Sharing your life with someone is one of the best parts of being in a long-term relationship. You live together, eat together, and always tell each other what’s on your mind. Your lives are a complete mix. But when it comes to leaving a long-term toxic relationship, these things that used to be cute can make it feel impossible to leave.
Getting out of a long-term relationship is hard, even if it isn’t dangerous. It’s clear that it’s hard to get away from someone who is so much a part of your life. But in unhealthy (or even abusive) relationships, codependence, worry, fear, and a low sense of self-worth are also present. It’s a bad mix of things.
Those of you in this situation have probably tried to leave a hundred times, but you just don’t know how (or when) to let go. You might feel sick when you think about it, so you put it off for another day (or year). Or maybe you’ve told yourself that things could work out or that your partner isn’t so bad. But this kind of thought makes long-term toxic relationships last even longer, which isn’t good.
So how do you know when you’re really ready to go? “Someone might know they are finally ready to leave a situation like this when they have worked on themselves and feel better about themselves. They know what they want and what they’re due. “When they start to think about things this way, they know it’s probably time to start moving on,” Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, told Bustle in an email.
Are you thinking about leaving for good? If so, here are some things you should do next. Here’s hope that you’ll soon be able to move on to a happier, healthier relationship.
1. Don’t make excuses.
First of all, you need to stop making excuses—for your partner’s actions, for why you should stay in the relationship, for why you won’t leave, etc. Advice columnist Wendy Atterberry on TheFrisky.com says that once you stop, you’ll be able to see the connection more clearly. And when you do, you’ll realise you don’t want to be a part of it anymore.
2. Take some of the blame
When it’s clear that this thing is over for good, it’s time to move on. “You’re the one who made the choice. Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D., wrote in Psychology Today that you should figure out what you want from a partner and from your life. “If you are sure that you can’t find it in your current relationship, set a date to leave.”
3. Don’t forget who you were before.
At this point, you might be on the fence again (for the 100th time) because the thought of leaving makes you sad. When that happens, think about what your life was like before you met that person. Atterberry said, “It’s easy to forget that you used to be a free person with a good life.” Think about all the people, places, and things in that life. And can’t wait to have it all over again.
4. Work on your sense of self-worth
You already know that low self-esteem is a big part of all these bad relationships. Suzanna Lachmann, Psy.D., wrote in Psychology Today that this could make you feel like you’re lucky to have anyone at all, even if that person is bad for you. This could make you feel like you shouldn’t leave because you’re lucky to have anyone. You know that’s not true deep down, right? So start to improve yourself. Realise that you’re not only awesome on your own, but you’re also awesome enough to attract a much better relationship if you’d just give yourself the chance.
5. Tell your partner about it.
So, you’ve been working on yourself and have chosen to leave. You should tell your SO now. Reynolds said, “Find a private place to tell your partner about your choice.” “Then get ready to stay calm if the reaction is anger or trying to control you.” Yes, it will be bad, but it’s clear that it has to be done.
6. Talk Logistics
Your lives may be hard to figure out, so you need to talk about details. “If you’ve been living together, talk about when and who will leave. If you own things together, how will you divide them? Will they talk to each other? “These are hard conversations to have, but the more clear you can be, the easier it will be for both of you to break up,” said Sarah Abdell, a columnist for The Telegraph.
7. Figure out where to go
If you live together, it will be 100 times harder to figure out where to go after the split. Will you rent a flat alone? Will you live with your parents again? If you don’t know, the process can be much scary than it needs to be. Find out as soon as possible. When you have a new place to live, it will be easier to leave.
8. Set some rules and limits
So that you don’t lose all the work you’ve made so far, you’ll need to set some rules. “If you’ve already said why you’re leaving, there’s no need to do it again,” said Reynolds. Decide that the conversations, phone calls, and any other touch you didn’t think was important are over. The only way to really move on is to turn it off.
9. Prepare to feel sad
There’s a good chance that you’ll get over it and feel better almost right away. (Yay, no more trouble!) But there is a big chance that you will be sad for days, weeks, or even months. Prepare for this, and don’t let it stop you from moving forward. Give yourself time and let yourself feel everything. They’ll go away soon, and you’ll be glad you didn’t give up.
10. Look after yourself.
If your relationship was really bad, I bet you haven’t taken care of yourself in years. Do you agree? Then now is the time to fix everything. “Get yourself outside for a jog or quick walk … Feed your body and feed your soul by doing things that make you happy. “As the old saying goes, ‘fake it until you make it,'” said Atterberry. Soon, you’ll feel fine.
11. Don’t talk with them
Just to warn you, don’t talk to your ex. If you can get along with your ex, that’s great. Most of the time, though, staying in touch will only make things worse. If that seems to be the case, get rid of everything that reminds you of them, like their phone number, photos, and old t-shirt. Doing so makes it a lot easier to move on.
12. Don’t forget what you’ve learned.
Relationships that are bad for you are so bad that they feel like a waste of time. Most of the time, they are, too. So, as you come to terms with that and move on, it can help to remember what you learned from it all. Reynolds said, “Ask yourself what you’ve learned from the event. Write down your answers so you can keep coming back to them as you go. There was a reason you left. Make sure it helps you define your next relationship and doesn’t throw it off track.”
13. If you’re in an abusive relationship, you should end it.
Let’s end this by talking about bad relationships, which are the worst thing that could happen. If you’re in one, you know it’s hard in a lot of ways, and leaving is one of the hardest parts. Even so, it is still possible and important to do so. “If the relationship is abusive, leave as soon as it is safe to do so and don’t look back,” says Martinez. That’s as easy (and not easy) as that.
As you go through this, keep in mind that you can get help, whether it’s from a close friend, a doctor, or a women’s group. No matter how bad they are, toxic relationships are neither fun nor good for you. The sooner you can move on, the sooner you’ll start to feel better. And that’s worth every penny.