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How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You’re Still in Love

Clinging girlfriend

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~Marilyn Monroe

Why does it have to hurt so badly?

You’re so in love, but your relationship has become toxic. It simply can’t continue.

Night after sleepless night, you lie awake replaying the fights in your head.

You can’t understand why your partner won’t change or how they can simply ignore how you feel. You wonder if they ever truly loved you.

You’ve tried everything to save your relationship, but nothing’s worked. You know it’s time to end it, yet the thought of being alone petrifies you.

But still, the pain has become too unbearable. If you don’t end things now, you might completely lose yourself.

Learning to Let Go

Letting go of someone you care about is definitely a difficult thing to do.

I was forced to accept that my relationship with my ex wasn’t meant to be.

The lies and the cheating became too much to handle. And to make matters worse, he was also physically abusive to me.

The blows were so unexpected. I never knew if the next argument would put me in the hospital, or maybe worse, be my last.

I wanted him to stop hurting me. I wanted him to understand that his behavior tore me apart inside.

I wanted him to change.

It didn’t matter how much I loved him. It didn’t matter if I was the best woman or friend in the universe; nothing would have worked.

Was he really worth all of this?

No, he wasn’t. And I knew I needed to get him out of my life.

If you’re stuck in a toxic relationship, know that you can find the strength to get yourself out of it and move on.

Realize That You Deserve Better

Sometimes, loving someone just isn't enough if you aren’t receiving the same love in return.

It’s like putting work into an old, broken-down car. No matter how much sweat and tears you put into it, it will never be the same again.

The time you waste on the wrong person prevents the right person from coming your way.

How can they come into your life if you already have that space filled?

It took me a long time to realize this.

If you had told me back then that I would have found a man who truly loved and respected me for who I was, I would have never believed you.

I had to let go.

Shortly after as I let go of my abusive relationship, I met my husband. He is the reason I believe in true love today.

I am living proof that you can experience true love if you just believe that something much better is out there for you.

You may not know who they are, or when they will come, but they are waiting on you to let go so that they can come into your life.

Stop Waiting for Your Partner to Change

This is the biggest mistake a person can make when deciding to stay in a relationship in which you’re being mistreated.

You have to accept that the only person you control in this world is yourself.

Unless the other person owns up to their mistakes, and shows the desire to get help, they probably won't change.

They may promise to change and turn things around for the better.

They may even be genuine about their intentions at that moment.

But more than likely, things will stay the same, especially if they made promises in the past that they didn't fulfill.

Change has to come from within; it can’t be forced. Only then do things have a chance of working themselves out.

I thought my ex would change for me. I thought that if I tried hard enough to convince him how much he hurt me, he would have no choice but to change. But I was wrong.

Sometimes our judgment is clouded. Sometimes we simply want to see the best in someone. Sometimes we’re just so afraid of being alone.

Regardless of what we tell ourselves, some relationships are just irreparable.

Accept That It Will Hurt

There is no easy way of getting around it.

It’s going to hurt. And it’s going to hurt a lot!

You’re worried about missing the feeling of being desired and wanted, the intimate and close moments you shared.

Instead of being just a part of your life, they have become your entire life. You have forgotten how to live for yourself.

Getting over the initial discomfort of being alone is the hardest part. But once you get past that stage, life becomes a whole lot easier.

The lessons you learn along the way will allow you to grow and become a better person.

The pain will not last forever. Time is your best friend.

When I ended my relationship with my ex, I tried everything I could to distract myself. I figured that if I didn’t think about it, the pain would eventually disappear.

When that didn’t work, I tried to think of ways to mend our relationship rather than end it. I figured that accepting the disappointment in him was easier to handle than being lonely.

That was another failed attempt at avoiding heartache.

At some point, I knew I had to accept that it would never work out, and any route I took to end it wouldn’t be an easy one.

If you work through the pain, instead of trying to avoid it, you limit the chances of your feelings coming back to haunt you later on.

Use Crying As a Cure

The best thing you can do for yourself is to release the pain. Don’t hold it in.

Sometimes, we are expected to be strong when we’re dealing with tough situations.

I’ve found that to be ineffective.

The more I tried to hold in my pain and be strong, the worse I felt, and I eventually stressed myself out.

So what did I do?

I cried.

I cried over and over again, and then I cried some more.

Yup, you heard me right.

I cried like a baby!

I stopped pretending everything was okay. I allowed the tears to keep falling until I felt they couldn't fall any longer. It lasted a few weeks, but I felt like a new person when it was over.

The tight feeling in my chest was no longer there. I began to think clearer and notice that things weren’t truly as bad as I thought they were.

I started smiling again. I started noticing the sun shining and the beautiful clouds in the sky. I was no longer in that dark place. I felt brand new.

Instead of trying to be strong, crying can help with the healing process.

Take Some Time Off

Sometimes, it seems like the end of the world, even though it’s not.

Your mind attempts to play tricks on you, making you believe that happiness isn’t possible any longer.

But that isn’t true.

Often, the best cure for pain is time.

By resting your heart, mind and soul, you give yourself a chance to heal. This is also the best time to get to know you.

Maybe there’s a hobby that you love or an activity you enjoy doing.

For me, it was baking. Even though it didn’t completely take my mind off of things, it allowed me to spend time alone doing something I really enjoyed.

And I appreciated that.

Eventually, I began focusing more on myself, and less on my situation.

It didn’t work immediately, but over time, it helped a lot.

If you allow it, each day will become a little easier. Time heals.

And even though my relationship didn’t work out as planned, I realized I could still enjoy my life.

Happiness is Within Your Control

Your life isn’t over. Taking back control begins with you.

Everyone needs help at one time or another. You don’t have to go through this alone.

If you’re in a toxic relationship, there are people that can help you. Seeking help from your loved ones, a professional or even a clergy member, can help you get back on your feet.

I am living proof that you can get through this. You can overcome your situation.

Just imagine finally being happy again and enjoying the things that you used to love. No more worrying about the future. You are finally content with the present.

The load has been lifted off of your chest. The tears no longer fall.

You finally realize you deserve better. It may seem unimaginable right now, but it’s definitely possible.

If you make the choice today, you are one step closer to a happier tomorrow.

You can do it. I believe in you. Now it’s time for you to believe in yourself.

