I was in a toxic relationship for a few years. I endured mental, emotional, and even physical abuse. My partner called me names, confused me, and mislead me a lot. He even cheated on me with multiple people, one of them being my best friend. That relationship was harrowing. It took me a while to leave, but now I have been out of it for about two years. During those years, I had to rebuild my life. My credit was ruined, and I lost my job when I moved out of the apartment we lived in, so I needed to use my savings to get another place to live. Today, I have a place I love, a great job, and I feel happy. I have been attending therapy and haven't had contact with my ex. I want to start dating again, but I am also afraid to try again. How do I know if it is the right time to start dating after a toxic relationship?
Lizzy, 29
Answered by:
Dating & Relationship Coach

Hi Lizzy,

I am glad to hear you have gotten back on your feet and that you are in therapy. I understand it can be scary to try dating again after a toxic relationship. You have no idea who is on the other side of the screen and who you will be meeting when you go on a first date. My advice is first, take it slow. If you want to create a profile on a dating app, ask a few friends which apps they have liked, both the pros and cons, and go from there.
Once you start chatting with someone you like, having a phone call before you meet is a good idea because you will know if you can carry on a conversation with each other. If the conversation is not flowing on the phone, it probably won’t happen in person either. This way, you will save some time.

When you decide to meet, agree on the first date during the day in a public place, and be sure to drop a pin when you get there, so your friend or relative knows where you are.¬†Tell the guy you are about to meet that you have only a two-hour window. That way, if the first date is a dud, you have an out. If the date is fantastic, you just “cancel” the plans you had. If you can’t carry a conversation with them, then move on.

Be sure to figure out your personal boundaries and deal-breakers as well. This will be important to know before you enter into a relationship. Because you have been through a toxic relationship and have suffered, you may find that you will uncover some things you had no idea you needed to heal from. This is normal. At times we need experiences to show us where healing is required.

Keep up with your therapy. Talk to only one or two close friends about your dating experiences. You don’t want too many opinions clouding your decisions or your experiences. But most importantly, listen to your gut and have fun safely!