How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner

How to Leave a Toxic Relationship When You Still Love Your Partner how to leave a toxic relationship when you still love your partner
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We all desire a partner with whom we can form an authentic connection, seeking a happily-ever-after kind of life, where we cater to each other’s needs as we build a life together. However, for various reasons, this scenario doesn’t always go according to plan.

Instead, what we presumed was our haven from life’s storms and a source of support and stability turns out to be a toxic environment and the very origin of the storm. The honeymoon phase is over, and the support and respect you once received are now gone. You come to the realization that you’re in a toxic relationship, prompting thoughts of departure.

Concluding any long-term relationship is a formidable challenge, regardless of whether it’s toxic. It’s difficult to accept and detach from someone around whom your life has revolved. We often find ourselves stuck in patterns of toxic relationships, which can be hard to break. It’s crucial to understand that not all relationships can be salvaged, and the longer you stay, the more damage you sustain.

Leaving a toxic relationship is particularly challenging due to a potent mix of factors like codependency, fear, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Toxic relationships negatively affect a person’s health and well-being, causing immense pain. This article offers tips that will assist you in extricating yourself from a toxic relationship once you’ve identified you’re in one.

8 Tips to Help You Leave a Toxic Relationship

  1. Stop Denying and See the Relationship for What It Is

One of the initial steps is to cease making excuses for staying in the relationship or for your partner’s actions. It’s about recognizing the relationship for its true toxic nature, rather than living in denial. Once this is accomplished, you’ll realize that you no longer wish to participate. Understand that you may never be able to harmonize with your partner, and this can trigger feelings of stress, frustration, and sadness.

The more you cling to the illusion of the relationship’s initial stage, the more hurt you will endure. However, the more you open your eyes, the easier it becomes to find an exit. As the saying goes, “The truth will set you free,” and indeed, it will liberate you from the shackles of a toxic relationship.

2. Stop Waiting for Your Partner to Change

One of the gravest errors we make when in a relationship where we’re treated poorly is to cling to the hope that the other party will change. It’s important to remember that people only change when they take responsibility for their mistakes and show a willingness to seek help. As we all know, toxic individuals rarely admit fault and seldom take responsibility for their actions. I often advise that, instead of waiting for them to change, we should initiate change within ourselves. The only aspect within your control is yourself, not others.

Your partner may have promised to change, but actions speak louder than words. Rather than buying into their promises, focus on their current behavior. It’s not your responsibility to fix them or convince them to change, as genuine transformation comes from within and cannot be forced.

Regardless of what we tell ourselves, some relationships cannot be mended. It’s also worth noting that when they sense you’re about to leave, they will offer more and more empty promises of change. Instead, you should recognize this pattern of hollow assurances.

3. Know That You Always Deserve Better

Being in an emotionally abusive relationship for months or years can wear you down, leading you to believe that this is how life should be. This mentality often sets in as you continuously give without receiving anything in return, except negativity. You start blaming and shaming yourself and your circumstances for your life’s state.

At this point, it’s crucial to continually affirm to yourself that you deserve happiness. You can do this by visualizing life without their manipulation and abuse, contemplating the freedom, peace, and healthy relationship you could enjoy one day. Allow yourself to remember how wonderful and enjoyable your life was before the relationship and look forward to experiencing it all again. This mindset will fuel your desire to leave and not look back.

4. Accept That Leaving Will Hurt

Exiting any relationship is painful, even if it was toxic. This is because you cared about the person (and might still do) and shared special moments together. Detaching from someone we once loved is difficult and, as I mentioned in a previous article, induces feelings akin to those experienced when losing a loved one. Accepting that the relationship is toxic and not beneficial for you will expose you to a wave of negative emotions like sadness, loneliness, and grief.

As you contemplate leaving, accepting that the journey will be painful can help you better prepare and develop coping mechanisms to navigate this period. One such coping mechanism is expressive writing or journaling, which has been shown to improve physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Accepting the reality of pain allows us to soften and open the door to courage, compassion, and wisdom.

5. Formulate a Detailed Plan

Deciding to leave requires a well-thought-out plan to manage the transition. This could involve saving money if you lack sufficient savings. If you’re currently unemployed, it may be time to consider job hunting. Leaving becomes more challenging if you’ve been financially dependent on your partner. Financial independence is a crucial aspect of reclaiming your freedom.

A comprehensive plan involves building a safety net and knowing where you’ll live or what possessions you’ll need. The more detailed it is, the better, as it reinforces the belief that you can navigate this transition more easily. If your partner has ever displayed violent tendencies or threatened you, keeping records and obtaining a restraining order against them can provide additional safety when you leave. However, it’s essential not to get caught in the trap of overplanning without taking action. Let the plan be an auxiliary aid that eases your departure, not the deciding factor.

6. Build a Support Network

Having a reliable support system makes exiting a toxic relationship easier. Once you’ve decided it’s time to leave, seek assistance from friends and family to help execute your plan. They can provide material support, a place to stay, or simply emotional support. Rather than dwelling on why leaving will be difficult, focus on constructing the support network you will need.

“Sure, your relationship might leave you with a few cracks, but those cracks, those imperfections, those are sources of strength and beauty because breakups don’t have to leave you broken; you’re stronger than you know.” — Gary Lewandowski

Bear in mind that some close friends and family may enable the abuse, so it’s better to rely only on those you can trust. Seeking professional help is also a viable option as you find your way out of the relationship, as professionals can guide you and hold you accountable for achieving your goals. Moreover, if you feel threatened, inform local authorities that you may need their assistance.

7. Limit Communication with Your Partner

Toxic individuals are often charming and cunning, capable of emotionally blackmailing you, particularly if they sense you’re drifting away. As you prepare to leave, keep your conversations with them minimal and unemotional.

The less communication, the clearer your path forward will become. It also means you’ll avoid the verbal abuse frequently occurring during conversations. Avoid discussing your plans or getting involved in their plans, if possible, as this will aid in gradually detaching from the relationship.

Regular communication may entrap you in the “maybe” illusion (maybe things will work out, maybe I’m not giving enough), which can quash your resolve to leave.

8. Work on Your Self-Esteem

As we all know, being in a toxic relationship deals a huge blow to our self-esteem. The constant gaslighting, name-calling, and various forms of verbal abuse we endure from them make us question our worth. We’ve also neglected our physical, mental, and emotional health to a great extent. A torn-down self-esteem and self-worth will keep us trapped in the relationship for longer.

That’s why rebuilding your self-esteem through engaging in activities you value or those that improve your general well-being can help you find the strength to leave. Focus more of your time and energy on self-growth, whether through journaling, educating yourself, or even seeking therapy where possible. A stronger self-esteem will make you more assertive and resolute in your decision-making, enabling you to follow through with your choice to leave as you’ll feel good about yourself.


Being in an unhealthy and toxic relationship is a painful experience, and you might feel trapped in it. Leaving is an extremely difficult endeavor that requires bravery and courage. However, once you take that step, it will be liberating, and new opportunities and possibilities will open up in your life again. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the relationship; always remember that you have a way out. You have the right to find happiness and comfort in your life once more. You deserve better, and seeking help from a professional to guide you through this period is always an option.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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