I’ve said it often: there’s something to be learned from even the most abysmal relationship. But in order to truly come out of an unhealthy relationship from a stronger, more self-aware dater, it’s essential to take the time, thought and caution to untangle yourself once it’s over.
Since the most toxic relationships are more likely to be all-consuming and can run the gamut from physically and mentally abusive to just plain dysfunctional, sorting through the broken pieces and gaining clarity can be a tricky, intricate process. I have a few Dating with Dignity breakup remedies up my sleeve that will not only help you move on from your toxic ex, but will leave you with a much better idea of what you require for a successful relationship so you can move on as quickly as possible.
Identify What Was Missing
Start by going over your relationship with a fine-toothed comb and identify what was irreparable or completely absent. Foundational characteristics like friendship, honesty, trust, intimacy and open communication should be immediately obvious, but don’t discount any dynamics between the two of you that left you feeling unfulfilled, unloved or unappreciated.
Did you notice him zoning out any time you tried to talk to him about the relationship or anything else important to you?
Did the average Saturday night consist of sitting on the couch and watching football even though you’d have preferred a nice night out?
Were you obsessively checking your phone just hoping to see his name on the screen?
Anything that made you feel less secure in the relationship or that repeatedly led to an argument is worth significant attention.
Don’t forget to check to see if you shared common values.
Did he always give you guff when it was time to head over to your family dinner on Sunday nights?
Or, did he wonder why you spent so much money on travel or pursuing your favorite passion?
Whatever it is, make sure you get clear on the values you hope your future partner and you share in common.
Diagnose Any Triggers
Now it’s time to dive even deeper and determine the source of some of these missing parts. You may find that some are simply a product of two people whose relationship patterns didn’t mesh. Many others will turn out to be the result of behaviors developed within the relationship, throughout a past one, or programmed into you from childhood — all of which ultimately caused a worrisome imbalance.
If your ex had been cheated on in a past relationship, the jealousy and mistrust you resented so much could’ve perhaps used a little sensitivity and understanding instead. Be honest with yourself when it comes to admitting your shortcomings, too. If you grew up with a tendency to criticize and feel insecure about your appearance, it’s possible that his actions or words stirred up your deep-seated insecurities without either of you realizing how or why.
Be Wary of Comfort
Comfort. Is. Kryptonite. Adopt this as your mantra as you embark on the recovery process, since the most unhealthy relationships tend to be the most likely to lead to an even more damaging encore. For most of us, what we miss is mostly how we FELT when we were with him and it was good, rather than missing “him” per se.
Making a distinction between these nuances can help you move past your relationship more easily. When you encounter feelings of loneliness or nostalgia, your ex’s familiar arms may seem like the only place you want to be… but keep your head and heart directed toward the future. Be thankful that your toxic relationship is over and you’re opening yourself up to meet the man of your dreams.
The more you focus your energy on rectifying those inherent behaviors and characteristics that made your last relationship so tortured, the more likely you’ll wind up in a happy, healthy partnership before you know it.