Make a declaration that today starts the healing process. From now on, you will work toward living the amazing life you deserve.

**If you believe you are in a dangerous situation, please seek help. Don’t wait. Contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline for help. You can find additional free resources here.

Clinging woman image via Shutterstock

About Tiffaney Kennedy

Tiffaney Kennedy is a mentor whose passion is helping women overcome life’s toughest challenges. Sign up to receive your free copy of "56 Motivational Quotes That Will Change Your Life."

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  • What a beautiful post, Tiffany. It is so, so, so difficult to leave an abusive relationship, for so many reasons it’s difficult to count. You showed enormous courage, and my, look what you learned in the process.
    So proud and happy for you!

  • Hi Susan!

    Thank you so much for your kind words! I hope my experience will help someone else going through a similar situation.

    Best,

    Tiffaney

  • Lizanne Knott

    Thank you for your profound words, such good advice.

  • Hi Diane,

    Thank you for your comment. An abusive relationship is extremely hard to get over, but with help, you can definitely move on and live a happy life! Thank you for sharing your site.

    Best,

    Tiffaney

  • Thank you Lizanne. I appreciate your kind words.

    Best,

    Shanda

  • Shannon

    Thanks for your article.

    It seems two statements are somewhat contradictory.

    “If you had told me back then that I would have found a man who truly loved and respected me for who I was, I would have never believed you.

    I am living proof that you can experience true love if you just believe that something much better is out there for you.”

    Did you believe or not believe?

  • Hi Shannon,

    Thanks for your question. If you notice, in the first sentence I stated, “If you had told me back then….” Back then I didn’t believe. I was in such a terrible situation that I couldn’t see beyond my current circumstance. But now, since I have healed and moved on, I definitely believe that you can find someone who truly loves and respects you. That’s because now I’m living proof. And since I am living proof, I can help others that don’t believe it’s possible. Hope that clarified my statement.

    Best,

    Tiffaney

  • rory richardson

    AWESOME! Just ended a relationship. It hurts so bad but I cant change anyone and I am finally learning at 40 what I need. He can tell me he will do better 1000 times, but never did. I cant lose my happiness -and I was doing that. I cry, too. It helps. Thanks so much for the encouraging words:)

  • Shannon

    Yes, I agree proof makes it easy to believe. It’s like it’s easy to have faith when things are going well. What if all the proof and evidence I have shows me that I won’t find love? I guess I’m saying it’s easy to believe you won the lottery after you’ve won the lottery. But for those of us who haven’t yet, we can’t believe it.

  • rt

    I am leaving my marriage of 28 years and doing it alone since announcing I was separating. I decided my life was too important to continue sacrificing it for my husband’s happiness and life. I have to start again, but I have given myself hope to find and be happy in a life where my life matters. The day I decided to separate was the day my crying finally stopped. After having believe this was how I had to live for the rest of my life.
    When you finally realize you deserve so much better, no matter what you have or own, everything is possible. Just believe it! We all deserve to be happy, no matter what. Good luck!

  • Paula

    It is the difference between faith and evidence. If you need evidence to believe something then you most likely never will believe it until it happens (and it may not obviously). If you have faith then you can believe in the absence of evidence. Try Wayne Dyer’s book “when you believe you will receive”. He goes into that concept much more there.

  • Thanks Paula! Very well said.

    Best,

    Tiffaney

  • Hi Rt,

    Your courage is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Best,

    Tiffaney

  • rt

    Hi Paula always love books on personal growth could you please advise the title of Wayne Dyer’s book this quote came from. Thank you.

  • rt

    Thank you Tiffaney for your kind words. It’s people like you who share their experience to help people like me believe and know everything is possible. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • rt

    Thank you so much Paula. Greatly appreciated.

  • Thank you for the article. I think the reason so many people become stuck in toxic relationships is simply because they value the thoughts and feelings of their significant other over their own feelings. I guess you could call it a lack of self-love or low self-esteem.

  • Artaffected

    The biggest hurdle, for an eternal optimist, is recognizing the toxicity for what it is and not trying to justify it or think it will disappear or change. Huge lesson here after 7 years with a self-serving narcissist. Yup. Thanks for sharing, Tiffaney!

  • disqus_AxVu9XwcIQ

    Thanks for the article Tiffany. I am now divorced for the last 5 months. I knew the relationship was toxic and verbally abusive yet I stayed because of our child who is 2.5. He ended things unexpectedly and was very abusive and blamed me for everything. I was bowled over and just cried for an entire month. I literally am starting from scratch since I gave up a really good job, left my home and moved to a different country. I am now back home with my son thankfully. I am grateful for my family and the support. I am seeing a therapist and excercise but finding it difficult now since I found out he’s in a new relationship. I know we were doomed. I know it was toxic and I lost myself but it hurts that he has moved on. I’m angry and disappointed. Your article gives me hope and I know it’s journey ahead I just hope I can move past this hurt.

  • Melissa

    Your mind is trying to trick you into thinking that the relationship you were in was not as bad as you thought. What you have to realize is that you owe it to your son and yourself to seek a more healthy way of life. It is hard to start over, but you have taken a huge step in the right direction! Keep walking. It is normal to feel angry and disappointed in the fact that your ex has moved on. In time, it will not matter to you what he is doing as you will have re captured you own life again.

  • LoversAnxiety

    I’m in a crappy situation. I’m 24 my man is 33. I have two sons and he has one.. Our sons love each other. All bonded like brothers! My man and my youngest son are bonded the closest.. To the point my man claims him as his own and has even told me he loves him more then any one even his own son. Which is another story.. But even though he’s amazing wit my son.. He is not with me. Constant disrespect.. Bitch to him is equal to woman in his vocabulary (literally sees no problem in it). And the fights are everyday… He tells me it’s my fault and too be honest I’ve gotten so far I believe most of it is my fault. Maybe I don’t understand him because he’s older? I don’t know…. It just sucks. I think what hurts the most is expecting people to change or to be appreciative for everything you do but they don’t care at all. It’s actually expectant for them that you do those things. hard to please someone who expects to be pleased.. They don’t see the hard effort. Not to mention the affection it’s never been there.. Maybe I’m over affectionate? But I hate no getting a kiss on the forehead or a “your beautiful” more often then “lame ass bitch.” Idk there are just so many problems but all I focus on is trying to make them Better instead of saying “Fuck this guy, if he doesn’t care why should I?” Life’s rough.

