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Relationships keep us going – they are the heart and soul of human interaction and connection. Whatever the nature of the relationship, we all desire a bond of love and validation from friends and family and other types of relationships, such as romantic partners.
However, romantic relationships are often the most meaningful and challenging of all. It’s exciting and energizing to find someone with whom you would share the last slice of pizza and possibly plan for the future. But no matter how exhilarating it may feel at first, relationships can start or become detrimental and toxic over time, especially when one or the other person stops caring. Such relationships can leave a dent in our mental health and, if unaddressed, many different aspects of our lives and wellbeing.
While it may be risky to end a toxic and no-good relationship, there are ways to do so safely (and unapologetically). Below, we’ll share some guidance on how to leave an unhealthy relationship and get on with your life.
- Understand that your relationship is toxic and beat the denial game
Let’s get one thing straight – toxic relationships can kill you from the inside. Suppose you choose to stay or hope for a miracle. In that case, it is doubtful that your toxic significant other would prefer a different path because once a toxic, always a toxic. And while a relationship does not have to be abusive to be called “toxic,” it is fair to say that all abusive relationships are deadly. Whether physical, financial, sexual, or emotional, many types of abuse can kill you or leave a mark on your wellbeing forever.
While understanding that you are in a toxic relationship is essential, many people tend to play the denial game. Even if you know the relationship is unpleasant, you may refuse to acknowledge it because you don’t want to lose that person. You may have been so accustomed to being with them for so long that it feels “practical,” and you don’t want to leave your comfort zone. However, if you don’t acknowledge you’re in a toxic relationship, you’ll never be able to get out of it.
Get up. Stop pretending you’re okay if you’re not. You must have the courage to admit that you are no longer happy in that type of relationship.
- Talk to them in person.
It’s time to face reality now that you’ve decided to end the relationship. It’s time to call it quits and put an end to it. It will not be simple, but stand up for what you believe to be the right thing to do. You must inform them that it is over, and it is preferable to do so in person because it sets up a more genuine atmosphere.
You can see each other’s gestures, facial expressions, tone, and even the tiniest details of their interactions. It can be challenging to do this when you’re in a long-distance relationship, and you may break up with the person over the phone. However, whenever possible, converse in person, which will give both of you a chance to end things on a better note.
- Pen down your feelings.
Writing about your emotions and feelings may be the last thing on your mind, and you may be too strained to concentrate and concerned that writing it down will make you feel worse. Expressive writing may make you feel more scared, upset, or anxious at first. Still, after a few weeks, you will likely notice both mental and physical benefits such as:
- Improved immune system
- Improved mood
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer doctor visits
- Better sense of wellbeing
- Don’t let them sway you.
It is difficult to leave a toxic relationship – we’ve established that. But the most challenging part is deciding not to return. The honeymoon period is one of the most common pitfalls of a toxic relationship. In many instances, the neglectful and cold partner suddenly becomes overly emotional about you.
When a toxic partner senses the threat of losing their supply, they will go to any length to keep the partner on their side at all costs. They will unexpectedly become caring and sensitive, eager to please your every whim and lavish you with gifts and attention. It’ll be like heaven, and it will finally feel like something you’ve worked hard for. And that will be until your partner ensures they have won you back for good – at which point things will revert to their chaotic and unpleasant course. It would help if you kept this in mind during your last conversation.
- Recognize that you deserve better
Months or years of being told you will never find anyone better or verbal abuse can wear a person down, and you may begin to believe it. But this is not the case. Toxic partners use self-worth and self-esteem destruction to keep victims trapped in the relationship. Make “I deserve better!” your daily mantra by swapping negative self-esteem beliefs with positive, affirming ones. You must proceed with your own emotional and mental wellbeing.
- Make a plan and stick to it.
According to research, people are more likely to make long-term changes when developing specific implementation intentions or “then/if” plans. These plans have been shown to assist people in avoiding temptation, meeting health goals, and even avoiding stereotyping members of other groups. You may have a lot of hook or crook “if/then” connections that aren’t working in your best interest, such as “If I’m lonely and miss [the partner], then I call them and ask to come over.”
Instead, you could substitute a behavior that is likely to make you feel better, such as calling a good friend or listening to an empowering album, for the default “then.” The more you practice deciding whenever the “if” stimulus appears, the more wholly automated the link becomes and the easier it is to resist the old pattern.
- Inquire for advice.
You may be weary, confused, and in pain right now, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Many people are willing to listen to you and support you. Make contact with your friends and family. Tell them about your plan to leave that toxic relationship, but don’t criticize your girlfriend or boyfriend. Simply express your feelings and seek their advice.
Remember that this one relationship does not and will not define you as you go through this challenging period. This will be in your rearview mirror and will not weigh as mainly on your heart in a year or two. You made the correct decision by ending this toxic relationship. It’s never easy to say goodbye to a relationship, but it’s sometimes essential. Your emotional and physical well-being is of the utmost importance. And most importantly, you are deserving of the best. So if you are in a toxic relationship, gather the nerve to do what is right.