10 Ways A Woman Who’s Been Hurt By A Narcissist Loves Differently

After being in a relationship with a narcissist, it can be hard starting a new relationship as you struggle to trust and feel comfortable with another partner. Even being treated well can feel very strange at first, especially when you’re used to the opposite. You find yourself being constantly on high alert, watching for certain red flags, and you’re less keen to get swept up in the honeymoon stage. Here are some completely normal ways in which women (or anyone recovering after a narcissistic relationship) might love differently and need some extra TLC when starting a new romance.

  1. You may want to move a bit slower. You realize there’s no reason to rush and you don’t want to get caught up in the honeymoon period. Rushing into ‘I love you’s and romantic getaways just doesn’t seem as important anymore. This time around, it’s about taking it slow and getting a strong base for your relationship rather than it looking good from the outside and being a total disaster in reality.
  2. You aren’t as easy to impress. You’ve heard it all before. You’ve been chased and courted and tricked into love and now you just want someone who’s respectful and kind. You’re happy with just a simple dinner out and good conversation. It doesn’t need to be showboating and fabulous dates all the time. It’s about quality of dates, not quantity.
  3. Empty compliments don’t impress you. Sure, it’s nice to be told you look nice, but you’re more interested in them really getting to know you and giving you a compliment that is about your personality rather than looks. Or, maybe you’re looking for someone to support you in your career and help you build confidence rather than lavishing you with clothes or bags. In other words, you want something real.
  4. Grand gestures make you uncomfortable. The narcissist wants everyone to think they’re amazing so they treat you good in public because it reflects well on them. It isn’t because they want to do something nice for you. Because of this experience, those big gestures just make you uncomfortable now because they put you on show. Big bunches of flowers delivered to the office for everyone to see or expensive weekends away for no reason are nice and make you feel special, but that does eventually stop and you know it’s often all for appearances. Even if you were uncomfortable with these gestures in the past, this only triggered arguments with your narcissist ex, who called you “ungrateful” rather than considering how you feel. Because of this, it can be a huge trigger.
  5. Constant texting and communication raises red flags. Someone who texts you all day long is just trying to take over your whole life and focus and it can be a method of control. They don’t want you to have time to talk to anyone else and they want to take over. Now you’re more aware of this red flag, you may set more boundaries such as being slower to reply and not immediately stopping what you’re doing to answer their calls.
  6. You’re much more mindful of friends and family. You won’t lose your friends and family again. It can be really easy when you are swept up in the early stages of a romance to forget about other relationships in your life, but someone who’s been with a narcissist will be more aware of this and set boundaries to make sure they keep those relationships in place. These important people are usually the ones to help pick up the pieces and also help when you accidentally put on the rose-tinted glasses. They can help keep your feet on the ground during the initial periods of a relationship and help keep you busy so you don’t give all your free time to your new squeeze. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong support system.
  7. You might need more reassurance. You may have had months or years of abuse during which your confidence and self-belief were shattered. When you start dating again, you may need a lot more reassurance, which will also help build trust between you and your new beau. Whether it’s about them going out with friends every weekend or speaking to other women, being clear on where you stand and setting key boundaries can really help the new relationship succeed.
  8. You might be unnecessarily jealous. Communication between you and your new partner can help this, but you might see red flags or causes for concern where there aren’t any because of what you’ve been through. That friend who’s a woman might actually just be a friend that happens to be a woman. It can (and does) happen. He might actually just be going to the gym at 6 a.m. and not meeting someone new before work. Talking through how you feel and maybe even explaining your past relationship might help your new beau understand your paranoia. Communication can go a long way but you do also need to be able to trust too. If you can’t, you may not be ready to date.
  9. You’re wary of someone who can’t (or won’t) support you and your dreams. You’ll notice very quickly if they put themselves first or change the subject when your work or future plans comes up. Do they not want you to go for that promotion? Do they question your ‘me-time or time with your family and friends? You’ve been here before and will be quick to notice when someone isn’t being supportive or on your side.
  10. You might be surprised when they don’t act like your ex. Remember your last relationship wasn’t healthy but it wasn’t your fault. The most successful, switched-on person can be sucked in by a narcissist. It will be refreshing to be treated how you should be treated: respected, supported, and cared for. Try and enjoy the relationship for what it is, but also be clear on your boundaries and try not to get sucked in by potential.