relationship, you may feel as though you can’t imagine trusting or opening your heart to someone again. However, with professional guidance, tiny steps, and time, domestic violence victims can move forward and find someone who loves and respects them.

If you are a domestic violence victim seeking to move on with your personal and romantic life, the domestic violence attorneys at Florida Family Law can help. Our compassionate family lawyers will listen to your story before walking you through your rights and options. With the help of a domestic violence attorney, you may be able to obtain a restraining order that bars your former abuser from contacting you, your children, or your new love interest. A knowledgeable family attorney may also be able to help you secure child support and other types of financial support, ensuring you have the resources you need to heal and thrive. And if you are married to your abuser, they can assist you with divorce and alimony, because no one should feel like they can’t escape an abusive relationship.