Dating After Toxic Relationships

Taming Insecurity – Dating After Toxic Relationships

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Getting back into dating after toxic relationships with emotional abusers is challenging.

If you haven’t done any self-work, there’s horrible doubt and insecurity.  Still under the impression that you’re an ugly, wicked, evil troll with no heart, you vow to “fix” yourself to ensure that the next person you meet will fall head over heels in love with you. 

Determined to remedy all of your supposed imperfections, you sign up for newsletters from all the top dating and relationship gurus.

You then perform a mental checklist of all the things your abuser said were wrong with you:

  • Lose weight
  • Try a new hairstyle/new color
  • Throw out your wardrobe and dress sexier
  • Stop being so insecure
  • Stop being a bitch
  • Stop being greedy
  • Get another two or three jobs
  • Don’t ask about other people calling
  • Don’t ask questions about unexplained absences
  • Drop all people in your social circle
  • Shut up and take it
  • Stop having an identity
  • Stop breathing


Before you consider gastric bypass surgery and a face transplant, please stop for a moment…

Have you forgotten who you are?

Do you not remember how the angels sang on the day you were born?

That your heart is filled with the white light of love and compassion?

That there are people who love everything about you, just as you are?

You matter.

You…without changing your essence.

Without changing your appearance.

With all your strengths and weaknesses.

Are there things you might work on in your next relationship?  Perhaps.

Relationships in which control and insecurity are the primary dynamics aren’t fulfilling or successful.  If you tend to need reassurance on a consistent basis, are clingy, insecure, or jealous, there is certainly room for improvement.  Especially when these traits have been magnified by an emotional abuser.

However, that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye to things such as:

  • Unexplained absences
  • Their relationship with another person
  • Persistent phone calls from an ex
  • Off-color comments about your appearance
  • Attacks on your character
  • Their refusal to communicate
  • Them expecting you to accept things they know you find unacceptable
  • Lying
  • Cruelty

There is a difference between allowing another person their space versus being abused.  You should never violate your moral code in order to gain another person’s approval.  However, if getting a handle on insecurity is something you might benefit from, then make plans to do so. Not because you want another person to accept you, but so you can accept yourself. Security is not found in attachments to anyone or anything outside of ourselves.

How to prepare yourself for healthy love

Dating and relationships require some take-and-give, but you shouldn’t consistently sacrifice your needs for someone else. If you are, it’s a red flag that you might be in an abusive dynamic.

Having a balance of energy allows you to focus on the right priorities without compromising your self-esteem. Similarly, you deserve someone who also has an appropriate balance of energy- a chronic mismatch will only result in destruction. 

Healing may take time, but you are worthy of love, respect, and a healthy connection.  Dating after toxic relationships is tricky, but true love is still possible.

It all starts with never giving your power away again.

Get boundary tools to shut down narcissists and Boundary Breakers

Check out my life-changing video course THRIVE!

You will get video training (in digestible bursts) to help you create better boundaries, stop betraying yourself, and stop acting out of alignment with your own integrity. You’ll even be able to prepare yourself for true and authentic love.  No more letting romantic partners treat you like a disposable indentured servant!

Learn more now!


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Healing says December 25, 2015

Hi Kim,

I can’t even begin to tell you about my relationship with my ex (cerebral) covert narc/sociopath boyfriend, but after a long journey over the past year and a half with therapy, coaching, I finally decided to make this the last attempt to try no contact. We have no children and were never married, but he moved to another state with another woman he was seeing behind my back, yet still texts and calls me daily to say he loves me, needs me, and can’t let me go. That he wants to move back to be with me, but it’s all talk and continues to stonewall, and create pain in my life. Not that I should want him back, but the “hope” is sometimes hard to let go of still and he plays my emotions perfectly. Anyways, he just gave me access to his Facebook page after I was asking for years. He said no more lies and there it was. 5 years of photos with her. I monitored his page for the past few days, and now unfriended him and will never look at it again. Was having a good day, then looked at his FB page and it made my heart sink into my throat. I know I need to go complete no contact in it’s true form, and I did just buy your book, but want to try “no response” for a short period just to make sure it goes smoothly.
I have been trying to date, and sometimes feel ready, and other times not. Met someone new online tonight from a dating site. He sounds good on paper. 2 Masters Degrees, a professional job, and we exchanged numbers to text tonight. The texting went fine. Asked about my job, I asked about his, then he asked what am I looking for. We’re both of a certain age and both described how we’re still looking for the fairy tale… marriage, children. He seemed nice, but then he said I looked “attractive” from my photo. So I said “he had s nice smile.” Ok, thought that was fine. But then he takes it one step further to say he liked my sexy, curvy body. I’m totally not used to that kind of language. I’m pretty reserved, and my ex never spoke like that either. I’m uncomfortable with it. Is this a sign, or are most men like this? Do I brush it off? I feel so protective of myself and nervous when I hear a man come right out and text or say words like that. Makes me uncomfortable. Thoughts about this? This is my nature regardless, but do men think women want to hear this? I don’t find it respectful. I’m old fashioned. I want to meet someone, but came across a few men like this from online. Ugh. Truly spoils the experience for me.

