Should you return to a toxic relationship when you still love them?

Confused girl asks: I recently broke up with my boyfriend of about 2 years and not because I don’t love him anymore but because the issues in the relationship became too much to handle (we fought a lot and the bad times were becoming more than the good). Anyways recently my ex has been all up for getting back together but I don’t think I want to because I am scared nothing will change and the relationship will go back to being too much to handle. And I recently realized I like someone else (cliche I know) but I’m very sure am not in love with this person and I still love my ex way more, but I can’t seem to cut off this new person and go back to my relationship. I honestly don’t know what to do. My ex is someone I’m really comfortable with and this new person is like an adventure. I don’t know if I should pick familiar grounds over something that I’m not even sure will lead somewhere. I’m just 20 and I feel I’m too young to have this kind of problem (Lol). I’ve told my ex I need some me time and that he should move on from me but he doesn’t seem to want to and he’s still all up for the relationship but I honestly don’t know if I want to go back. For one, the new guy is still a factor. Two, the relationship was kind of toxic before and honestly scared if I go back, things will be the same. Three, I honestly want some me time (away from relationship drama). Do you think am being selfish and turning my back on a 2-year relationship for reasons that aren’t good enough? Do you think I should just forget all the factors hindering me and get back with my ex?

Hi Confused girl –


I understand your question, but I don’t know if I can give any definite advice without knowing more.  Though that might be okay.  Let me explain my problem.


There are situations where I can absolutely say “Don’t consider going back!”  Say if he beat you up.  And there are situations where I would say “Oh definitely go back,” like if you had a misunderstanding and he explained it all.


But this doesn’t sound as extreme as one of those.  You just say the relationship was “toxic.”  And that you still love him.  Which makes me wonder – sometimes people actually “fall in love” with the toxicity.  It’s exciting, or gets you obsessed.  And you hate it, but get kind of addicted to it.  Like a dog I knew who scratched so much at the itches caused by fleas that he destroyed his own immune system and passed away!


So it sounds to me like you need to do two things.  First, just what you’re doing – insisting on some “me time,” which can clear your head from all this stuff!

But second, have a good talk with your ex.  Ask him what would be different this time.  How would he be different?  What’s changed?  What’s he learned?  And he might say some wonderful things that show he’s really thought it out and grown – or he may prove just the same as he was before, and it’ll be easier to let him go.


But I think you need to have that conversation before you get involved with this other guy.  Out of fairness to both of them, and to yourself.


And that’s about all the absolute advice I can give on this.  But I will add – as a dog who’s lived with a really nice guy, and lived without one – nice guys are just great!


All my best,


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