Must-Read: Get Out Of Your On-Again/Off-Again Relationship
If you haven’t been in one of these yet, then you haven’t lived. Your relationship isn’t “on the rocks” so much that you’re constantly being dragged over them. Every day, you have two separate and distinct feelings pulling at you: The fact that you are in love with this person, and the fact that you know it’s never going to work out.
While when you spend time together, most of the time things are going great and everything just seems to be clicking, every now and then this thing, whatever it is, creeps up between you. She doesn’t feel like you’re giving her enough love. You feel like she’s not giving you enough space. Whatever the specifics of the argument or the gap between you two is kind of besides the point. It’s there, and it’s not going away.
So you try the classic on-again/off-again relationship pathway. You break up, or “take breaks” as it were, realize that you’re still in love with the other person, and quickly scramble to get back in that relationship without anything really being resolved. Instead, you just spend another few weeks or months trying to ignore what caused you to break up in the first place. But, as unaddressed issues tend to do, it just festers and hardens and causes another break up. And on and on, forever and ever.
Which is to say, on-again/off-again relationships just don’t work. Ever. And now there’s actual science that proves it. From AskMen.com:
A study from Kansas State University discovered that couples in cyclical relationships have weaker bonds than those who have stayed together (noncyclical). Couples were shown to be far more impulsive once they got back together — especially on big decisions like moving in together or having kids.
Overall, cyclical couples were less satisfied with each other, had worse communication, lower levels of self-esteem, and more doubt as to the lasting power of their relationship.
So our advice? If you’re in one of these terrible cyclical relationships, just suck it up and get out of it. Once you’re out of it for a good six months, or a year, or whatever, you’ll be past the point where you still want to crawl back into bed with each other every time you see them. Trust us. It’s for the best. Handle it like a band-aid: One motion, right off!
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About Rick Mosely Rick is the editor for TSB magazine.