  • SMC

    hi

    i broke up with my ex 4 moths ago (My first relationship). We had a fight on first trip. Then patched up. He commited try to work things out, hope good things stay true forever. A month later he sent me text to end the relationship; Reason being no passion/sparks better of being friends. Frankly speaking I felt ghosted, cheated. Betrayed. Despair. Unfollowed him & his common friends. No closure attained. It hurts me & kill my self esteem.

    We’re not in contact since then. I’ve been working to improve my fitness, getting on with my life. Picked up new hobby which happens to be his as well. Keeping myself distract.
    New people & hobby reminds me of him >.< I might be escaping the reality..

    Certain time i still gets reminder of the past. I still thinks bout him. I do hv the urge to text him. But I dont knw if i want him back? or what to do..

  • SMC

    I continue to work. Carry out my duties. Post break up break kept postponing for some reason.. I might be pretending strong. Actually deep down i need comfort.

  • moosie

    This was such a heartfelt article – thank you for sharing your experience

  • kangaroo

    What if the other person does not let you go? What if he always comes and begs and you are tired to close the door on him all the time. He does not want to accept that it is finished. It is ended.

  • LovenoLimit

    “I felt ghosted, cheated. Betrayed. Despair”. Just how I felt. It’s a hurtful horrible feeling. You have the urge to text him because you’re looking for a way to have that broken heart mended. I know…I was there. Not a good idea. It’s like putting a band aid over a bullet wound. It’s like drinking or taking drug to escape the hurt. It’ll make you feel better for the moment, then something will happen and the hurt starts all over again. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s better to let it burn and eventually get over it than to cont to get your heart broken over and over and over again. And it may not be him you miss, but what you thought he was. I speak from experience.

  • Jamie

    Thank you for writing this, I am dealing with that stage of trying to make it work and just begging myself to be happy with what the relationship IS but I’m not okay with what it is……I want normal things in life & he used to talk about the same things but something changed in him that I can’t seem to reach so I’m alone even when we are together. It’s so painful to want to be hugged or kissed by someone sitting next to you but if you reach out they cringe away from you. Omg. I seriously am killing my own heart piece by piece allowing this to continue. Every single time we break up……when we get back together it feels so good & is like heaven but after a few days it always returns to hell. I have been through alot in life lately & he was part of my healing but slowly resented me and became part of my pain which of course had slowed my personal healing to a complete halt, possibly even added to the bad in many ways. The good we share is so incredible but the bad is by far one of the worst relationships and heartache I have ever had. How is it possible to feel so much love and hate from the same person within minutes? It makes no sense to me.
    Sorry so much…
    Sincerely,

    Heartbroken beyond recognition

  • Em

    I’ve dealt with this. It makes it extremely hard to move on, when you’re already in a vulnerable position, to deal with their refusal to let go. Yet everyone tells you to cut them off, like it’s so easy. I always wonder, and think it is one of the hardest aspects of this, is how can someone who says they love you when they demonstrate the opposite..

  • Ayden Bremner

    One of the best articles ever… just the way in which you wrote it Tiffaney. Thank you for your heart share, logic, truth! In these situations, (or anything you are truly interested in researching) you should read a lot online and talk to lots of people. I have read dozens of writings,, talked to dozens of allies, and spent dozens of eternities mulling over my situation. This essay today is just what I needed on my path. Again, thank you, and Bless your life 😉
    Namaste

  • Ateli

    I lobe this thank you so much. I will read this everyday until I’m fully healed.

  • Ateli

    I love this article. Thank you so much. I’m trying to end the toxic relationship I am in. And today starts the healing process. I’ll make sure to read this as a reminder that it’s okay to let go. And to put my happiness first.

  • Princess

    Hi..I’ve been with this guy for 4 months and I really fell for him but he lies, he cheats, keeps secrets from me, and icing on top of the cake is the verbal abuse every single day. I tried breaking up with him but every time I see him packing, I can’t take it and I beg him to stay. I can’t seem to let him go even if I know I should. Please help me.

  • Hello Tiffany,
    I have an indistinguishable issue from you, and I am truly choking out now yet I do feel despite everything I adore him. I have to escape this relationship all together not to be befuddled and controlled, is truly dangerous for him to control my life and the same goes for you. It harms like damnation without a doubt yet is to improve things, most certainly will be, simply need to give time, time.

  • J

    Hello Tiffaney,

    Your article really spoke to me.. I just wanted to say thank you for this.

  • JJ

    I’ve been with my man for 15 months and I truly love him but even now he tells me he doesn’t want a relationship. He tells me he’s not with anyone else and that should be enough for me without having to define this as a relationship. He knows I love him and what I want. We leave each other constantly but it only lasts a few days.
    What’s worse is that I am the one who makes all of the effort. He lives almost an hour from me and I drive to him multiple times a week. He never comes to me, even though I always ask. I’ve done everything he’s ever asked me to do. I always help in any way I can. I feel like I’m always giving and he is always taking and I’ve put up with it because I love him so much. I try to “cut him some slack” because was abused as a child in more ways than I can mention so when he acts like I mean nothing to him I try to be understanding and consider what he needs and what would make him happy. But when I ask him to anything for me he always has an excuse- he’s too tired, too busy, etc. I’ve made myself a doormat who is desperate to please him and he knows that. How can he respect a person like me. He’s never been physically or verbally abusive. He just won’t commit or let me go. And I’ve tried to leave him but I don’t know how.
    I wanted to be the one that didn’t give up on him. The one who loved him no matter what and to see this thing through. If he decides to leave me one day than so be it. At least I know that I did everything in my power to make him feel as loved and as valuable as I could. But I don’t know how much more I can take. When he wants to see me he is relentless!! Constant texting and calling to see where I am. And when I do him we both smile and have wonderful times. But on the other days he is so terribly dismissive and curt, as if I was bothering him. I don’t know how much I should put up with because of his past or if I’m just some desperate woman with no self res

  • queen bee

    I don’t worry about being alone.. I relish the thought. I worry about him. I’m the only thing keeping him from being homeless. We have a son together and when I’ve tried leaving before he lashes out in the most hurtful ways possible. He says it’s my fault our son won’t have a father. I get that that’s his choice, not mine. But art of me still feels responsible for his well being. (not that he’s ever gone out of his way for me or our son.) We are already living apart, so that helps. But he tells me I can’t just “break up with him, we’re married” and every time I have left him, he just resumes calling me baby girl and goes into super sweet mode until I fall back into everything, like an idiot, then everything is business as usual.. Help!!

