16 People Reveal When They Knew It Was Time To End A Toxic Relationship

by Alexia LaFata

Finding love (and keeping it) is hard. There needs to be a perfect combination of infatuation, compatibility and timing between two people who are willing to make sacrifices and compromises for the sake of something bigger than themselves.

A few lucky people have been fortunate enough to experience this successfully. For the rest of us, the journey to find love has been difficult. We've experienced heartbreak, loss and that harrowing feeling that we'll never find “The One.”

Even those who have actually found The One have certainly known what it feels like when all hope seems lost. Enduring a whole bunch of sh*tty relationships is normal on our quest to find the perfect one.

So, if someone's ever hurt you, knocked you down or made you feel like you were unworthy, you're not alone. And if someone's currently hurting you, knocking you down or making you feel like you're unworthy, you're also not alone -- and you will find the strength to leave.

Here are 16 people on their worst relationships ever and the moment they knew they had to end things.


It started out great, but later on, the way he treated me just shifted. His default went from complimenting me to criticizing me. The person you're dating should not make you feel down on yourself, but he was starting to have that effect on me. Looking back, I can see it was just his insecurities talking. But at the time, I allowed them to bring out mine.

I knew I had to end it...

When I found a list of pros and cons about me on his computer. They weren't even that negative, but anyone who thinks of you like that does not appreciate you the way they should. I knew I deserved better.

--Lucy*, 25


He was a junkie, and he stole my money all the damn time to buy drugs. I think that about sums it up.

I knew I had to end it...

He hacked into my bank account and changed my settings so he could withdraw more of MY money. For drugs.

--Katie*, 23


My girl was so annoying. She was one of those rich chicks who is so used to getting everything she wants, and when things didn't go her way, she just started complaining and bitching. I hate when women complain -- it's so annoying. Also she didn't want to be in a mutual relationship. It was more about "her way or the high way," and I have a strong independent personality, so I wasn't really cool with that.

I knew I had to end it...

When she told me to stop having friends that are girls. More importantly, she freaked out when she found out some of my girl friends were actually hot and wanted me to end all forms of communication with them.

--Farmsworth*, 24


Ex was emotionally abusive. He was diagnosed with bipolar depression halfway through our relationship, which made it take a really unhealthy turn. He was always a liar, but it worsened after his diagnosis. He let the diagnosis itself be an excuse for his behavior, and my high school self played along with it.

I knew I had to end it...

After two years of emotional abuse, I started to become desensitized to his words and, in a way, believed them. I lost my sense of self, but when we went to separate colleges, I started to feel like myself again. I realized this was literally because he was no longer around me, so I knew I had to end it. We ended up getting back together over winter break over freshman year, but then he pulled one of his stupid lies again, and I finally stood up for myself and ended it for good. We haven't spoken since

--Kelli, 22


He was undiagnosed bipolar, so I didn't have any context for his mood swings/weeks of disappearance.

I knew I had to end it...

Well, you'd think after this... He reemerged after holding up in the 24-hour library for something like three days straight to explain he realized why he had been mean to me: It was a full moon. Totally not his fault, he can't help his behavior is dictated by the lunar cycle. So, yeah, I dated a werewolf.

--Jen*, 25


It was extremely abusive both emotionally and physically.

I knew I had to end it...

When I was raped by my boyfriend.

--Gina*, 25


I had a pretty crazy girlfriend. She would make me check in with her everywhere I went, like photo (selfie) where I was or a video because she thought I was cheating on her all the time. She would also make up lies about me cheating, saying her friends knew someone who knew I was cheating to try and get me to slip up. Even still, after denying it, she wouldn't believe me. Also after any fight we got in, I would end up getting drunk calls from her mom telling me I should probably fix whatever I did.

I knew I had to end it...

When she said, "I would consider killing you if you cheated on me," but at that point, it was pretty much a lose-lose situation. I figured I would get killed when I ended it.

--Michael*, 26


Controlling, hypersensitive, emotional wreck, clingy, was always upset that I hung out with my friends.

I knew I had to end it...

She only had one friend, and basically, when she wasn't with her, she would want to be with me. That's all well and good, until you're busy, and that became a nightmare. I would get, "Why are you doing this to me??" texts when I was at the gym. She also found a mouse on the side of the road one day and decided to keep it. When it died, I was busy, and it became all about her. It's a f*cking wild rat!

--James*, 23


He was creepy. He'd drive past my house to see if I was home, text me to double check if I was home, and then pull in my driveway... at least three times a day.

I knew I had to end it...

He saw my car in the driveway; I was at the mall with my best friend. He wanted to know why I was lying to him about not being home... because he saw my car.

--Lauren, 20


I thought it was love because he was so good at eating me out, but outside of the bedroom, there was nothing but hate.

I knew I had to end it...

When we stopped having sex, and I realized the above^.

