If you have ever been in a toxic relationship, then you know all about the feelings and thoughts that leave you confused. However, a toxic relationship is not always obvious. Sometimes, you just have an intuitive feeling that things are just not right.
You often cling onto the belief that things will get better… deep down, you hope that something will change. That HE will change. That your circumstances will change. Become more emotionally available. Finally be ready to commit. That it will all eventually work out and you’ll ride off into the sunset together.
Maybe I am just too uptight…yeah, that’s probably it…I just take things too personally. Maybe I am too anxious. It’s probably not him, it’s me…
I remember thinking those exact thoughts in the past, back when I myself was in a toxic relationship. Eventually I realized that it was not me, it was HIM…and I deserved better.
If you can relate, then I have 5 major insights to share with you today.
Many years ago in my past life, I was in love and living with a man who was not in love with me. Despite the fact that he told me he loved me and even that he wanted to have children with me (men will tell you a looooott of things), I often found myself feeling emotionally lonely and disconnected, AKA – unloved.
For the 2 years that we were together, my heart felt that something was off. He was hot one day, cold the next day. He was emotionally unavailable and it was painful. He had a habit of constantly criticizing and undermining me.
I often ended up denying my own feelings just because HE denied them. For a while I even believed that it was my fault that I wanted more connection. That I was too sensitive, too demanding, too something else.
Eventually I got to a point where I said No more. No mas. Full stop.
I decided to step back and take a look at our relationship for what it really was, not for what I wanted it to be. I let go of my grandiose plans for the future with him. I stripped away my feelings and I blurred out my intense investment in this man. I zoomed out in order to see the big picture.
What did I find? I found me – desperate, unhappy, and afraid to be myself around this man. That was when I experienced my breakthrough. I realized that I was willing to commit my life to a man who was simply was not interested in investing in me. To him, I wasn’t THE WOMAN OF HIS LIFE, I was “just okay” and that was exactly how he treated me – as if I was “okay”.
Eventually I realized that I was in a toxic relationship. I also realized that my feelings were not only real but that they were damn important and I wasn’t willing to ignore them.
It doesn’t matter how much I love him. I am worth more than this, I told myself.
I refused to be at the bottom of his priorities. I refused to be treated hot and cold by the man who claimed to be committed and yet treated me like a roommate. The man who came and went as he pleased, who did not include me in his decisions, and who criticized my behaviour constantly.
Despite the tremendous pain that I went through when that relationship came to an end, this story has a happy end.
Why? Because it ENDED.
Because the new story is so much better. I am married to a man that loves sharing his life with me. I don’t have to feel desperate for my husband’s attention and I know that he loves me and wants me to be happy. Most importantly, I understand that I am the one who decides how I will be treated.
Whether you are in a toxic relationship right now or you are dating an unavailable man, or maybe you are in a relationship that is simply not-good-enough, the bottom line is the same. Settling for less than you want should never be an option.
So why is it so hard to leave a toxic relationship? Here are 5 insights to help give you some clarity.
1. You believe things (or he) will change
If you are dating an emotionally unavailable man or someone who is hot and cold toward you then you have to accept that this is who he is.
If he is not ready or able to give you what you want then why continue dating him? You will only waste your time.
You can adjust YOUR behaviour as much as you want but he will most likely not change and you will continue to feel confused and unhappy.
One of the biggest reasons that it’s so difficult to leave a bad relationship is that continuous glimmer of hope that things will be different one day. But remember, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.
This is the reason that many couples have on-and-off relationships. They follow what becomes a pattern – fight–make up–feel better for a week–REPEAT. There is a persistent hope that things will get better, but they never do. After THIS argument, after THIS fight, after THIS conversation, things are definitely going to be different, right?
Here is the ugly truth. What happened in the past is what will most likely happen in the future.
People at their very core do not change.
If you really like a man but you can see that he has a lot of baggage, or the timing is off for him, or he can’t seem to make up his mind about you – don’t wait around for him. Keep dating others until you find the man that can’t WAIT to commit to you.
2. You stay just because you have already invested
Another reason that it is so hard to leave a toxic relationship or a “situationship” is because you have invested so much into it.
You have created memories together. You have given each other weeks, months or years of your lives. Maybe you have children together. Maybe you have complicated financial ties. The list of possibilities is endless.
Maybe you are afraid of being alone. I get it.
A lot of the time, you know what the right thing to do is. Are your feelings just a temporary, passing phase because you feel bored in the relationship? Or are you feeling frustrated, lonely, and insecure all-the-freaking-time?
It doesn’t matter how much you have already invested. What matters is how you feel and how he is treating you right NOW in the relationship.
