When anyone leaves a toxic relationship or has experienced any form of abuse within a relationship, I believe we all stop and ask ourselves the same question, “Is LOVE possible after toxic relationships?” I did, and it took me years to discover unconditional, genuine love again. I had to stop dating; I needed to take a hard look at myself, the people I picked as a romantic partners, and what unhealthy patterns of behaviors I was overlooking or dismissing that would keep me trapped in a trauma-bonding relationship. The good news is I finally met my person. I have talked about him in many podcasts, blog posts, and in my book, The Undetected Narcissist. Therefore, I want to share with you all what I did to make love possible after toxic relationships. I will tell you everything I did, my approach, thought patterns, self-discovery, mistakes, and getting married. Yes, I got married last week. If you want to see me in my wedding dress and the wedding photos, you can go to my blog post. So, let’s dive in. Just a warning, some of the things I discuss might seem odd, unethical, or not the norm, but when you have been stuck on the crazy train for years bouncing from one toxic relationship into the next one, well, what one person considers normal must be re-evaluated because the crazy train ride for some people will be regarded as standard: different faces but the same old crazy behaviors. Behaviors and patterns are critical if someone wants to discover love after toxic relationships.
Love possible after abusive relationship
After I ended my relationship with my son’s father, I felt dead inside. My heart was broken from all the abuse I experienced in that toxic relationship. I tried to date again, but my heart was not ready. I only had room for my children and pets. I felt broken inside and like damaged goods. I was ready to give up on love. I lost my faith in love and men. I was almost considering going gay, but all my gay female friends said that I don’t have a gay bone in my body. Plus, I knew it would not be fair to anyone. I was just not in a place where I could give another person what they needed and rightfully deserved in a relationship. I realize that if I dated, I would put that person in a trauma-bonded relationship with me. Why? I was damaged goods, and that person would try to fix or save me. The man would try to be the white knight, and when we try to save another person, we are in a trauma-bonded relationship. The only person that can save them is themselves. So, that is what I did. I needed to save myself. I had to educate myself about trauma bonding relationships, are all narcissistic people evil, reactive abuse, attachment styles, can a narcissist change, shame, toxic relationships, and everything I have shared on my podcast, blog posts, and book. I did it because nobody was there for me, and people did not want to discuss these delicate and uncomfortable conversations. The problem I learned is when we do not discuss these issues, they go unresolved, and you stay stuck because a person cannot see the painful truth, the destructive patterns, unhealthy behaviors, and unwilling to take responsibility for the abuse. Therefore, the first step I took was self-reflection. I stopped dating for about two years. Some people could not do that because they might fear being alone. Explaining why a person stays single for so long is challenging in itself. Plus some people need another person’s physical contact. And trust me, when I had sex again after two years, I cried. It freaked the poor man out. You might be wondering if he stayed around. The answer is no.
Love possible after abuse
I believe the most significant impact I faced was aging and being engaged four times. Whenever I tell someone I have been engaged four times and never married, they want to hear the story. Well, I will make it brief. The first time was when I was nineteen. If I had married that man, he would have beaten me. I witnessed him beat his female roommate, and I was out the door. Then, I was engaged for five years the second time, and he cheated on me several times. I kept forgiving him and hoped he would change. He did not. I caught him cheating on me with a woman we met at our friend’s expensive wedding. She was older than his mother but filthy rich. The third time was not my daughter’s father but someone I did not know well enough. When it came to living together, it was a nightmare. I am a clean person and grew up in an uncluttered household. He did not. The smells and piles of mess was too much for me to handle or act as my new normal way of living. The fourth and final time was my son’s father. He would not marry me unless I gave him control of my finances. Can you begin to see a pattern? It was all trauma-bonding relationships.
Love possible on dating apps
I knew I needed to do something different when I decided to date again. The norm for me was dating someone unhealthy, narcissistic, charming, good-looking, verbally abusive, and great in bed. I warned you about shock value and will be completely honest. I was addicted to the love bombing. It was a drug for me. Yes, I did meet some nice men, but they were boring. I was groomed and conditioned at a young age to gravitate toward abusive men. As we all do, I promised not to date an abusive person, but I still did. Why and how? I was not educated and informed. At school and home, we were not taught about mental health, love-bombing, bullies, personality disorders, trauma, what is a healthy relationship, and reactive abuse. I was in the dark like many people. And you can be raised in a healthy household and still fall victim to narcissistic abuse. My husband did with his first wife and many others. The most painful part is realizing you failed again and picked another bad apple. Love bombing is as dangerous as drugs. Once you get a taste of it, you can be hooked. To change, one must go on a detox program, learn the patterns and warning signs, become more self-aware, and learn to ask the right questions and listen. It is not easy, but if you want to find unconditional, genuine love, you must love yourself enough first.