  • Sarah

    I actually ended up being the one who was left in this scenario. With him quoting that I wasn’t ‘ready’ for a relationship because I didn’t ‘love myself’. Yet every time I tried to be open, vulnerable and honest it was thrown back in my face. In all honesty he was a rebound from another toxic relationship – he never made my heart sing until I made it sing. He seemed the lesser of two evils, offering me everything and more than my ex didn’t; doting love, admiration, acceptance, understanding. After only one short month that started to transcend into criticisms, elements of control and very little real respect for me and the fact I was in a stressful situation. I was never comfortable asking for space, or indeed making any of my needs known (towards the end). He shouted at me, told me that I was hard to love, and that I was “needy”. He would say it was me not being happy in myself, and he really turned every insecurity about myself around on itself. My head likes to tell me it’s all my fault, I am only saying this from a momentary period of strength. But my god, no one got inside my head like he did. And I hope to god that no one else will. Terrifying. I hope that I will be okay. This is so hard

  • Janet

    I hope you’ve found the strength now. I was in your position and eventually he left me. I wouldn’t have left him. Sending you love and compassion. It will get better x

  • Aoife

    Thanks for sharing your story. Although I think every break up is different and it really depends on the individuals involved. Not everyone walks out of an abusive relationship into a loving marriage. I think it’s mis leading to say the right person is waiting for u but can’t get to you because you’re in an abusive relationship. It sounds like blame to me which is very damaging to someone who is being abused and already probably blames themselves a lot. So perhaps since this story is clearly just about you, you could speak in the ‘I’ and leave the ‘you’ out of it.

  • MJ

    Hi there,

    I’m currently going through this as we speak. I will admit, I’m struggling so very much. I am scared of being alone, I’ve put my life into this relationship and to know it was all a waste. I see a light at the end of the tunnel, I’m so afraid to go on.

    I cannot bring myself yet to end things in which I hope I do so soon.
    Your post helped me so much, thank you Tiffaney.

    Love, MJ

  • Amy

    Really enjoyed reading this article and crying my pregnant butt off. But from now on im taking control of My life and try to give my son a better example of life and how love should really be.
    I knew the type of man he was from the beginning and still decided he was the one. Thinking he was 10 years older than me i thought maybe he was more mature and knew what he wanted. But over the time i realized how hurtful and mean he was. I left him once and he promised to go to therapy for his anger, he went twice after that he stopped and went back to normal. I have realized that my sons need to see their mom happy instead of seeing me cry all the time or be scared of him. Im 24 years old i dont feel like im immature at all i have done everything for him. His house is clean dinner is always made daily clothes always washed my son nice and clean. I handle all the bills. I guess i just give too much and never got anything back. You have truely inspired me. And i thank you for this.
    Im walking away for good.
    Thanks

  • Amy Hadfield

    I’ve been with my partner for 4 years and the first couple of years he was so sweet ,the nicest guy ive ever met,but now its coming to and end i can feel it in my heart but i love him with all my heart and i can’t let go we have been through alot hes cheated twise and it killed me inside I’ve tried to get over it and sometimes it just pops up in my mind randomly,my confidence at the minute is at its all time lowest , i know i need to leave but i can’t i just stay because i love him even though its hurting me ,he promises he will change but i just don’t see it ,i just dont know what to do anymore can someons please give me advice as my heads a right mess at the minute

  • Lan H.W.

    Hi Sarah – I really hope that this man in your life is officially out of your life. I think that men like him are difficult to skate off when all they want to do is control your life. I hope that you are not still struggling with taking control of your own life. You are going to make it to happiness because you deserve it ❤

  • Deedee

    So true, I’ve been in s toxic relationship for over a year now. Every time I try to leave he sweet talks me back. I have made up my mind to end this. It’s been over 2 weeks since we seen each other. He just reached out to me and I had to block him

  • Christy

    I wish I had your courage. I wish I could be strong and just let go. I’m so tired of having to feel like I have to constantly worry about my husband. I just wish I could change my life

  • rt

    Hi Christy,I’ve been in your situation and totally understand how extremely hard and difficult this decision is to make. And having no support from family and friends was another blow for me. But I weighed up if I could keep giving my life away. Could I live like this for the rest of my life. Was causing me so much heartache and unhappiness. And this gave me the inner strength to let go.But it took time Christy to make this decision.
    Three years of crying and another three years of trying to make it work by both of us going to counselling,but nothing.
    So I decided to build my strength and courage by getting support from counsellors. Reading a lot of self help books and blogs online to strengthen and help me cope.This is what has helped me and continues to and no matter how hard, I would never go back. I’ve given myself the chance of finding happiness again and owning my life and that’s what I stay focused on.
    But the only person who can tell you when you’re ready Christy is you. And the advice I can give you from my experience is, find your support system to help build the strength and courage to help you decide what you want to do. Which will also help you with your pain.
    Good luck and all the best! xo

  • kara jade

    I am in the same position as you, somebody please help me. I am 17, I am so in love and I don’t know what to do. He has cheated, he has abused me, I have made mistakes but nothing close to him. He can be so sweet, but he can also put me down so much. I am constantly dwelling on unresolved arguments but I don’t know how to leave. The last time we broke up it was hell, I couldnt eat or sleep I was so stuck, somebody please just talk to me I dont know what to do! I am on the verge of suicide, I am so broken.

  • lee

    i have been in a relationship for 11 years and throughout those 11 years theres been so much lies cheating and physical abuse. We have a daughter who worships him and i have two kids from a previous relationship who hate him. slowly i feel myself dying. He waits for me to fall asleep at night and leaves to see other woman. I have become neurotic. Buying locks etc. When I try leave, he attempts suicide and makes me feel guilty. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place right now.

