This blog is a compassionate and uplifting one, filled with hope for us survivors of abuse. It’s all about how we can find truly loving relationships after abuse, even when it feels like no one will be able to handle us and our ‘baggage.’
If you’re looking for the proof you can find truly loving relationships after abuse, read on.
I’ll be sharing my own story here, which has a really positive and inspiring ending, but heads up for a couple triggering themes. I survived many years of abuse, some of which was at the hands of lovers and partners, and I’ll talk about this in this blog. I won’t go into any graphic detail, though!
Past Abusive Relationships Don’t Destine Us for a Lifetime of Abuse
The first real relationship I ever had was with my high school best friend. We weren’t official, but we were somewhat attracted to each other, mainly through the young desire to explore sex and love. I was slightly curious (and dealing with newly remembered child abuse memories), and my friend was highly infatuated with me after I came out as being trans masculine.
We’d been close for four years, so when I remembered, during college, some of what happened to me as a child, I confided in her. She decided, that same night, to sexually assault me—acting “possessed” by the spirit of my childhood abuser.
It was one of the most shocking betrayals of my life. And it took me months to realize what was going on. My friend wasn’t really “possessed.” She was consciously deciding to use this lie to use me in a sexual capacity. It was only after she caused a series of near-death experiences for me that I realized this was not a normal relationship.
I didn’t know better at first, my whole life having been shaped by over a decade of child abuse before that. So, it took me a while to realize I didn’t deserve what was happening, and to build my way out of the relationship.
After this, I had my first formal relationship with a long-distance partner in California. They were a great support, especially in the beginning of sorting out this situation with my ex-best friend…but there was a lot of push-pull with them.
It got to a point, about a year into dating, where I was constantly rejected by them. We’d set up a time to Skype and they’d ghost me, sometimes not responding for a week or more. Eventually, they’d offer a lazy excuse like “Oh, I was busy with other friends” or “I didn’t feel like talking.”
Both valid on their own…but they were completely absent with communication. They just ignored me, despite me having told them being ghosted was a major trigger of mine. This lead to a messy end—where we decided on completely ending all contact.
Then, after this relationship ended, I found my fiancée (or likely wife, if it’s past 2021 when you read this!). We have an absolutely unconditionally loving relationship, far more ideal that I ever could have imagined I could have after all the abuse I went through.
We Can Find Healthier Partners with Each New Relationship
The reason I wanted to share this trio of relationships is to demonstrate one super important thing. With each new relationship, we can build healthier connections.
Some of this is as we build our own skills. Like as we learn to set boundaries, leave toxic relationships, and stand up for ourselves. Some of it is simply walking away, early on, from people who show red flags—reducing the likelihood we’ll connect with an abuser. (Not that abuse is ever our fault, this is just a way we grow that naturally helps protect us too!)
My first relationship was sexually abusive and violent. My second was somewhat toxic and emotionally abusive, but far better than the previous. After this, I found my fiancée—and we’ve built a joyous life together. I knew what had hurt me in the past and I knew I didn’t want that pushing and pulling again. So, from the start, I was clear with my fiancée about that. This helped us begin with open communication, deep connection, and unconditional understanding.
I grew through these relationships, and you can as well. This will naturally guide you towards truly loving partners—or at least better and better relationships after abuse. Each time you leave someone abusive or toxic or just not great, you open the door for someone better.
I’m Not the Only Survivor Who’s Experienced Healthier Relationships After Abuse
I’ve talked with dozens of other survivors who have gone through this same journey to true love. Abuse before better (but not great) relationships, and then eventually they found divine connections. Many of them have been happily dating or married for years—and have expressed they never imagined love could be so amazing.
That’s been my experience too. The constant building of personal skills while also walking away from those who hurt me (even when it wasn’t direct abuse) helped me get here. I truly believe all of us survivors can find this unconditional love, whether we desire it romantically or platonically.
There are people who love you for who you are—even with all you carry from your past. There are people who will happily grow with you and adore you every step of the way. I firmly believe this and, as your journey continues, I’m sure you’ll see this directly in your own life.
If you’re a survivor who’s noticed your own relationship getting better over time, or have found true love, please describe it in a comment below! The more people who contribute, the more survivors will have hope this compassion is within reach. <3