‘I ditched my toxic dating habits and found the love of my life’

A woman has told of how unlucky in love she was before she ditched her ‘toxic dating habits’ – but since she got rid of them, she’s happier than ever and has found someone she loves

Louise and partner
Louise is happier than ever – but it took her a while to get to this point

A woman is urging others to ‘intentionally date’, rather than having ‘toxic dating habits’ after she changed the way she viewed dating after having her heart broken. Louise Rumball, 32, was dumped by her partner of a year in December 2020 which broke her heart, but also led to an important journey of self-discovery, pushing her to start therapy.

Her therapist taught her how to ‘intentionally date’, meaning she had to be clearer about what she wanted from the relationship from the very first date so they were on the same page. Another thing she learned in the therapy sessions was how to stop repeating negative patterns which can cause miscommunications.

Louise said that she’s happier than ever…


Louise Rumball / SWNS)

…but it took a while for her to understand herself better


Louise Rumball / SWNS)

Her psychologist, Dr Tari Mack explained that often we unknowingly can attract people who reinforce how we feel about ourselves, or who repeat patterns of love learned from childhood – and it’s not always positive.

Through this journey of self-discovery though, Louise entered her healthiest relationship yet when she was travelling around Tulum, Mexico, in March 2022. Emanuel, 41, is a hotel operations worker who she is currently in a long-distance relationship with.

Louise is now hoping to help others to date with intention to find the right person for them.

She said: “A year and a half ago my boyfriend called me out of the blue and broke up with me. We were living together, and it was so savage.

“I had to go back to my parent’s house, and I never heard from him again. I was devastated. The magnitude of the heartbreak was so big because I was 31 and as women, we feel our biological clocks are ticking.

“I started therapy to help me through the combination of heartbreak and going through the pandemic. Once I got through the initial shock and grief, I realised there were so many things in therapy that could help me find a healthier relationship next time around.”

Louise worked on herself – and it paid off


Louise Rumball / SWNS)

Louise says that if you want date with intention, you need to be sure that their values align with yours.

She explained: “I used to confuse chemistry with compatibility until I started therapy. Just because something feels good, it doesn’t mean it is good.”

“As humans we can suffer abandonment wounds – the feeling of intense rejection when someone leaves and also, we have an innate fear of being alone.

“I explored my unconscious attraction and unpicked and I learned how we replicate cycles learned in childhood.

“I was raised by an incredible father who like many, was committed to working hard to support his family. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with him.

“My model of love was that I felt comfortable with male figures who are not always present physically or emotionally, subconsciously I was attracted to emotionally unavailable men.

“Through therapy, I had to learn love isn’t transactional and you don’t have to behave a certain way to deserve love.

“Before I felt I was either too much or not enough – I thought if I was quieter, prettier, more successful or skinnier I’d be more deserving of love.”

Louise says she previously attracted the wrong type of man and that singletons looking for love should identify their deal breakers and be aware of red flags to not make the same mistakes as her.

She said: “The key to intentional dating is being clear about what you want, as scary as it seems you must be up-front about what you want with someone from the very first date.

“I wanted a relationship, and my therapist told me I had to go into situations communicating clearly what I wanted and through asking who I was dating and what they wanted.

“I was scared because I didn’t want to frighten them off and be too intense. I ignored the advice first time round because I didn’t want to come across as too intense.

Louise just knew that Juan was better for her


Louise Rumball / SWNS)

“I got dressed up and travelled 45 minutes across London to meet a guy for a date.

“He was super handsome, and we got on well but after three hours together he revealed he was too busy for anything serious.”

This was a learning curve, as before Louise says she would have continued to pursue him, but she instantly cut it off.

“Therapy has been revolutionary for me, there is a misconception that unless you’re in crisis you shouldn’t go to therapy,” she added.

“There is so much benefit and value in unpicking cycles and conditioning that we learned long before we were even conscious of it.

“I know it isn’t accessible for everyone but I’m trying to help other women through my podcast with various therapists to look into and explore themselves.”

Dr Tari Mack’s top 3 tips for intentional dating:
1. Understand what it is you want and need in a partner and communicate that early on.
2. Do not make excuses for dealbreaker or red flag behaviour. Set and hold boundaries that honour and align with you and the future partnership you deserve.
3. Take your time to get to know somebody before thinking they’re the one or jumping into the relationship. Intentional dating involves getting to know someone slowly over time and in different situations and emotional states.

You can find out more about intentional dating on Louise’s podcast – the Open House podcast and keep up with her on her TikTok @thetherapygirl__

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