You thought it would last forever, but when your relationship turned toxic, something had to give. At its best, a marriage can merge two individual identities into one beautiful, productive partnership. At its worst, it can blur your sense of self and leave you questioning your individual worth.
Even though exiting a toxic marriage could be the best thing for you in the long run, there are many emotional barriers to leaving. Coming to terms with the violent arguments, infidelity, or abuse may require you to summon an exhausting amount of bravery. Family and friends may come out of the woodwork to offer unwelcome, confusing opinions. Your partner may have hurt you deeply, but you will get through this.
It’s time to prioritize your healing.
- Feel The Hard Emotions
Toxic partnerships can cause confusing emotions. Betrayal, shame, confusion, futility, heartbreak, and other feelings may leave you spinning. Take the time to tease out what you are feeling. Give yourself permission to be honest with yourself about what you are going through by writing in a journal, meditating, or seeking support from a loved one or therapist.
- Be Kind To Yourself (It’s Not Your Fault)
When your partner hurts you, it can sometimes seem easier to blame yourself than to accept that your spouse would cause you pain. For this reason, shame is one of the hardest emotional hurdles to overcome when leaving a toxic marriage. The marriage ended for a reason, and accepting that your spouse’s toxic behaviors were not your fault is essential to the healing process.
- Give Yourself Space
Habit, heartbreak, or curiosity may cause you to want to connect with your ex again after the relationship is over. If you do not have children with your partner, contacting your toxic ex is inadvisable in most cases. Not only could this muddy the legal waters during the divorce, but it could also put your emotional state in jeopardy. Whenever you can, give yourself the space to feel your emotions and reconnect with yourself after leaving a toxic marriage – without the influence of your ex-spouse.
If you are co-parenting, keep conversations focused on the best interests of the children. Avoid rehashing toxic aspects of the relationship and digging up old fights.
- Do A Lot Of What You Love
Schedule time for yourself to do the things you love. You may feel like you lost a part of yourself in the exhaustion of the toxic relationship, and it’s time to find yourself again. Rediscover an old hobby, like painting or making music, for a stabilizing creative outlet. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Travel. Read a book. Whatever you do, make sure you love it and do a lot of it.
It can take a while to heal from a toxic relationship. Practicing self-care is not a magic cure for the pain that you endured in your marriage, but it can help build your self-worth and generate the emotional strength needed to heal.