Grieving Woman

Relationships should be places where you can take shelter from life’s storms and seek support when you need it. Toxic relationships, however, are neither of those things. They are filled with misery and tear you down rather than build you up. When you realize that your relationship has become toxic, you need to end it immediately. Unfortunately, walking away from a toxic relationship can actually be harder than leaving a happy relationship. It must, however, be done. Here is how to leave a toxic relationship and get over your toxic ex.

Understand nothing is ever going to change.

Many people stay in toxic relationships because they harbor the hope that eventually things will get better. Their toxic partner may encourage this belief by seeming to change their ways after a fight or after you try to walk away. Do not be fooled or coaxed back into their arms. If someone is toxic, they are toxic. Understand that nothing in that relationship is ever going to change. Then, walk away, and do not look back.

Accept that it will hurt.

People avoid things that are painful, and they are even more likely to try to back away from things that hurt when they did not expect it. Leaving a relationship is always hard. In a cruel twist, walking away from a toxic relationship is often harder than giving up on a healthy one. A healthy relationship at least has allowed you to grow, and the happy memories from it can keep you going during rough times. A toxic relationship, on the other hand, has been nothing but months or years of your partner tearing you down.
You have little to no strength to rely on as you try to leave. Your partner might well have been doing their best to convince you that you cannot live without them. This makes leaving a toxic situation extremely difficult. Go into this knowing that it will hurt. It is, however, like re-breaking a bone that was set improperly. If you do not make this break, you will never heal.

Make yourself a mantra.

As you walk away from a toxic relationship, you need to have something that will keep you going. You have to have something that you can tell yourself when you are tempted to return to your toxic situation. It might be a constant reminder that “they will never change.” It could be the powerful statement “I am enough.” It could even simply be the old addict’s phrase of “one day at a time.” Whatever it is, keep a little phrase in your back pocket that you can pull out when your partner does their best to lure you back.

Find a friend.

People were not meant to be alone. This is why difficult situations are always easier when you have someone on your side. It is not different with a toxic relationship. As you try to extract yourself from your toxic ex, have a friend to walk beside you on your difficult journey. They will be someone that you can confide in when you find yourself believing one of your toxic ex’s old lies about how you are ugly or boring or stupid. They will also be someone who can help you stay on the wagon when you are tempted to return to your toxic ex. When your toxic ex shows up claiming to have turned over a new leaf, your friend can remind you how many times they have said the same thing and not changed a bit. When you are about to give up, your friend can be there to act as a safety net and save you from yourself. 

Cut off contact.

People who make relationships toxic are painfully good at luring others back into an unhealthy relationship. To avoid this, your best bet is to cut off all contact with your toxic ex. Unfriend them on Facebook. Block their phone number. Delete their email address from your inbox. Give them few to no ways to contact you, and whatever you do, do not reach out to them. 

If you are unlucky enough to work with your toxic ex or be in a similar situation where you have no choice but to see them often, keep any sort of conversation strictly professional and on surface topics. Do not discuss your past relationship or give them any insight into your new life. Treat them, essentially, like a stranger you do not quite trust. Be polite, but keep your distance.

Focus on yourself.

If there was ever a time for self-care and focusing on yourself, it is when you are getting over a toxic ex. Breakups are always hard, and a toxic relationship has likely left your self-esteem in tatters. So, spend some time focusing on yourself. Cry when you need to, and enjoy comforting practices such as a hot bath and soft blankets. Do not, however, wallow in misery. Get out and get back to who you used to be before your toxic relationship. Practice things you are good at, and make it a point to do things that bring you joy. If you love horseback riding, go horseback riding. If you are a great cook, make it a point to create some delicious meals. Remind yourself that you are amazing, talented and worthy of all good things. 

Keep moving forward.

You will not get over your toxic ex overnight, no matter how much you may wish it. You will have days where it feels like it would be easier to simply go back to your ex, and you will have times when it feels like you will never make it through this. Do not give up. You will get past this. You deserve someone better, someone who truly loves you. You will find them, just do not give up. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter what. 

Leaving a toxic relationship and getting over your toxic ex are not easy, but you can do it. You deserve far better than a toxic relationship, and you can get it so long as you refuse to go back to your toxic ex. Remember to keep going, even on those days when it seems impossible. So long as you keep moving forward, you will get there one day, and it will be worth every ounce of struggle you put into it. So start walking away, and whatever you do, do not stop. 
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