Breakups are never fun, but they suck even worse when you still have feelings for your partner but know you need to move on. I spent a long time in denial about my toxic relationship and let it go on far longer than it should have because of it. It was only when I realized everything I was avoiding that I knew it was truly time for me to go.
- I avoided arguing. This may not sound like a reason to break up—who wants to argue, really?—but the point was that I’d stopped caring enough to even bother to fight with my ex about anything. I literally didn’t care enough to argue my point or to try and fix things. I just didn’t have the energy left in me to try and fight for the relationship. This dragged on for way too long, and I really should have realized what this meant a lot sooner.
- I avoided opening up about my feelings. It didn’t really matter if they were positive or negative, I just stopped sharing my emotions. I didn’t feel supported or understood, and it was easier to just not have those conversations where I’d risk ending up feeling worse than I already did. Likewise, I didn’t really feel the need to share when things were good. If you can’t openly communicate with your partner, it’s a pretty sure sign your relationship is not healthy. I knew that logically but I didn’t act on it for a long time.
- I avoided him spending time with my friends and family. I eventually got to the point where I felt genuinely embarrassed by him in front of my loved ones. Whether he was treating me like crap or just being a prick in general, I was constantly worried about how he’d behave. It was one thing putting up with his behavior when it was just the two of us, but it was impossible to deal with in front of the people I was closet to. When it was just us, I could ignore it or somehow try to justify it. Seeing it staring back at me from the expressions on my friends’ and family members’ faces was more than I could take. How I didn’t pay more attention to this red flag way earlier, I genuinely don’t know.
- I avoided seeing his friends and family. I actually got along with his family really well, but that just made me feel even guiltier about spending time with them. It felt like I was being fake since I knew things weren’t right between me and my boyfriend even though, at the time, I genuinely didn’t want to break up. It was also getting harder and harder to pretend that I was happy in the relationship. I grew increasingly uncomfortable around them and it ended up being easier to avoid them altogether than to make things awkward.
- I avoided making plans beyond the next few weeks. I stopped making a lot of plans really quickly. Dinner with friends next week? OK, sure. A party next month? Not if I can help it. A trip in a couple of months? Absolutely no way. I couldn’t make myself commit to any sort of long-term plans with him as I was too unsure about what our future might hold.
- I avoided any conversations about the future of the relationship. Any discussion about the future of our relationship in general made me very uncomfortable and I avoided it at all costs. If somehow the topic of kids or marriage came up, I’d try to worm my way out of it and switch the subject ASAP. I felt so uncertain about everything, but I was in total denial so I just couldn’t face having any conversations about it. Yet another massive red flag I waved away.
- I was just straight-up avoiding a breakup. I was super worried about making the wrong decision. Thinking about breaking up made my anxiety go crazy, but when it came to it, the relief I felt when it was over was almost instant. When I initially broke up with him, I did feel devastated. I called my girls in tears and they came to my rescue right away. We drove to a nearby pub and ordered a bottle of wine. Funny enough, within about an hour, we were swapping stories of how awful he’d been and I was already questioning how the hell I’d managed to stay with him for as long as I did.