Stepping away from bad relationships

Stepping away from bad relationships

by Vanessa Ng 12 Jan 2020

Even if it was formed under the purest of circumstances, relationships can still turn sour if things simply aren’t meant to be. Distancing oneself from the situation can seem like a scary prospect as it forces you to confront the possibility of loneliness. The notion of starting over from scratch is even more daunting, which may explain why some people choose to remain in relationships that are clearly bad for them – it feels familiar and safe.


To step away from a relationship, there must first be an intention to. This is often the hardest part to come to terms with, especially after having invested so much time and effort in the other party. To many, severing ties seems a lot like giving up, which can leave a sour taste in one’s mouth. It also means forsaking any chance of emotional returns. However, sometimes it is better to simply cut your losses and walk away.


While it sounds easy to view the process as a purely economical one, it’s anything but. Aside from the comfort of familiarity, many people choose to cling on to failing relationships simply because they don’t see how bad things have gotten. Much of this is attributed to the rate at which things declined within the relationship. You wouldn’t see this happening one month in when one party suddenly becomes physically abusive – the change is to sudden and abrupt to ignore. The truth is that many toxic relationships are insidious, slowly creeping in whilst remaining barely noticeable. Much like the parable of the frog in boiling water, it gets to a point where things become irredeemable.


You need to consider how the relationship has changed you and if it has been for the better or worse. Perhaps you have grown less vocal about your thoughts, or you became quiet in fear of judgement. You may have lost your sense of ambition or passion due to your partners’ discouragement. A common characteristic of toxic individuals is how they elevate themselves at the expense of others.


Likewise, ask yourself if your self-esteem and happiness have improved or worsened. Your partner/friend should be complementary to your emotional and physical well-being instead of taking the place of a saboteur. It is also important to recognise if you are comfortable with the terms of the relationship. Things do not necessarily need to end on a personal note – there are times when it’s simply due to two decent individuals operating on completely different wavelengths.


Have courage and be stoic when you make your decision. Life is much too short for it to be weighed down by bad people and bad relationships. While the effort spent on improving things is to be lauded, knowing when to leave well enough alone can certainly help to keep you sane in the long run.