Breaking Free - Proceed with Caution

I applaud all women who have managed to find their way safely and sanely out of a relationship that involved domestic/intimate partner violence and moved on. BUT─Take note, and take caution. Just because you have moved on does not mean your former partner has. The average abusive partner will continue to stalk their victim for 2.4 years after the end of the relationship. It should also be noted, if he moves on to another relationship and that one ends in less than the 2.4-year period, he may likely return to stalking the prior partner.

Women who have moved on have reason to be happy when they find someone to spend time with, someone to invest their emotions into. But let’s look at two very important issues here:

FIRST─Is your former abuser still coming after you? Does he continue to attempt to make contact? Does he make any of those comments he made when you were together? Does he continue to tell you he loves you and wants you back? Even worse, is he still threatening you harm? These are all red flags. Please, please think twice about posting comments on social networks about your “new guy,” or placing pictures of the two of you together. A former abuser who is still seeking control over you may easily be set off by seeing a photograph of the man he feels has usurped his power and control. BE SAFE, and THINK SMART! I do not intend to instill fear unnecessarily, but please be cautious and realize a violent person usually remains violent. They move on to another victim in most cases, but that is not always the case, and it is not often immediately after a breakup.

SECONDLY─So, you’ve moved on. . . but to what sort of relationship? Just because this new person is not swinging a fist at  you does not mean you are not entering another abusive relationship. Is there a lot of jealousy? Does he push for a relationship very quickly? Has he made any degrading or demeaning remarks to you? TAKE YOUR TIME when moving from one relationship into another. Listen to me! Do not do what I did! I was caught in a pattern of moving from one dysfunctional relationship directly into another one. Okay, the first one tried to put my head through a door, but the second one never hit me. So, I figured I was moving up, making progress. Then the derogatory and humiliating comments began. I was right in the middle of emotional and verbal abuse, which is exactly how the first abusive relationship began. So, after that second one ended, I moved on . . . He adored me. He drank way too much, lied most of the time, and threw me away like yesterday’s paper when he didn’t need me, only to call me back, begging for me to return. He needed me again. Had I progressed? Next relationship? Another heavy drinker, culminating in the kitchen, being screamed at and called “stupid,” all over again. It was time to wake up. It was time to reevaluate the sorts of relationships I kept getting myself into.

So, if and when you move on, truly move on. Be safe, be wise and be sure you are not jumping from one abusive relationship into another. You are WORTH true love and respect. Never forget that!

Listen to Carolyn’s interview with Cynthia Brennen, on “Help, Hope & Healing.” Visit her Everyday Health blog, Emotional Wellbeing, or her website at

  1. Wow, I didn’t know that statistic about the average abuser stalking their victim 2.4 years after the break-up. Scary.

    Good point about not putting up pictures of you and the new guy on any social networking sites. I’d go as far to say have a fake name and don’t put any personally identifying information up there at all. Having lived with one of them, I saw the lengths he would go to in order to find information on other people with whom he had a bone to pick – people who weren’t even ex-partners.

    The best thing to do is not put information out there that you wouldn’t be comfortable with him seeing.

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