You are Allowed to Leave Bad Relationships: Here’s How

For the longest time, I believed that I was the (sole) reason for my relationships going south. I spent days wondering if I really was that unworthy that people did not want to commit to me, and when they did after I finally gave in to a one-sided affection, I spiralled, held back my expectations, turned cold, and resented myself for repeating the same needy behaviour. 

Many of my relationships in the past turned bad. Unmet expectations, differences in opinions and life choices, disagreements, and hurtful behaviour can all lead to relationships becoming bad. I learned that while a lot of times my identified bad behaviours that I was slowly working on were the reason, t it wasn’t just me ruining every relationship or human being I got involved with. It took a lot of courage and self-acceptance to understand that a relationship is two (or more!) people- in both the good and the bad. 

It starts with forgiving yourself. It starts with understanding that you are not the only one to blame. And it starts with working towards a better you. When you become more self-aware and accepting, you can look past the tinted lens of bias where you blame your partner for your emotions, keep a score, lash out and operate with disregard for their wellbeing, and become better at love. 

It is important to become self-aware so that you know when is the right time to work on something, and when it is the right time to let go. If you have realised that you are in a bad relationship, it’s probably time to let go. 

Sometimes, letting go can be extremely painful. Mostly because you still love that person and hold out hope that things will change. But if your partner is not willing to put in the work to change for the better for the sake of the relationship, it’s time to move on. Here’s how:

  1. Understand that it’s okay to grieve and be sad- even if you are the one leaving them: It is important to realise that even if you are the one calling the shots, it’s normal to feel bad about a relationship ending. Even if the relationship was bad, you felt some way for this person and it is okay to grieve the loss. 

  2. Realise that it’s okay (and valid and important) to feel worthy of more- like you deserve better: Realising your self-worth and accepting that you are worthy of more can help put things into perspective. Many bad relationships make us doubt ourselves and cause a lack of self-esteem. Understand that neither you nor your partner, are inherently bad; and that you are allowed to expect better out of relationships.

  3. Accept that things might hurt and take time to feel ‘normal’ again: Accepting the fact that you would be sad, lost, and unhappy for some time can help bring a sense of comfort. Just knowing the fact that you would be hurting can bring a sense of predictability and calm that can help you find the right distractions, cultivate new habits and routines, and seek the right kind of help.

  4. Take control of your happiness: Leaving a bad relationship does not mean that you have to be sad all the time. You are allowed moments of happiness, whether intentional or unintentional. Schedule activities that help you remain positively distracted from the past and do things that help you feel better about yourself. You are allowed to be happy even when you are grieving.

  5. Release the pain and take time to rest: While the world tells us to stand strong in the face of adversity, pretending that nothing is wrong can do more harm than good. Sometimes, releasing the pain through mindful activities like journaling or even having full-blown crying sessions can help lift off the weight from your chest. Allow yourself to feel lighter and recover.

  6. Learn to forgive: This does not mean you have to let your partner back into your life in any capacity. Forgiveness means letting go of the bitterness you feel towards the other person. Allow yourself to accept that you cannot change people and that you also had a part to play in the story. Forgive yourself, forgive people, and move on.

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