--Sammy*, 22


He just wanted to have sex all the time and called that "love" (and he was a really bad kisser, which I was prepared to overlook, but unfortunately, this wasn't his only flaw). He just didn't see that I'm a rather emotional person and that I can be very insecure sometimes. Or that I struggled with a panic disorder and severe bulimia. Here's some advice: If your girlfriend is having a massive panic attack and starts hyperventilating and sobbing uncontrollably, you shouldn't tell her you want to bang her. Sex doesn't fix things. I mean... I just wished he'd have been a little more understanding. After that one incident, he just magically disappeared whenever I was feeling particularly bad, and HIS FRIENDS stayed with me just so I wouldn't be alone. I didn't even know them that well, but they helped me more than he did. Even if you don't know what to do -- since mental illnesses can be tough, yes -- just try and be there for your partner. Just don't walk away from someone. I can't explain to you how it feels when you're afraid of big crowds and you're standing in the middle of the road and you're having a panic attack and your boyfriend -- the only person you have right now because you're surrounded by strangers -- just leaves.

I knew I had to end it...

When he couldn't even remember I don't eat meat. I was waiting for him to say something, but he was busy talking to his friends when the waitress set our plates in front of us. I just sat there and looked at him. It was such a tiny thing, but I hadn't been able to figure out what made me feel so bad. I've had several moments in which I thought: "Oh, something's off", and at first, I didn't mind. But then it started to happen all the time, and I realized he didn't really care about me. I know for sure it was just indifference toward my well-being instead of forgetfulness because he could remember everything about his best friend (a girl, with whom he had been in love with before I came) and seemed to forget everything I told him about me. But he was always down for sex...

--Farina, 18


The fact that I got stalked to death when going out with friends.

I knew I had to end it...

When I was with a group of friends (male and female) at the bar, and my ex showed up uninvited yelling "Ooohh you with them bitchez now huh? Think they are any better than me?"

--Jordy, 23


It was a disaster of epic proportions and was from the beginning. Whether we were "on" or not was determined by his level of interest in me at the time, and when we were "on," he was critical, dismissive and sometimes cruel. He had a terrible drinking problem we weren't allowed to talk about and would forget what he said to me the night before when he was (always) blackout drunk. He openly told me the things he didn't like about me and things I needed to improve because "no guy would want that." I caught him on more than one occasion telling people he wasn't sure why he was involved with me, as he didn't even like me. We fought in a way I have never fought with anyone before or since. We had virtually nothing in common, and I felt like no matter what I did I was nothing more than some annoying gnat on the periphery of his life, no matter how many times he claimed I was "the only one who understood him." All of it was intersected by brief moments of tenderness, declarations of admiration and his insistence that we needed each other. I could go on endlessly, but I'll just say it was just a terribly dysfunctional relationship that made me feel emptier than I have ever felt.

I knew I had to end it...

It ended naturally, with me going back to New York one summer, but the communication continued. I don't think there was any definitive moment, but when he was waking up in the morning and not remembering all the things he had declared the night before, I realized, sh*t, this has been going on for a year and a half, and I still think tomorrow will be the morning he remembers.

--Gina, 22


It wasn't even a relationship, as he never asked me to officially be his girlfriend (I swear I'm actually 22 and not 12). But it went on for about two years on and off. I loved him. He was my best friend, my f*ck buddy and the person I wanted most in the world. But he was a piece of sh*t. He lied to me constantly about how he felt, made up every excuse in the world to not just commit. He took other girls out on dates (which honestly is low-key worse than just sleeping with them because WTF where was MY date?) But he knew me better than anyone, and he knew exactly what he had to do and say to keep me around. And I fell for it every time. He eventually started "talking" to another girl, and that nearly killed me. But still, he would avoid telling me about it until there was no way he could avoid it. And then he would keep me in his back pocket (text me each day, all day) just in case things didn't work out with her -- which they didn't, multiple times. Now he's dating her... so much for not wanting to commit?

I knew I had to end it...

I had moved out of my college town and got a job, and he started dating the new girl after I moved. Somehow, he and I had started texting, and I even broke up with someone I was dating because talking to this one again got me all flustered. I went back to visit my college town and saw him, and we made out. He cheated on his girlfriend with me, and then had the audacity to tell me he loved her but could see himself being happy with each of us. I spent the entire drive back home (and the next few days) crying. I knew then how toxic he was to me and how badly he needed to be out of my life. I've ignored every one of his attempts to talk to me since.

--Marie*, 22


He was terrified to commit. Everything he did felt half-assed: i.e. We'd go to the park, and instead of listening to what I had to say, he'd indiscreetly check out other girls.

I knew I had to end it...

I saw him flirting through text with another girl. He insists nothing happened with her, and I believe him, but I knew he was bored/afraid/something of being in a serious relationship. So I ended it.

--Sheena, 25


My first boyfriend was when I was 16/17, in my junior/senior year of high school. This guy was a brooding, anti-social loner type, but I thought he had a sort of heart-of-gold, bad-boy charm. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Looking back, he was judgmental, unkind and manipulative -- even with me at the beginning, he was really terrible. But I really wanted him to like me.

I knew I had to end it...

In the last few months, it felt like we were fighting about everything. He got angry at me because I didn't love the "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" movie. He got angry at me because I didn't tell him I'd gotten into my safety school. He got angry at me because I went home on an early release day instead of hanging out with him. That last one was the final straw. I dumped him over instant messenger, which initiated one of the longest and most drawn-out breakup fights ever. He still tries to contact me, and it's been over four years since we split.

--Katie, 22


*Name has been changed