  • karen

    Listen I know the very last thing you want to hear is that time heal all wounds, but it actually does, but it looks like you are young you will have plenty of time to grow older and realized that there will be so many things in life worth living for, I know got a FACT that it’s hard as hard can get and those feelings of hurt are real, especially if you are to the point of contemplating your on life, your partner probably knows where the right buttons are, and they take full Advantage of it, we want our love to be recepitcated back to us in the same manner but a lot of the times it hardly ever 50/50 and the more we try,beg,compromise& even Pray the other person usually stays the same, I implore you to give your self a chance to look at your life as special and meaningful, your decisions on what your life is worth is more than you can EVER EVER imagined, esp against someone who is not seems not to really care,about how and what they do to you, LISTEN PAIN IS REAL AND ENDING A LIFE IS PERMANENT!!!!! HONEY PLEASE GIVE YOURSELF SOMETIME, PLEASE, I’m not sure if you know JESUS but call or keep calling on him and shed your TEARS&FEARS with him, I have sincere hope you will be better, the next thing you know you have a first job talking about shopping and saving up to have some fun at Disney World ☺

  • Denai Marie

    He was my first. I needed it to work. I’ve put the best of me into it, but I was never enough. There’s no empathy in our relationship. He tells me how stupid I am, how I always f*ck shit up. How I’m useless for not moving fast enough to get him what he needs or answer his questions right. It’s so hard not to be defensive. I love him., but it isn’t enough. I always turn it on myself even when I know it’s not my fault. If I could be more like him do what he wants the way he would then he would love me. He says my
    feelings don’t matter, all that matters is getting things done right. I know he doesn’t love me the way I so desperately need him to and I know he probably never will. I know the relationship is hurting me as a person. I cry almost every day, my self esteem no longer seems to exist. He doesn’t remember most of what he says after whatever sets him off. I wanted so much from this relationship. I had someone else who was interested in being with me, but I made some irrevocable choices in such a short time. I love his kids and I think they love me. I never really learned to cook though, and he has no patience with anything. Puts me down when I don’t do things the right way. I still wish I could save this relationship even though I know it’s hurting me. Wish he could how much I love him, how hard I’ve tried, how valuable I am just because I’m me, but I don’t think he ever will. He’s attacked my character, completely shattered me, given me nothing in return. I have nowhere to go. I live with him and his kids. I pray every day but sometimes it’s all I can to just get through the day intact. It’s not fair. He was supposed to love me. He’s supposed to be my safety, he’s supposed to love me the way I love him but his words say he doesn’t. I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to leave yet, but think I will get there. There are things I wanted that he can’t give me. I will never have a child with someone that would shame me to that child. I’m thirty six, and I am afraid that I will never have even one. The love and respect and the equality I long for. None of it’s there, yet I’m still here. Still loving a man who will most likely never be able or interested in meeting any of my needs. Why am I doing this? Why do I still long and chase after what I know is a dead end?

  • KEng

    Your story inspired me. Im in denial of a toxic relationship but all the signs are there… It will take alot of courage to put an end of what i thought was right for me. It only made me feel worse about myself holding on to the hope that things might change. Im relieved that i was never alone with this kind of relationship. Hopefully in time and with my friends’ears and shoulders i will be able to let go and bring myself back coz i think i deserve happiness….

  • Mdsz

    It gets very complicated, when we are on the other side – toxic for the other person we love. It’s been half a year after saying my love vows to her. We are married and every day we move on towards more obligations, but still the things I did to her before Our relationship started make her regret our past. I’m accused of having sentimental feelings towards the person I’ve been meeting for half a year before she started getting closer to me. The person I’ve been meeting was my ex – but after 6 years of not being toghether. We only did things for the academy and occasionaly played games and walked to gallery with other people. I haven’t done anything I do for every other person that I did for her. My spouse also saw all of my messages I wrote to her in these times and there was no romantic theme whatsoever, just joking and talking shit. She thinks till this day she and her were options and I chose the one that felt more aproachable. We’ve entered our relationship with no trust on her side. It wasnt so obvious back then but after 3 years of our relationship the past doesnt let go of her. She forgets and reminds her past regullary. We cry every weekend and during longer periods of free time. When the work is on, week seems to pass, but when there is more time to think, we are getting destroyed by feelings. I cannot change the past and often blame her for agreeing to be with me, getting married, without her forgiving me and she blames herself for getting close to person who make her feel pain. I tried my best to explain it to her, but am just overwhelmed and tired after years of fighting. I cannot change the past and she cannot forgive. I have to let it go until she grabs the knife again and wants to kill herself during our crying periods… I became toxic to her and made her unstable… Yet she still says she wants to divorce and then again that she loves me. The cycle gets repeated over and over.. This week I got day off and will go with her to her parents. I’ll leave her with people who can take care of her and I will go. Even though I made a promise to love her forever… I have to leave and let her meet the person that will make her feel secure and worthy. It’s never easy for both of sides.

  • Ryan Tascar

    Its like your words were living. Started crying when i saw the words. You are beautiful, sending love, thank you.

  • Isabelle Green

    This article and the comments below are all very inspiring. Before I go on, does anybody know of an online support group or a group on facebook for women who are trying to get out or have gotten out of a toxic relationship? I have been in a toxic relationship for almost 2 years now and it’s destroying my life to the point that I don’t even feel that I exist. I feel like I am in a dream all the time, being controlled by him. I have tried numerous times to let him go and the pain afterwards is so unbearable that I end up crawling back… and if I do have the courage to not see him, he’ll come back and charm me again. He is so convincing every time and he promises that he wants to get help but nothing ever happens. We will go through this honeymoon phase which seems to be more and more intense every time and I look forward to it even though I know after this phase the abuse will begin again. Strangely I also look forward to the abuse in a morbid way. It’s like I need to be treated this way. However, this relationship has completely destroyed my life. I can’t work because I can’t concentrate, I lost my kids for a while, I am depressed and don’t know who I am anymore and I spend my days crying. I took the decision yesterday that I have to put my foot down and end this once and for all. So I am doing everything I can now. I am reaching out, reading, gathering strength, I will try to spend time with positive people, and do things that I like even though I don’t really eel like it I will force myself. I just wish there was some kind of support group online that we could turn to in difficult moments.. it might help me through this.

