Dating after a Toxic Relationship in 2023: Things to Know

Most of us have had a pretty disappointing relationship or partner. Sometimes, it’s left us feeling turned off from the dating scene in general, and other times, leaving a toxic relationship is what makes us feel more lonely than anything else.

No matter what you history with toxic people are, or why you want to start dating again, you need some backup before you bust in, guns blazing. Dating is tricky, and exhausting, and even on a good day, it sometimes seems intimidating. Dating after a toxic relationship makes it harder, but not impossible!

What Is a Toxic Relationship?

What Is a Toxic Relationship?

The term “toxic relationship” is used when referring to an unhealthy couple, two people who are just bad for each other. They share little joy in their relationship, and are offended surrounded by arguments, discontentment, and drama. Levels of severity of these relationships can vary, and there is no specific formula to explain what a toxic couple may look like. At the end of the day, it’s just a bad, damaging pairing, and they’re better off parting ways.

Sounds familiar? You may have been in a toxic relationship before. Now you want to get back into dating… but it’s a bit hard to imagine allowing yourself in yet another disappointing, potentially harmful union. These tips and tricks can prepare you for the dating world once more.

Toxic Relationships VS Abusive Relationships

Toxic Relationships VS Abusive Relationships

While both types of relationships have major side effects to your emotional stability, the big difference between the two is that you’re not in any specific danger, either current or long-term. Abusive relationships are exposure to physical violence or prolonged, severe mental and verbal abuse, and often financial control and other forms of scary situations.

Toxic relationships, on the other hand, don’t quite breach that threat of safety into serious cause for concern of abuse and long-term effects on your health. However, that isn’t to say that toxicity should be tolerated or accepted. People can still be assholes you should remove from your life, even if they aren’t traditionally abusive.

Another difference is that in toxic relationships, both parties are usually at fault for a lot of the damage, but abusive relationships almost always follow an abuser vs victim mindset.

Types Of Toxic Behavior

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize toxic behavior, especially in yourself. When we are in an unhappy, stagnant relationship with toxicity, it’s easy to adopt negative behaviors from our partners, and we sometimes slide into a toxic role ourselves.

Other times, you may not even realize you’re being mistreated, especially if these behaviors were always common in your relationship. A toxic partner may try to blame you for the unhappiness in the relationship, causing you to be blind to their own toxicity.

Always watch out for these classic, toxic behaviors that are a sure-fire sign of a poor, unhealthy relationship:

  • Excessive Jealousy. While many people experience jealousy here and there, it’s abnormal and toxic if it crosses the line into controlling territory. You’re allowed to have friends, and so is your partner!
  • They’re Very Selfish. Some people really struggle with understanding what it means to give onto others. Toxic relationships often happen because one person does all the taking, while the other does all the giving.
  • Your Emotions Aren’t Taken Seriously. Have you ever tried to tell someone how you feel and you’re entirely blown off? This is toxic! Your feelings are valid, and you should always be heard, especially by someone you’re dating.
  • Constant Drama. What an unsettling shock it is to realize you’re trapped in a relationship that looks like it’s from a teenage drama. No one wants to be that couple always absorbed in the new drama, so don’t be that person!
  • Your Worst Side Is Brought Out. If you’re constantly thinking this isn’t me because your partner makes you react in ways you normally wouldn’t, that’s a toxic person bringing out your bad side.
  • They Hurt Your Confidence. Loved ones are supposed to uplift and encourage you. If the person you are, or were, dating does the opposite and makes you feel worse about yourself… it’s time for a new hunny, hunny.

This is only a small list of different types of behaviors that have a negative impact on relationships. With dozens of different attitudes, patterns, and vicious cycles that include toxicity, it’s hard to really define what a toxic person does, but it’s a good sign you’re stuck in a toxic situation if you can’t escape the unhappiness with them.

When Should You Start Dating Again?

When Should You Start Dating Again after a toxic relationship?

How are you supposed to bring yourself to commit to someone new all over again, bring your vulnerability to the table, and make an effort for a relationship after such a spectacular, toxic fail with your last relationship? Yeah, it’s tough, it really is… and not everyone understands that.

A popular “quick fix” for those recovering from a toxic relationship is the urge to find a rebound, to jump out there in your best clothes and really stun the world, and dive into a crazy lifestyle of dates and wild sex. Sure, it sounds nice, but…. Is that really healthy? Probably not.

Make sure you take a bit of time for yourself. Toxic relationships are extremely draining, and you may feel burnt out on giving yourself away to someone else, and it’s okay to be a little selfish as you pick up the pieces. No one can tell you when to be ready to date again, it’s a decision that is yours alone to make.

Just make sure when you do start dating again, it’s for the right reasons. Do it for you, not because your friends dragged you to the bar 4/7 nights of the week to find you a rebound.

