It’s hard to fathom that someone we’ve been with for a long time could actually be toxic, but it happens. Sometimes love does blind us. Today I want to talk about how to end a toxic relationship with someone you love and why you should.
I’m also going to share 10 tips to help you find the courage to end your bad relationship and move on.
Women have a tendency to hang on to men, no matter how toxic or narcissistic they are, for many reasons including:
- we’re afraid to be alone
- we don’t think anyone else will love us
- ‘he’s not that bad’ – so we put up with it
- what’s the point of leaving now
Does any of that look familiar to you? But I do need to clarify something here. This article doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. Everything I’m going to discuss can be applied to a family member, co-worker, so-called friend, etc (though I will be writing this as it refers to a partner).
Every unhealthy relationship.
We can still love these people but it doesn’t mean they have to stay in our lives. Good things end, bad things end and sometimes, so does love.
(this article contains an affiliate link so if you make a purchase I make a small commission at no cost to you-affiliate disclosure here)
Before we dive too deep into this, if you are in a physically abusive relationship please get help or contact the national domestic violence hotline for help.
Over 50 and Trapped in a Bad Relationship
While I do try to write mostly about issues affecting midlife women and women over 50 like:
- staying healthy
- battling loneliness
- midlife anxiety
- caring for elderly parents (being a caregiver)
I can’t ignore this one topic as I realized many women over 50 still have a toxic partner, feel trapped, and don’t know how to end a toxic relationship with someone they love.
Let me tell you first and foremost, you are not trapped. You can leave. The hardest part about leaving is actually making the decision to do so, and then taking the first step.
We are never stuck anywhere, ever. We are not trees and besides, even trees can be uprooted. Too many of us make excuses as to why we can’t leave and why we have to stay but I call BS on all of it.
You have a choice. We all do. Always. You choose to stay or you choose to leave. The end.
There’s nothing complicated about it except we have a tendency to complicate things, especially our life.
Fear has a funny way of keeping us in our ‘safe place’ so that we don’t hurt ourselves or make any mistakes.
But fear is a lie. And you need to face it and let it know that you are the boss of your life and you are perfectly capable of making tough decisions.
Phew, slight rant there. Sorry.
Let’s carry on with how to end a toxic relationship. First I want to go over the signs of a toxic relationship.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
Sadly, many of us don’t even realize we are in a toxic relationship. We simply accept this person’s behavior for what it is. We use excuses like:
- they’re not bad all the time
- I know he/she loves me
- they’re just having a bad day
- and the best one ‘oh it’s just the way they are’
Let’s look at that last one. It’s just the way they are. That may be true but YOU don’t have to put up with it. If they’re a-holes, why would you want to be around them?
Because that’s just the way they are??? Seriously.
So here are 10 signs of a toxic relationship. See if you recognize any of these signs in your partner.
- Abusive behavior – this can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and financial abuse. Please don’t ignore any abuse!!
- Lack of trust
- Controlling behavior
- Lack of communication
- Lack of support
- Belittles you in public
These red flags are warnings that you need to pay heed to. If you’ve been accepting any of these toxic behaviors it’s time to stop. You deserve more than this!
side note ~ if you are the victim of physical violence please talk to someone, either a friend or family member, police, or domestic violence shelter but get help! Find a safe place and leave.
If you are in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder I urge you to please check out this amazing and powerful program from Kim Saeed.
Now let’s talk about how to end a toxic relationship whether it’s with someone you love or a family member/friend/coworker/etc.
How to End a Toxic Relationship: 10 Tips to Set You Free
So first of all, you’re here because you’ve had enough and you’re ready to pack your bags (or his) so kudos to you for taking that first step. I know this is scary but you can do it and you’re going to be ok.
Remember your why. Why are you doing this? Why are you ending your relationship with this toxic person? Stay focused. You got this.
So here are 10 tips on how to end a toxic relationship and some things I want you to think about as you’re getting ready to leave.
1 Make the decision and stick to it – Your partner will try to manipulate your decision, promise they will change, beg you to stay, etc. Don’t fall for any of it. Nothing will change. You already know that.
If you need an accountability buddy to help you through this, find one. Someone who will help you stick to your decision. If you need to set a date on the calendar as your ‘move out date’ then do that too but stick to it!!
2 Keep your distance – Try to spend less time with your partner as you get closer to moving out. This way you will get used to being alone and so will they. Ask your partner to respect your personal space.
They will know then, you mean business.
The less time you spend with them, the less chance they have of trying to talk you into staying. And they will do that.
3 Set firm boundaries – This is not only for them but for your mental health as well. Maybe you’re sleeping in separate bedrooms now or going out separately. Stick to this and make sure he does too.
