relationships - dating - love - intimacy - health
The way you think about your relationships, the skills and attitudes you bring to them and the time and effort you put in can make all the difference. People are social creatures and relationships matter to us. We enjoy them, we cry over them and we're curious about how to get our relationships to be the way we want them. How well your relationships work can have a big impact on how satisfied you feel with life. Stimulating, resilient, satisfying relationships with partners, friends and family rank high on many people's wish list for a happy life.

It might seem now as if the abuse will dominate your life forever, but this is rarely true.
Over time it'll get easier until it becomes just a small part of who you are, amongst many other experiences you've had.


Will I ever get over it?
Yes, there is life after abuse and the pain and confusion will fade.

However, recognise that the emotional and practical losses you've experienced may affect you for a while, so be kind to yourself and don't create unrealistic timetables for recovery.

Being abused by someone you love is a profound betrayal of trust and although it varies for each person, healing may be a long process.

Some people find counselling very useful as this can help to make sense of painful and conflicting emotions. You can ask your GP to refer you.

You can also contact your local refuge to see if there's a support group near you where you could meet other women who have survived domestic violence.

In your day-to-day life, it can help to try and concentrate on doing things that were impossible when you were with your partner. Many women speak of the joy at 'rediscovering' themselves again and of having the freedom to spend their time doing whatever they choose.
How can I be sure it won't happen again?

Starting all over again
Lots of women managed to re-build their lives after an abusive relationship.

The blunt truth is that you can't guarantee avoiding something that wasn't your fault in the first place.

However, do remember that most women who experience domestic violence don't continually have violent relationships. You might find it useful to read our article on Warning signs.

One thing to be cautious of is rushing into a new committed relationship before having healed from the abuse. You may be especially vulnerable to predatory men at this time and it's also a good idea to spend some time focusing on your own needs.

Should I tell my new partner about my violent relationship?
Only you can really judge if the time is right to share your history with a new partner. However, in most cases, it's probably better to wait until a level of trust has been established before you share too many details.

If you feel you need to offer some kind of explanation - you can always say something unspecific like 'My last relationship was quite difficult and ended badly'.

The important thing is to open up at a pace that you're comfortable with and which doesn't leave you feeling vulnerable and insecure.

I'd like to use my knowledge to help other women - what can I do?
There are many advantages to volunteering. As well as helping to meet new people and gain new skills, it's also a way in which you can make positive use of your terrible experiences.