Relationships are toxic when they are full of stress and conflict, with only a few rare moments of peace. Can you learn how to move on from a toxic relationship and rediscover your joy?
Breaking up is the most painful, but also the most necessary, part of a relationship that has turned toxic.
If you ever considered leaving a toxic relationship, then you have most probably made up your mind. It’s just that you haven’t accepted it yet.
- What keeps you from accepting it and walking away are the happy memories.
- And the exhaustion that you feel at the mere thought of investing emotionally in a new relationship.
How To Move On From A Toxic Relationship?
When your relationship is irreparably toxic, what can you do to get out of it, heal yourself, and put your life back on track?
Here are the seven steps to move on from a toxic relationship:
1. Accepting the toxicity of the relationship:
Recognizing the toxicity in a relationship is easy, but accepting that it is beyond repair is difficult.
We keep hoping that things will get better with time and patience, that they will change their ways, and that we can adjust our ways around their toxic behavior. But none of that happens.
As time passes, we become more bitter and frustrated by the experiences we must go through to maintain the status quo. We become more reactive, angry, and adamant.
We enable the toxicity despite knowing that it would take a lot of time and work to overcome.
Especially if we’re in a narcissistic relationship, we often take too long to realize that we must move on from the toxic person, until it’s too late.
Accept that your relationship has irreversibly ulcerated and rotted. Take some time off, talk to someone who cares, and then cut the connection.
2. Seeing the relationship for what it really is:
Most people believe that they are n a healthy relationship simply because they have been with their partner for a long time.
When the relationship doesn’t meet their expectations, they often blame themselves, leading to a destructive cycle of dependency or co-dependency.
In such cases, try viewing the relationship from an outsider’s perspective. This can help you recognize how it affects your behavior, thoughts, and instincts.
For instance, you might notice you’ve become unkind or impatient with others—traits you didn’t possess before.
Accepting the reality of our situation is a large part of coping with its ill effects.
3. Letting go of any hope that it will change:
Accepting that you cannot control everything allows you to cope better with life, let go of little anxieties, and move on more quickly (Radical Acceptance, Brach, 2003).
Believing that everything goes wrong because of you can make you feel like a victim and trap you in a negative thought cycle.
In trying to make the situation bearable, we even start to neglect self-care and stop giving ourselves the much-needed self-love and self-compassion.
We forget that these negative experiences shape who we become and can leave a lasting impact on our life, personality, and relationships with others.
However, recognizing the world for what it truly is—filled with chaos, unpredictability, and uncertainty—allows you to find peace in the middle of it all.
So, let go of your hopes for things to get better, for they never will, and move on from the toxic relationship.
4. Remembering that you are not alone:
Today’s society is so focused on a “do it all” mentality that we frequently neglect to take time off to sit down to reflect in peace.
We are constantly tempted to stay busy, ignoring the need to pause and rest.
We forget that our brains are not designed for continuous workloads and multitasking, especially late into the night. Modern workdays transition into Reels & TikToks after work, leading to stress, anxiety, depression, and even physical symptoms resulting from mental unease.
Remind yourself that you are not alone in your struggle. It can nudge you to seek help and support from others during your difficult, indecisive moments. And help you with advice for self-care and moving on.
5. Prioritizing self-care in a toxic relationship:
When you’ve been in an abusive relationship, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and process the breakup before moving on (Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse. Thomas, 2016).
Leaving a toxic relationship can be as painful and raw as grieving the loss of a loved one.
So, it is extremely crucial to prioritize self-care during the end phase of a toxic relationship.
Focusing on your own well-being can help you build up the strength to deal with evolving difficulties in the relationship.
Spend time for yourself, do the things that make you happy, and set healthy boundaries with the toxic person.
Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and care, so remember to do the same for yourself.
6. Learning to find love again after a toxic relationship is over:
Relationships end. They do so for many reasons, such as infidelity, irreconcilable differences, or personality clashes.
Regardless of the cause, the aftermath can be devastating. Recovering from a toxic relationship is particularly challenging, leaving you with questions about the reasons behind the breakup, how to move on, and how to find love again.
There are so many questions to ask yourself: What was the cause? How do I move on? How do I find love again after I leave them?
Seeking therapy or joining support groups can help you heal and prepare for a new, healthier relationship (Getting Past Your Breakup, Elliott, 2009).
7. Getting professional help in developing coping mechanisms:
Taking care of yourself is an important step towards staying healthy, both mentally and physically.
Every day, people face emotional and physical stressors that can lead to various mental health disorders.
Developing coping mechanisms is vital for staying healthy and managing these challenges.
There are many ways to cope with stress, such as taking deep breaths, exercising regularly, and mindfulness meditation.
Talk to a health professional for support to break out of the toxic relationship and move on.
Breaking up is never easy. Do the following things after a breakup:
- Plan and get into a new routine.
- Take time off from social media.
- Spend time with real, offline friends.
- Get back to old hobbies and passions.
- Reflect on what you want in a new relationship.
The worse part of moving on from a toxic relationship is that you go back to them after a while.
Even worse is when each time you try to end it, the toxic friend or partner won’t let you go.
But you can safely make someone fall in love with you.
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Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Sandip Roy — a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher, who writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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