Are you in one of those situations when someone you know asks you if you are in a relationship and you say yes, then after a month, when someone else asks you if you are committed to someone, you are not sure what to say? If you believe that happens to you, then you are in an on-again-off-again relationship.
What Is An On-Again-Off-Again Relationship Like?
When two people begin going out, they click really well and get into a relationship. On the other hand, some people don’t click. There are instances wherein a couple in a relationship break up because the spark they had just dies.
All of these situations are normal. However, when a couple in a relationship gets together, breaks up because of the loss of spark, get back together again when the spark reignites and then breaks up again when they are bored, that is what an on-again-off-again relationship feels like.
According to statistics, approximately 60% of young adults experience at least one on-again-off-again relationship. This pattern is extremely toxic and distressing.
What Causes On-Again-Off-Again Relationships?
Let’s face it, it’s not easy to let go of someone you thought you truly loved. Cutting ties is even more difficult when one or both of the people in a relationship are not happy with each other, but they are not ready to move on. The causes behind an on-again-off-again relationship can be varied. Here are some of them:
1. The inability to balance the relationship and life
Navigating through life is hard. One has to take care of a lot of things and in such a situation, a person might not be able to focus on the relationship. So they break up but get back together with their partner when life gets easier.
Certain couples have intense chemistry between them. They feel like they connect, but they can rarely agree upon anything. Most of their conversations turn into arguments. However, they keep going back because of the undeniable chemistry.
3. Lack of communication
Most issues in a relationship begin with a lack of communication. That is exactly the case with an on-again-off-again relationship as well. Breaking up appears to be an easier option until the couple cannot stay away from each other and get back together over and over again.
4. Long history
When a couple has been together for a really long time, they don’t feel like breaking up because of the emotional and mental investment. However, they don’t feel like being together either. This confusion leads to the cycle of an on-and-off relationship that could last for years.
Related Reading: 7 Reasons Your Ex Is Hot And Cold- And How To Deal With It
How To Break The Cycle Of An On-Again-Off-Again Relationship?
Although it may seem like a vicious cycle, there is a chance your on-and-off relationship will find success. This may involve more investment in terms of emotional and mental presence, but it all boils down to what you really want to do. If you are wondering how to break the cycle of an on-again-off-again relationship, keep reading!
1. Find clarity in what you really want to do
The first thing you need to do to break the cycle of a back-and-forth relationship is to find out the root cause behind it. If you and your partner have been in an on-off relationship for years, then understand whether you are in it for love or for history.
On the other hand, if you attribute your on-again-off-again relationship to incompatibility or lack of communication, then you need to realize it and work accordingly. All of it begins with finding clarity in what you really want to do and whether you really want to stay.
2. Communicate your problems with each other
Like most relationship issues, on-again-off-again relationships are toxic because of the lack of communication. Therefore, you need to address the communication problems in your relationship first and foremost. You must to sit your partner down and have an honest discussion with them about what is going wrong in your relationship.
More often than not, communication solves most of the problems. On-and-off relationship success is possible if both the parties are just able to sit down and talk about the issues along with finding a solution to them.
3. Ensure that your partner is on the same page as you
Sarah was in an on-again-off-again relationship with James, so she decided to talk to him and turn her relationship into one of those on-and-off relationship success stories. She convinced James to make it work until she realized that James was not as invested and they got stuck in the on-off loop once again.
You may be hoping to make your on-again-off-again relationship successful, whereas your partner could be leaning towards the side of breaking up, but they might not be able to openly tell you that. To make your relationship work, you need to ensure your partner truly wants to make it work as well.
Related Reading: Power Struggle In Relationships – The Right Way To Deal With It
4. Take a break, if needed
There may be instances where both the people in a relationship want to make it work, but they cannot get to the depth of the issue and are therefore unable to break away from the cycle. If you are one of those people who just doesn’t know why their on-again-off-again relationship is toxic, then you might want to take a break from the relationship and ponder over the issues.
5. Skip calling or texting them when you feel lonely
Emily and Pierce took a break because they were stuck in the loop of an on-again-off-again relationship. However, Pierce kept calling Emily every couple of days because he felt lonely and did not know how to live a life without her in it. Emily never got the time to ponder upon their issues and broke up with Pierce even though she didn’t want to.
We would advise you to not be like Pierce. If you have decided to take a break, stick to it. On-again-off-again relationships are toxic, you do not want to make it worse by poking your partner only to find yourself ending up in a breakup whereas your relationship could have been successful in the long run.
6. Talk to someone you trust or a therapist
Making a decision like this is not easy, especially if you are in a back-and-forth relationship. You keep going back to your partner for a reason and after a point, you stop seeing things with clarity.
For the same reason, you need to talk to someone you trust about your issues. If you feel your friends or relatives won’t understand, talk to a therapist. They will be able to provide you with a third-person perspective without any judgment.
Related Reading: We’re on-again and off-again. Does he love me?
7. When nothing works out, it is time to end the relationship
Say you have tried talking to your partner. You have even talked to someone you trust, but nothing seems to be working out. In that case, you need to end the relationship once and for all, even if you have a history or you truly love the person.
The bottom line is, on-again-off-again relationships are toxic and you need to look out for yourself – nothing should come above your mental health. Hence, if you feel your relationship is a lost cause, call it quits and begin a new life without your partner.
There are multiple reasons why people renew their relationships with their partners. There is always a looming fear of not being able to find anyone else and ending up alone. As long as you have feelings for your partner, you are going to try hard to make it work.
However, there are very few on-and-off relationship success stories. There may be a chance that yours could be one of them, but if you have been in an on-and-off relationship for years, then you might want to walk away because living like this is not fair to either of you two. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you stick to it and break free from the cycle.
On-again-off-again relationships can work if the underlying reason is not severe. If you are in an on-again-off-again relationship because of a lack of balance, then you can always find a way out. However, if the cause of your wavering relationship status is incompatibility, then it is not going to work in any case.
To get out of an on-and-off relationship, you first need to understand the underlying cause of the fickleness. Then, you need to see if the problems can be solved. If they can be, then have a conversation with your partner and make it smooth. If it cannot be, then end the relationship once and for all with the firm decision of never going back to them. If it helps, reach out to someone you trust to keep you away from your ex.
When you realize that your partner has stopped putting in efforts to make your relationship work, or when you realize that you are tired of being in a back and forth relationship and it begins to annoy you, that is when you realize that an-on-and-off relationship is over. And although it may seem like it’s the end of the world, it isn’t. Trust us!