6 Things To Know About Dating Someone Who Was In An Abusive Relationship Before You

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Heartbreak

When figuring out how to date someone who was previously in an abusive relationship, there are important things to note — and it can be inherently difficult. 

It's possible to create a safe environment for your partner and show them a relationship that isn’t built on violence and trauma.

It’s not easy to heal from abusive relationships, and it’s especially hard to enter new relationships without the baggage attached from the previous trauma. 

“You have to know that being in an abusive relationship leaves scars even after the wounds have healed,” says Keya Murthy, a spiritual life coach, and clinical hypnotherapist. “They might need time-out and you will too.” 

6 Things To Know About Dating Someone Who Was In An Abusive Relationship Before You

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1. Educate yourself and know where to get help.

To fully understand what your partner has endured from being in an abusive relationship, it’s important to research and learn about abuse and trauma. It starts with actively listening to trauma survivors when they open up about their past experiences, which includes your partner. 

It’s understanding how trauma can affect someone’s emotional and physical responses, and learning how to maneuver around it.

2. Establish and respect boundaries between you and your partner.

Coming out of an abusive relationship can skew a person's sense of boundaries for quite a long time. It often causes survivors to struggle with finding their inner self, and saying knowing when — and when not — to say “no.” 

It’s important to listen to your partner when they begin that process of reclaiming their sense of personal and emotional space and re-establish boundaries. And most importantly, respect when they tell you "no" and try to resist the urge to convince them otherwise.

3. Understand that earning their trust takes time.

If you are in a relationship with someone who has endured cycles of abuse, and has been involved with an abusive partner, it can take time for that person to open up and trust someone again.

It’s important to understand and realize that building trust with an abuse survivor — particularly a sexual abuse survivor — takes time. 

If you’re going into a relationship with good intentions, then it should be relatively easy to be understanding and patient. There is nothing wrong with becoming frustrated with how slow things move, but try to be understanding and never take your frustrations bnkl;' out on your partner.

RELATED: How Your Partner's Texts Determine If You're In A Toxic Relationship — And 7 Signs Of Toxic Texting

4. Don’t force them to tell you their story.

When your partner is ready to share their experience, it should be on their own terms. Do not pressure them, or approach them in a way that backs them into a corner and forces them to open up.

Things like that take time and should be respected. Sometimes you don’t need the whole story to realize that someone is hurting and needs comfort. All you need to do is be there for them, to support them through thick and thin. 

5. Be consistent and dependable.

Abuse survivors only want someone who will show up for them in all situations. It’s important to be a dependable person and make sure that your partner knows that you’ll always be there for them.

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It can help fuel a much better relationship than your partner may have had in the past. Consistency is an important foundation for any kind of relationship, with any person.

6. Remember to take care of yourself and your needs too.

The best way that you can be a better partner is by making sure that you’re also taking care of yourself as well. It can be exhausting and draining when you’re constantly thinking about taking care of someone else. 

It’s important that you are also taking time for yourself, and that you are letting your partner know of your own basic needs when it comes to being in a relationship. The best way you can help someone else, especially a partner who has been in past abusive relationships, is by making sure that there is an equal balance between the two of you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse or violence, there are resources to get help.

There are ways to go about asking for help as safely as possible. For more information, resources, legal advice, and relevant links visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For anyone struggling from domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 or log onto thehotline.org. 

RELATED: 6 Ways To Reclaim Your Life Once You Leave An Abusive Relationship

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.