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Women who have found good romantic relationships after being traumatized in past relationships, how did you move on? When did you know you were ready?

I gave my life to Jesus. When I fell in love with Him, nothing else compared. I did date a few men (over a 15 year period) but never got serious until He sent great confirmation that this was ‘the one’.

The past trauma did leave wounds and i’m still dealing with those but The Lord is helping and my new husband is supportive.

I got more and more comfortable with myself. I had my issues, healing was a long and difficult process. I lost control of myself. Went wild and did whatever I wanted, no matter how bad it was for me or others. But i thankfully got out of that mindset..Sometimes I still struggle with insecurities, but my husband is there for me. I didn’t even know I was ready though, it just happened. I hurt people in the process of healing, I would think I was ready and get into relationships that were meant to fail. I regret it everyday but when him and I got together, I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize the relationship. He made me want to be better. In my opinion, let yourself learn who you are. Live life without fear.. sometimes things hurt, but it’s okay. It won’t stay that way.

I believed in marriage until I was sexually assaulted by a 32 year old married man with a pregnant wife when I was 15. She was beautiful and everyone idolized them and said they were the most in love couple anyone would ever see in their lives. I thought if you’re a beautiful woman pregnant with a son (what I was trained to believe is what every man wants in his life) and your husband still cheats on you then there is no point in ever attempting marriage.

Let me jump ahead and say while I was laying in bed with my spouse I suddenly bolted upright because I had the realization that the man didn’t cheat on his wife. He’s a pedophile. Besides that he sexually assaulted me against my will, he wasn’t just looking for external satisfaction from his wife – he was mentally damaged. As a 15-year-old girl, you think you’re an adult. You don’t see a difference between you and a twenty year old other than the age and the privileges. However, at the time of realization my husband was 32 and I realized that he was the same age as my perpetrator. I was shocked to even imagine what it must have been like to look at a 15 year old girl at this age and find her sexually attractive. That’s when the epiphany happened. Although I was already married, it did give me hope that marriage isn’t doomed, he was just a sick man.

With that story I hope that you realize whatever trauma occurred was not your fault. Since I don’t know your situation, even if on the off chance you were even a little tiny bit involved in the circumstances that led to your trauma – you still need to realize that you cannot control another person’s actions. I did not seduce my assaulter with my XL hoodie and dirt covered sweatpants that night in the woods. You, whoever is reading this, did not convince your S/O to abuse you physically, emotionally, or verbally. There is no “you made me do this”, there is only the other person encountering a situation and reacting in a way that they chose. If they are “out of control of their reactions” that means they are a danger to society and need to be restrained. If you are the only person they ever abuse – that means they are choosing not to abuse anyone else, and they are choosing to abuse you. They don’t live a perfectly unhindered life outside of you and the way you “make them feel”.

So, technically I wasn’t traumatized in a relationship, but I felt for the woman on the other side of the situation. I was traumatized romantically on her behalf.

If you could realize the above first, it’ll help everything move along less painfully. But my first step was realizing that I am worth more than the way I was treated. Used as an object, as a whipping post for his internal damage. I did this by surrounding myself with friends who I liked and who found me valuable. I surrounded myself with people who I wanted to be more like – happy, but have lived through struggle.. kind and compassionate. Once I felt love in a non-romantic sense I was able to accept that 1) there are good people out there, and 2) I would be appreciated as a person

After that I allowed myself to date with caution. I was weary of people being too co-dependent or flinging around words like love. I was always watching for someone trying to manipulate me. It’s a sad way to date, always at an arm’s length… but it did get me to slowly open up more. For the record, I’ll never be 100% trusting of anyone ever. But I did find someone that I trust more than any other person on the planet.

But before I get to that I’d like to say that it’s okay to call it quits. Love doesn’t mean you have to put it into stone. I was in love for over 4 years but I realized I wasn’t being reciprocated in the way I needed out of another person and it was painful but I decided to tell him..when nothing budged, I decided to call it the end. Just because you meet someone and you fall in love, don’t dig yourself into an unhealthy hole. The next person I met I fell in love for eight months, but saw the toxicity in the relationship and hated seeing that we made each other worse people.

Eventually I found someone who did not try to manipulate me (learn the signs, ask friends if it seems unhealthy if you’re not sure), he supports me when I’m feeling low, he encourages me to work harder when I am open for motivation, he talks through our disagreements without shouting and without nasty words, and he dispels all of my previous fears without me telling him exactly what I need.

First I knew we could make it through nearly anything when we had a string of various terrible events occur outside of our control every day for almost two weeks. You will encounter difficulties in life and how they are handled can change your life. We handled it with all the strength we could, but we allowed one another to feel the feelings we had. Whenever I was crying, he was strong. Whenever he was angry and fed up with everything thrown at us, I remained positive. When I knew we would have one another’s backs, I felt safe. This changed our relationship from fun to meaningful for me.

However what was a blaring siren to me that I wanted this person by my side as long as we can be together was a feeling of calm. In my lifetime I’ve been abused sexually, physically, and emotionally. This puts me in a constant state of chaos – paranoia, depression, dissociation, anxiety. Nothing puts me more in a feeling of disarray than being around multiple members of my family. We were in a multi-seat vehicle with several of my relatives arguing and creating a general aura of stress, but I turned and looked at my S/O’s face. I felt this warmth of peace wash over me. We smiled, held hands, and I was calm amidst the surefire thing that causes me stress in my life. This has never happened before, and this was when I realized I’m ready. I said we should get married and half a year later we did, and nearly four years later I still feel the calm.

I refused to let someone else’s insecurities, pain and refusal to work through their own issues affect the way I loved and expressed emotion. In my opinion, one of the worst things a person can be is a coward, and I wasn’t going to let my emotionally abusive ex continue to haunt me by being afraid of getting hurt again and therefore not being fearless and open with my heart. When my fiancé came into my life I definitely wasn’t healed from my ex, but I saw a beautiful gift being put right in front of my face and I wasn’t going to let any past pain ruin it for me. I took it a day at a time and was gentle with myself. It was strange and confusing to be mourning my love for one person while simultaneously falling in love with someone else, but I somehow knew that was how it was supposed to go and I just carried on being the most loving, genuine, self-respecting person I could and I was eventually rewarded with both inner peace and the love of my life.

I cut ties. I’ve posted before about an on/off relationship I had with a man I thought was my soulmate in my early twenties, that was significantly hampered by drug use that culminated in mental health issues. We made pact after pact to get away together, and he always dropped the ball every time. I am not blameless, I didn’t think he had a proper addiction because he wasn’t using heroin or met, like “drug addicts” use, so I would routinely lose it at him for not being committed enough to our decision and our plans and me. We’d break up, we’d come back together. Eventually one day, I realised it was never going to be more than what it was. I told him that, he said I was his soulmate, the love of his life, he’d do anything to stop me from walking away. It didn’t work and I “disappeared”. I haven’t spoken to him or any of our mutual friends since that day five years ago. Within six months, I met my now fiancé, who is by far the most incredible person I have ever met, and his way of sorting disagreements, of being there through every day things, his support in my career and outside of it in life has been the thing that has healed me the most. It has shown me a completely different way of having relationships and living, not constantly worrying about what’s to come. I love him very much, and I am so glad I made the cut when I did. I made the cut because I was ready. I had moved on when I finally did it. It was done for me then.

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