Breaking up with someone toxic is the bravest thing you could ever do. You should be proud of yourself for raising your expectations, for refusing to settle for the crumbs you’ve been given and deciding you deserve better. However, the breakup is only the first step along your journey. You’re going to have so much work in store.
After all, when you love someone toxic, their behaviors can rub off on you. You might start snooping through their texts because you can’t trust them to tell you the truth. You might start keeping close tabs on them because they’re always lying about where they’ve been. Once you end a toxic relationship, once you decide that real love isn’t supposed to feel this painful, you need to move onto the next step. Unlearning the ways this toxic person taught you how to love.
It’s not your fault for having baggage. It’s not your fault for putting up walls to protect yourself. It’s not your fault for being skeptical when people treat you right.
However, you owe it to yourself to unlearn the toxic ways you expressed love in the past. You don’t want to get into screaming matches to show your passion. You don’t want to give your person ultimatums so they can prove their loyalty to you. You don’t want to fall into the same toxic patterns that your last relationship tricked you into normalizing.
If you’re with the right person, the differences will be clear. You’ll notice how well they treat you, even when they’re upset. You’ll notice how often they cause smiles, and how rarely they cause tears. You’ll learn together and grow together and become a strong, unbreakable team.
This new person hasn’t hurt you in the same ways that your ex hurt you. They shouldn’t be punished for wrongs they didn’t commit. Even though it’s hard, even though it’s going to take an immense amount of effort, you need to learn to recognize when you’re engaging in toxic behaviors. You need to accept that there are ways you could improve your communication skills and set goals to work towards bettering yourself.
You won’t always get it right in your next relationship. You’re going to make mistakes, just like anyone else would. And so is your partner. Neither of you is going to be perfect. But you need to put in effort to love each other the right way. You need to take responsibility for your actions when you cross a line and figure out methods to start challenging your unhealthiest mindsets.
Loving someone new after leaving a toxic relationship always has its challenges. You might not know how to voice your frustration in a healthy way. You might not know how to express your complaints when you’re used to bottling them up inside. But you can always unlearn the toxic ways you were taught to love. You can always make changes to the way you treat others. There is always hope for your next relationship. Your toxic one might have changed you, but it certainly didn’t break you.