What To Expect When Dating After a Toxic Relationship

Dating is already a bit of an acquired skill, and it’s only more challenging when you’re coming back from a toxic relationship. You may still have some toxic qualities you adopted from your partner, or self-esteem issues to work through, or maybe you’re just plain unmotivated to do it all over again.

You’ve dated before, so you don’t need a guide on how to do it. What you need is a cheat sheet for some of the surprising emotions and habits you’ll notice that you may not have had the first time around. Toxic people change us, our hearts, and our minds… it’s the sad but simple truth to it. Adjusting to your new outlook on dating can help you navigate the experience successfully.

You’ll Be On Edge

Has anyone ever angrily folded a sock at you before? In a toxic relationship, these types of passive aggressive, low-key angry behaviors and habits play a number on the way your brain works. You begin to overthink simple things, looking for heaviness in steps, or changes in body language that may suggest a fight coming on. In the real world, you’ll exhaust yourself analyzing everyone constantly! Let loose, relax, and just try to look at things at face value.

Your Confidence Is Lower

Getting back out into the dating game is rough when you’ve had an under-appreciative partner for awhile. You have a lower vision of yourself, maybe it’s your looks or your personality… either way, you can’t stop thinking about hurtful words from the past. Plus, you feel worried you won’t even find someone anyway, and you left your toxic partner for a life alone. These confidence blows are tough, but once you start to shine, you’ll perk up quickly and everyone will notice.

Part Of You Misses The Drama

It may be the hardest thing for you to admit, but once you’re out… a bit of you craves the constant stimulation of the drama that was always occuring. When we get stuck in these traps of constant ups and downs in the relationship, always dealing with a new dilemma, always working through some new drama… it gets addicted. Now that you have time to be peaceful, you don’t know what to do with yourself. It’s normal!

It’s Harder To Trust Others

Past relationships have hurt you. Other people have hurt you. You loved and feel as if you’ve been slapped in the face for it. That does a number on someone, especially if they were stuck in a toxic relationship for a long time. Now that you’re about to go out there again, it can be hard to let your guard down enough to let someone in even a little bit. Try not to be too cautious.

Feeling Like You’re Being Picky Is Normal

You feel like you’ve wasted so much time on someone who didn’t deserve it. You may even still feel a little bitter, angry, or hurt over your past treatment. Now that you’re dating again, you want to ensure you get someone you really deserve someone who will appreciate you in the ways that your last partner didn’t manage to do. This isn’t a bad standard to set, but you may feel as if you’re being too selective. Just stay true to what you want, even if it takes some digging.

4 Ways To Break Toxic Habits When Dating

Once we are exposed to a toxic person, or have to survive in a toxic relationship for a period of time, we start to learn how to cope and twist things into our control. It’s a survival method, really, but it can be tough to break even once you get out of there. To avoid spoiling future relationships with accidental toxicity, cut out these behaviors!

1. Focus On Communication

A lack of communication can be breeding grounds for unhappy relationships or bitter feelings. So, your new date has made you irritated, or forgot something, or wronged you in some way? Don’t stay silent about it, and don’t be passive aggressive. These are mildly toxic behaviors that welcome worse actions later on, so just be honest with them about your feelings.

2. Don’t Let Anyone Make You Feel Bad

Nothing that a new partner, or even a first date, does should make you feel worse about yourself. You’ll never break the circle of toxicity, even after a break-up, if you jump in bed with the same kind of toxic person you just escaped. Don’t make yourself small.

3. Stay Out Of Their Personal Drama

Things get sticky quickly if you get into their business too quickly. Involving yourself in their own drama that doesn’t concern you, maybe like ex drama or workplace trouble, too quickly can create a chaotic environment that welcomes drama from the get-go. You want to avoid this, remember?

4. Let Go Of Your Bitterness

Punishing your new partner for the past relationships you still hold a grudge about is a great way to get yourself dumped pretty quickly. It’s not their fault you had bad experiences dating in the past, and if they’re decent, they’ll do their best to understand… but you have to be open-minded to what they have to offer, too.

Wrap Up

Dating after a toxic relationship can take it’s toll. Toxic relationship affects the way we date, and sometimes, we may never look at relationships the same way again. Entering the dating scene after some time off is rough for anyone, especially if you have a history of toxic people who brought you down. If you’re trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and give the whole “love” game another go, you’ll have what you need here to get started. A dash of confidence, a sprinkle of trust, and a pinch of self-reflection can help you ward off toxic people and find a healthy, positive relationship you can grow in.

chelsea king - chief editor of romancescams
Written by Chelsea King

Chelsea has been a direct victim of romance scams herself losing over $35,000 in a span of a year in 2015. She joined and took over operations of in 2015. She brings first-hand experience in studying romance scams, and also experience in vetting dating sites for legitimacy. Read more of Chelsea's articles.

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