16 Things I Learned Trying To Love Someone Who Was Toxic For Me


“I know I’m probably better off on my own. Than loving a man who didn’t know what he had when he had it. And I see the permanent damage you did to me Never again, I just wish I could forget when it was magic.” – Taylor Swift

1. I couldn’t love someone into liking me.

I thought if I tried hard enough or did enough or cared enough maybe it would convince him into feeling the same way. I thought love could solve this. But what I didn’t realize was love needs to be on both ends for it to work. What I didn’t realize was someone either feels a way about you or they don’t. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to care.

2. History didn’t mean there would be a future.

I held on to tightly to the past because I didn’t want to forget it. Not only was I living in the past but I was letting that convince me there would be a future. I thought because of the time I invested in this person no one would know him the way I did.

I thought he owed me a future simply because I was part of his past.

3. Eventually the circles we ran in tired me.

We run in circles with toxic people because we want the outcome to be different. We want to be right about them. They become a habit we can’t break.

But every time I’d answer his text and felt weak for doing so, small talk would lead to where are we going? What are we doing? A quick hookup would lead to being strangers again, all the while my feelings didn’t change.

What I wish I learned earlier was no matter how many chances someone gets if they aren’t right once they aren’t going to be right the second, third or fourth time.

4. I couldn’t trust him and stopped trusting myself.

When you master the art of lying so well I think people don’t even realize the difference anymore.

It was every false promise, it was every plan that he’d cancel last minute. It was knowing in the back of my mind I’m probably not the only girl blowing up his phone. It was not having the confidence then to walk away knowing I deserved more.

Wanting to trust him and trusting him were two very different things.

5. The good shouldn’t have made me forget so much bad.

He’d do one good thing and I’d forget the three days he went ignoring me. He’d do something to deliberately hurt me and with one ‘I’m sorry’ he was forgiven. He’d compliment me and for some reason, I programmed myself to not remember the insult.

6. I couldn’t keep giving parts of myself to keep him whole.

I thought if I gave him what he needed maybe he’d feel more whole. But what I came to realize was you couldn’t put yourself back together using people. You have to either live your life broken with confidence or figure out how to put yourself back together alone.

There are some wounds even love can’t touch. But hell I tried everything.

I lost myself to giving as much as I did. It’s really easy to lose yourself to someone when you think you love them and don’t love yourself enough. It’s easy to give them everything but you have to take a step back when you aren’t getting anything in return.

7. He built me back up after only after he was the one to tear me down.

Healthy relationships build each other up. Toxic ones only do that after only after they knock you. It’s a snide comment. It’s ignoring you. It’s the excuses that never seem to end. It’s every situation someone being your fault. And suddenly you’re walking on eggshells with everything you say and do.

8. It wasn’t love it was manipulation.

He needed someone to control when parts of his life were outside his control. He needed to know that when he jumped someone would say ‘how high.’ He needed that validation that no matter what he did, someone would love him for it. And I was an easy target. I was still learning to love myself and thought to get there I had to first be someone worthy of being loved. It was every changed story. It was him spinning everything justifying his actions because of something I did.

9. It wasn’t love it was infatuation.

When you invest so much time and effort into someone you don’t want it to be wasted. And I claimed it was love but more than that it was the want and need to be loved that kept me going.

10. I shouldn’t have loved someone who made me lose myself.

I just remember looking at myself one day wondering how I became this person. And I thought back to who I was before him and I realized I couldn’t even recognize this person who thought so little of themselves to deal with this not once but one several occasion over such a long period of him.

11. I shouldn’t have loved someone who made it a game.

I thought his love was something to be won over. I competed with others, I made myself look like a fool for trying, all the while he’d change the rules whenever he felt. I was simply a pawn in his game.

12. I believed what I wanted, not what was true.

I took the good moments and the person I wanted him to be and believed that. What I didn’t see was how blinded I was to the truth. I saw what I wanted to be the future and I danced with these ideas in my head because every time he said, ‘one day’, I believed it and wanted it more than anything.

13. He took me for granted.

When you give too much, people take it for granted. When you give it to the wrong people there suddenly is an expectation without the words ‘thank you.’ I thought that if I kept trying maybe it would be reciprocated.

But if someone isn’t meeting you halfway, don’t keep walking.

14. He didn’t deserve me.

He didn’t deserve everything I did. But he also didn’t ask for it either. I deserved to give myself more than I gave him but in loving him more than myself, I couldn’t find that balance and it took so long to channel that effort into me.

Even with my best efforts, there was a cold realization after the fact, we didn’t deserve each other no matter how many time we tried.

15. I finally got enough strength to walk away.

There was a strength we both possessed. Because we challenged each other. A relationship even a toxic one can only continue if there are two people investing time and effort into one another. And we did. And I think there were moments we wanted to get it right. There were moments where a future seemed clear. It wasn’t all bad and that’s why I held on.

But sometimes two broken people coming together don’t build each other up but rather completely destroy each other in the end. I think that’s what happened.

16. He made me question everyone after him.

There is always an aftermath of any storm that enters. The debris that is left over and the rebuilding that needs to be done. I spent so much time investing the same effort I put into him, into rebuilding myself and treating myself the way I treated him. It was there I found myself again.

To say I walked away unscarred would be a lie. I still find myself questioning really good people and wondering their motives. I find myself not trusting people because I never trusted him. I find myself jumping to conclusions and overcome with insecurity at times.

It’s then I have to take a step back and not have such a guard up and remind myself not everyone will hurt me. Not everyone is looking to gain something from my time and attention. Not everyone will leave even when I want to.

It’s in the moments I want to run the other way when someone gets close, I stop.

Because as hurt and broken as I was, I do not let his lack of love and a toxic relationship be my definition of what the real thing is.

“I know, the bravest thing I ever did was run.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Writer living in Hoboken, NJ with my 2 dogs.

Keep up with Kirsten on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and kirstencorley.com

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