Now I tried various dating apps like Match.com, Plenty of Fish, and eHarmony. These websites, during that time, did not work for me, but I met lovely men and toads. In the beginning, I asked questions. If the man did not answer my questions the first and second time, I stopped pursuing them. Some of the questions were basic. For example, your favorite color, do you have any short or long-term goals, hobbies, favorite movies, last book read, and how long you have been on this site. If the man engaged in a conversation, the next step was to talk over the phone. Then I would ask more questions, and I would listen to the tone of their voice. Did they sound irritated or annoyed by my questions? Were they trying to dodge the questions or change the subject? Did they just want to flatter me and comment about my pictures and body? Lastly, did the conversation get very sexual or sexually personal too soon? All these things mattered to me. If the conversation went well at least three times, I would meet them in person at a public place. I am sorry to say, but everyone knows some people can lie. There can be outdated pictures of at least 10, 20, or 30 years. They appear skinny, and when you meet them, they are heavy. I recall one man I met that was very nice and liked, but his picture did not match what I was expecting to meet. I was not mean or cruel to him. I wanted to hear his story of what happened. It broke my heart when I discovered why he was 100 pounds heavier. I knew that it would not end well if I tried to be friends with him. He was still traumatized by the accidental death of his wife for 30 years. He would cling to me and try to change my mind about dating him. I did not want that pressure or stress. Then I heard stories of women using the internet to do a background check on a person or observing their social media feeds. These approaches are acceptable because people lie, deceive another, and scam another person out of their hard-earned money. The world is different; we are finally talking about these despicable behaviors and habit patterns.
Here is my concern about future generations. There are too many dating apps out there that skip the emotional and mental connection and jump straight into the physical connection. The physical connection is the same as jumping into a love-bombing situation. If the sex is fantastic, you might want more and more. Knowing that person is a complete jerk or bitch. A person can end up wasting their time, energy, and heart on someone who doesn’t care about them, their feelings, or their heart. An Emotional and mental connection is critical. Without it, the relationship is just superficial and shallow. You learn to tolerate their unhealthy behaviors, and you feel empty inside. Since you feel empty inside and need to feel that connection again, one will seek that physical connection again, unaware what you are really missing in this superficial relationships is the emotional and mental connection. It can be a vicious cycle.
That is why I enjoy watching the show on Netflix, Love is Blind. I was able to decode a person’s attachment style by just listening to their conversations within the pods, watching their behavior’s, and observing how they communicate with one another. The problem I learned about the show is the couples in the pods are asking the wrong questions and the people are in the dark about how trauma impacts a person’s life, attachment styles, and trauma-bonding relationships. And if they were in a unhealthy relationship, what steps did they take to heal and what did they learn from that experience. If I was in the pods, the would have a few relationship card games from Best Self. They have a variety of cards that will support you in asking those difficult questions and some of the questions on their cards I would never consider asking. I found their products to be very supportive and key opening when it comes to learning more about another person.
Now, the lovely men I met just wanted to hang out at my house, watch a movie, have sex, and did not take me out. I wanted a man to take me out. I got tired of cooking for a man and tending to his needs over mine. It felt like friends with benefits, and they did not want to give more. Why would they when I was the one giving, giving, giving, and all they did was take, take, take? And if you listened to the podcast how to detect a snow job, you hear the man talking about me tending to his needs. It just makes me sick because I am a very giving and caring person. I eventually realized that I needed to find someone to give back and care for me. So, again I gave up on love. I did not date for another two years and just worked on me. I was tired of being taken for granted, used, and considered only good enough to hangout with, but not marriage material.
