You don’t want to grow to think of a toxic relationship as a normal relationship. You don’t want to spend so long getting mistreated that you forget what it feels like to be given respect.
The longer you spend with the wrong person, the more time you are missing out on finding the right person — but that isn’t the biggest problem with prolonging a toxic relationship. The biggest problem is the way the relationship is polluting your mind and changing the way you think about dating.
When you are with the wrong person, you will slowly get used to the insults and arguments. You will start thinking of their manipulation and control as normal. You will assume everyone deals with the same issues as you. You will assume your relationship is fairly normal.
Over time, the wrong relationships will turn you bitter. The wrong relationships will give you trust issues. They will give you abandonment issues. They will skew your view on what love is supposed to look like.
Leaving them is a huge step in the right direction, a step you should be so proud of yourself for accomplishing — but it is only the first step. After removing them from your phone, you have to work on removing them from your mind. You have to unlearn the toxic lessons they taught you.
When you find the right person, you don’t want to carry your baggage into the new relationship. You don’t want to blame this new person for the hell your ex put you through. You don’t want to start unnecessary arguments with them because you are used to fighting with your ex over every little thing. You don’t want to accuse them of cheating when they come home five minutes late because your ex cheated all the time.
You have to constantly remind yourself your last relationship was not healthy. Your last relationship was not normal. Your last relationship is not a good example of how two people in love should act.
Luckily, fresh relationships come with a fresh start. It’s going to take you a while to become comfortable accepting compliments again — but you will get there. It’s going to take you a while to get used to the idea of trusting someone without going through their texts, to get used to the idea of loving someone without getting into constant screaming matches — but it will happen in time.
Getting into a good, solid relationship after spending so long in a toxic one is rough, but you can break your bad habits. You can overcome your trust issues and abandonment issues. You can create healthier coping mechanisms.
You aren’t a lost cause. You aren’t unworthy of love. You aren’t going to be alone forever because your ex did a number on you.
You can better yourself as long as you put in the effort. As long as you look in the mirror and remind yourself you deserve so much better than a toxic love.