How to move on from a toxic relationship – and stay moved on!

How To Move On From A Toxic RelationshipWant to know how to move on from a toxic relationship? You must recognize a relationship serves 2 functions. Find out what these 2 functions are – and how to better ensure you get them. And be sure to read to the end, for a helpful metaphor – which will forever change how you view potential partners! Read on…

About a decade ago I became involved with a guy who was in such hot pursuit of me I jokingly referred to him as “A Romantrix.”

Don’t bother googling that term. I made it up. For me “Romantrix” describes someone who dominates you so much with their romantic yearnings, they make it so romance has no choice but to happen.

This particular Romantrix inundatated me with love letters, flowers, candle-lit dinners, poems – and continuous promises to love me forever.

Unfortunately, he misestimated his devotional time by a few gazillion years.

About 6 to 7 months into our relationship, I discovered he was cheating – making this term Romantrix even more fitting – because all that intense pleasure he brought soon gave way to lots of pain.

Shortly after our break up, I discovered a fascinating article in the New York Times—about the psychology of evil. The article highlighted what it called “The Psychopath Checklist”a helpful list criminal psychiatrists use to test the potential of someone being a hardcore psychopath – capable of committing repeated evil and violent crimes.

Guess which traits evil psychopaths share?

How To Move On From A Toxic RelationshipGlibness

Extreme charisma

Need to always be doing something

Feelings of high self-worth

Pathological lying

Proneness to boredom

Emotional unavailability

To my amusement, all these adjectives were also very appropriate to describe my Romantrix – an adorably charismatic, fun, active, confident guy — who also turned out to be a two-faced cheater.

The lesson learned?

One of the top traits to look for in a partner is appealingly strong character.

Think about it. Charles Manson, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini were all considered passionate, charismatic, intelligent, successful (note: albeitly successful in crazily chosen careers). But just because they have that popular “wish list” of qualities, doesn’t mean you should date them!

Seeking strong character values always matters far more than personality (and other external allures), because “character” will always be the chooser of how someone behaves – and/or misbehaves!

Personality is the tip of the iceberg of who someone shows themselves to be. Character is their true foundation.

Your relationship will always suffer if your partner (or you!) do not choose to put in the effort of strong character during challenging times like: conflicts, disappointments, stress, crisis, temptation, sadness, monetary challenges, illness, misunderstandings etc.

How To Move On From A Toxic RelationshipFor this reason I believe that instead of looking for that popular “wish list” of qualities (sexy, funny, successful, smart etc) you should be seeking a “wish feeling.”

And the number one feeling you should seek —even before the feeling of love: the feeling of safety.

Without safety, you will never feel true love – because you’ll never feel comfy being vulnerable enough to reveal your true self – and experience true intimacy.

Plus a relationship is only as strong as it’s weakest link: how you handle challenges.

For this reason, you must prioritize finding a partner who embraces “strong character values” – because they will make you feel safe!

A person with “strong character values” is someone who appreciates being honest, communicative, empathic – and enjoys stretching who they are – embracing a passionate commitment to self development. 

Plus, you too must be a person with “strong character values” – which means you too have a passionate commitment to self development!

If you and your partner each value growing into your best self –  then during tough times you will be open to discussing problems, listening with an open mind, empathizing with an open heart, talking honestly, meeting needs and evolving –  so as to make sure the relationship is growing stronger and better – and so are each of you!

A person who embraces strong character is also someone who recognizes how a relationship is not simply a den of pleasure. It serves a double function!

The 2 Functions Of A Relationship:

  1. “den of pleasure”—for fun, sex, laughter, etc
  1. “laboratory for growth”—the ultimate place of challenge – where you each stretch one another – and support one another –  to evolve into your most authentic and highest potential selves

How To Move On From A Toxic RelationshipUnfortunately, most people only view a relationship as a place to experience pleasure. If you or your partner aren’t able to view a relationship as serving both of these 2 functions – when problems come along you’ll have the urge to bolt.

You’ll think: “Hey this is no longer a den of pleasure. I’m outta here.”

But if your partner (and you) recognize that a relationship serves this double function, then you’ll understand that sometimes you have to leave the “den of pleasure” to head into that “laboratory for growth” – and that’s okay!

If you both appreciate strong character values, then you won’t won’t resent heading into the “laboratory for growth” – because you’ll recognize that growth is important – and that sometimes you have to put in a little effort to grow a relationship – and grow who you are!

To be clear…

You shouldn’t want a relationship where you each try to change who you are. However you should want a relationship where you each support one another in evolving into your best (and truest) selves!

You know what’s funny? How we all know that embracing strong character values really does matter in life and love. Yet, the media mostly offers relationship-boosting tips like:

How To Move On From A Toxic Relationship“Buy these sexy clothes!”

