Moving on after ending a relationship is fucking hard. Moving on after ending a toxic relationship is even fucking harder.
If you’ve successfully managed to put a stop to a relationship that was damaging, pat yourself on the back because sister – it’s not easy.
It’s been over three years since I finally decided to leave my 10+ year toxic relationship and I can proudly say I haven’t looked back. Not once.
I had tried to leave before. Many, many times. But something always sucked me back in and I would quickly find myself back in the hell of it all.
I reached a point where I said to myself, “I can’t continue like this. I can’t subject myself to this anymore.”
I desired something better. I felt utterly drained. I was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. Because that’s what toxic relationships do – they deplete you. They take everything you have until you are left with nothing.
I realized I had to stop blaming the person I was in the relationship with and start asking myself some tough questions.
Why am I choosing to stay in a relationship that is no longer serving me? Why do I keep putting myself through this? (emphasis on the word I)
I knew I had to do something different. Something to keep myself from going back. In this blog post, I want to share the 13 things I did that helped me move on from my 10 year toxic relationship and get me to a place where I am happy, healthy and thriving.
1. Gain support from your friends friends & family.
It’s time to spill the tea sis. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been keeping your relationship drama under wraps like it’s some classified government secret. My friends and family probably thought I was living in a rom-com, but little did they know it was more like a horror flick. They had no idea how terrible the relationship was and the things I was going through. When I finally decided I was done, I told them everything. And I don’t mean the PG-13 version. I gave them the rated R version with all the juicy details. They were shook (isn’t that what the kids are saying these days lol). Anyways, thank goodness I did because they helped hold me accountable. Ain’t no way in hell I gonna waltz back into that mess, honey. Once I tell my mama, it’s over for you!
2. Get a therapist.
Chatting it up with a certified pro who gets it— abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, narcissism — was a total game-changer for me! It was like having my own personal cheerleader, only they had a Ph.D. and not pom-poms. I got to spill my emotional guts, and guess what? They didn’t just nod and smile; they actually understood. It was so nice to have someone listen to me, validate what I experienced, and help guide my healing journey. I even uncovered some interesting stuff about myself that I never knew existed!
If you don’t know where to start on finding the right therapist, I recommend checking out BetterHelp! They’ve got a knack for matchmaking you with a therapist who’s budget-friendly and who can fit into your schedule.
3. Go on vacation.
One of the first things I did after I said, “boy, bye” was book a girls’ trip to visit one of my high school bestie’s out in LA. Let me tell you, it was an absolute blast to escape the drama, soak up some sun, and reunite with my friends (yep, that trusty support squad we talked about). I swear, the first year after the breakup, I traveled more than I ever did during the entire relationship.
4. Date… if you’re ready.
If you’ve been stuck in a toxic relationship, chances are your self-esteem is either non existent or at an all time low. Now, I can already hear you saying, “Why on earth would I even consider dating when my self-esteem is down in the dumps?” But hold your horses, because here’s the twist: dating can actually be a great way for rebuilding your self-esteem. But no need to rush into it if you’re not feeling it. I personally took a solid 5-6 months of self-love and healing before I started dating again.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with cautiously dipping your toes back into the dating pool. Consider dating apps (I used Hinge) which provided a low-pressure platform for casual conversations and potential meetups. It’s like a gentle reminder that, hey, there are decent people out there who actually appreciate your company. Remember, dating after toxicity isn’t about finding a new partner ASAP; it’s about regaining your glow, your self-worth, and confidence.
5. Set boundaries.
Setting boundaries can feel nearly impossible after a toxic relationship. But I promise, you can do it! And once you master it, you’ll feel like a powerful motherfucking boss! Cause guess what? You get to be the captain of your ship, setting the rules for what’s in and what’s out.
So, how do we start this boundary boot camp? Well, it’s simple but not always easy. I started by saying “no.” I said it to my ex, my friends, my family, my coworkers – hell, even my kids. If something didn’t sit right with me, I just said no. You might feel guilty at first, but trust me, over time, people will start to respect you more (and the ones who don’t can kick rocks) and even more importantly, you’ll start to respect yourself.
6. Don’t stalk them on social media.
Listen up, sis, this one’s important because I know you’ve been playing social media detective. Making those fake pages, interrogating your friends for updates, and even doing the “watch and block” trick (yes, we all know that one, LOL). But guess what? It’s time to cut that out.
