Finding Romance- What Needs to Change?


Often people who were victimized by an emotional predator wonder how or why they’ll ever love again. “It’s just too dangerous,” and “I won’t survive another emotion bashing episode,” are common statements. Victims often isolate themselves from romantic interaction. For them, “being alone is better than being harmed.”

If this is your mindset, you’ve come to the right place. But prepare to hear some things about yourself, as well as some changes you need to make.

  1. YOU did nothing wrong. You were targeted by a predator because you have the capacity to forgive and love. The problem is that the person you choose was an exploiter, not a lover. And they selected you because they grasped that they could manipulate you through your devotion to them.
  1. Some people are incapable of bonding and loving. You need to avoid them. In order to do so, you will have to ditch your attraction to the superficial appeal we know as “charm,” and look more deeply into a person’s character. And you need to note whether their character repeats in all the corners of their life.

Just as people without emotional empathy will never develop it, people with emotional empathy will never lose it. It’s part of their wiring. Sometimes we confuse being “sensitive” with having “emotional empathy,” which is the key to conscience and morality. But they are not the same.

Anyone can be sensitive about their own condition. They can express heartfelt need for what they want. They can dupe you into feeling sorry for them over their past. But that’s still not “emotional empathy.” A person with “emotional empathy” will automatically have a knee-jerk reaction to the pain someone else experiences. They will put themselves in the other person’s shoes and be guided by their conscience.

Instant attraction only means that the object of your affection stirs your brain chemistry. It does not mean that they are a caring, wonderful human being. Being swept off your feet can readily lead to emotional trauma rather than the lasting, durable relationship you want. So here are a few “don’ts” about finding someone to love:


Don’t take anything you read on internet dating sites as gospel.

Everyone there is expressing the image they’d like to portray. But without verification, there could be countless lies behind their profile. Check IDs and Google anyone you meet online, no matter how badly they protest.

Don’t have sex with anyone until you’ve been introduced to their family and friends.

What’s the rush…. really? A meaningful relationship takes time and commitment. Afraid you’ll lose them if you don’t have sex with them? Guess what. That’s a person worth losing!

If you don’t live in the same town with their family, you can establish a connection through Skype or other resources. How does your love interest communicate with family? However it is, it should include you if they’re committed to making you a permanent part of their life. If they don’t communicate regularly with their family, it’s a very large, vigorously waving, red-flag.

Don’t believe that a man over 45 or a woman over 35 has NO children.

Unless they have a physical condition that prevents procreation, the statistical likelihood that they have no children is a rarity.  If they have yet to introduce you to their children, they could be hiding a seriously checkered past.

Don’t look for “love” on dating sites that depict people as “wealthy” or “millionaires.”

Most people with assets want protection from “Gold-Diggers” and will not flaunt this aspect of their identity. Why would anyone try to attract a person who prioritizes their interest in finding “wealth?” Emotional predators lurk on these sites because the participants are tipping them off about what floats their boats. It gives them ammunition to produce an elaborate scam to snag you.

Don’t believe what people tell you about their “ex.”

You’re receiving that information through a very biased prism, one that is sure to make them look like the victim, not the offender. Even if they admit to infidelity, what does that tell you? It should alert you that they can justify betrayal, and YOU will be the recipient this time around.

roamnce 2

So what’s a safer way to find true love?

First off, you need to feel that you’re okay without a relationship. You can stand on your own two feet and live a fulfilling, meaningful life. You can find joy in the activities and relationships you treasure.  Allowing a person inside your inner circle is an intimacy you bestow on them.

Mankind was built to “couple.” We feel our best when we can express love and support for another human being. So inevitably, our interest in finding a significant other will resurface.  Some “do’s” about engaging in romance once again are ..…

“Do” things that make your life worthwhile.

Enjoying your interests will bring you into the path of others who appreciate the same things. Whether it’s religion, art, cooking, the environment, sports, dancing, boating, etc., participate in groups that put you in the company of people who share your preferences.

Do look carefully at how they interact with others, not just you.

Do they “objectify” the people around them, the waiter, the valet, the clerk at the store? Or do they treat everyone with respect and appreciation?

