1. You second guess yourself. You wonder whether you are making the right decision, whether they deserve one more chance. You replay the happy memories in your head and bounce back and forth between knowing you are better off without them and wondering whether you will be more miserable without them.
2. You give them another chance. A chance they do not deserve. You were planning on leaving, you told everyone you were going to leave, but your plans changed when you tried to say goodbye to them and saw the look on their face. They made you feel guilty. They made you feel like maybe they would change, maybe things would get better in the future.
3. You call yourself stupid. You get mad at yourself for thinking things might end differently this time, because history has repeated itself all over again. They have screwed you over just like they did the last time. They didn’t learn their lesson — but this time, you are going to learn yours.
4. You finally leave. You finally gather the courage to walk away, to leave them in your past, to decide you deserve so much more than what they have been putting you through.
5. You feel proud of yourself. You feel free. You feel like you should have done this a long time ago.
6. You end up missing them. You are tempted to reach out to them again, to ask them how they are doing, to say you are sorry for leaving and that you want to try things one last time. You write out messages that you will (hopefully) never end up sending. You wonder whether you have made a huge mistake. You wonder whether you will ever find love again.
7. You deal with more drama. They end up texting you out of the blue. Or maybe you hear from a friend that they were talking shit about you. They find some way to reel you back into their lies and manipulation, even though you’re long gone. That’s when you remember how lucky you are to be away from them. That’s when you realize you made the right decision.
8. You learn to be alone. You slowly start getting used to sleeping in an empty bed and cooking dinners for one. You start to enjoy the free time you have to read and watch movies and see friends. You realize the single life beats being in a toxic relationship.
9. You learn to love yourself. You find new hobbies. You make new friends. You look in the mirror and realize you are prettier than you thought. You stop walking with your head down and start walking through this world with confidence because you know how strong you are.
10. You open yourself up to love again. After months, maybe even years, of keeping your heart guarded and refusing to put yourself out there, you find the strength to go on a date. To kiss. To enter a real relationship.
11. You find someone who actually deserves you. And you wonder why you ever put up with being treated poorly in the first place. You wonder why it took you so long to realize this was the kind of love you have always deserved.