I’ve always been a huge fan of love. I mean, who isn’t, right? But I mean I was literally so infatuated with the concept of love. An idea. Until I got to experience relationships myself and realised that the real deal is just so much more messy. Needless to say they weren’t perfect, and some of them really messed me up. Getting out of a manipulative, toxic relationship earlier this year made me realise that I had to write this post.

Leaving a toxic relationship really messed me up.

… in the sense that I found that my emotional responses to people are completely different from what they once were and I have all these new personality traits that don’t belong to me.
It was tricky for me to remember what blind trust was supposed to feel like and there’s paranoia and the utter fear of hurting the same way all over again with a different person. Suddenly I was left to carry someone else’s residual negativity and it felt like the hardest thing to open up to someone new again. Try to let go of all those traits that hunt you down. You’re not there to carry out someone else’s weeds. You deserve to be happy.

You can be hurt but don’t be spiteful.

In heartbreak, it’s easy to lose yourself in the colour red. It makes you mad and furious and spiteful. I found that no matter how much a person has hurt me and how terribly worthless they have made me feel, I would keep my composure because I know there’s no point.
You might feel like showing them how much they’ve hurt you but really, let it go. You can’t get mad at people for moving on, for finding new love, for trying to be happy. You deserve to be happy, too.

You don’t belong to people (and people don’t belong to you).
No matter how long you’ve been together, you can create boundaries and be open with each other but there’s simply no excuse to have a claim on their lifestyle choices.

We all need “Me” time.

Being in love means making the most of the moments you have with each other while also honouring the time you have apart for doing the things you love and that make you come alive. Don’t lose yourself in the process of loving another. Spend time with your family, your friends, don’t neglect your hobbies and passions. Your time with your partner isn’t running out, but if you spend every waking hour together, the time for other things might tick away before you know it.

I learned that compromise isn’t sacrifice.

I found myself in situations where I was willing to compromise but my partner wasn’t and I ended up being the only person giving things up while my partner was too stubborn to even lift a finger or consider a change. A compromise is when both parties are satisfied, remember that.

Have discussions, not fights.

My boyfriend said something really smart when we were getting to know each other: In a relationship, whenever there’s a problem, I wouldn’t want it to be me versus you but us versus the problem.

And I never really saw things that way. It’s normal for couples to fight but I also think that as adults you should be able to have productive discussions where both remain kind and respectful. I still remember the time a partner said something hurtful that they could never take back – and that I would never forget.

You might think you’re still yourself with them – but are you?

If you don’t feel comfortable being exactly who you are in front of your partner, you can’t ignore that red flag. You can’t live a fake life forever and if they can’t accept you as you are, are they really worth it?

Relationships are a direct reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves.

Read it again. Yes, I know. All the trust issues resulted in what? A lot of anxiety and jealousy and insecurity: not the greatest backdrop you would want for a relationship.

You’re not being needy when you need to feel loved.

Don’t be with someone who doesn’t make you feel loved and secure every single day. This is tacky to say but I’ve never felt so loved and secure like I do with my boyfriend right now and it was a pretty big deal when I first came to this realisation. This is what love is supposed to feel like – not constant jealousy, fighting, suspecting and feeling a little worthless to your partner.

Just because someone says they love you doesn’t mean they actually do. What I’ve learned the hard way is to trust the actions with the statement and that’s what it’s all about. You will know when you are loved. You’ll feel it in your whole body. Because of how your partner looks at you.

It’s a pretty great feeling and that will let you know it’s true.

What are your thoughts? What have you learned from failed relationships?

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