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6 Things That Happen When You Leave a Toxic Relationship

The ending of any relationship sucks. Unless you’ve been through it you wont understand how bad the pain feels, deep in your heart. Your emotions are all over the place, you cry yourself to sleep, you lose the ability to eat and quite frankly you lose the will to even live. Last summer, my boyfriend of five years and I broke up. We knew each other in high-school and fell in love. He was my best friend, my partner in crime, the one person I could turn to for anything. That was until he betrayed me. My ex cheated on me three years into our relationship. I don’t know why he did it and I really don’t care. The point is, he did it. He chose to break all the trust we had in our relationship and now matter how hard we tried to put it back together, it was just far too broken to fix. I forgave him because I loved him. The next two years we spent together we did get closer, we did make great memories, but his act of betrayal never left my mind and created a huge riff in our relationship. We would fight a lot, we broke up a lot and our friends and family really didn’t want us together. We really weren’t good for each other anymore, driving each other insane. Finally, we both just said enough is enough and he ended up breaking up with me while I was in New York City. I held on to the hope that maybe we would get back together because how could you not want to keep someone in your life after spending years with them no matter how much they hurt you? Well, I guess he didn’t feel the same way because I haven’t heard from him in almost 4 months.  

I didn’t think I was this weak. I really did think I would be the kind of girl to forgive a cheater, a liar and manipulator. I really didn’t think I would fall so deep in love with someone who, despite what he says, never loved me the way I deserved. I’ve had my fair share of meltdowns, crazy wild nights I deeply regret and I may have tried to jump back into a relationship to replace the void he left in my heart.  None of that works, trust me I have been there. No one and nothing can heal the pain in your heart, only you can fix yourself. From my experience, I comprised a list of all the things that happen when you leave a toxic relationship, now this is purely based on my experience and what I personally have gone through. However, I do hope that what I have learned will help one of you out there that is going through something similar, or knows someone going through this.

1. You will not be okay (and that’s okay)

This goes without saying but it will hurt a lot. No matter how long or little time you have spent with your significant other, it still mattered. Feelings matter. You shared your thoughts, hopes, dreams everything with one person, to not have them in your life anymore is devastating.  I have cried up and down 5th Ave in New York City, I have cried on the skytrain going to work in mornings and I have cried alone in my bed at night when I felt the most alone. There was a point when I didn’t know when I would stop crying. I loved my ex so deeply. We made plans to get married, have kids, build a life together but instead all I got was broken promises and lies.  

You will not be okay. Its okay to be mad, sad, devastated, completely utterly shattered. Its okay. Do not let anyone dictate the timeline of your healing. Take as long as you need, feel whatever it is you need to feel and just know you are not alone.

It me awhile to stop crying everyday and having public meltdowns (yes, I would that person running around town a drunken mess telling everyone my business). What really helped me was throwing myself into my new job. Every day I got up, put a brave on and pretended to be okay when I really wasn’t. Somewhere along the line I stopped pretending and I was okay. My ex didn’t creep up my mind all the time anymore. I was making new friends, interacting with a lot of people and I was having fun. I’m not healed all the way yet.  The sadness still comes in waves, I still miss him time to time, but it is getting a lot better day by day.

On the flip side since leaving my ex, I am no longer consumed with thoughts of what he did. I could not escape the reality of his infidelity. Whenever we had a great date, whenever we got in a fight, whenever anything happened, I was constantly reminded he cheated on me. I had a hard time letting it go, obviously and the trust we used to have wasn’t there anymore. I was always checking his phone, his social media, anything I could get my hands on. I always needed constant reassurance he wasn’t cheating on me and I thought for a while there I was really going crazy. Since leaving, I don’t really think about him having cheated on me (if anything whenever I thought about wanting him back I had to remind myself he cheated). I don’t really care what he does or doesn’t do anymore because he is longer my priority. In a way, I am glad I was able to let of the pain he caused me but I am struggling to deal with the pain he left behind.  


2. You get closer to your friends and family

I don’t know where I would be without my friends and family. Its funny because I spent so much time with my ex I really didn’t think I had any close friends. When we finally did break up (for the final time), surprisingly I had a community of people rallying behind me giving me support. My friends and I spent more time doing things together, I got a lot closer with my family and I was making memories I didn’t know I needed to make (there are some things only you and your single girlfriends can do together). True love is there for you when you need it the most and thankfully I have some amazing people in my life that will never leave me no matter how broken or hurt I am.

Just because I know my friends and family will be reading this article I just want to give a special shout out to everyone for letting me cry on your shoulders, taking care of me when I was a mess and putting up with my crying 2am phones calls. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me, you have no idea how much it means to me.


3. You have more freedom

For the last five or so years, everything I did, worked around my ex’s schedule. We coordinated our classes, work availability, special events etc. Like I said we were really serious about each other. I think we would spend 4-5 days out of the week together. We studied together, ate together and when we weren’t together, we would be texting or on the phone for hours.