  • Darryl Ruby

    I read your article and find the first person look at removing yourself from a toxic relationship refreshing. I know that the vast majority associate abuse with men vs women but I’m living proof the the opposite is also true. I have a history of attracting abusive partners. I’m now relentlessly reading as many articles, studies and first hand accounts of domestic mental abuse as I can find. I’m slowly becoming aware that I’m an enabler and as well meaning as I believe I am, I’m actually creating a very fertile breeding ground for more abuse. I’m at the very beginning of my quest to rid myself of the traits that I possess that breeds abuse. Learning how and when to say no without feeling guilty is really hard. I have a lot of work to do but I’m learning that I’m actually setting myself up for failure by my refusal to recognise the red flags that are present at the beginning of the abusive relationship. Love bombing, jumping into being physical way too fast, becoming infatuated at the slightest amount of attention and so on. I’m also learning that boundaries do matter and reasonable boundaries should never change, be loosened or be negotiated. Someone that cares about you won’t even consider testing reasonable boundaries. Abuse sucks. Period. I’m better than what I have settled for and I will no longer settle just so I’m with someone. It’s way better to be lonely and alone, than to be lonely with your partner. I will overcome!!

  • Hi Isabelle,

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been going through this. But you definitely have hope and you can get through it. I’ve been through so many rough times in my life, and I managed to get through every single one. I’m amazed by all the love and support I received from writing this post. So many heartfelt stories have been emailed to me. And then I saw your comment yesterday and you motivated me to do something I’ve been meaning to do for months. I just started a Facebook group for those who are dealing with toxic relationships. I want this to be a space where people can share their stories and seek advice from one another. I will also chime in to give my opinion and advice as well. I believe if you have the support from others who are dealing with similar situations, It will make your situation much easier to deal with. Please join the group. I just started it last night so I’m the only member lol. I hope to grow this group into something amazing that will help people all over the world move on from their toxic relationships. Thank you so much for inspiring me.

    Tiffaney 🙂
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Sufferedbutsurvived/?ref=group_cover

  • Isabelle Green

    Great I sent a request to join the group. I am looking forward to seeing it grow and it being a place where I can turn to for help and strength to get through this. Thank you for you comments. I am strong… I can do this!

  • Your welcome Isabelle! And thank you for joining the group. I KNOW you can do this. I believe in you!!

  • Stronger Still

    I’m leaving the warm embrace of 2 dear friends about a week and a half after I lost my husband, home and our dear feline to my partner’s violent rage attack on me, I was in harms way that morning so I ran with shoes in hand for my life! The attacks kept coming by text and email for me never to come back. He would pack my things and then the defaming attempts to my direct support system. And now my overshare. Headed to nature to wail with brand new everything. Purify heart with self love

  • Ironpyrites

    I went into depression after my wife and I couldn’t have children. I found out in 2014 she had been having a two year affair with her boss, plus got us into debt without telling me. I am trying to reconcile with her and Ive paid off our debt. I keep thinking about leaving but she panics and weeps desperate for me not to go, says she still loves me but how can she if she did all this. I can’t imagine any kind of future on my own.

  • Unknown

    Hi, my parents always fight, and fight, and fight. It just a hateful comment after comment. I just wish they can just get along. Sometimes I think that they do this because of me. Can you just please pray for my family, because my prayers just don’t work anymore.

  • Heartbroken

    I’m in a toxic relationship… he doesn’t hit me, he never would. We have been together 7 years and it was amazing for the first 4 or so, but he has changed, he doesn’t listen, he doesnt communicate, he is so selfish… but he is there when I need him. We don’t agree on anything, but I still enjoy his company. I can handle the relationship part ending, but when I think of never watching Netflix with him again, or going on walks, or seeing him again, everything hurts, it hurts so much… but we are not meant for each other anymore… idk why he changed… idk why he can’t see it, I don’t know why he can’t try harder, I have tried EVERYTHING to make us work… but we can’t if he won’t put in the effort either. I don’t think he sees the pain, even though I explain it…. I’ve made the decision and made the arrangements to move out… but I can’t bring myself to talk to him… how do you break your own heart?

  • C Patricia

    Dear Isabelle, just read your post and I am wondering how you have been and if it all worked out with putting your foot down. Really hope I could get some support from your experiences.

  • Emily

    I am currently dealing with a toxic relationship. It is so hard to let go even though part.of me knows I don’t truly love him anymore because all the pain he has caused me. When he gets mad about something I say or do he breaks up with me and leaves. But always starts texting a few days later. Then will eventually just show back up. He is truly an awful person and I get so angry with myself for being so dumb and blind for so long. 6 and 1/2 years. When he does leave my life is so calm and I am a totally different person. Although I know all of this I can’t seem to let go for good. I know he will not change bc his while family acts this way. He is not supportive basically tells me that things going on in my life have nothing to do with him. I am financially responsible for 75 percent of everything
    I have truly lost myself. I don’t even know who this person I am is. I wish I had the stenghth to finally walk away.

  • Emily

    I know your pain. I am dealing with the same thing. It hurts so bad. I am so miserable in a relationship with him but the thought of missing the little things like long rides and movies together brings me to tears. I just keep telling myself there will be someone else who I am able to do these things with and that will be emotionally supportive and all the things my current partner lacks in the relationship. I tell myself while my current partner would be a fun friend to hang out with he is not long term relationship material. Hopefully soon I am able to walk away and free myself from this

  • Isabelle Green

    Hi Patricia,
    I’m not doing too well. When we break up I don’t feel like living anymore and I just obsess over getting him back. I obsess about getting someone back who ruins me who treats me lime shit. Who mind fucks me to to point that I don’t know what is true or not with him. I feel like he blâmes me for everything he is doing himself. I need to get out right now I’m not with him but I feel a big hole and it is so hard to be alone. I don’t have many people to talk to and my closest friend have heard it all and I think they don’t know what to say anymore so I’ve stopped talking to them. I have seekers support but in the end I know it’s up to me. I have to make the decision and stick to it.

  • C Patricia

    Do you have an email address I can contact you?

  • Stu

    I am in a toxic relationship, i am a 36 male she is 26.

