I Stayed With A Guy In A Bad Relationship For Way Too Long — Here’s Why I Wish I Ended It Sooner

I thought he was The One, but I totally skipped over the red flags and ended up in a really toxic relationship. No matter how much I hoped he was right for me, he wasn’t and I should have believed it when I saw it. Instead, I kept waiting for him to change and become the great guy I thought he was. That was obviously a waste of time. Here’s why I wish I’d ended that relationship much sooner than I did.

  1. I wasted years on him. I’ll never get all that time back and that kills me! That time could have been put to so much better use. Heck, even sitting around doing nothing would’ve been better because at least that time would’ve been all mine to blow. I know it’s not worth living with regret but part of me can’t help it.
  2. It sabotaged my love life. I was hoping for love with a toxic man, when really that was the complete opposite of love. By staying with him for years, I was just ruining my chances of finding the real thing.
  3. I put in so much and got nothing in return. I gave so much love, energy, and time to this guy, and you know what? Looking back, I have absolutely nothing to show for it. He gave me nothing but broken promises and pain. I can’t even blame him completely because I allowed him to do that to me.
  4. It made me lose some loved ones. Since he tried to isolate me from loved ones during our relationship, some of those people walked away from me. I don’t blame them. I should’ve made them a priority over him because no one is worth it if you have to choose between them or your loved ones. What was I thinking?
  5. Worse, it made me lose myself. I was not only lacking self-confidence by the time I gained the courage to leave that a-hole for good – I was lacking so much more! I didn’t even know who I was, because I didn’t know why I would’ve ever accepted the “love” that he’d given me. Deep in my heart, I knew that I could have done so much better. I just wish I’d believed in myself and been strong enough to walk away.
  6. It pulled me away from everything. It wasn’t just my friends and family members who were put at a distance because of my toxic relationship – it was also my dreams, ambitions, goals, and passions. I neglected them all. Who has the energy for their life when it’s all being consumed by a toxic person? But that’s the thing I wish I’d realized: no one is worth giving up my life for. EVER.
  7. It wrecked my self-confidence. My ex was toxic and always finding subtle ways to put me down. I absorbed all that negative energy so it was only a matter of time before it totally sank my self-confidence.
  8. It screwed up future relationships. The thing about toxic relationships is that they can negatively color your future experiences of love because you come out of them feeling broken and damaged. A few months after that toxic relationship ended, I started dating again, but I pushed away and pissed off a lot of good guys. I expected that they were going to be bad just like my ex, but that was unfair.
  9. Truthfully, I was scared to fall in love. I was so afraid of getting hurt again, it was crazy. But who could blame me? My ex had cheated on me and made me feel worthless. I was left with so much baggage I just couldn’t put down. I feared and dreaded that would happen to me again and it made me miss out on some great opportunities for love.
  10. I would’ve been so much happier single. Even though I clung onto that relationship out of fear of being alone, I now know that being alone has so many more opportunities for happiness than being stuck with a toxic partner. The latter gives you no joy at all. I now know that I would’ve been a million times happier without him if I’d just walked away the first time he’d done something that felt “off.” There’s no way in hell I’ll ever tune out my gut feelings 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.