A lot of stuff I wanted to do was put on the back burner for the sake of the relationship. I didn’t go out to party, I have only been to a club once (and yes, it was with my ex), I never had those wild drunken nights (until now). I didn’t see a point in all that. I would make sure to be home a certain time so my ex would not worry, I tried to spend all my days off with my ex and I decided not to apply for a lot of opportunities and experiences because I was so committed to the relationship.  Looking back, I feel kind of stupid putting a man above my own hopes and dreams, but that’s love for you. Makes you crazy.

I hope to never make the same mistake again. Now that I am single I have a lot of freedom. I can go out with my girlfriends, I can leave the country tomorrow if I wanted to, there is no one I have to report back to or consider when making choices.  Now while I do enjoy this aspect of the break up, I also now have way more free time than I expected. What I have learned, to deal with all this free time, is to keep yourself busy. Start new hobbies, go on experiences, see friends and family. Constantly keep yourself going, not only will you have fun but you will also prevent yourself from over thinking.


4. You will date, a lot

If you read my “The Types of People You Meet Off Tinder” article you would know, I have been dating a lot. Someone once told me that, when someone hurts you badly enough, you try to fill the void by replacing it another person. I have done this time and time again because I have a hard time processing pain. I don’t like feeling it in my heart. I have dated so many guys that have been no good for me just because it hurt less feeling the pain of someone I liked leaving me than someone I loved leaving me.

I lost count of how many dates I have been on, I doubt the boys I have kissed even remember my name and in all honestly, dating hasn’t really helped. Not one of the guys I have been with compare to my ex boyfriend, simply because I am not over him (but to be fair I have dated a lot of awful guys too). Its okay to date, but in my experience, don’t have any expectations. You can’t expect someone to replace your significant other, you can’t expect them to pick up where you and your ex left off and you can’t expect them to fall in love with you. In some ways meeting all these random people did get my ex off my mind but in a lot of ways they just reminded me of what I lost. Date at your own risk, just don’t get too attached to someone or move too fast with someone when you are not over your ex, it might only hurt more in the long run.


5. You will realize your self worth

This is something I struggle with everyday. I need to learn to love myself before I love anyone else ever again. I know I deserve better, a lot better. I know I deserve someone who won’t cheat on me, someone who won’t lie to me, someone who won’t treat me like an option. I know I am a good person, I know I have a lot of love in me to give someone.

I think the reason why it was so hard to let go of my ex was because I didn’t think I could do anything better. He was sweet, handsome, driven and literally my prince charming. He helped me during my darkest moments these past five years I was with him. He was there for me when no one else was. He was the first boy to ever love me and I will always be grateful for all the positive he brought into my life. With all that being said, he has also hurt me deeper than anyone ever has.

He left me in pieces. He shattered my self esteem. Destroyed my ability to trust anyone again in my life. He made me vulnerable. I didn’t deserve all the bad he put me through no matter how good our relationship was in the beginning. In addition to him not deserving my love, all these guys I have been dating (especially) don’t deserve my love. If you have ever been in a toxic relationship you will know how hard it is to walk away from someone that isn’t good for you. You think “maybe they will change,” “maybe it will get better later,” “but he / she loves me.” No. The answer is no. You can’t change or make anyone treat you better (you need to demand the respect or walk away), you also can’t fix a broken relationship if you have no trust and lastly, if the person you are with makes you question your worth with them, they don’t love you.

We all deserve someone that will love us unconditionally, who won’t make us question our worth and above everything else, respects us. Whoever you are reading this, never forget your self worth. I did for a long time, so I want to remind all of you reading, you are beautiful, smart, wonderful and amazing. You are worthy of love and if someone can’t see that in you it’s their loss not yours.


6. You will get over it

I wanted to yell at my good friend Scarlett when she told me time will heal my wounds. I didn’t want to believe her, I honestly thought I would never get over it. I thought I would never heal. But, she was right. It’s not easy, a breakup. No matter what happens it hurts. It will hurt badly. You will cry a lot, you will lash out and take your anger out on people. You will drink until you feel numb on the inside. You will look for love in all the wrong places. You will make mistakes and have regrets along the way. You will be a horrible mess and I am so sorry that you will have to go through all of that. But in the end, you will be okay. I’ve always believe we need these dark times in our lives to fully appreciate the good. One day it will all make sense as to why things didn’t work out, one day you will find love again and one day you wont feel that pain anymore. Until that day comes, do what you need to do to heal. Live life unapologetically, wallow in sorrow as long as you need to and never settle for anything less than you deserve. And most importantly, love yourself.

So, if you are going through a hard time right now just know it will be okay. You will be okay. And I promise you, you will come out better, stronger and happier at the end of it.


Amneet is a 4th year communications student at Simon Fraser University. Born and raised in the city of Surrey, she loves the sound of rain, in fact she listens to rain sounds every night to help her sleep. Her favorite past times include: reading, binge watching Netflix shows and perfecting the art of sarcasm. You can get to know her more by following her Instagram: amku2500.
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