The 10-Step, Never-Look-Back Plan To Finally Quit Your Toxic Relationship

You should be able to look at your partner and feel happiness and peace.

Last updated on Nov 23, 2023

Woman walking away from toxic man gremlin, David_Kam_Photography | Canva 

When you look across the table at your partner, you should feel joy and gratitude — at least some of the time. If, instead you feel a subtle sense of anxiety when you look at them, it's likely you're in a toxic relationship. 

Toxic people hurt the people around them. And whether that hurt is intentional or not, their words and actions cause people to question their choices. 

Somehow, they hit you with a wounding word or a sideways look when you’re most vulnerable, and no one has the right to do that to you.


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Here is a 10-step plan to follow when you're ready to end your toxic relationship

1. Clarify your boundaries.

Accept that it may not happen overnight. People enjoy convenience, and if your partner isn’t respecting you now, chances are, your first attempt at giving them the heave-ho won’t result in immediate success.

That’s why the clearer you are, the clearer you can communicate.



2. Tell them "It's over."

Plan how you’re going to let them go, then do it.


Sounds simple, but it isn't always. Being with this person has rewards, and you can be honest with yourself about it. 

But be honest with yourself about how it has to end and then just end it. Say the words directly and let it be the truth. 

3. Refuse to justify, over-explain, reason with, or debate your decision.

You do not need to answer their doubting, bullying, or mocking. Say what you have to say, and leave.

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credit: Aleshyn Andrei / shutterstock


4. Consider meeting in a public place and have a friend sit at a nearby table.

Meet them at a restaurant or cafe if you want some moral support close by. Seeing a friendly face is helpful when the person who’s shared your most intimate space tells you all the things they think you want to hear.

5. Block them.

Do not follow them on social media, and block them so they cannot follow you.

6. Write a letter.

Can’t get your point across? Write it down. You said it, now write it. Sure, you could text, but you know how easy that is to delete. Write it, seal it, and mail it. How formal and, yes, official! (Email works, too).



7. Lean into your newly found time alone with intention.

Even if you spend your free hours daydreaming, think about what you want moving forward and what you'll enjoy. Nature abhors a vacuum, and you know you don’t want to pick up that phone, so plan (in advance) what you'll do in your downtime instead.


8. Surround yourself with positive influences.

Spend time with people who make you feel good, images that reinforce the highest potential of your life, and activities that inspire you to become the best version of yourself.

9. Allow yourself time to heal.

You’ve just opened a wound, and it hurts, so give yourself time to mend and heal. Pamper yourself and use the time for inner healing work on your self-image (so you won’t allow anyone to put you down again).



10. Celebrate.

You did it! Look at your life now, and who is in it. Whether you want to invite someone new in or not, don’t you feel better about yourself?


Choose a way to honor your decision and your bravery. Make it private if you’re an introvert, or go and party with your positive friends if you’re an extrovert, but do celebrate yourself. You deserve this happier, healthier new life you're creating.

Once the stress of a toxic relationship starts, it builds to physical symptoms such as chronic fatigue, headaches, neck, and back pain, stomach upset, eating and sleeping disorders, and illnesses — and those are just the minor effects.

credit: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock


There’s a 34 percent increase in cardiac problems for those in toxic relationships, as well as a shortened lifespan by an average of 11 years. And that’s not all: Blood pressure and blood sugar levels are higher; obesity rates, diabetes, depression, and incidences of stroke all increase; and levels of good cholesterol lower.

When the relationship finally drains the life from you, and nothing of you is left, do you need any more reasons to stay? You know you don’t feel good around them, and it’s literally killing you, so what’s left?

It's time to walk away from him. Easier said than done, especially when you feel so emotionally beat down by the relationships. But in learning how to get over a breakup with someone so toxic and manipulative, here are ways to lift yourself back up, leave the relationship, and move on to better opportunities.

As you focus on removing one toxic person from your life, you may find yourself removing all toxic relationships from your life. Once you clear those negative influences, you open up room for positive change to flood in.


Editor's note: Nobody deserves abuse or manipulation in your relationship, and sometimes toxic relationships cross into abuse. If this is happening, please reach out for support and help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help, call 800-799-7233 any time, 24/7. 

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Jan L. Bowen is an author, keynote speaker, thought leader, and facilitator with over 25 years of successful corporate leadership who specializes in helping leaders find their balance.