I think that when you open your heart up to someone in a relationship, you’re inviting them to take bits and pieces of it from you. I don’t mean that to sound as cynical as it may appear. Some people may come into your life and offer you an umbrella in the rain; whereas others will take your sunshine and throw water on you. Sometimes, someone may take something from you that you didn’t really need, and other times, someone will take something that was vital to your survival. Sometimes, the same person will do both. When that happens, try not to get scared. Try not to hold onto the past.
Just because there are good times in a relationship, this does not mean that those happy moments can outweigh the awful ones.
Have you heard of the investment theory? Essentially, it says that the more time, money, or resources you invest in something, the harder it becomes to get rid of it. Do you have an expensive outfit you don’t wear anymore, but won’t throw out because you worked overtime all summer to buy it? The same type of thinking happens frequently in relationships. When you start to think your relationship may be toxic, you may find yourself thinking of all of the good times the two of you have had together. Perhaps, your partner makes you laugh a lot. Maybe you really like their family or how thoughtful they can be.
But, try not to forget how they’ve made you lose your sanity, or how you’ve questioned every move they’ve made. You’ve never fully recovered from those painful events. Try as you might, you won’t be able to fully convince yourself that you can forgive what they’ve done. Once someone manipulates you into thinking you’re crazy or insecure, it’s time to leave.
I once had someone tell me that “If you treat someone like a prisoner, they’ll act like a prisoner.” Someone used this statement to blame me for being unfaithful. Let’s be clear; you cannot make someone act a certain way. You are never the reason someone hurts you.
Cliché as it may be, hurt people hurt people.
It’s always so much harder to leave a toxic relationship when you’re the one in it. You’ve invested your time, energy, and money into this. Maybe you never thought you’d go on another first date again or have to make new memories with someone new. That can be scary.
Trust me when I tell you that this hurt won’t last forever. You will continuously thank yourself for removing yourself from a toxic relationship. You’ll realize that there is this whole other world you get to experience without worrying about anyone other than yourself.
I’ll be honest, things can feel odd and out of place at first. You will meet someone who will make you feel that way you may have thought you’d never feel again. On your way to your first few dates, you will get butterflies again. Although you may feel happy, you will always be prepared for sad times.
The first date with a stranger after a breakup always feels weird. You may find yourself in new territory as you sit there in a silence that is really only four or five seconds, and you may think the person isn’t into you. If you look closely, you’ll see your date starstruck, silently mesmerized by you. Look at how they focus on the way your lips outline your teeth as your smile. The first date will remind you how new and exciting meeting other people can be. The first kiss will give you butterflies and a smile that will last until your eyes close for the night.
Toxic relationships are hard to leave.
Instead of tying stones to your feet, your partner will add pebbles every so often. Slowly, the air will become harder to inhale, and you’ll be dancing with your toes along the sand. Once the pebbles have become too heavy, your partner will ask you to swim and get mad at you for not being able to do the impossible. Crushing your soul for the sole purpose of making someone else happy isn’t heroic or noble. Please stop living in this illusion that your partner’s apologies are enough.