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How to Leave a Toxic Relationship & Look to the Future with Joy

Unhealthy relationships erode away at your self confidence and happiness. Learn how to leave a toxic relationship and reclaim your happiness again.

The right kind of relationship has the power to lift you off the ground and make you feel like you can conquer the world. It’s a wonderful feeling, but the exact opposite can happen when you’re in the wrong kind of relationship. Learning how to leave a toxic relationship is necessary to reclaim your future.

What is a toxic relationship?

What is a toxic relationship exactly? It covers a wide range of things, but basically means any relationship which has an imbalance of power, includes abuse of any kind *physical, emotional or mental*, manipulation, constant lying and cheating, theft, or anything else which causes you to feel unhappy and less than yourself.

This type of relationship is unhealthy; therefore, toxic to your happiness and well-being. The problem is, just because a relationship is toxic doesn’t mean there is no love there. You can still love someone very deeply and know that the relationship you’re in is toxic.

[Read: Here is how to recognize a toxic relationship]

Perhaps, you’re just not suited, and you bring out the worst in one another. It doesn’t mean you don’t love each other, but it does mean that staying together will not result in happiness.

How to leave a toxic relationship: 11 firm steps to move on

Whatever the picture, if you are in an unhealthy relationship, start thinking of the future and learning how to leave a toxic relationship behind. It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but it’s necessary for your future happiness.

#1 Understand and acknowledge the detrimental effects of the relationship. The first step is the hardest, because it means coming to the conclusion that your relationship has no happy outcome, and, therefore, no future. It will hurt, but the acknowledgement is key for learning how to leave a toxic relationship behind.

When you take off the blindfold and understand that your relationship is toxic, that’s when you know that you have to act. [Read: 18 emotions you shouldn’t feel in a healthy relationship]

#2 Seek support from loved ones. Leaving someone you love means leaning upon friends and family members to help you get through it. Talk to those around you. Be open and honest about what you’ve been going through. Be sure to listen to what they have to say, because they probably already know and have been waiting for this moment to come.

#3 Talk things through some more. Before you actually do anything and make a plan and strategy on how to leave a toxic relationship, get everything out in the open. That way, you will be able to move on without any nagging doubts that haven’t been addressed.

Sit and write it all down, talk some more to a friend or speak to yourself, whatever you need to get the details out of your mind and into the open. This will be a cathartic sensation and will give you confidence to move forwards, even though it still hurts and you still feel sad. [Read: How to take care of yourself emotionally and avoid falling apart]

#4 Make a plan. How are you going to leave? Do you live together? If so, where are you going to stay, or are you going to ask them to leave? If you’re married and you have joint finances, how is that going to work?

Make a plan that covers your specific circumstances and which feels right to you. Of course, when learning how to leave a toxic relationship, you also need to make sure that your plan is realistic.

#5 Make a final decision. Before you execute the plan, spend some time being sure in what you’re doing. The choice to leave isn’t wrong, but perhaps the way in which you’re doing it could be done differently. Taking the time to iron out the details beforehand will allow you to get out of there with minimal fuss, allowing the healing to start. [Read: 15 clear signs of a toxic relationship that’ll go from bad to worse]

#6 Execute your plan. Decide when you’re going to do it, and without any doubts or delays, just do it. If you have nagging thoughts, push them away. If you need a friend by your side when doing the deed, don’t hesitate to ask them.

It’s never going to feel good when you decide that you want to leave a relationship, whether you’re still in love or not. But keep the bigger picture in mind — you deserve better. [Read: How to get out of a toxic relationship with your dignity intact]

#7 Focus on positivity. In the first few hours and days after leaving, you’re bound to feel down and start questioning yourself, but focus on positives. You can now shape the life you deserve to have. No longer do you need to feel like you’re being dragged down.

Don’t focus on the positives in your relationship; however, focus on the positives in your future. It’s easy to sit there with the rose-tinted glasses on, but make sure that you remove them. See things as they truly are. It’s high up on the list of rules when learning how to leave a toxic relationship. [Read: How to survive the first 168 hours after a break up – The step-by-step guide]

#8 Lean on those around you. Your friends and family aren’t going to mind you leaning on them at this time, so don’t feel like you have to face it alone. Spend time with them, distract yourself, reconnect, and let them help in the battle to build yourself up again.

#9 Don’t look back. Block everything. When you leave your partner, make sure that you block them for a while. It might sound harsh, but you need the distance and separation to be able to overcome the grief of leaving someone you love.

They might be blowing up your phone with texts and social media messages, and that’s not going to help you. Block them out for a while. If you need to unblock them later on, to talk about house assets and the like, do so with a wall built around you, and only when you’re strong enough to face it. [Read: 15 reasons why your ex still texts you and wants to stay in touch]

#10 Expect to miss them, it’s normal. You might wonder why you miss someone who was part of your toxic relationship experience. Again, there’s love there and there are bound to be some happy memories amongst the bad. Expect to miss them, but remember that it’s part of the process and not a sign that you made a mistake. Distract yourself as best you can. [Read: How to stop obsessing over an ex and free your mind for something new]

#11 Give yourself time. You’ve been through a difficult patch. Learning how to leave a toxic relationship doesn’t mean that you’re suddenly okay and healed. The scars of your relationship may last for a long time. Depending upon the severity, you might need to seek support in the form of therapy. If that’s what you need, do it and embrace your bravery and positivity. [Read: A sample breakup conversation to break up with someone you love]

Whatever you need to do at this stage, do it. Take the time to focus on yourself. It’s time to build yourself back up again and that can mean anything you want it to mean. It can be going on a vacation, cutting your hair differently, learning a new language, or simply being happy and fulfilled within your own skin and not needing to be part of a relationship in order to feel that way.

[Read: These 15 signs of a bad relationship you should never, ever tolerate]

Learning how to leave a toxic relationship requires time and planning. The most important thing is to first acknowledge the problem. Breaking free is a brave step but a necessary one. Your future is far brighter than you might believe right now.

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