on again off again relationship

It always surprises me how accustomed we have become to unhealthy dating patterns. From situationships that never end to side chicks that are proud and on again off again relationships that cost us most of our baby-making years.

How do I know? Well, because I entertained one for 3.5 years. Not my proudest moments. However, it taught me a lot about myself, about men, and most importantly about relationships.

This is why I’m excited to share with you what I learned from trying it and failing and how an on again off again relationship can work.

Can on again off again relationships work? 

The short answer is “yes!”. 

Some couples, like Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big, need a few attempts and years to get things right but eventually succeed. Maybe you and your Ex are the same way. Maybe you are at different stages in your life when a relationship is just not feasible. The typical “right guy a the wrong time” dilemma. 

But, before you run with this information and give your on again off again boyfriend his 343rd chance to prove that he is not the right guy for you, read on.

While on again off again relationships are incredibly common with about 30 to 60 percent of young adults experiencing them. They are also very dangerous for your mental health. 

on again off again relationship

The downside of on again off again relationships 

If you’ve ever experienced the emotional rollercoaster of a break-up to make-up cycle, then you know it’s not fun.

Thanks to greater uncertainty in the relationship you constantly feel distressed and anxious. Even though you are extremely excited when you get back together often after some time apart. Once the honeymoon is over fall back into old patterns, which trigger relationship issues that have never been dealt with.

In addition to the psychological distress, most couples that get stuck in an on again off again relationship cycle waste years desperately trying to make an intimate relationship work. 

I mean in my case it was 3.5 years, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez were in an on and off relationship for years – 7 to be exact. And Carrie and Big for 10 years, just for him to ditch her on their wedding day. 

And I’m not going to lie, but after my breakup last year, my sister said something that truly confirmed to me that I had made the right decision. She said, “at this point, you have to be worried that he will leave you at the altar.”

I immediately broke down when she said it because I knew she was right.

So, those are the two negatives of on again off again relationships. However, we all know couples that went on to have successful relationships after a breakup. What did they do? 

on again off again relationship cycle

How to make an on again off again relationship work? 

The truth is, if you want to break the cycle of this kind of relationship, then you have to start doing things differently. Because whatever you did before, clearly is not working. 

1. Detox from the relationship 

Just like with any other breakup, you must go no contact after the split. Especially in on and off relationships, a detox period will help lessen your attachment and dependence on each other. You create space to reflect on the relationship and the major issues you had in it. 

2. Work on yourself

This step is the most important. And that is that you have to work on yourself while you are going separate ways. The best way to ensure that your future romantic relationships work is by becoming a better partner. 

So, you want to take the necessary steps to level by owning and improving yourself. If you struggled with your communication skills before, then take some time to get better. If you tend to experience relationship anxiety, then seek coaching or therapy. 

Do whatever it takes to get ahead in your healing journey. 

3. Don’t repeat the same mistakes 

Okay, I know this is easier said than done, but I can explain. Relationship cycling happens every time you get together and break up for the same reasons. In my experience, we got back together because we love each other, but we broke up again because we were not on the same page regarding the level of commitment required. 

 And you may be wondering how do you overlook such an important point?

Well, by not having the right checkpoints in place. In order to experience an on again off aging relationship success, you need to set clear standards, boundaries, and expectations. 

Instead of ignoring the signs of repeated behavior, call it our and make a plan for what happens if it does. 

That way you can avoid the same behavior from popping up and increase your chances of making it past the challenges. 

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