Dating someone who has been abused

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It also means that your lives are becoming more and more intertwined. When I first met my husband, he was baffled by how little affection I gave him. When you've been mistreated by someone you love, you automatically build up a wall around your heart.

It can feel a bit scary, so we proceed with caution. Even at the height of our love, I had to be affectionate on my own terms. It wasn't that I didn't want to be close to him, but after the relationship before where affection was so minimal, it took me a long time to learn how to cuddle again and to enjoy it. You become guarded, protective, and you hand out your love in pieces, bit by bit.

You don't bear the bruises of a physical attack, but you're still scarred in many ways, and that scarring leaves an imprint that can affect every future relationship.

It's hard to love again after you've been manipulated, put down, controlled, belittled, and made to feel worthless by someone who was supposed to love you and care about you.

The memory of this abuse of trust makes it difficult for the victim to have faith in others, ever again.

The only way to get over this is to prove yourself worthy of your partner’s trust in a real practical sense.

We'll keep you at arm's length, might not text you back immediately, and definitely won't want to spend too much time with you. You're exposing the bits and pieces of you that all of a sudden make you a target. I don't mean just physically slow, but emotionally and mentally slow.

For us, it's safer if we just keep some things to ourselves. Like a wounded puppy, it's hard not to proceed with caution. When you've been with someone who's put you down over and over -- saying you're no good and are worthless -- you just can't help but wonder why anyone would want to be into you ever again.

Apart from the physical pain, what hurts most when abused as a child is the realization that no one, not even a familiar adult, is worthy of trust.

This is particularly true because in an overwhelming majority of cases, the perpetrator of the crime is well known to the child, either as a family member, a neighbor or a friendly face.

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