When to call it quits – breaking up and letting go of toxic relationships

There is this thing that so many people do or have done, that I just can’t get my head around: staying in a relationship that has gone bad or staying in a destructive relationship hoping that someone will change. We need to encourage each other to cut that out right now – before it’s too late and we’re emotionally or physically hurt.

Some relationships are toxic for us, and our best chance of survival is to get out of them while we’re still whole. Here are some accurate tell-tale signs that it is time to call it quits.

1. When jealousy crosses the line

In the beginning of a relationship, in the warm flush of new love, a person’s jealousy or possessiveness can seem to be a good thing. We tell ourselves “he/she just loves me so much”, or “he/she really values me and doesn’t want to lose me”. But, choma, we are lying to ourselves! Flashes of nasty jealousy and distrust are big warning signs. Remember, no matter how in love you are, your partner doesn’t own you.

They shouldn’t demand to know where you are in every waking second of the day. You are still your own person, even if you are part of a couple, so if he/she calls all the time to ask you where you are, starts to accuse you of cheating with no basis for suspicion, or gets angry with you for “flirting” with their friends (when you were just being polite) then it’s time to consider if this relationship is healthy.

Strong relationships are based on mutual respect and mutual trust. If your partner can’t trust you, they don’t respect you. Don’t stick around until their jealousy sparks something terrible.

2. When your self esteem takes a knock

Here’s a hard question to answer – no ifs, buts, excuses or explanations: Ask yourself if your relationship makes you feel strong and healthy or weak, if your partner builds you up or tears you down.

Now, everyone has weaknesses and strengths, and sometimes we say the wrong thing or we snap at someone because we are tired and grumpy. So I am not saying that someone who gently and lovingly critiques something you do is a bad person, but consider the difference between the following two statements:

– Babe, I don’t like it when you interrupt me. Please don’t. I want to hear what you say, but allow me a chance to finish too.

– Babe, I’m talking here. This isn’t all about you. Don’t interrupt me! You don’t even know about this stuff anyway.

So if your boyfriend/girlfriend attacks you instead of your actions, or overly criticises those actions in a way that breaks you down, it’s time to consider whether the relationship is good for you.

3. When you act out of character or take risks

We know all about how peer pressure works in a group of friends, but your partner can be a source of peer pressure too. If you find yourself wanting to do stupid things or take risks to please your partner, that’s probably a sign that things are not okay, choma.

Do they drink and drive? Do they say that condoms are for couples who are cheating? Do they refuse to get tested for HIV with you? Do they pressure you to take drugs, go on a strict diet, dress differently, or do they make fun of you when you want to do “the right thing”?

If so, run, choma! Someone who really loves you wants the best for you, and likes who you are now. Tell that toxic boyfriend/girlfriend where to get off, and leave him/her behind. You are going places and their toxic ways will only hold you back.