On-again, Off-again relationships may seem like amusing showmances but realistically, such relationships are toxic romances.
The thrills of on-again, off-again love in fairytales and telenovelas can be very entertaining. But according to science, this type of relationship ‘cycling’ is bad for mental health.
Many of our favorite love stories are embroiled with on-again, off-again drama. Yet, however fascinating these showmances may be, they are not worth taking the pleasure to emulate in real life romance.
An on-again, off-again relationship is a form of personal relationship between two lovers. They may wish to keep an ongoing formal relationship but have difficulty doing so because of continuous conflicts. Wikipedia
Researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia established that breaking up and getting back with someone can have serious negative consequences on our mental health.
The study found that ‘habitual breaking up and getting back together’ is closely linked to a series of negative patterns which includes higher instances of anxiety and depression.
Led by co-authors Brian Ogolsky and Ramona Oswald, researchers examined data from 500 people in heterosexual and same-sex relationships to assess the link between on-off relationships and mental health distress. The findings were published in Family Relations.
Analysing the results, the human development team behind the findings suggests that couples in these relationships should either take a hard look at what is going wrong and either fix things or call it quits.
“The findings suggest that people who find themselves regularly breaking up and getting back together with their partners need to ‘look under the hood’ of their relationships to determine what’s going on,” says assistant professor Kale Monk.
“If partners are honest about the pattern, they can take the necessary steps to maintain their relationships or safely end them. This is vital for preserving their well-being.”
While also emphasizing the need to call it quits if you find yourself in a toxic relationship, Monk explained that the most common reason for couples getting back together is often “practicality or financial security”.
Psychologists refer to on-again, off-again dating trends as “cycling”. It has also been found that relationships that cycle during the dating phase are more likely to cycle again when you start living together or eventually get married.
On top of that depressing tidbit, people are often skeptical that no one ever really changes, hence the need to be more careful when ‘cycling’ with an ex. Before you make the move, be doubly sure they want you back as much as you want them, and it’s going to be much better this time.