How to stop fearing dates after toxic relationships

Toxic relationships can cause significant stress and even health issues. Fortunately, many are able to exit such relationships and continue on with life. In this video, Reese Thomas provides advice on how to recover post-breakup and begin meeting new people.

Firstly, let's clarify the meaning of the word 'toxic'. Though it's not ideal, social media has led us to use a single term to describe a vast range of emotions and feelings.

If by "toxic" you mean that neither party was particularly good for the other, and it was simply an unsuccessful relationship, that's perfectly fine. If, on the other hand, you're referring to emotional or physical abuse, then it's obviously a more complex issue. The foremost priority should be seeking support from friends and, if necessary, a psychologist or domestic abuse hotline.

After a failed relationship - and even after seeking therapy - it's common to feel uneasy about dating again. Psychotherapist Stefan Walters emphasizes that after being hurt, we create a habit of being defensive and paying attention to any 'warning' signs. While this can make us more cautious, it's important to work through it and avoid becoming cynical. Psychotherapist and founder of Working Minds, Simon Coombs, echoes Walters's advice to deal with our own negative thoughts and expectations related to dating. Neglecting this type of self-work often leads men to believe they're happy being single. While there's nothing wrong with contentedly embracing solitude, bitterness should not be the driving force.

With the advent of dating apps, people have become so overwhelmed with anxiety and stress about the new rules that many struggle to adjust, according to Coombs. When entering the dating world, it's important to remember that both parties have opted-in for an app for a reason. You can politely inquire about why, and in a few weeks, when meeting in person, ask how they feel about communicating in this way.

Coombs states that sometimes men can become so terrified of dating that they opt-out altogether. Despite the common belief that it's not necessary, they can genuinely feel stressed about the prospect. In such situations, it's important to pin down the exact problem. For example, are you falling for people who remind you of an ex? After all, you already know that such a person is incompatible. Or could it be that you're afraid of emotional attachment? It does require certain actions, such as showing trust and discussing deep feelings, which you may not be inclined to do.

In cases like this, it's essential to have the courage to be honest with yourself and your partner. If you find you're going in circles, talk about it - nobody's perfect, and there's no exact science to love and attachment. Additionally, remember to keep your needs in mind. Do you remember what makes you happy, and do you know what you require? This knowledge gives you a sense of security and can protect you from making too many compromises.

If you're in harmony with yourself, chances are you'll be in harmony with others too. We must learn to be happy on our own and confront our issues before jumping into new relationships. We ignore this rule because human beings are social animals not meant to live in isolation. No matter how stable we feel, we all seek approval, love, and support, which is why unwanted stories from the past can unexpectedly resurface.

Once you feel comfortable and safe, suddenly a spark ignites, and you'll feel the freedom to relax and be yourself. Have the patience to wait for this wonderful feeling to arrive, but you may initially need to find the right person who makes you feel secure.

The key to success is to learn to leave the past behind. When we feel good and confident about ourselves, meeting new people can be stress-free and illusion-free as well.

It's natural that we don't always have the same intention as the person we find attractive. With seven billion individuals in the world, it's not easy to find those with whom we'll ultimately build a relationship. Make sure you feel comfortable before sharing your life with anyone and find a way to make it comfortable for everyone involved.