sallyamore2014 says August 29, 2014

This post has a wonderful, comical twist to the horror of being involved with a narcissist! Even with its humorous flavor, you make very good points. The only thing we need to change about ourselves is how we feel inwardly about ourselves, and not buy into the shallow comments made by an N. Like some of the others who posted, I am not even remotely ready, nor interested in starting up with a new man. I want to do the things that interest me and make me happy. If am man of interest shows up at some point down the road, I will be seeing through a different lens, proceed slowly, and with caution. None of this fast moving, charm of an N. to BS his way into my heart and life. This time around, the red flags will be a fair warning and not ignored. Thanks for this post, it is informative, and it made me laugh. 🙂

Lighting a Candle says August 26, 2014

Thank you so much for this post. I am no where near ready to date again, but had plunged into a self improvement program…losing weight, changing my hair, changing my clothing. I’m realizing that if I stay on that path, I’ll feel like a fraud, with the “real me” under neath the new shiny look. Thanks for the wisdom and I love the meme!

Neveragain says August 24, 2014

I am one week out. I have gone back and forth with this man for one year & 7 months. He broke up with me so many times, I lost track. And always came back. Silent treatments were one of the most painful things I’ve dealt with. Some went on for hours, most were days and weeks. Brutal. And then he’d come back and wanted to just pick up where we left off, and if I wanted to discuss what the heck just happened, he would avoid that at all costs. And he’d call it my emotional bullsh*t. This last time he came back, he came back telling me he now knows unconditionally, that I am the one he wants til eternity; asking me what he needs to do to prove his love for me; and sooooooo much more, way too much to list here. We had only been apart for 3 weeks. Now, one month into us being back together and trying to work things out, he went to his high school reunion, met up with his high school sweet heart who he hasn’t seen in 35 years. He was supposed to just text me after dinner that night. long story short, he never even went home that night, ignored my texts all night and all the next day. He finally told me that he danced with her and they ‘talked’ all night into the early morning hours, and he wants a future with her! I was devastated to say the very least. Now i am, among many things, trying to figure out if he is a Narc, and somehow, if he is, that makes me feel better and answers a lot of questions. and helps with the rejection and abandonment, but everything i read about narcissim sounds so cruel and I have a hard time labeling him as such. And why does it matter because I never want him back ever again and have blocked him in every way possible of reaching me again.

    Kim Saeed says August 25, 2014


    You are wise to realize that it doesn’t really matter if he’s a Narcissist (although he does exhibit some of the traits). What matters is that this guy doesn’t deserve another second of your time.

    Great job on blocking him and implementing No Contact strategies. I imagine he’ll come snooping back around at some point, but hopefully by then, you’ll have realized how much better you are without someone who has hurt you repeatedly. Hang in there. It gets better, I promise…though it may take some time. If you try some of the healing tools on my site, and do them consistently, you will notice a difference in just a few short weeks.

Exit 4A says August 24, 2014

“Arse-cissist” — LOLed at that one. I’m going to have to borrow that phrase from you!

aurora says August 24, 2014

Hi Kim, this is a great post. Some of the graphics made me laugh out loud! Im not anywhere near ready to date again, but when I do, if I ever start feeling wobbly about it, or that there is something wrong with me, I will pull up this post to remind me.
thankyou xx

Jessica Pliska says August 23, 2014

I love this, thank you so much:) Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2014 17:22:30 +0000 To: [email protected]

Fellow Survivor says August 23, 2014

Nice Post Kim. A person will know they are ready to date again when the ex N is never mentioned during the course of the date unless the other person asks about him/her. And even then, a person must be careful to not let all the pain come rushing out of the heart.

Its sort of funny that the ex n used to tell me no one would want to go out with me unless I changed, this, that, and a number of other things. They were right about one thing. Once we change back into ourselves again by golly girls like me. It doesn’t hurt either when I get texts that say “you are an amazing man” or ” you are an incredible man” or ” I am so lucky that I met you” Its all because I am regaining my identity and if I remember correctly I used to be one wild and crazy guy and a whole lot of fun to be around.

Anyway, nice article. Those nasty Ns chose us in the first place because we are so incredible and they wanted some of it. A good place to start is to think back and remember who you were before you met the bastard or biatch in the first place.

    Sylvie says May 1, 2017

    Your right it’s because we were so all of that and a bag of chips and he knew I was out of his league and I kind of knew he was always lagging behind. Think of it this way, he must really think we are so much better already that they wanted to be us and to keep us at their level they had to hurt us. Why would you want that again? I do not. It is hard, I still hurt at times and tell myself. no way, you took enough years out of my life , my family, my friends and there is no way I’m going back.

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