    2 years and engaged…we have 3 kids two of mine from a prior relationship one from her prior relationship.

    A year ago i was not ready to move in together, now i am! least to say everytime i ask i get met with anger and dismissal ie ignored for a week or so-also to note she moved in with her ex boyfriend who is manupalitive, liar, and bad to say worse step dad.

    7 months ago she started to work as a cam girl to make money, my feelings and opinion was cast to the side, being in a relationship and a mum. we broke up 2 weeks later, we were back on again i took her back to support our future as i was lead to believe.

    April 27th on my birthday she broke up with me, 18th may she came back…while i was recovering my heart being broke. i should of walked, to know with someone who shows decent love then turn in an instant.

    i thought i could see change, blaming me for other actions non of which i triggered…much of this stemmed from narrcissim, child emotional neglect syndrome, bi polar…i love this girl with my heart though i chose to not give in…the more i stay the more damaged i will become and i know this…i am now finding the inner strength to move on after our argument 18th august (exactly 3 months) all which was from negative influences of the ex and her own doing, i took the engagement ring and have not said i am now moving on. still no contact 3 days later. (this is normal behaviour from her part)

    enough is enough now i hope to recover in due time and take this experience and find someone who will love me for me, respect me, remember sometimes you need to say ‘”its not me, its you””.

  • Natoya Foster

    I wish you the best; I am trying to find the strength to finally walk away from my 14 years. I am really afraid of being alone and so even though I know for years I need to leave I just could not. This time I have not discussed anything I found about his cheating habits because once I do he will just cry and say he is sorry and I will “forgive”. Instead I am seeking a place to move to so once and for all I can just escape all the tears and hurt…..

  • annemarie davies

    trying to find the strength after 18 yrs .of totally wrapping myself up in one man . who has been a fantastic loving husband but for the last 6 mnths txtin and calling someone else! i didnt even suspect as we were still so in love!!! how do you come back from that? please help!

  • rt

    Dear Annemarie, I am not a counsellor but I can tell what I have learned and know. Every relationship in a marriage is different. We all accept different things and all are different people. As are our values which make us who we are. But for me it was finally realising that I could not continue staying in a marriage where my life was owned. I had lost me. And something I never noticed until I had my burn out. My marriage had always been one full of love and romance and we were both like that. So when I finally decided to leave it wasn’t because I no longer loved him,it was recognising the person he really was and finally deciding I could not live like that for the rest of my life. So my advice would be go by your heart. No one can tell you what you should do or must. You say he is a loving husband but something has changed because of the texting. Then maybe it’s time you sat down and spoke. Find out what is going on and how he feels about the marriage and most of all about you.The answers will put you in the direction to help you work out things. It may be seeing a counsellor together or separate. Which we also did. Good luck. xo

  • rt

    Dear Natoya, I can deeply sympathise with the pain and heartache you are feeling because I went through it. I found everything was a process. And the most important question I finally asked myself was to decide on “What I wanted for me?”.What my life meant to me and how I wanted to feel. My husband literally begged me (with tears in his eyes) to not leave so many times but continued to be the same person. Making it all about himself while knowing that I would never leave him because I would not do that to him. But I chose me. I wanted to be happy and have peace for my sake and this gave me strength. I so deserved it. We all do. And I totally understand about feeling alone because that’s what I am going through now. But I do not focus on being by myself but on the peace I have created by no longer filling my heart with constant tears and heartache. I have given myself the chance to start healing and find happiness again. And this fills my heart. Do what feels right for you Natoya so at least amongst it all you have peace. Good luck and take care of yourself. xo

  • Natoya Foster

    I appreciate you taking the time to encourage me, it is hard especially since i am 7 months pregnant but I can’t cry anymore and be depressed. I really need to get out.

  • rt

    Dear Natoya ,my pleasure. It is a difficult situation to be in trying to be there for yourself while also for your baby. If may help you feel better during this time if you could go and stay with someone, just to have your own space and be cared for. Or have someone over who can be there for you at this time. Having loving people around you can make such a difference until you are ready to decide on anything. xo

  • grace

    Thank you so much for this article. I thought I was the only one but I could see it now. I’m just 24 but it’s already a 9 year relationship. I love him so much. At first I thought he is dealing things i don’t know. I thought he couldn’t open up. But it’s already been 9 years and I still feel empty. He reacts and lives very well with his friends and other girls but when it comes to me he simply doesn’t care about what he says or do. He acts like I don’t deserve to be treated with respect. Sometimes I wonder if that’s true. I thought I could change him. I thought if I tried a bit more, he will understand but it only gets worse. Every time he makes me feel stupid and unworthy with his words, he knows I’m hurt but wouldn’t even make an attempt to make me feel better. I don’t know why he does that. DONT WE CARE FOR PEOPLE WE LOVE? I love him so much. I want to be with him only him. Maybe I’m used to being with him. I”m unable to forget so many memories and move on. I always pictured my future with him and It’s hurting so badly imagining it’s not there anymore. I often feel worthless unimportant and not enough. I can see he loves me but again I’m not sure if its even real? If he doesn’t love me why wouldn’t he let me go. Why would he always promise to change? sometimes I feel I’m nothing but trash. The only person i have ever loved doesn’t make me feel good and who can I believe anymore?

  • Anonymous (Im a guy)

    Ive been in a somewhat toxic relationship for about 4 years now. I went into this relationship right after being engaged to someone that I would consider the “love of my life” . I feel like since ive been with this person, I lost sight of myself, and Ive definitely put her feelings over mine for too long. My friends have noticed changes in me, ive noticed changes in me. For some reason ive had a really hard time letting go. I truly care for this person but I know shes not right for me. She makes it hard for me to leave and I really don’t know what to do. Im turning 30 soon and I feel like a window is closing (I know its crazy to think but its how I feel). I feel as though I will not meet somebody that I can be happy with anymore. Is this because Im scared of being alone? Please help.

  • Lisa

    I am in a toxic relationship with a drug and alcohol person. When he is sober, I see the person I fell in love with. When he is high he is a different person and starts arguments and tells me I don’t act right . I’m always saying sorry. I’m so lost. It hurts so bad.

