If you’ve been there, then you know how hard it is to leave a toxic relationship. Fights, manipulation, and mind games are all the types of things that can keep you from leaving. While it can be intense and difficult, knowing when to go and following through with it is important.

Read: How Both Partners Win: Shedding Gender Stereotypes in Relationships

Keep reading to find out what you need to do to leave a toxic relationship.

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Be honest with yourself

One reason why many people stay in toxic relationships may be because they aren’t honest to themselves about the state of the relationship and how their partner is treating them. The first step to leaving a bad relationship is to recognize that it is no longer healthy for you. It means that you have to see the signs for what they are instead of making excuses and justifying their actions. Remember that while help is available for you at any time, only you can take the first steps for yourself.

Plan it out

Once you’ve come to terms with your unhealthy relationship, it’s time to plan it out. Do you want to work things over (and over and over) again? Have you had enough? More likely than not, you’ve already tried to patch things up. Patterns show the truth and unfortunately, you might have to come to the decision to leave. If and when you do, you need to plan out when and how you will let your partner know (especially if you are in a dangerous situation), and what you will do after. If you live together, it’s best to find another place to sleep. If you’ve got children, you need to coordinate with relatives on how to proceed.

Communicate clearly

Here comes the hard part — making your decision meet reality. When you break things off with your significant other, avoid fighting words, placing too much blame, or bringing up past sore points. Being aggressive can suck you into another toxic fight that can last hours. Just be honest and clear about why you think the relationship isn’t healthy anymore. Hear them out as well and don’t be afraid to mention your own shortcomings. If communication is not possible with your partner or if you feel that you are in danger, it’s best to reach out to a loved one or authorities for help.

Stand strong

The hardest part about leaving a toxic relationship is fighting the urge to run back to what’s comfortable for you. That is, inevitably, why a relationship can become toxic in the first place. If you’ve already made your decision to leave once and for all, you’ve got to stick to it! That means completely cutting them off from your life or at least making sure that you no longer have the desire to return to the negative environment. It will be hard — extremely hard — but it will be for the better, somewhere down the road.

Fill yourself with love

Picking up the pieces of who you once were and crafting the person you will be, in time, takes a lot of intentional healing. While it’s normal to feel sad and heartbroken about losing a friend and a lover, it’s time to start pouring love into yourself. Hang out with friends and family, do things on your own, and learn to share love for other things, like pets or your career. After suffering from such a long-term negative experience, you deserve all the love in the world!

Art Macky Arquilla

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