I Finally Got Rid Of My Toxic Boyfriend And My Life Has Never Been More Amazing

We dated for eight months but it felt like eight years. Dealing with all his toxic energy and behavior was draining and ageing—I found wrinkles on my face that had never been there before when I finally got the courage to walk away. Here’s how my life’s been better without him:

  1. I can be myself. It’s such a gift to be able to be yourself, no more and no less. I can say no without feeling guilty because Toxic Man needs me. I can say what I feel/think/want to do without being judged or criticized. But even more than being myself, I can just be.
  2. I enjoy the sound of my phone going off. When I was dating Toxic Man, I’d cringe or panic whenever I wasn’t with him and my phone rang or beeped. I immediately worried that he was calling because he needed something or he needed me to get him out of whatever crappy situation he’d found himself in. But now, when my phone makes a sound, it’s music to my ears.
  3. I’m actually at peace. Dating Toxic Man was stressful AF. I was always on guard, waiting for the shoe to drop or for some drama to strike. Now, I can just be peaceful. I have realized that silence has a sound of its own, and it’s a beautiful melody that I just want to bask in. It’s so great to live my life with peacefulness.
  4. I know what I don’t want. It took me a while to get out of that relationship, but I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. The experience, although painful, really showed me what I definitely don’t want in a partner. I need someone who’s less selfish, who doesn’t attract drama everywhere he goes, who is honest and loyal and genuinely loves me. Those are my new standards and I’m celebrating them!
  5. I can do whatever I want. Toxic Man made me feel stifled and locked into the relationship. I didn’t feel I had freedom to do whatever the hell I wanted because I always had to consider him, his feelings and his desires. It was so exhausting and claustrophobic. Now, I feel I have the freedom to do and be whatever I want. It’s so liberating!
  6. I can “fix” myself. I was the fixer in that relationship, always trying to help Toxic Man and change him into a better person. WTF, it was such a waste of my time! Walking away from him gave me the chance to put all that energy into making myself a better person. That’s so much more empowering and meaningful than trying to change someone else.
  7. I can enjoy my resources. Dating a toxic guy was also draining on my resources, like my time and money (he was always strapped for cash). These can go towards things, people and activities that bring me pleasure. It’s empowering, a form of self-love I won’t give away so easily in future.
  8. I can free up my mind. When I dated Toxic Man, my mind was always occupied with stress and worries about him. What was he doing? Was he all right? Did he need me? Why hadn’t I heard from him? Who was he with? The stress became addictive! Now, my mind feels open and free, to be occupied with only good things.
  9. I see what I deserve. It sounds weird, but being with someone who was so draining and damaging actually made me realize that I deserve much more from a relationship. I can now see that I want to be surrounded by love and people who bring my life happiness. I know happiness is mostly an inside job, but the people I surround myself with can either bring me up or down—I won’t allow myself to be dragged down again.
  10. I’m physically healthier. I was always feeling stressed out in that relationship and it made me physically sick. I’d experience stomach problems and get colds/flu regularly. It was because the stress was hurting my immune system.
  11. I feel happy. I’m not depressed like I always used to be. It’s probably from the way in which my ex was always draining me of energy because of his argumentative nature and love of drama. Without him in the picture, I can really just smile and laugh. It’s scary but I didn’t do much of that in the eight months we were together.
  12. I see the beauty in the world. Being with a toxic partner really did a number on how I started to see the world. Since he was so negative and depressed, I started to feel the same, which made me forget about all the things I love. Instead of noticing beauty all around me, I was stuck in my dark mindset. Now I’m making up for all that by smelling the roses and enjoying the glorious sunset.
  13. I can have real love. Although Toxic Man told me he loved me, he had no idea how to love or what it really means to love someone. He was never there for me and always doing dodgy things behind my back. Without him, I am free to enjoy real, pure, honest love. The most important one is the love I’m giving to myself.
  14. I can trust myself again. Toxic Man was a pro at manipulation and gaslighting. It started to mess with my head without me realizing it. After leaving the relationship, I could see what he was doing and what an jerk he really was. He made me battle to trust myself and my judgment because he was always undermining me. Without him in my life, I can believe in myself again.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.