Love possible on Sugar Daddy website
Now for the more shock value. When I got my haircut in 2021, my hairdresser was chatting about men and dating. She knew I was single and she wanted me to find love. She pointed out that many of her female friends were tired of hookup dating apps and wanted to meet a man that would treat them right. Of course, I was skeptical, but when she told me how happy her friends were on Sugardaddy.com, I decided to try it. I was like what the hell. I was determined to find love again. At the time, I had nothing to lose, and I refused to try the same disappointing dating apps and websites from the past. Shocked? I am sure most people would be shocked. Some might think you are selling your body, or a man is paying you to have sex with them, but that was not what I did. I dated my husband over a dozen times before we finally had sex. Yes, we talked about sex because I wanted to learn more about him, but sex and money was not my primary goal. I did not ask for an allowance or ask him to pay my bills. I was significantly up front with him about why I was on the site and what I needed in a partnership. And yes, I was looking for a long-term partnership, not a short-term fling. Plus, he was the only person I met in person. I did communicate with a few other men, but I believe my age was a factor, and my approach was against me. I had several younger women to compete against, and I was unwilling to send risky pictures of myself to a stranger. Just a side note, never send photos of yourself nude, and don’t ask for one in exchange. Your body is just a vessel and your soul lives within your heart. Do not devalue yourself just to win the attention of another person. Therefore, I have always told men upfront that I do not send nude photos of myself and I will not ask them to send me one in exchange. If the man does not respect my boundaries and keeps pressuring me to send a nude photo, this is what I do. When a man in the past has asked me to send him a picture of my breasts, I send them a picture of melons and then say goodbye. When they have asked highly personal questions like grooming body hair, sexual positions, body weight, and other sexual stuff, I pass. Why? I know that I can get laid easily. I was not desperate, and you should not be either. Your body is a temple, not a dumpster.
Love possible after toxic relationships
I want to share that one man I was planning to meet on Sugardaddy.com and ghosted me the day we planned to connect. I was surprised he stopped communicating with me because we got along so well. It did slightly upset me when he did not respond to my message of concern. I assumed he had met someone else. Then he messaged me out of the blue two weeks later and said he was available to meet me: no explanation or apology. I passed on the offer. Right away, he assumed I was upset with him. I was not. He still wanted to make things right, and I said, no, thank you. I told him that communication is vital. I shared with him that I had never ghosted someone and never would. It is rude and disrespectful. Plus, I was not desperate. I wished him the best of luck and moved on.
Divorce Statistics 2023
I was shocked when I Googled the divorce rate and divorce statistics in 2023. This is what I discovered. In 2023, approximately 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Were you expecting the same response? I don’t think so. When my husband proposed to me, he did not have a ring. He wanted me to pick out my engagement ring. This was a first for me. All the other men had a ring with empty promises of marriage. When I picked out my engagement ring (the image on the left, the wedding band on the right), my husband was shocked. I could have any diamond within reason. I am a sentimental person. I believe in tradition and what the symbol of LOVE means to me. I have always admired and loved the Celtic love knot. One side of my engagement ring has his birthstone and the other side is mine. They are formed into the shape of a heart. This is what I picked. Simple, sweet, and with meaning and purpose. Then he told me I could have my version of the perfect wedding. When I told him my version again, he was shocked. I explained to him my reasons for choosing a simple wedding and ceremony because I have no desire to impress or make my friends and family envious. I shared how I have been to a wedding that must have cost at least $80,000 in the 90’s, and they served lamb during the eight-course sit-down meal. Then I attended a relatively small wedding, no more than 15 to 20 people. They married on a hill overlooking Stinson Beach, California, in Mill Valley. The view was amazing, and the wedding was magical. We all went back to their home in Fairfax, California. Side note: San Anselmo and Fairfax were my two favorite towns in my 20s. At their home, we ate a wonderful meal. We drank, laughed, played a game, drank some more, and at the end of the night, it was just me and my second ex-finance in their hot tub with the happy bride and groom. It was the best evening. And to let you all know, I attended that expensive wedding where my ex-finance in the same hot tub met his first wife. I later learned he cheated on her with an 18-year girl who became pregnant by him.
Now, after I told my husband my reasoning behind a simple wedding, he just smiled at me. He said, I just learned from the internet that the more expensive a wedding is, there is a high rate of divorce. Why? Because couples always argue about money. It’s better to have a smaller ring and wedding when you are younger. Then renew your vows and update the party. By then you can financially afford it. I agreed. But to me, I don’t need a man to prove what love means in the material form. I need the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical connection. So my message to you is to follow your heart. What does love mean to you? Do need something over the top and cannot wait another 5 to 10 years to have it all? Let me tell you, it will change you and not in a good way. You have to ask yourself, why get married? And why waste your time on someone who will make promise after promise and you end up alone. More than ever, we all need to learn how to be smart about love, who we chose as a partner, and what does a healthy relationship look like. I do all of this for the purpose of LOVE. Love for life, humanity, Mother Earth, and you. I am personal, open and honest. I want to protect people from the pain and suffer I endured. Did I warn you…I can get very deep, wise, and emotional. Let’s move on.