“Be more successful!”

“Tighten your buns!”

It’s rare that the media ever comes out and strongly advises:

  “Yo! Value good strong character values in yourself and others!”

It would be interesting to see that as a recommended “hot love secret” on the cover of Cosmo or Maxim, eh?

So, why doesn’t the media hype the importance of working on strong character values – as much as it recommends working on your buns, income and wardrobe?

Probably because it takes far more time, effort and patience to work on strengthening character values.

Plus it also takes far more time, effort and patience to truly understand another person’s inner character — than it does to quickly be lured into their sexiness, wealth and charisma.

How To Move On From A Toxic RelationshipThe truth?

When you take the needed time to prioritize getting to know a person’s inner character — before you jump into bed/relationship with them – then this means you’re also prioritizing protecting your heart and longterm happiness.

After all, a person’s character will always be the determinant behind if they choose to behave naughty or nice — thereby making you feel sad or happy.


Although you might feel as if you’re experiencing “love at first sight” with someone who instantly makes your heart beat faster, what you’re really experiencing is “infatuation at first sight” —because all you’re falling for is their superficial self – not who they are in their inner core – their soul – their character.

Nowadays, people who are interested in their physical health make sure that they take time to read the ingredients on a package of yummy, tempting food – to see if there’s longterm danger to their health if they allow this delicious food into their system.

If you want to find a happy, healthy relationship, then you should think of yourself as someone who’s interested in safeguarding your emotional health!

You must take time to find out what’s truly inside a person – before you let them into your emotional system!

You must remember: Just because someone is packaged as tempting and yummy on the outside, doesn’t mean they are good for you! It’s worth it take time to find out what’s truly inside of a tempting, yummy person  – to make sure that they do not have lots of  “bad character value ingredients” – which could then eventually create heart problems, headaches galore and a range of dangers to your emotional health!

Get tools to let go of the pain of heartache- and develop new ways of thinking and dating – which will lead you to happier love. Love patterns can be broken – with the help of my NEVER AGAIN PROGRAM – now discounted – for a limited time only. My results-proven tools were loved so much by the folks at OPRAH that they asked me to write a love advice column on their site!   Click now! I’d love to help you believe in happy love again – and find it!

TWEET THIS NOW: How to move on from a toxic relationship to a happy relationship via @notsalmon

What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read my tools for how to move on from a toxic relationship?  Be specific! Many thousands of peeps read this blog – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! xo Karen

Written by Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.
  • Christine

    I so love this article; I had only wished that I would have read about when I met my daughter’s father.
    He had all the physical qualities and even made my heart beat faster, however when I got to know the real him he didnt make me feel safe and that was a crucial factor bcuz it not only involved my heart/feelings but now a innocent child who will now not fully understand why her dad is the way he is.
    But thank you for really explaining this and now I can explain to my daughter what to really look for in man when she reaches that age.
    And I too can start again with a fresh outlook and perspective on relationships.

  • Monica

    This is really kind of brilliant, Karen. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. We can get knocked out by someone’s persona — they way they show up in the outside world — and let ourselves bond with that, instead of waiting to see the real person inside. Your advice here is right on the money, and right on the heart!

  • Warning Signs

    Massive freaking warnings signs is if they seem so perfect so charming they are so amazing (especially in bed) they are so much like you..too much..when despite being so “kind, caring, wonderful, sexy, perfect” every ex or past relationship ended badly and their ex’s are evil..and despite all of this they still have tons of nice things when they have no obvious way to pay for it all and have to ask you for aid. When they say that all you invest in them is paid back by thier presence, when you feel instant chemistry yet break up multiple times, keep ignoring warning signs and jump back in because they are so kind, generous, loving, sexual, physical , beautiful and the fact most of your friends note you act different around them in a bad way can’t change that feeling you were meant to be together and they are the one…

    You should run away as fast as you can away from them, NOW! If when you describe why you stay with them the reasons are “they need me, casual sex sucks, anything related to being lonely, they will change for me if I give more, it is something I can’t describe what we have you won’t understand” you are not in love you are in dependent lust they are not your soul mate they are your sexy jailor with magic brainwashing crazy sex bonding powers and their exes did not start out evil this person made them that way after they drained them dry and destroyed them (though some could of been legit bad..not all were). Male or female this is true, now run!

    And guess what? You are next, eventually you will be next…

    • Liane

      So True!!!!

  • Dale Lou Robbins

    Wow, perfect timing…this is what i need right now…so profound and insightful, i wish i read this 5 years ago…he now left me for what he described as a narcissitic borderline personality disorder person. Sounds like a good match, but the pain is still fresh!