“I left my abusive marriage 5 months ago – we had been together for 11 years in total (I am 29) and he was the only guy I have ever slept with. I feel really positive about leaving him and although it was hard, it’s the best decision I ever made. I met a really lovely guy 2 months after I left my husband and we went on a few dates. He wanted to start a relationship with me but I refused to commit because I wanted to be single for a while and get to know myself again. Also I didn’t want him to be my rebound relationship. We are still in touch as friends which is great. He is a genuine nice guy and we get on so well and are really attracted to each other. I know that if we started a relationship we would be together for a long time so I was concerned that perhaps in the future I might regret not using this time alone and to go out with other guys.

I have been asked out by other men and I feel guilty because although I think I should experience what it’s like going out with other guys, all I can think about is the guy that I’ve already met and if it will ruin our relationship/friendship? Would I be betraying him if I went out with/slept with
someone else?”

NML says: It most definitely wouldn’t be a betrayal of him and I think it’s very important that you give yourself a lot of space and time before you start a new relationship because you have been through a very difficult relationship previously and only have experience of one man, and he was abusive. Not only do you have to be careful of rebounding, but you also need to ensure that you have dealt with your past and that you are free of anything that may put you into a situation where you could be abused again. You are vulnerable and you need the opportunity to be you, free of the shackles of being tied to someone. If this new guy cares about you, he will respect your wishes. I think it is totally understandable that you want to explore who you are and what the dating world has to offer. You have been in a heavy relationship for the prime years of exploration.

Be very careful of emotionally investing yourself too quickly in this guy. Much as you may like him there is a reason why you didn’t feel that you should commit to him and you need to listen to yourself, rather than the insecurity of what may or may not happen if you do what you want to do. I think you deserve to do what feels right for you and to enjoy yourself – you’ve just come out of an abusive relationship – don’t worry about what yet another man thinks.

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