Being in a toxic relationship isn’t easy, maybe you have changed yourself in the course to save your relationship, you’ve tried everything but nothing’s worked. You know now it’s the time to end it, you know you deserve more, but then why does the thought of moving on makes you appalled.
Moving on from a toxic relationship is so hard. It’s hard to understand why. Leaving a relationship that made you so unhappy should leave you feeling really good about yourself and hopeful about the future.
But, instead, trying to move on from a toxic relationship just leaves you feeling hopeless, that you will never get past it. Understanding why moving on from a toxic relationship is so difficult is the key to being able to do so.
Here are five reasons why moving on from a toxic relationship is so hard so that you can understand and finally move on.
1. Letting go.
When we get out of a toxic relationship, the break-up means letting go of our hopes and dreams. All of the things that we had visualized our life would look like at the beginning of the relationship are all things that we have to let go of when the relationship ends.
And that is really, really hard to do.
I had a client whose husband left her soon after their children went off to college. They had been unhappy for a long time and she had thought of leaving him many times. But, when he left, she had to let go of the vision she had for the rest of her life in this marriage.
That vision included fixing her marriage, traveling with her husband, delighting in grandchildren together, and finally having the financial freedom to do the things they had always wanted to do. Instead, she was left alone, their finances were in tatters and the image of them growing old together was gone.
So, one of the reasons why moving on from a toxic relationship is so difficult is because you have to let go of those hopes and dreams that you had counted on for so long.
For many of us, the idea of getting out of any relationship, much less a toxic one, is very scary. We are worried that we will never love or be loved again. We are scared of the pain that we will feel.
We worry that our person will move on and be fixed for their next person. We are afraid that all the time we have wasted in this relationship will make it difficult for us to find the happy life that we long for.
I always encourage people to face fear. Fear is a very scary thing. Pain is a very scary thing. But we have all dealt with fear and pain in the past and we have prevailed. So, if the fear of the pain is holding you back, think of periods of pain and fear that you had survived before and known that you will survive them again.
For many of us, letting go of a toxic relationship can lead to deep depression. Whether or not you are already prone to depression or it’s something that you have dealt with before, depression can hold us back from moving on, every time.
The reasons that depression can hold you back from moving on from a toxic relationship are many.
When we are depressed, we have no energy to do anything. This makes it hard for us to get out into the world and fill in the holes that are left by the absence of our relationship.
When we are depressed, we feel hopeless about the future and when we feel hopeless about the future it’s hard to move on because we don’t know what we’re moving onto.
When we are depressed, we stop taking care of ourselves. We eat bad food, we stop exercising and we do things that self-sabotage our well-being. Doing this only makes things worse because our self-esteem plummets.
If you are feeling depressed, I would encourage you to talk to your primary care doctor to see what they can do to help you manage your depression so that you can get through this difficult time and get your life back.