I am not your mother: Why leaving a toxic relationship doesn’t make you the bad guy.

Recently, Ariana Grande once again become the centre of social media’s attention when her previous long-term boyfriend, Mac Miller, tragically passed away from a drug overdose on September 7. Grande, who had broken up with Miller earlier this year, was attacked on social media earlier in 2018 for being engaged to Pete Davidson after only dating for a short amount of time. Grande, being her fierce self, was quick to shut down individuals who claimed that she did something wrong by moving on quickly after her break up with Miller.

Source: @ArianaGrande (Twitter)

This type of criticism of how individuals move on after relationships is quite common. Often, we hear stories of women (and, of course, men as well) who feel tremendous pressure to stay in relationships where their significant other has mental health or substance abuse issues and feel guilty when considering breaking up. Here’s why I think that someone leaving a toxic relationship does not mean that they are an un-supportive, terrible person for doing so. 

Leaving Does Not Mean You’re Un-Supportive of Your Partner:

The idea that a relationship is supposed to be endless love and support between individuals is correct, but only to a certain degree. When you are in a relationship, there is supposed to be an understanding of how your actions have consequences. Unfortunately, addiction can get the best of an individual and their sense of right versus wrong — whatever the addiction is. For the case of Grande and Miller, it took her removing herself from a relationship where her significant other could no longer take any form of self-accountability regarding his drug abuse for her to realize that she could no longer be the person who would be the crutch for him to fall back on. 

Often times, the most supportive individuals find themselves feeling like they are required to be unconditionally supportive to everyone, especially their significant other. The idea of leaving someone who is struggling is not an easy thought — it makes you feel like you are the worst person to ever walk the face of the earth. You might think, “How could I just leave them? It gets better!

Sometimes, it takes you removing yourself from a situation where someone is taking advantage of your good nature for you to realize that you are not required to be the constant crutch for someone who doesn’t appreciate you to fall back on.

Source: @Piccaasso (Twitter)

Their Behaviour Is Not a Testament of Your Image:

I know when I found myself debating whether or not I wanted to remove myself from my most recent relationship, I often thought back to how his actions made me look — being his girlfriend. Having someone party, drink and club so often that it looks like they are a single person looks really bad on you! I was embarrassed about his behaviour and felt like people were going to look poorly at me for staying with someone who acts like a fool. 

At the same time, I was scared to leave and look like the bad guy for “not being supportive” enough towards my own significant other. It was all around an embarrassing, uncomfortable situation. I knew he had an issue; people all around us could tell this as well. I didn’t want people to start thinking of me as some cruel, unsupportive witch who left her significant other who had a problem. 

This is the thought process that plagued my mind for months — six months to be exact. Once my trust was betrayed by him, I spent months feeling embarrassed about what people saw me as. It took a while, but when the realization of “wow, “I’m not his mother... so why am I settling for this type of behaviour?” hit me like a brick wall, that was when I realized that I deserved to feel appreciated, rather than embarrassed, on a daily basis. 
Moving on Quickly Does Not Make You A Bad Person:

This is an issue which I recently have found myself feeling super conflicted about, to be quite honest. My previous relationship had been emotionally over for months — and only recently, finding the courage to leave has been a reminder that I have been emotionally detached for months. Instead of feeling free to proceed onward with my dating life, I felt a great deal of shame. 

I was worried about what would people think of me being active on dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, despite having just officially broken up recently. My anxiety about what others thought quickly diminished when I realized that whoever could think this poorly of me, despite knowing how tumultuous the relationship was, really does not deserve relevance in any aspect of my life. 

My true friends are supportive, loving and understanding. Listening to advice that close friends give is important — they care and don’t want to see you go through similar things. If you choose to get into a relationship a month after you break up, that is your choice; If you choose to get into a relationship one year after you break up, that is your choice. Moving on quicker does not mean you are any less heartbroken about the past relationship. Everyone is different — there is no need to feel like you are a terrible person for not sulking in your bedroom for three months over a relationship that made you feel depressed on the daily. 

Overall, your happiness is the most important thing you can ensure for yourself. Putting yourself first is not a selfish thing to do, it’s the responsible thing to do. You are not a doctor, you are not their mother and by no means do you have to feel obligated to stay in a relationship where you feel betrayed, embarrassed and depressed daily. 

You deserve to feel happy.