This is a tough time for both of you and your emotional health is extremely important so you can stay confident in your decision and not be swayed or crack under pressure.
4 Write out your feelings and reasons – Sometimes we even doubt ourselves and ask ourselves why on earth we’re doing this. “Oh he’s not that bad” “I’ve been with him this long, what’s the point of leaving now”?
The point is your happiness and your mental health are at stake here. Why should you stay in a toxic relationship til you die?
Get a journal and write out daily why you’re doing this and all the reasons why you need to do this and read them back to yourself. This will help you a lot, trust me.
5 Establish a support system – This could be either with a trusted friend or family but tell your closest people what you’re doing and ask them to be part of your support system so they can help you through this difficult time.
Emotional support is so important. Friends and family are important. They help keep us strong and remind us of our why when we forget.
A support group is quite possibly the best thing you can have in such situations. It’s truly remarkable how people go out of their way to help loved ones when we remember to ask them.
6 Set aside time for yourself – Go do things for yourself that make you happy. Take yourself out for dinner, go for more walks, buy yourself flowers, get a mani/pedi, a new hairstyle, whatever!
Treat yourself. Chances are you will start feeling guilty and doubting your decision. The best way to counter those negative emotions is to love yourself.
When was the last time you did something really nice just for you? Find some extra time somewhere in your day/week and pamper yourself, girl!
7 Remind yourself that they won’t change – This is a big one. We hold out hope. We truly want to believe that they will change and that they mean what they say but we already know the truth.
They won’t change, nothing will change and you’ll still be in the same position a year from now. And don’t forget, you can’t change them either.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. It’s time to just let go, babe, and do your own thing and take care of your own needs.
8 Plan for good times ahead – Make a list of all the things you really want to do but never had a chance because of your former partner (yes, I said former!). Write out all the top 5 and make a plan, set some dates, and start preparing for your new life!
As women, we sacrifice so much of our lives to make the ones we love happy without realizing that our happiness is just as important.
Now that you’re ending this unhealthy relationship once and for all, it’s time for you to have a loving relationship with yourself.
9 Get professional help if you need to – That’s what they’re there for!! It’s not a sign of weakness if you need to seek professional help. It’s a sign of strength and courage. Do it.
We don’t have all the answers to our problems and as much as we like to think we are fixers when it comes to our own life, we’re clueless.
Please do check out online-therapy.com if you need help. I have used them and partnered with them because I truly believe in the work they do.
10 Remove them from social media – This is for your own good. You don’t need to see or read anything from them on social media because chances are, none of it will be good.
Not to mention, what if they move on really quickly? Ouch. That’s gonna hurt.
Do yourself a favor and just remove them from your friend list, block them if you have to, but give yourself a clean break from them. Thank me later on this one.
Spend Time With the Healing Process
We can’t forget this part. The healing process. It could be short or long, it all depends on you. But don’t rush it. There is a lot to heal.
We have to forget who we were in the past relationship because we weren’t being true to ourselves. Your sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem needs boosting! And let’s not forget our self-love too.
When you finally let go of a toxic relationship, you also have to let go of the person you were then and find out who you are now.
I have been in and out of relationships with toxic people my entire life. At 52, when I finally left my last relationship I decided a lot of things had to change.
I couldn’t keep repeating the same pattern with men. I know I had some inner work to do and I did it. Was it easy? NO. Was it worth it? Heck YA!!
After I left him, I took a full year to heal and work on myself and then I carved out and created an entirely new life for myself.
I gave up my hairstyling career, turned it into a freelance writing career, and left Canada on a one-way ticket to Guatemala.
And I’ve never looked back.
That’s the power of change and believing in yourself and your dreams when you’re finally free of toxic people.
Look, I get that change is scary, leaving a relationship is scary too, especially if you’ve been with your partner for a long time (up to 40 years I guess?) but if you want happiness, freedom, joy, and peace, you already know that leaving is your only option.
Once you get passed the tough decision and start making plans and actually executing them, the rest is a breeze and you will be discovering a whole new you…and it’s super exciting!!!
So let’s wrap up how to end a toxic relationship and go over the tips one last time.
- Make the decision and stick to it
- Keep your distance
- Set firm boundaries
- Write out your feelings
- Build a support system
- Take time for yourself
- They’re not going to change
- Plan your new life
- Get professional help if you need to
- Remove them from social media
I think if you stick to this plan or at the very least, make your own plan and stick to it, you’re going to be ok.
Remember your friends don’t know that you need help or someone to talk to unless you reach out to them. You will be on an emotional roller coaster for a while.
Some days you want to be alone and cry, other days you want your friends around. Call them and let them know. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Yes, starting over after 50 will be scary and frustrating and seem hopeless but I promise, you can do it, you’ll get through this and you’ll be better than ever.
ox iva xo