Love possible after divorce and love possible after toxic relationships
Now, he was divorced. He was married for thirty years to his high school sweetheart. He took his marriage vows seriously. He did not file for divorce; she did. He stuck with her and put up with all her abuse. He was conditioned to expect a woman to nag him and make him feel stupid and not good enough. She did not talk about feelings or sex or consider what he wanted. Meeting me was puzzling to him. He kept waiting for the shoe to drop or for me to rip him a new one. It never happened, and it never will. I am not that type of person. Yes, he was broken, but he is a good man. Just like me, he tried the same dating websites and failed. He had money and was willing to spend money to find a good woman. He did meet a few women, but they had no depth or were extremely shallow. The women he met were willing to put out sexually but wanted money in return. I wanted a nice meal, a movie, hiking, communication, connection, and commitment. Luckily, we wanted the same thing. He just gave up as I did. And our conversations and his willingness to share his pain, heartache, and mistakes made me increasingly appreciate him each day. He wanted to know what he did wrong in his marriage. The truth is, he did nothing wrong. He just married a narcissist. He did not realize this fact until he met me while I was writing my book. When he learned the truth, he was mad and felt stupid, like most of us. He wanted to get back at her but took the high road. I respected him for that. He realized what I was doing was very important, and people needed to read my book. Therefore, he paid for my book to be line edited and printed. No man had ever been this generous or kind to me. I was in tears at his gift and generosity.
Yes, there was moments when I questioned if he was the right match for me. You could hear me asking this fact when I did the three-part series on the fear of dating another narcissist. Writing the book helped me learn a lot about myself and the patterns of abuse I thought were normal in any relationship, but it was not. What I love about him is he has supported my work 100%. We both have been abused and taken for granted. When I met his family at the wedding, his niece gave me the best compliment. She said, “I have known him all my life and have never seen him happy. He is smiling and happy, and you bring the best out of him. Thank you.” Then she turned to my husband and said, “You have definitely upgraded.” We all laughed.
Are you damaged goods
Before I finish, I wanted to share two experiences I had with my husband because when someone has experienced abuse, they can question themselves, “Are you damaged goods?” I want to tell you that you are not. You just tolerated and put up with the abuse in the past. Today is a new day, and it is a clean slate. Our history does not have to define us. What shocked me the most were these two events. The first one was when he watched my son for the first time while I did a book signing event over the weekend. When I returned home, he shared what they did together and he expected me to rip him a new one. To tell him everything he had done wrong. Instead, I was just appreciative. He said it messed with his mind. The second one was when I was unloading my SUV, and by accident, when I was closing my truck, it struck his head. I immediately felt bad, rubbed his head, and apologized. I would never want to hurt him. He expected me to get upset and yell at him for having his head there. It was an accident, and yelling is just cruel. It made me dislike his ex-wife even more because he tolerated and put up with a lot of abuse. If these two examples sound familiar, please reconsider your relationship or marriage.
Love possible for seniors
Now we are not seniors, but we are both not in our 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s. He is older than me, but that doesn’t matter. Love is what matters here. I married him because I could not see my life without him. I can tell him anything, and he will not judge me. Some might think I married him for his money based on the website on which we met, but I did not. Money was never the driving factor for either of us. We just wanted to share our lives with someone and grow old together. He saw me at my worst and cared for me when I got covid. He loves me to the moon and back. I even joked with him and said I love you with all my butt. I would say my heart, but my butt is bigger. He replied, oh no. Your heart is much bigger than your butt. I was not expecting that response; again, he found a way to warm my heart.
Are you in or out of the family
Now my husband taught me something I want to share with you all. He told me that he has learned if a marriage or relationship will last by figuring out whether are you in or out of the family. He shared that the ones who divorced in his family were always on the outside looking in. They did not engage much with his family, were glued to their cell phone instead of engaging in a conversation, and felt out of place. When I shared this with my therapist friend, she said a person also needs to consider how much their partner lets them into their family. If I look back at my life, all the men I dated did not let me fully into their family. First, my son’s father told me immediately that his mom hated me. He did not want me around her much. Then his sister loved me, and he was jealous of our relationship and tried to keep us apart. I was told by other men not to over-share, not talk about this or that, and warned that their parents or family members would not like me anyway. I never really understood why, but now I do. They feared I would get too close and learn too much truth about their past actions, words, behaviors, and habit patterns. So it was best to keep me in the dark and distance myself from those who knew them best. My husband said he had never seen someone fit into his family so easily and quickly. Why? He did not tell me how to behave or act. He warned me about certain family members, but I do not judge people. I welcome everyone. He wanted me to be myself because he knew they would love me.
Love possible after toxic relationships
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post about love possible after toxic relationships. I want everyone to find love and mainly unconditional, genuine love. Everyone on this planet deserves to be loved in this form. Many blessings to you all.