After You Finally Leave a Toxic Relationship

You won't be entirely at peace after you finally decide to end a toxic relationship. Thus, the last thing you should do is to get into a new one immediately after. Especially if you're trying to fill the void of the previous one.
After You Finally Leave a Toxic Relationship
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

A toxic relationship wears you down, damages your identity, and dilutes your self-esteem. It distorts your basic concepts of what authentic love, respect, and sharing your life together are all about. We’re aware that referring to certain relationships as toxic is in fashion. People use this phrase almost excessively to talk about any abusive, damaging, or controlling behaviors.

However, we need to carefully analyze a relationship in detail before using this popular term. Sometimes, a specific behavior may actually be caused by a different disorder that would require a different approach.

The bottom line is we must be careful about labeling things. People are complex people and most of us have complicated relationships. However, sometimes one person becomes the epicenter of problems and a whirlpool of emotional, physical, or psychological abuse. This is the true nature of a toxic relationship.

If you’ve ever experienced this and have managed to get out of the relationship, you’ll know that this process isn’t easy. Above all, we want to make it clear that the simple act of ending a relationship with a toxic partner doesn’t automatically mean you’ll experience immediate happiness and well-being. When you finally leave a toxic relationship, it’ll be a while before your life begins to improve. The process is neither easy nor fast.

A toxic relationship leaves wounds behind


A distressed woman in a toxic relationship.

Let’s imagine for a moment a person who is being led by the hand through a thick forest full of branches and brambles. This person allows themselves to be led because they trust the other person. However, the journey is exhausting to them, they’re out of breath, and the branches scratch their skin. None of what they see around them is beautiful or hopeful.

They finally decide to let go of this hand and go their own way. They do this to feel free, to recover their happiness, and allow the other person to walk ahead on a different path. When they do this, they experience intense and contradictory feelings:

  • They barely recognize themselves as a result of this traumatic journey, they’re left with many scars and open wounds
  • They feel exhausted and have a hard time breathing their only option is to stay still and quiet for a while to recover
  • They’ve stopped in a part of the forest they’re not familiar with and can’t find their way

No doubt a person who leaves a toxic relationship eventually finds relief. However, the feeling of well-being isn’t immediate.

What they feel is the need to retreat, to find themselves again, to identify their wounds, to reflect and think about what they want to do with their life and what they should do next.

Time to heal, time to retreat


The last thing someone should do after leaving a toxic relationship is to look for comfort in a new relationship.

  • Nobody can heal themselves by jumping into another relationship immediately and doing so is neither therapeutic nor healthy
  • This is because nobody else can fix our wounds or stop the pain or be the medication we need to forget
  • Overall, the best thing we can do is give ourselves time to take this inward journey. We need time to recover our self-esteem, repair our identity, nourish our hopes, and learn to trust ourselves

We must let go of hatred, fear, and frustration to emerge much stronger from our shells of intimacy much stronger.

  • Whether we like it or not, we need to formalize some kind of concrete mourning process. In it, we must channel the anger and progressively develop a resilient attitude. We must know we deserve a good life because we’re worth it.

Only when we love ourselves again will we be ready to let ourselves find the right person.

My dignity is worth more than a new toxic relationship


A seemingly relieved woman.

You’ve probably met at least one person who, after they leave a toxic relationship, get right into another one. Falling into the same abusive and exhausting dynamic is more common than you think.

  • Here’s a fact to reflect upon: you must be confident enough and know your worth in order to hold on to your dignity, don’t give it away for anything or anyone.
  • Few principles of psychological well-being are as important as remembering that you deserve the best, that love shouldn’t be painful and that it’s better to be alone than in an unhealthy, selfish, and harmful relationship.

In conclusion, we’d like to make it clear that the mere fact of leaving a toxic relationship won’t bring you immediate happiness. You need to heal in order not to fall into these kinds of emotional dynamics again. The best thing you can get out of a painful experience is to learn to say “never again” to toxic “love.”

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Amor, Pedro Javier, et al. “Variables psicosociales y riesgo de violencia grave en parejas con abuso de sustancias tóxicas y maltrato previo [Psychosocial variables and risk of severe violence in couples with substance abuse and previous maltreatment].” Acción Psicológica 9.1 (2012): 3-18.
  • Gayá, Verónica. “Acoso y Maltrato: La invisibilidad del origen es el gran problema de las relaciones tóxicas.” El siglo de Europa1145 (2016): 44-45.
  • Glass, Lillian. Relaciones tóxicas: 10 maneras de tratar a las personas que te complican la vida. Paidós, 1997.
  • Ross, Gregorio Armañanzas. Relaciones tóxicas: acoso, malos tratos y mobbing. Ediciones Eunate SL, 2013.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.