Advice and tips to work through leaving a toxic relationship.
Pain. Anger. Disappointment. All are valid feelings when someone goes through a breakup. But this isn’t any breakup. This is a breakup after being in a relationship that wasn’t the healthiest one. So, after leaving a “toxic” relationship, where does one go? The most common mistake someone can make is jumping straight back into the dating scene. After all, it’s time to move on and find someone better, right? Wrong. Dating is probably the worst step someone can take.
Toxic relationships aren’t always easy to point out. There aren’t always bruises and bloodied noses. There’s toxicity in words and habits, not just actions. If your partner tells you that you shouldn’t hang out with your best friend of 8 years simply because they don’t like the way you dress around her, then they’re controlling your surroundings. Manipulation is the biggest reason why people refuse to leave relationships; they feel as if they can’t survive without their partner.
After breaking up with who you once thought was your lifelong partner, it’s going to hurt a lot. There will be this period of “I can’t do this by myself. I need them,” but you really don’t need them. Tears will be shed and plenty of junk food will be eaten. But one day, there will be a moment when you wake up and you can finally breathe again. When that day comes, you start re-discovering your self-image without the looming shadow of your partner.
When you’re in a relationship for so long, you start to build this new person who shifts and grows with your partner. You morph into someone who does and says certain things because of that’s what your partner likes or doesn’t like. Your now ex-partner is removed from your life, but you’re left with this person who you no longer recognize. When did you stop wearing dresses and makeup? Have you always hated the color green?
You sacrificed so many years to loving that person and being with them and it’s time to start reclaiming those years in every way possible. You’ve spent so much time adjusting to their lifestyle and living and being around them that now you have to learn how to live by yourself and love living by yourself. You no longer have to worry about upsetting them or not living up to their standards because you are free. You need to reevaluate your standards for how you live and love.
And that starts by rebuilding and accepting who you are.
One of the most important steps to rebuilding yourself is learning to love yourself for you. Not your mama, not your best friend, not that one guy from your economics class. You love yourself in any and every way. You love how you look bare faced. You love the way you snort after you laugh really hard. You love how emotional you get every time after watching Rachel come back for Ross during the Friends finale.
You also need to learn to accept your flaws and learn how to love what you once hated. If they told you your hair looked ugly natural, wear it natural as often as possible. If they didn’t like your smile, smile at anything and everything. Nobody should keep you from being who you truly are, and if they do, then kick them to the curb! You are perfect, flaws and all; once you accept your perfection as is, you’re ready to conquer the world.
Remember to tell yourself “wow, you’re beautiful, and you’re doing a great job” in the morning after you wake up. Treat yourself to that pint of ice cream every once in a while. Dress up in your favorite outfit just because. It’s time to start thinking and living for you.
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