  • Jacqueline Rios

    I’ve been there. Please take this advice from me and RUN FOR THE HILLS!! So to speak. I was in a toxic relationship with a drug addict for 14yrs. He STILL continues to use although he has lost everything! My biggest mistake was thinking he’d change. We even have two beatiful little girls together. But guess what? That didn’t even so much as deter him from using. He just hid his use. I have a medical file that reflects everything from broken bones, and fractures to a crushed voice box. He even pulled a gun on me while pregnant with my youngest. He’d do his cocaine and become paranoid that I was either cheating on him or planning on leaving. He’d hurt me so bad then apologize and BEG me to stay. It was always “I promise I’ll change” “I love you” “I’m so sorry” “I’ll never do it again” “You’re the only one that gets me” “I need you” blah blah blah! It was all a manipulation tactic. I had to put myself and my kids first and decide to leave. My children (ages 3 and 5) were dragged into our unstable lives. I refused to have them live angry miserable lives simply because of my wrong decisions. They would grow up thinking that it’s ok to tolerate that UNACCEPTABLE behavior from their significant other and IT IS NOT!! In the process of trying to help my boyfriend keep it together, I almost completely lost myself. Whether it’s prayer, meditation, family and/or friends that help you get out of the relationship please please please GET OUT!! Life is way too short not to live up to our fullest potential and be happy. Good luck honey! God bless you.

  • Sad1

    Reading this and everyone else’s comments have helped settle my anxiety…. I was dating a guy for 4.5 years. For the first 2 years it was all flowers and cute love notes. Though I noticed off things, so of course I decided to go threw his phone and found him planning secret hookups with some of the trashiest women over the course of the relationship. I say trashy because, For example, one in particular used to drink when she was pregnant among other things. Also sleeps with all of his friends, some married some not, which I also found out after going in his phone. So of course I confronted him and he turned around and called me a snake and all sorts. Then he stopped, turned around, put his hands on my shoulders and said “but it’s ok, I don’t wanna break up with you.” Then went to the room, and Layed in bed in the dark….. I was stunned. But we talked some later and He said he never touched her but it’s not something I ever believed… I should of left then, as nothing changed and got worse. If we went out somewhere he would say “ok so these people don’t even like you, don’t pull any of your bullsh** tonight.” … I would be the miserable girlfriend at every event. He would then Argue after and say I could’ve at least made an effort and everyone wouldn’t think I’m such a bitch. I would sit at his family events and hear them call me nasty names when I was in another room, his mother told me once she was trying to get him to date another woman. When I was upstairs in bed I heard his mother tell him to go over to another women’s house.. he talked shit about me to people I’ve never met before or met once. Everyone hated me and I just lived in it thinking it’s as good as I’ll ever get. I started to feel bad about myself, or believing that it really was all my fault no one liked me. It was easier for me to have no friends because he would become violent whenever I was texting someone or messaging them. He slapped me in the face before for confronting him. I told him the things his mother would say to me when he wasn’t around and he would say good, maybe if you weren’t such a bitch she wouldn’t do those things…. it wasn’t even me that ended the relationship. We went out for a night, I got us a nice hotel room for a treat. He invited his cousin out with us, at the end of the night we went back to the hotel room. I put my pjs on waiting for bed and for his cousin to leave. All of a sudden my now ex started blacking out and left. I begged his cousin not to leave me there alone, so I went back to his where he stays with his parents and slept on their couch. I woke up to “f*** you you f****** coke wh*re” on Facebook, then I was blocked.

    I even went back to him last week and cried to him…. why would I do that?
    So I have no friends, haven’t told anyone about what had been going on… I’ve been having a terrible time.

  • Nazratul Fareha

    Thankz for the article..im in toxic relationship about a year now..im still at the stage of hoping and praying for him to change his attitude..he is very paranoid, when i didnt text him for 5 mintues because i went to the toilet..he accused me of ignoring him and told me that i didnt love him..he has this behaviour of making stupid assumption and accuse me for petty things..i still cry every night hoping for the best for our relationship but now i realized there is nothing i could do to help him because the more i tell him about how he make me sad, the more assumptions he will give..he accused me of hating him just because i told him that he need to change and try the best for our relationship..i love him and always be there for him but now i just pray that i have the guts to leave this relationship soon..#helpme

  • Eduardo

    Your words seem so helpful n showing the good effects of the break buh don’t show the effects when theirs kids involved n an abusive baby mother that won’t hesitate on taking my kids away n make my life hell.. I’ve been n still is in a poisonous relationship, n everything u said is 100% true, I’ve been there n felt that. Sigh… guys lik me hav no power or say in this without losing so much…

  • Nallely

    I need advice please, I’m desperate, I have been married for 10 years, 16 years all together since we started dating, my husband controls me all the time and I let him do that , everything was fine but then on our second year of marriage he started cheating with so many girls and I kept forgiving him, he was abusive too he will pushed me or hit me and again and again I forgave him, we have 2 children and he said he is trying to change, but he can’t stop with the cheating, he asked me to try open relationship and we did, but I’m not liking this anymore, and he says he doesn’t wanna do it behind my back, and just to have fun as a couple but he keeps texting to the same girl all the time and that hurts Me, I don’t want to sleep around with people, that’s not me, I said so many times I want a divorced but then he begs and cries and promises he will changed, and I keep forgiving, I thought about open relationship and that can actuallybhelp our broken marriage vut im the only one getting hurt by all this, then also I was hoping my husband will fall to another girl and then leave me alone, but he doenst want that vut he doesnt want to stop the open relationship, and I can’t finish this relationship I’m not strong, and now I’m even jealous of this girl, I do t know what to do I’m killing my self, I have no respect for myself anymore is like I’m not worthed, sometimes he is nice and we have good days but we fight most of the time, I need help please!!!

  • Thank you for your article. I am in so much pain that it is so great to read that this is normal. It has been two weeks from the break up, and I am in physical pain and anguish. I am trying to go through the process and not escape my feelings. I felt like I truly loved this person, but there were things that did not resemble love as a partner or family member. I found out that he has been stalking my accounts during the relationship, and wonder why if I was always around. In the end, he is now back with his X wife, a person that was always in the middle of our relationship. What hurts most is that I was a tool to get her jealous and get her back. He succeeded, and now I am dealing with accepting the red flags all along. We are not alone, faith hope and love all will eventually work out.