Couple with the backs turned to one another

Breaking up is hard to do:
Escaping toxic relationships

Breaking up is hard to do.  

If it were easy we wouldn’t listen to the thousands of love songs written about it. We wouldn’t watch the thousands of movies made about it and Taylor Swift wouldn’t have built a career on it. 

There’s no doubt about it; breaking up is hard to do.

No matter how many times we do it, no matter what the words are we say, it never gets any easier. This is certainly one situation where practice doesn’t make perfect.

But there are a few things you can do to help make the whole thing a little less painful.


Step 1 – Are you in a toxic relationship?

The first thing you need to work out is are you really in a toxic relationship? If you suspect that you are then there’s a pretty good chance that you are. But if you just want to double check or reassure yourself that you are indeed in a toxic relationship ask yourself:

  • Do your interactions leave you feeling hurt or low?
  • Do you dread being around that person?
  • There’s physical and or verbal abuse?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you might want to start thinking about some of the following steps.


Step 2 – Why does your relationship make you feel the way you do?

Have a good think about why your relationship makes you feel the way that it does. Remember, it takes two to tango so don’t blame yourself for the way somebody else makes you feel.


Step 3 – Decision time

Now it’s decision time. Is the relationship worth saving? If you decide that it is, then it might be time to have a difficult conversation with that person. Tell them how the relationship is making you feel and what you expect your relationship to be like.


Step 4 – Time to end the relationship?

If step 3 didn’t have the positive outcome you hoped for then it may be time to end the relationship. Even losing bad relationships can hurt, so during this time be kind to yourself. Do things that you enjoy. If you like going to the movies, then go to the movies. If you like going hiking, then go for a hike. Be kind to yourself and have fun.


Step 5 – Lean on your support network

Tell your support network your family and friends, what’s happening and how you feel. They’ll be there to help cheer you up and support you.


Step 6 – Make a clean break

Commit to ending the relationship and have a clean break. Don’t try to be friends and don’t try to be supportive.


Step 7 – Think positive

Now’s not the time to wallow and feel sad. You now have a whole bunch of free time on your hands and most likely after ending that bad relationship you will feel an emotional weight being lifted. This is a positive time. Go out and have fun, start that new hobby that you’ve always wanted to start, renovate your house or start some other kind of big project that you’ve always wanted to do.


Don’t look at breaking up as any kind of failure. If you’ve made the decision to break off a relationship it’s usually because that relationship isn’t bringing you any joy. Focus on the future and the horizons ahead.


Need help? You can chat to a professional counsellor 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1300 059 625 or register for online counselling.

You can also find support services in northern Queensland or complete a self-administered K10 test for depression and anxietyYou can also join the online mental health forum to talk with like-minded people.