Once you’ve come to the painful conclusion that you’re in a relationship that isn’t right for you, perhaps even harder is to figure out how to remove yourself form that relationship. Many people are held back by fear, embarrassment and guilt when it comes time to break up – especially if a relationship has been long and you have genuine respect for the other person. In fact, even once we realize a relationship is toxic, we still feel love for the other individual and stick around – despite knowing better.
At the end of the day, staying in a situation that is not making you happy and fulfilled is toxic for you and everyone involved. If you find yourself in such a predicament, realize that your actions or lack thereof could be controlled by codependency or separation anxiety – you feel totally attached and dependent on another person, even though it’s a negative situation.
You might need to get the help of a friend or professional: counselor, psychologist or social worker. Here are some “layman’s” tips for taking the first steps out of a toxic relationship:
1. Be honest with yourself
You must challenge the behaviors in which you are currently engaging first, by recognizing the truth of the situation you are in. Come to terms with the difficult reality, analyzing the positives and negatives of the relationship you’re in. Study the ways in which you’re experiencing pain and sadness. The first step to solving a problem is knowing of its existence.
2. Truth vs. experience
Start differentiating between the way you see your situation or partner and the way it really looks, objectively. Someone who is close to you, but hurting you, might be getting the benefit of your excuses for their behavior. You must take a step back; pretend that you’re analyzing the situation for a close friend and not yourself. The goal is to have a clearer perspective of what’s going on, and stop making excuses or “myths” which perpetuate negative situations.
3. More of what you need
Quitting a person who checks some of our boxes, but not the really important ones, can be even tougher. For example: your boyfriend is successful and generous as well as great in bed. However, he refuses to commit to you and is verbally abusive. Identify which important, or “pillar,” needs of yours are not being satisfied. Do you need adventure and your partner is boring? Do you need security and your significant other is reckless? Once you get these straight, making a decision to leave will be easier and more logical.
4. Friends in need
Often, when people get into relationships, they start to, often accidentally, distance themselves from friends and family. For a big breakup, you will need the help of those friends. Create a support system for yourself, one which can provide you with advice, a listening ear, or even a place to stay if need be. This will make a painful transition at least slightly easier.
5. Commit to non-commitment
Once you have decided to break up, you must “marry” your decision. Being wishy-washy will only confuse the situation and everyone involved. Often we second-guess ourselves, not because we don’t know our own gut feelings, but because fear intervenes.
Moving forward from a painful relationship is never simple. There will never be an easy time or place to take the steps that are required. Hopefully, the steps mentioned above will make the process a bit clearer and more manageable.