After writing an article on leaving my toxic ex, I got a question that I never anticipated: What could my ex have done to get me back? I choked from laughter. There was not a damn thing he could have done.
However, the man on the other side of this question wanted an answer, expressing his desire to rekindle a relationship with his child's mother. He explained that she was single and not dating anyone and that he was a changed man. However, she made it clear there was no hope for them. Our conversation was brief, but one thing became clear: This wasn't the first person to mess up and it wouldn't be the last. The only thing he could do at this moment was to respect her wishes.
This got me thinking, was there love after toxic behavior? Yes, I believe so. This doesn't apply to everyone, specifically anyone who physically, mentally, and/or sexually abused their partner. Y'all can kick rocks.
However, some mistakes are a direct result of ignorance, while others can be linked to selfishness, greed, and ego. If you or your significant other displayed any of these behaviors, then it's time to tell the truth and own your mistakes. Next, you must accept there's no guarantee your desire to rekindle will result in getting back with your ex. Sometimes there's just too much water under the bridge.
On the flipside, love isn't linear and there are plenty of happy and healthy couples that reunited after breaking up, but make sure both you and your partner meet these requirements, first.
How To Fix A Toxic Relationship
1. Change Your Mindset
If you're thinking about pursuing your ex, you must change your behavior. The same mindset won't work. This is the time to work on yourself. You've got to do more than talk, show them that you care. My suggestion? Start with figuring out the root of your issues. Perhaps, you could try therapy. It's a safe space to be vulnerable and share your thoughts and feelings without judgment. I can attest to its healing elements, which allowed me to identify traits like jealousy and residual anger that I had to release. Use your sessions to become a person you could be proud of.
2. Honesty & Transparency
An apology isn't enough. Communicate your feelings, the self-work you're doing, and your hopes for the future. Be brutally honest and don't leave anything out. It may seem weird at first, but this could be the breakthrough you're looking for.
Transparency builds trust.
3. Be Flexible
One of the biggest issues in a relationship is the inability to be flexible. Some non-negotiables need to be communicated and agreed upon. Think about some of your biggest disagreements and if it was worth it. Were you stuck on getting a certain result? Did the outcome drive you apart? Write out your list of must-haves together and compare the results. This will help both of you get clear on what's most important.
4. Listen & Learn
Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen. Active listening can improve your relationship because it's an emotional skill that forces you to engage. Ask your ex what they're feeling and what healing looks like to them. Don't fight them on their truth, it's theirs. Instead, listen for opportunities on how you can improve and support their boundaries.
5. Accept the Present & Move On
As I mentioned before, there's no guarantee that your desires to rekindle will result in getting back with your ex. It may be time to accept that it's over. Accept that you played a part in this outcome and now that you know better, you can do better. You have an opportunity to be more intuitive and empathetic through the lessons that you've learned.
With maturity, my thoughts on relationships have changed. I've come to find that no one is all good or all bad; they're just human. The blame doesn't fall on one person; it is a result of actions–and those not taken. If you decide to rekindle the relationship, then that's your business. Be prepared to start fresh because resentment and love can't exist in the same space. Always remember, you are enough with or without them.
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