Why Are Toxic Relationships So Hard To Walk Away From?

You know he’s bad for you but you love him and don’t really want to leave him. Don’t beat yourself up or think that you’re crazy—toxic relationships can do a number on even the strongest women. Here’s why it’s not always easy to walk away from them even though you know better.

  1. They become a habit. You might think you love the guy you’re with, but if he’s toxic AF, it could be that your feelings are just a habit. You’re just so used to having him around and going the extra mile for him but honestly, if you dig deep into your heart, you’ll see that you can’t love someone who doesn’t respect or love you in return.
  2. You’re hopeful that things will change. There’s always hope that the relationship you have with him will get better. It’s just a matter of time or you just have to be patient, you might tell yourself. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t quit easily then you’re even more likely to hold onto that hope, which just makes you fall deeper into the darkness.
  3. You’re blind to yourself. People tell you that you’re valuable and amazing and you know they mean well, but it’s hard to see that you’re worthy when the relationship is so draining that it’s bringing out the worst in you. Remember that the relationship’s the problem, not you.
  4. You worry others will reap what you’ve sown. You’ve put in lots of work to make your BF a better man and you don’t want to leave out of fear that future women will get to be with the best version of him. The thing to remember is that toxic people don’t change—they just change who they blame for why they’re toxic.
  5. You want to press rewind. When you started dating this guy, he was so charming, sweet, and respectful. Now he’s going through a rough patch. You’re sure that if you wait it out, he’ll go back to who he was in the beginning and he promises that he’ll be a better person. Sadly, the “rough patch” might be who he really is, and all that good stuff? A really convincing mask.
  6. Pain is better than nothing. You dread being alone and not having a relationship in your life. Sometimes it feels like it’s better to have something in your life, even if that something brings you drama. At least having nothing doesn’t make you stress so much.
  7. Toxic guys always become great when you want to leave. You’ve toyed with the idea of leaving him before but every time you do, it’s like he has some radar that picks up on it. He then becomes the most amazing BF ever, which persuades you to stay. It works every time.
  8. The bad things have become normal. You’re so used to dealing with the guy’s crap that it’s become normal. When friends ask why you’d stay in such a terrible relationship, you honestly don’t see it as that bad because you’ve dealt with it for so long. Scary AF. The catch is that you have to get out of it in order to see just how messed up it is. Distance brings clarity.
  9. You’re addicted. Sure, the lows are pretty mean, but the highs are amazing. When you and your BF go through amazing relationship times, it seems to make up for all the crappy things he’s done to upset you. You feel like you’re addicted to this rollercoaster, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth staying for a bit of sun when it’s always storming.
  10. You buy his BS. When your BF tells you that you’ll never find love or that you’re the reason why his life is so messed up, you believe it. This links up to how your self-esteem has taken a hit, so you remain trapped, swamped with guilt for things you haven’t done or believing that you’ll never find anyone better.
  11. Things aren’t all bad. Here’s the thing people don’t get about why you’re in a toxic relationship: there are good things about it, otherwise you’d never have stayed so long. You’re not an idiot. But the thing to ask yourself is if the times when you feel good can really outweigh feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and dread. If you have to really think about it, then the answer is no.
  12. You’re lost. You lost yourself to this toxic relationship. Maybe you isolated yourself from friends and loved ones or you neglected your life so that your relationship became the only thing of importance. If you had to delete it from your life, you fear that you won’t know who you are without it. Hmm. At least you’d have a chance to find out who you really are.
  13. You’ve invested too much into this. You’ve been in this relationship for a long time. You’ve invested time, energy, hard work, and perhaps even money. If you walk away from it, you’ll have lost all those things. True, but as scary as that is, it’s scarier to think about how much more of everything you’ll lose if you continue to stay.
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.