Almost everyone will experience the heartache of a breakup. At some point, your romantic relationship that started out like a fairytale might end. Breakups are a part of most people’s lives, but a toxic breakup is something not everyone understands or, thankfully, has to go through.
If you are in a toxic relationship or have been in one in the past, you know that moving on from a toxic breakup is very difficult. While it will take time and healing, you can move on from one and find that life after a toxic relationship breakup is a million times better.
Here, we discuss ways to help you move on from a toxic breakup so you can discover that better life on the other side sooner rather than later.
What is a toxic relationship?
Toxic relationships come in many forms. Any relationship that makes you feel inadequate or less than, that hurts your self-esteem, has a lack of trust, or that causes you pain is likely a toxic relationship. The same applies to a relationship where you no longer feel secure.
- Aggressive or passive-aggressive behavior.
- Control over your life and decisions.
- Controlling your finances.
- No boundaries.
- Isolation from others.
- Walking on eggshells around the person.
- Lying, cheating, or sneaking around behind your back.
- Name-calling, belittling, or constant criticism.
The toxic relationship test
If you’re in a toxic relationship, you probably already know it, even before reading those signs. Taking a toxic relationship test can also help you realize your relationship is unhealthy.
It can help you move towards understanding how to breakup from a toxic relationship.
Sometimes it helps to see the evidence before us and the signs of toxicity before we can admit the truth to ourselves, and a test that gives signs of a toxic relationship can provide that evidence.
Here are some toxic relationship test questions you can ask yourself to see if you might be in a toxic relationship:
- Does your significant other disrespect your boundaries?
- Is there any form of abusive behavior? (Verbal, emotional, financial, or physical?)
- Do you feel like you aren't able to be your best self? (Meaning your self-esteem isn't high due to the relationship or you feel criticized often)?
- Do you experience passive-aggressive/aggressive behavior from the other person?
Answering yes to any of these questions likely indicates you're in a toxic relationship. It's crucial that you remove yourself from any situation that is unsafe or abusive quickly. Then you can get the support you need from friends, family, and/or therapy or counseling.
Life after a toxic breakup
Know that life after a toxic relationship breakup will get better. Try to remember the person you were before you entered that toxic relationship and before you lost your sense of self.
You might have been treated poorly in your relationship. However, you didn’t deserve to be and do deserve to be treated with respect.
When you are in a toxic relationship, the first step is moving on and breaking it off. Once you've learned how to breakup from a toxic relationship, that’s when the real work begins.
You can’t just snap your fingers and heal yourself; it requires time and patience. Toxic relationships often cause chronic stress and trauma, even after they’re over.
Those feelings of unhappiness don’t just disappear the day you break up. It takes time to heal.
Breakups can cause feelings such as depression, anger, and sometimes worse symptoms.
If you are struggling after a toxic breakup, it’s important to speak with a licensed professional such as a therapist and get the help you need. Therapy can help you work through any situations you experience such as low self-esteem, shame, or other feelings that may be caused by toxic behavior.
How to move on from a toxic breakup
It may be tempting to focus on resentment, but instead, you can do something positive with your time. In life after a breakup, you should take the time to focus on your self-worth and on self-care, your mental health, and financial wellness. Here are some ways to help you do just that:
Self-care after a toxic breakup
All of that time you no longer have to spend worrying about your toxic ex can be used to focus on self-care, such as:
There’s nothing like a good sweat session to release your endorphins, help you connect with your body, and relieve your stress and anxiety.
You might also want to join an exercise class or work out with a friend, something you might not have been able to do when you were in that toxic relationship.
Focus on your sleep
Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Even though you've figured out how to breakup from a toxic relationship, you may still be struggling with anxious thoughts or feelings after a breakup.
Try to come up with a peaceful evening routine for yourself. Reading a book, journaling, or a bedtime meditation can all help you fall asleep.
You can also check out our Wellness Wednesday ideas.
Surround yourself with supportive people
In some toxic relationships, a partner will isolate the other person from their friends and family. If you were in a relationship where you experienced a lack of support due to isolation, it’s even more important to reach out to your support network.
Even if you haven’t spoken with them in a while, your friends and family members will want to be there for you when you are ready. And it can help you gain perspective through talking with people who love you.
Regardless of whether you were cut off from your loved ones, once you’ve gone through a toxic breakup, it’s important to surround yourself with people who will support you and help you through this tough time. Having people to talk to and rely on will help as you learn how to get over a toxic relationship breakup.
Try something new
There’s no better time than after a toxic breakup to get back out there and do something that you enjoy. Perhaps you haven’t done anything for yourself in a while because you didn’t have the time or your partner didn’t allow you to do things without them.
Are there any hobbies or activities you’ve always wanted to try? Not only will trying something new bring you joy, but it also gives you the chance to meet new people or spend time with others you might have neglected during your relationship.
It's also a chance to focus on new achievements and gain more self-awareness by trying out new things that bring you happiness.
Mental wellness after a toxic breakup
Your mental health and wellness can take a dip when you’re in an unhealthy relationship. A toxic breakup is never your fault, but you might blame yourself for it.
Any one of these practices below will help you practice the self-compassion and forgiveness you need to support your mental health after a toxic breakup:
You’ll have lots of emotions and feelings swirling around inside your head after a toxic breakup. Work through some of the old relationship's issues through journaling.
Journaling can help you work through your feelings and get more understanding during this difficult time and ease any negative feelings like anxiety or loneliness.
Your relationship might have ended, but there are so many things in life to be thankful for. When learning how to get over a toxic relationship breakup, try starting or ending your day with a gratitude practice. Write down five or ten things you are grateful for.
Gratitude can do much to improve people's moods and lives. Among other things, gratitude has been shown to help people feel more positive emotions and build strong relationships.
Be especially mindful after a toxic breakup of how you speak to yourself. Your words are powerful, especially those you tell yourself.
Counter any negative self-talk with positive affirmations for self-love. Practice them daily to get the true benefit during life after a breakup.
Financial wellness after a toxic breakup
Lastly, getting back your life after a toxic relationship breakup often means getting your finances back on track.
Toxic partners can negatively impact your finances. Do yourself a favor and be sure to do the following after a toxic breakup:
There’s no better time than after a breakup to educate yourself and take control of your finances. Which is especially true if your ex was the one who controlled your finances or your joint finances.
Don’t know where to start? Clever Girl Finance offers totally free courses on foundational personal finance topics, investing and business, financial wellness, and more.
When learning how to get over a toxic relationship breakup, you may find that your financial situation now looks different. It's the perfect time to review your budget (or create one if you don’t have one).
Take a look at your expenses and figure out if you need to make any changes.
Do you need to earn more to keep up with your current lifestyle? Move in with family? Cut back on spending?
Whenever you have a life change like a toxic breakup, it’s a good time to assess where you are with your finances, and that starts with your budget.
Lastly, if you have any shared finances with your ex, you will want to untangle yourself from those. A toxic breakup was toxic for a reason. It’s usually not healthy to keep in touch with your former partner.
But when finances are involved, sometimes you have to communicate, even in life after a breakup. If this is the case, get someone you trust to be a liaison between you and your ex and help you untangle yourself financially from the situation.
Life after a toxic relationship is so much sweeter
Breaking off a toxic relationship is a brave thing to do. Once you’ve conquered that, it's all about focusing on you and putting yourself first, something you probably haven’t done for a long time.
You may be feeling down now, but once you’re on the other side of it, you’ll see that life after a toxic breakup really is so much better.