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How To Move On From A Toxic Relationship?

How To Move On From A Toxic Relationship

250 days, 100 fights and a break-up.

I’m a 20-something woman from Mumbai. I’ve had a fairly open-minded approach to life – travelled the world, had chilled out parents and supportive friends. I’ve grown up with what I’d like to think are virtuous philosophies towards love and life. One such belief is ‘when things get hard, work harder and make them work’. I’ve seen my mum and dad do this – stand by your partner and take the more difficult path instead of an easy escape. This stems from the beautiful bond my parents have shared. They’ve spent 25 years of marriage together, done a long distance relationship for about 20 years of that 25, and still have blind faith and trust in each other. I’ve always wanted to emulate them.

I’ve had good relationships and not-so-good ones. But this is about my bad one. My last relationship lasted two-and-a-half years. It was heavily intoxicating from day one. We fell crazily in love with each other when we first met. We were both seeing other people at the time and broke up with our respective partners for each other. He was a Bandra boy, lived 15 minutes from where I did, so we’d spend every waking moment together – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Talk late into the night; text all day. We’d hit all the bars in Bandra. We knew every little detail about each other. Within six months of our relationship, he asked me to marry him.

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The acceleration felt like a high. It slowly became the only thing that mattered to me. What I didn’t realize was the underlying tone of toxicity that had crept into our high-on-love phase. We had lost all sense of balance. We ignored the world around us – our honeymoon phase was that addictive. He was my friend, my boyfriend and my family. Needless to say, no one escapes reality. Our little glass orb had to shatter. And it did.

The beginning of the end

It started with something that seemed harmless – I wanted to meet a friend of mine, someone of the opposite sex. He would never tell me not to, but he would withdraw when I did. This would upset me. This was my first tryst with choice-making – should I tell him it was a bit too much or just let it slide? I slowly and subconsciously started avoiding anything that caused friction. I just wanted to skip our passive-aggressive fights – I’d weigh my pros and cons and decide to skip a social event because it was just one night of fun. I had what made me happy, after all. We actively fostered the possessive side in each other. We loved the attention even though it was negative. We were both very social individuals intrinsically and we knowingly cutting one another’s wings off.

Soon things started turning nastier. One night we were in a club and I got lost (I always get lost in clubs – something about alcohol and crowds). Teary-eyed, I found him half-an-hour later saw him laughing and talking to a girl instead of looking for me. That set me off. And this angered him – one look at my face and he saw red. He walked out of the club without saying a word. I followed, crying all the way. We didn’t speak a word during the ride home. And he didn’t contact me the next morning.

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Strangers to strangers. Image source:

I woke up wondering if someone was this mad at me, it was naturally my fault. I was probably being too possessive. I felt anger and guilt at the same time. I decided that I wanted to be the ‘bigger person’ and fix this. This was morphing into a pattern. He had started getting phone calls from a girl who had a crush on him and would bake cakes for him before we had started dating. He was becoming increasingly vague about where he was going and what he was doing. Now that I look back, it was a sign of him losing interest. Plain and simple – he was bored. But at that point I would ponder and brood, and try to change another part of my personality so as to make this relationship more compatible. In hindsight, I don’t even know why I held on to him as tight as I did. When I use cold rationale – it wasn’t his looks (he definitely wasn’t a looker); it wasn’t his personality; or his steady job. It was the philosophy that I had drilled into my head – when things get tough, don’t give up.

It is this that I’m imploring every young woman (and man) to take a step back and reconsider – how many times have you tried to make something work and settled for something lesser than you deserve? I actively fed defeatist thoughts into my brain – ‘this is probably what I’m worth’ or ‘this is what sacrifice and compromise feels like’. The stress was visible – I lost so much weight my family and friends started asking me if everything was okay. Which is why I say, you will know if something worthwhile if it does not feel like a compromise. It should not make you feel like you are axing a part of yourself. Your significant other will meet you halfway, and if he knows you well enough, will not want you to change.

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Happy zone

Our relationship ended about 250 days later, with about a 100 more fights and disagreements. You lose track. The ups and downs become a regular part of your life. It’s been a while since we’ve broken up, which is why I’m able to look back with ease. Life is lighter now. I go on dates, meet my friends, spend time with my dog and focus on work. I can be there for other people instead of being constantly caught up with my own personal turmoil. I’ve not reached ‘utopia’ – I am not deeply and madly in love. But I am happy. And that is enough.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of

By Aashna Mehta 
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