You still have a future ahead of you and how you decide to live that future is entirely in your hands. Even when things are confusing and uncertain, trust that you will figure it out.
Another thing to remember is that you will probably miss your ex and that’s normal.
It does not mean that you made the wrong decision by leaving. Sure, maybe when you think back, you may remember a time you walked down the beach hand in hand and life felt perfect for just a moment. But what you have forgotten about are the fuming fights that you had every evening that left you drained.
You forgot about the anxiety and constant feeling of instability and insecurity when you were together (or apart)
It’s tough to move on when you have given a part of yourself to a relationship. Feeling the pain of missing someone really sucks – but you must remember that the longer you stay, the more invested you will be and the harder it will be.
Regardless of how much you have invested, you have to ask yourself whether it’s a good enough reason to stay in an unfulfilling relationship when there is potential for so much more.
3. Fear of change
One of the worst things you can do in life is put off a decision out of fear…especially when it’s an inevitable decision. Maybe you KNOW that your relationship is not good for you but you keep telling yourself “I will deal with it another time”. Maybe you keep forgiving him even though it leaves you feeling bad about yourself.
If you are procrastinating the inevitable, then what you need to do is remind yourself that it won’t be any easier 4 years from now. In fact, it will be harder.
It’s normal to be resistant to change to some degree. Especially when you have no idea what is around the corner and especially when it comes to love. Maybe you have thoughts like…
I don’t know what I will do without him.
I don’t know if I will find someone else.
I am afraid of feeling lonely, empty, and sad.
Trust me when I say that these feelings do NOT last. When you fear something it usually means that you need to move towards the fear in order to overcome it. There are amazing things waiting on the other side, lovely. Do not ever allow fear to stop you from making the right decision.
You have to ask yourself right now. Is this the relationship that I am willing to stay in for the next 5 years?
If you are staying in a relationship only because it is familiar, comfortable, and safe, then you probably need to make the decision to move forward.
Happiness is waiting for you on the OTHER side of your current relationship.
4. Have you forgotten that you deserve happiness?
If your relationship overall brings you happiness and stability – then you are probably in the right one and it may just need some tweaking.
But speaking of happiness, let’s get serious here for just a minute.
Why are we are made to believe that we have to suffer and struggle throughout life?
Why is it perfectly okay to do things that we hate doing in life? Why is it normal to tolerate poor treatment and to feel obligated to eat what’s on the plate just to be “polite” (even though it tastes like cardboard?).
If you have an answer as to please find me on Instagram @thewealthywonderwoman or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know because this is a serious problem! If not, find me there and let’s connect anyway 🙂
You probably grew up being taught that you have to make sacrifices, work hard, and put the needs of first. But what about YOU and what you want? What about enjoying life? Go here to read the article Why You Must Love Yourself First for some uber important information on this topic.
We were put on this planet in order to live, love, laugh, and be happy! Not to suffer. Can you believe it?!
You deserve to do the things that you WANT to do, not just the things that you HAVE to do in life.
You are supposed to have a relationship full of passion, intimacy, and connection with a man who cherishes you. Because you are a woman and you deserve to be cherished! Relationships are not meant to be full of stress and tension.
They become that way and most people don’t know how to fix them (nor do they want to leave), so they just tolerate them.
5. Choosing instant gratification and comfort over long-term happiness
Our bodies and minds are built to resist change – they want to keep us safe and comfortable. This is why there are so many people who stay in a bad relationship out of “comfort”. The familiarity is more valuable to them than actually being happy, fulfilled, and in love.
The truth is that people who have been stuck in a sh*tty relationship for a long time can’t even imagine any other possibility. But if this is you, let me ask you this – How long are you willing to sacrifice your own happiness and aliveness in the name of comfort? One year? Ten years? A lifetime?
It’s tough to imagine how you will feel one year after a breakup, when all of the pain is a distant memory and the dust finally settles. You can’t possibly imagine yourself moving on when you are in the midst of so many emotions right NOW.
But what you can do is know that the short term pain is worth the long term gain of your freedom, your mental and physical health, and the opportunity to find true, lasting love. Always think about your future self.
Yes, relationships are complicated. But in the end, when you know-you know. This applies to both finding love and ending love. It comes down to trusting yourself, letting go of excuses, and remembering one basic rule – the purpose of a relationship is to add value to your life.
To make you feel fulfilled, to motivate you, and make life sweeter, brighter and more peaceful. At least most of the time.
But you must be able to attract the right relationship first, the one with POTENTIAL. Not the toxic narcissist that will lead you to a dead end road.
Believe me when I say that leaving a toxic relationship is one of the best decisions that you will ever make. Wishing you love, kisses, and blisses.