The silver lining of toxic relationships comes in the form of the lessons you learn. Often, emerging from a terrible romantic situation will leave you stronger and wiser about approaching love in the future. It may not feel like it in the beginning, but there are so many important things you’ll take with you after you get away from your partner and the relationship as a whole.
- Nothing’s more important than your well-being. Many of us grow up hearing that love conquers all. That nothing else really matters as long as we find someone to love us. But after being in a toxic or abusive relationship, you learn that love actually isn’t the most important thing in the world. Someone can love you, but if being with them threatens your wellbeing, then it’s not worth it. At the end of the day, nothing is more important than your well-being.
- Watch your partner’s actions, not their words. The old saying ‘actions speak louder than words’ is definitely true when it comes to relationships. A toxic partner will often say all the right things so that they don’t seem toxic. But then their actions won’t reflect their words at all. When you’ve been with someone like that, you learn that words don’t mean a whole lot if actions don’t back them up. That’s why it’s always important to judge your partner on how they treat you, not what they tell you.
- An outsider’s perspective helps. When you’re in a toxic relationship, it’s not always easy to see for yourself. Sometimes, you’re so blinded by how strongly you feel for this person that you can’t see how badly they’re treating you. That’s when you have to bring an outsider in. A third-party perspective can really shed light on what’s really going on and help you to see the truth. While you shouldn’t leave it up to someone else to make all the evaluations about your relationship, getting the opinion from someone you trust can definitely help you to think clearly.
- The relationship should enhance your life. Relationships don’t have to complete you—you are actually enough on your own without a relationship! But they should enhance your life. They should make your life better rather than worse. A toxic relationship might have some good elements, but it ultimately leaves your life in an inferior state. After you’ve been through that, you know that it’s not worth staying in a relationship if it doesn’t improve your life. A good way to measure this is to ask yourself whether you’re spending more time feeling happy or sad with your partner.
- A relationship doesn’t mean you won’t be lonely. Anyone who’s been in a toxic relationship knows this for a fact. By itself, a relationship isn’t a cure for loneliness. You can be committed to someone, but if they’re toxic, you could end up feeling lonelier than when you were single. Don’t assume that when you find someone you’ll automatically feel as though you’ve got companionship. Those things depend on what your partner is actually like, not whether you’ve got a partner or not.
- It’s important to maintain your own identity. It’s always important to maintain your own identity, whether you’re in a relationship or not. Many people tend to lose themselves when they fall in love. It might be that they get so caught up in fussing over their partner that they lose track of their own goals. Sometimes, they come to depend on their partner so much that they lose their independence. Or their partner’s abuse can even dehumanize them and take their identity away. You will always be your own person and your goals do matter. Especially since any relationship can end at any time, it’s always important to have your own life and be able to stand on your own two feet.
- A relationship won’t make you happy. Contrary to popular belief, a relationship isn’t a miracle remedy for unhappiness. You’ll know this if you’ve been in a toxic relationship because toxic relationships actually leave you unhappy. So don’t get caught in the trap of assuming that all you need to be happy is a partner, regardless of how they treat you. The truth is you can find happiness without a partner. And if you commit to the wrong partner, you’re actually more likely to be left unhappy.
- It takes effort to make things work. A healthy relationship requires time and effort from both parties. Things can turn toxic when one or both people stop caring and putting their energy into making things work. After being in a relationship like this, you’ll learn that good relationships do take work. But the good news is they’re worth the effort.