If you have been in an abusive relationship, then you know how challenging it is to leave. It’s so difficult as you are still in love with the person you met at the start of your relationship, and it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that, that person never really existed.

It was all a pretense. You have become so accustomed to the abuse, the ups and downs, the love and the withholding of the love. It becomes nearly like an addiction, you hold on for those magic moments when your partner is who they were at the start. The kind and loving person you fell in love with. By the end of it all, it starts to become clear that you both have just one thing in common, you both are in love with the same person – them!

They will have broken your heart, lied to you, more often than not, cheated on you. You’ve been manipulated and emotionally abused, in some cases, physically abused. Then one day when you are a shadow of your former self, you decide enough is enough and you leave. But you leave a completely different person, where you were once outgoing and bubbly. You now struggle with your self-esteem and self-confidence. You are lost, and it takes a long time to heal from all the emotional damage.

When you’ve come through all of this, it’s only natural that to be guarded. It’s hard to trust, you are very cautious, feeling this way is entirely normal. Besides you being nervous when you meet someone after an abusive relationship, here is what also happens.

1. They are interested in you and know you keep part of you hidden.

It can be confusing, and you have a hard time believing someone is interested in you. It can be difficult to let your guard down to let someone in as you are very insecure. But you are with someone who knows you have been hurt and are vulnerable, but they don’t push you. This person is happy to be patient and wait for you to trust again.

2. They want you to be able to trust them.

They understand you were deeply hurt, but they are not that person who did the damage. They want you to trust them fully. They want to see you shine. They want to help you heal.

3. They know you deserve to be treated well, and this is what they do.

Their kindness and respect towards you never change. They are not attached to any conditions. Their smallest acts of kindness will bring you so much happiness, like nothing you’ve felt before. When you’ve been stuck in a selfish relationship for so long, it is so easy to forget that these things work both ways.

4. They listen to all you have to say.

The abusive relationship will have centered around your partner all the time. Their wants and needs came first. This time around you are with a partner that cares how your day went, is interested in what you say, pays heed to everything you talk about. Because they are genuine, they genuinely care and want to get to know the real you.

5. They admit when they are wrong and apologize.

If there’s one thing you’ve learned from your abusive relationship, it is that everything is your fault! Your partner apologizing to you was such a rare occurrence, instead, they twisted everything and made it your fault. You took the blame for everything. This behavior won’t happen with a good partner; they accept they make mistakes, own up to them and say sorry. They will try and fix the situation rather than pass blame.

6. Manipulation and abuse don’t feature for them.

When you’ve been in an abusive relationship, manipulation and control were a daily thing. You spent days walking on eggshells for fear you might set them off, or do something they saw as wrong. In a healthy relationship control and manipulation don’t exist, its all about compromising, understanding and compassion for the other. You are both equals in the relationship, and you are not there to service the ego of the other.

7. You get to see what real love looks like.

With a good partner, you finally get to know the true meaning of love. You will feel emotionally filled, happy and secure. No more walking on eggshells waiting to be reprimanded for your every move. You will shine. Enjoy every minute of it!