All this snooping is doing you no favors. It’s like constantly poking a bruise and wondering why it still hurts. I understand that you probably want closure or some sort of insight into their life without you because I did too. But remember that social media rarely reflects anyone’s full reality.
So, here’s your homework: Block them. Today!
7. Consume motivational content
Now that you’ve successfully kicked that negativity to the curb, it’s time to fill that space with some positivity! Here are some great books and podcast recommendations that did wonders for me:
8. Accomplish a goal.
Toxic relationships can seriously demolish your self-worth. The good news is that you can resurrect it by setting and smashing some goals! It’s like a confidence-building rollercoaster, and trust me, it’s addictinggggg. Once you conquer one goal, you’ll be itching to tackle the next one! Which overtime will remind you just how capable, competent, and deserving of success you are.
9. Get active.
I could literally write a dissertation on why exercising is beneficial but I’ll spare you the details – just trust me on this (or hit up Google if don’t believe me). Lifting weights was a game-changer for my mental health. If the gym isn’t your thing there are other ways to get your sweat on. Nature walks, hikes, rock, dancing, Pilates, yoga, bike rides – you name it, it’s out there. Find something you enjoy doing and I promise you won’t regret it. It’s like therapy, but with better playlists and cute workout gear.
I want you to channel your inner writer. So grab a journal or open up the Notes app on your phone because we’re about to embark on a little self-discovery journey.
Step one: Make a list of all the reasons WHY that relationship was as toxic as rat poison.
Step two: Make a list of how being with that person made you feel. All the emotions, the highs, the lows, the drama.
Now, whenever that little voice in your head starts flirting with the idea of going back or reaching out, take a peek at this list. It’ll serve as your trusty reminder of what went down, those sneaky patterns of abuse or manipulation, and how those experiences have left their mark on you.
11. Deep cleanse.
After I left my ex I went full-on home makeover mode. I got new furniture, painted, and updated my wardrobe. This might sound “extra” but for me it symbolized a fresh chapter in my life. Having a brand new space allowed me to reclaim it as MY own. Now, I know everyone is not in the financial situation to start from scratch but there are plenty of little things you can do to reclaim your space. Start by deleting those old pictures, tossing out anything that screams “them,” rearranging the furniture, and voila – you’ve got yourself a mini transformation.
12. Join support groups and help others.
Joining a support group turned out to be the lifeline I desperately needed. At first, connecting with complete strangers and telling them my business made me really uncomfortable. But after hearing them share their stories, I realized I wasn’t stranded on my own little toxic love island.
Not only did I get the warm fuzzies from being understood, but I also had the chance to pay it forward. Sharing my own experiences, offering support and advice – it was like being a superhero in my own life story. Just like I hope this blog post will do for you!
If you’re clueless about where to find these support groups – check out Facebook. There are tons of groups on there for pretty much about anything.
13. Feel your emotions.
After that circus of a relationship, my emotions were like a rollercoaster on steroids. Anger, sadness, confusion, guilt – you name it, I had it. Initially, I tried to suppress these feelings. They made me feel weak and like a hot ass mess. My therapist advised me that embracing and feeling these emotions was crucial for my healing journey. She said I needed to acknowledge the pain, hurt, and trauma I’d endured. This meant allowing myself to cry, vent, or give myself space to grieve for lost time and love. And guess what? Feeling all those emotions wasn’t a sign of weakness, they were actually a testament to my strength.
Weaning yourself off anything you’re addicted to isn’t a walk in the park..
Whether it’s cigarettes, alcohol, unhealthy foods, or, in some cases, toxic relationships. Our minds have this trick called selective memory, conveniently leaving out the bad and highlighting those moments that make us feel “good.”
I’ve been where you are, and I understand the difficulty of this journey. What worked for me might just be your ticket to freedom, or, you might discover even better ways to break free. All in all, it’s about finding the inner strength to acknowledge the toxicity, face it head-on, and make a conscious decision to let go. It’s about recognizing your worth and saying, “I deserve better!”
As you embark on this path to healing, I want you to remember that you’re not alone. Many of us have walked this road and we came out stronger on the other side. My hope is that the insights and strategies I’ve shared in this post can help you towards a healthier, happier future, free from the shackles of a toxic relationship.