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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Have you ever stayed in a relationship you knew was unhealthy, but stayed regardless of whether they cheated, lied, manipulated you, or all the above because you either didn’t know how to get out, or simply couldn’t? Well, you’re not alone. According to Forbes Magazine, “An average of 80% of Americans have experienced emotional abuse,” and stayed in relationships that no longer fulfilled them. Below are ways to help you cope, and move on to better and brighter days. 

  1. Forgive Yourself

There’s a lot of self-blaming when it comes to being with a toxic person. You can’t help but think about what you could have done differently, but remember this isn’t a YOU problem, it’s a THEM problem. Gaslighters never like to admit when they’re in the wrong, and they make sure to make everything seem like it was your fault. In the end, it’s not your fault someone decided to treat you poorly. A lot of relationships can start out healthy, and then become toxic, but there was no way for you to know that would happen, so learn to forgive yourself. 

  1. Don’t Contact Your Old Partner

This can be a challenge, especially if it was a long term relationship. However, it’s incredibly important to not contact your ex, and instead give yourself time to heal. It’s natural to still care, or wonder if they’re thinking about you, but remember why the relationship ended, and how this person treated you, which was mostly likely negatively. If you find yourself still communicating with them, there’s a higher chance that you will fall right back into the toxic relationship you were trying to leave. While in the end, you are capable of making your own decisions, make sure it’s in your best interest.  

  1. Maintain a Strong Support System With Positive People

Being in a toxic relationship can be traumatizing, which is why it’s important to surround yourself with positive people. A support system can include friends, family, a therapist, your pet, and really anyone that puts a smile on your face. Having the opportunity to spend time with someone who you trust and have a healthy relationship with can be beneficial towards recovering from your toxic ex. Not only that, but after the relationship ends, a lot of people want to be alone, but now would be the perfect time to reconnect and spend time with the people that love and care about you. 

  1. Talk About What You’ve Been Through

It’s easy to want to shut down and stay locked in your room after a toxic relationship, but talking about what you went through can be incredibly therapeutic and will help you move on. No matter how isolated you may feel, try not to bottle up your feelings. It’s okay if you’re not ready to talk to someone else about it, so perhaps writing it down in a journal can be the way you process what happened to you. While your story is important, it’s even more important that you’re ready and willing to talk about it when the time comes. 

  1. Practice Self-Care

Being in a toxic relationship can take a huge toll on not only your mental and emotional well-being, but physical as well. You might find that while you were in this relationship, you stopped working out, you weren’t focused on your skin-care routine, you stopped sleeping, and you ate your feelings. However, now that you are finally free, you can slowly start to re-engage in these activities. Or even start smaller and take a warm bath, buy yourself a candle, a book, or go on a shopping spree. Do whatever you feel it is you need to do in order to take care of yourself in a way that you were unable to when you were in a toxic relationship.  

  1. Realize You Deserve Better

Everyone deserves to be in a healthy and loving relationship. No one wakes up one morning and thinks, “Yeah, today is the day I want to be mentally and emotionally abused by someone who supposedly loves me.” Even if most people don’t want to admit this, we all want to feel love, be in love, and be supported. There’s a popular saying that goes, “treat someone the way you want to be treated”. Yet, for many, it’s a difficult concept to understand. Everyone is human, and makes mistakes, but there are some mistakes that are far too awful to ignore or forgive. After being in a toxic relationship myself, I had a difficult time realizing I deserved better, so I’m here to tell you that you deserve better.  

  1. Remember Who You Are

Maybe you forgot who you were along the way, but now is the time to re-discover yourself. You were someone before the relationship, and you are someone after the relationship. Now go find her, because she’s there waiting for you.  

Gaby is a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, majoring in Communication and Psychology. In her free time, she likes to eat sushi, workout, and read books.
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