How do you trust yourself to pick a winner after picking up two back to back duds? This was the question I asked myself every time I contemplated dating again. Maybe I was the problem? Maybe I had some flawed DNA that made me a target?

You don’t really get over abuse, just through it. I was left no longer trusting myself or my ability to judge a man’s character. I knew good men existed, I had fantastic male friends. I just doubted my ability to pick a good man for myself.

It took me two years to muster the courage to actively go out and seek companionship. For two years, I refused to give anyone my number, scowled at anyone that smiled at me and told the very persistent ones I had a boyfriend. I was not ready to try again. I was scared. Not only of getting abused again, but of placing myself in a situation where I knew I was the problem. Picking a dud once or twice may be fine. Three times though? It stops being an unfortunate coincidence and becomes a pattern. One that would partly place the blame for abuse squarely on me. While I did not make them hit or insult me, I was instinctively attracted to abusive men. I didn’t want that for myself.

One day, a friend of mine told me she was worried about me ending up alone and lonely. She set up a blind date for me and I went, just to make her happy. I was scared the whole time that I had some indiscernible scar that would let him know I was a victim or worse still that I could be victimized. It would make a great story if I say we hit it off and are now engaged. We didn’t, but he was a great reintroduction into dating. I kept going on dates and finally found someone I liked.

Here is where it got tricky. I had every sort of defense up. I was always on guard to see if he displayed any warning signs, if he was just waiting to become an abuser. I nearly drove both of us crazy with my analysis of every word, every action, every look. I asked “What does that mean exactly?” very many times. Like a champ though, he stuck it out. Every time I tried to run or shutdown, or blew a situation out of proportion, he explained it to me, reassured me. He was determined to show me not every guy came into a situation wanting to hurt me. There were guys out there who wanted to be with me genuinely. Color me surprised!

He didn’t heal me or put me back together. I did that myself. He was just patient enough to wait as the glue dried and to blow on the parts that took too long to dry. I began to trust my judgment again. The hardest part though was accepting my part; having picked these men all the while realizing that this mistake didn’t define me. I am more than one bad decision, especially as I try my hardest to not make it again.

I am dating again. I trust myself again to pick a winner. I am happy again. I survived and I am starting to thrive. What more could I ask for?

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  • Teresa

    I just want to encourage everyone because these comments have been uplifting. All this time I felt so alone and ashamed by my past decision making. I was in an abusive situation for several years. I felt that no one would understand where i was coming from. Abuse is very hard to overcome, I always felt that I couldn’t escape the deeply embedded fear of allowing a man to love me. I was always thinking the worse or I would put a wall up so high, ,making it impossible for a man to even begin to climb. I’m not alone, I have a voice. I have started dating again, its such a huge step for me. I was isolated for so many years, trapped with the feeling of no where to go. I had reach down in my soul and go through my childhood to show me new revelations on way i stayed and why I allowed to be victimized. You to be willing to go through the pain to heal. You have to open those wounds that we suppressed for many years. I needed to forgive myself and love me entirely. I’m excited for loving and learning myself. Its a hard road. I can relate to each and every comment as well as the blog. Trusting my judgement and looking for acceptance is the hardest part of the struggle

  • Hugs to all you ladies. Take your time to heal and be whole. You are stronger than you know.

    • roxy

      Hello everyone I love this article. I been through so many things myself with my ex husband. Abuse is very hard to overcome and it takes to heal. I been separated from my ex like 6 years. I have a 7 year old daughter and i have dated again. when i meet a guy i feel i am picky and fear that they will hurt me again. Through the years i been confident and stronger for my daughter. I am back in college. I am happy. Why am i picky on guys

  • Vicki

    I love this article. When I read it, it spoke my life. It has given me the strength to trust my own judgement!!

  • marci

    I am about to go on another date with a man who is very nice, respectful and loving, verbally right on. I was married to an abusive man for 7 years. It took me 2 years to date again, after the lack of physical intimacy was too painful to bear. I rushed I to intimacy with this new guy, but luckily after 9 months we reconnected and it’s better.. Our connection is laid back and nice. Since our first round of getting to knapsack other, I quit smoking, fell in love with myself and have started finding my soul again. I’m becoming my best self and he is attracted to that about me. I even bring out the best in him as well. Ladies it will happen. Keep on healing. Love to you all. Thank you for your honest post. Captures my past fears well.