How to Move On After a Toxic Relationship
Learning to let go of sadness and love again can sometimes be difficult, but never impossible
No one intends to get sucked into a poisonous relationship, but no matter how sweet things may start out, sometimes they turn sour. Whether it’s the adrenaline-rush of the drama you crave, or the passion of making-up after yet another argument, it’s a vicious and unhealthy circle for both parties.
Often you won’t realise how deep an impact the toxic relationship and its negativity had on you. Hindsight can be a blessing, but until that comes, trusting someone new can be easier said than done.
When you do meet a new “special someone”, it can feel like a spotlight is shining on those dark memories of your ex, and the comfort of familiarity doesn’t look so inviting in that light. You might not want to go back, but you can also be afraid of starting anew. Here’s how you can open your heart again, and learn to go with the flow:
Make time for yourself
When you’ve come out of a bad relationship you need time to heal and rebuild yourself. That doesn’t mean you should say no to happiness if someone new comes along sooner than expected. The main thing is to make sure you’re feeling self-reliant, confident and in a good place as an individual. Don’t be afraid to take time away from a new relationship to have a night in by yourself, or hang out with friends. Being happy in yourself will contribute to a far healthier relationship going forward.
Wipe the slate clean
When you’ve been mistreated by a previous partner, it’s easy to put all the crimes of your ex on to someone new and assume they’ll be just the same. In fact, survey results from Your Tango prove that exes like to linger on the brain, with 81% of singletons saying they think about their ex too much.
You can get jealous and paranoid over the mention of a female colleague, or read too deeply into the 43 minutes and 12 seconds it’s taken for him to respond to your message. But try to have an open mind. Give him the chance to be everything your ex wasn’t.
This doesn’t mean unloading all the pent-up hurt from your toxic relationship on your new SO immediately. But be open to sharing your feelings and letting them know you might be sensitive to certain things. Honesty is good for your wellbeing. R S Feldman found that 60% of us lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation, but a study by A E Kelly found that people who made a conscious effort to be sincere reported significantly less health problems, with fewer headaches, sore throats, and feeling less tense. Open communication gives your new partner a chance to demonstrate how someone who cares about you will take your emotions into consideration, and do their best to take care of them. That definitely sounds like less of a headache, right?
Don’t let fear hold you back
Getting your heart broken sucks. Being in a relationship where you’re made to feel worthless is worse. But missing out on a chance to be happy because you’re afraid? That’s unforgivable. Don’t let previous experiences dictate your future chances of happiness.
Instead, see it as a self-development experience. In the words of the one and only Elsa: “Let it go.” As hard as it may seem, take the love antidote and let all the old poison out of your system. And don’t let a former toxic relationship infect your future happiness.