Sometimes, marriages don’t work out because of financial issues, growing apart, etc. Other times, though, marriages are fraught with problems and a toxic relationship can be dangerous.
When you are in one of these types of relationships, it can feel impossible to break free. You might feel as though you rely too much on your partner financially or emotionally, or you could simply no longer have any self-esteem. Far too many people find themselves in this position, and it can lead to them staying in an unhealthy relationship for years… or even the rest of their lives.
Getting out of a dysfunctional marriage, or any sort of dysfunctional relationship, can be difficult for a host of reasons. Below, we will be looking at some of the things you can do to start recovering from this type of relationship.
Realize You Deserve Better
For many who are stuck in toxic relationships, self-esteem is damaged, as mentioned above. This can often make it difficult to even think about getting out of the relationship. It can be hard to realize that change is possible and that you can have—and deserve—a healthy relationship.
You need to believe that you are worthy of a loving and caring relationship, so you will want to seek better. The more you understand that you deserve healthy relationships, the easier it will be for you to identify potential red flags in future relationships.
You Will Grieve Even Toxic Relationships
As terrible as the relationship might be, there is a good chance that you are going to go through the stages of grief when it is over. Understand this and be willing to go through each of the stages until you finally reach acceptance. Don’t let the feelings of grief push you back into the relationship or into another toxic relationship, though.
Admit It Was Toxic
When we look into the past, we often see things as better than they truly were. It’s too easy to start overlooking some of the biggest issues and toxic behaviors that caused problems. You gloss over the gaslighting, the mental abuse, etc. Nostalgia takes over and you think to yourself that it wasn’t so bad. This is your mind playing tricks on you and coloring reality with a rosy tint.
You need to remember the bad parts when you start to feel nostalgic. This isn’t to punish you, but it’s to ensure that you remember what it was truly like.
You should never be afraid to admit what you have gone through in the relationship. Toxic relationships often include isolation, which means that may not feel as though you can talk to others about what happened. If you aren’t ready to talk about it, you might at least want to consider writing about it in your journal. This can help to give you an outlet, and it will serve as a reminder.
Eventually, you will likely want to talk with a family member or a friend about it. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to someone you know, consider talking with a therapist.
Be Careful About Contact with the Ex
When you are out of the relationship, you need to stay out of it. This means that you also shouldn’t attempt to contact your old partner just to see how they are doing. Even something as simple as reaching out via social media could cause you to fall back into the relationship. This happens more often than you might think.
You don’t need to stay friends with them, and you don’t need to see how they are doing. The best thing for you is to cut off all contact and to keep it that way. Of course, we know that sometimes this is next to impossible. For example, if you are co-parenting with them, there is going to be some contact with the ex.
You will need to find ways to reduce the amount of contact you have though, and you shouldn’t have contact on your own. Have a friend go with you or be at the house when picking up or dropping off the kids.
Too often, people who are in these relationships don’t do a good job of taking care of themselves. This often follows them even after they are no longer in the relationship, but it’s time that you actively made some changes to how you treated yourself. Not only are you deserving of love from others, but you need to love and care for yourself.
Learn to be kind to yourself, too. Do not judge yourself harshly for being in a toxic relationship regardless of how long you may have stayed. These things can happen to anyone. Try to speak to yourself and care for yourself the way you would someone you loved. You deserve it.
Have a Good Support System
One of the other important things you will want to develop if you don’t already have it is a group of family and friends on which you can rely. When you are feeling down, alone, or as if you might reach out to your ex, connect with people in your support system instead.
Don’t Expect to Get Closure
While you can get out of a toxic relationship, you might not always get the type of closure that you want. The same is true when it comes to apologies from the person who caused your pain. Those things might not come, and that’s okay.
You don’t have control over what others do or say. You only have control of yourself, so just need to continue moving forward, working on bettering yourself, and making sure that you don’t end up in a similar situation in the future.
You aren’t going to suddenly feel better after getting out of a toxic relationship, although you might feel some relief, certainly. It will take time for you to fully and truly heal. Be patient with yourself as you go through this process.