Do they have a history of good-intentions?

It’s easy for wealthy people to give money to causes. It provides them with tax benefits. But do they give their time and pass along help and support when it’s needed? Have they been preoccupied with making money all their lives, or have they stopped along the way to make the world a better place?

Do evaluate what is truly important to you.

Sometimes, in looking at what attracted you to a predator, you’ll see you may have placed importance on superficial value. If you continue to put your interests in the wrong place, you’ll find the wrong person once again. You’ll need to readjust your priorities.



Albert Einstein coined two very relevant phrases that apply to finding new love after a predatory relationship:


  • Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

  • A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new

So, forgive yourself for the choice you made. Recognize that you need to be far more circumspect in your future decisions… not because you were ‘wrong” but because character disordered people share our planet. Your mother never told you because she didn’t know. Mine put up with my abusive father for many decades. So, like me, you learned the hard way. Go forward, not backward with that knowledge.

While I’m quoting Einstein, there’s one more of his phrases that guides me in my efforts to enlighten people about rape by fraud and recover from it:

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

I hope you’ll help me spread the word!

11 thoughts on “Finding Romance- What Needs to Change?”

  1. First of all its a pleasure to have known joyce both as a person and a tennis coach and the fact that I admire is her ability to overcome her own pain and anguish and a desire to make a change .If you question yourself how many people out there even go a percent of what joyce is able to do and the ease with which she writes is commendable.i personally have witnessed many kinds of abuse both personally and professionally and I feel it’s time now to be able to make a change.

  2. This article is so timely. It is so scary entering the dating world again after having been defrauded in an elaborate relationship hoax that lasted over a year. It makes you question everything about a person’s identity and character. One thing that has helped me pursue romance again is a match-making agency. I don’t want to specify any particular company, but think about the ads you’ve seen in the airline magazines. You pay a substantial amount of money to join, but there is a level of safety and security in this type of service. The company verifies their identification and the matchmaker is involved in setting up the matches. There is no website for potential predators to troll on. Now, some people do pay for a premium membership that allows them to see a profile of the potential dates. Basically, sociopaths and predators would avoid this type of service because of the third party involvement and oversight. I met a very nice man through this agency, but we are not together any more. That experience helped to heal my broken spirit. Now, I am back at square one, having met someone without the matchmaking agency! I have been emotionally upside down trying to deal with issues of trust after what I went through. I will follow Joyce’s advice, but at some point, I might need some advanced advice!

    1. I wholeheartedly favor your approach to looking for love as opposed to on-line dating services. It is far too easy for predators to lie and defraud. Does the match-making service have any kind of warranty against fraud?

      As to your getting your “trust” back… I firmly believe that everyone who suffers the ill effects of a relationship hoax would benefit greatly from consulting a therapist. And the professional you chose should have considerable background dealing with PTSD and relationships with sociopaths.


  3. As I read this, I tried to picture myself in another relationship in the future…I absolutely couldn’t do it. All I see is abuse when I look that way. Time will heal, I hope.

    1. Army-

      It’s true that distance will diminish the intensity of the pain you suffered. But having the guiding hand of an experienced therapist could help to heal wounds that would fester longer without that support.

      Instead of looking for love, involve yourself in activities you enjoy and find organized groups with that focus. It’s important for you to bring joy back into your life again, with or without a mate. And who knows, the love of your life may very well find you. But even if they don’t, you’ll restore your self worth.

  4. Great article. I definitely find myself questioning my own judgement a lot nowadays and there is a real fear within me of going through the same problems again if I enter into another relationship x

    1. Desidivorced-

      It’s understandable. Don’t let what happened define who you are. It’s what happened to you, but you’re still you…. just a bit wiser!


    2. Knowing that psychopaths exist sure makes us wary of moving forward. We need to do so in a more enlightened way. Having been through a relationship with an emotional predator does not enable us to avoid them in the future. But it makes us far more aware of what’s happening if you encounter one again. You’ll recognize the signs faster, and your break with them will do less damage to your psyche.

      Fear isn’t a bad thing. It protects us…… just don’t let it become a barrier.

Comments are closed.