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On-Off Relationship: All the Reasons Why You Should Never Be in One

One week you’re a couple. And the next, it’s over. Repeat ad nauseum. It may be time to think of why you shouldn’t be in an on-off relationship.

10 Reasons You Shouldn't Be in an On-off Relationship

Being with someone takes dedication and passion. Whether you spent two weeks or two years living in blissful monogamy, it can be very hard to let go of someone you love, even if you know that doing so will improve your overall well being. But what’s worse than everything else is finding yourself stuck in an on-off relationship, playing a loop of love and hate.

It’s normal to be stubborn and for the “fight rather than flight” instinct to kick in when deciding whether to give a relationship with someone you love another go.

Everyone’s goal in life is to be happy, yours included. Moving forward and into the future is all part of life. There are good times and there are bad ones, but you know better than anyone that life is a treasure trove of new discoveries just waiting to be uncovered.

Looking back will do you no good if you want to focus on your future. However, being in an on-again, off-again relationship is not just about looking back, it is about reliving everything step by step. Why bother behaving like a boomerang when you can be a straight shooting arrow? [Read: 10 signs a past relationship is holding you back]

Sure, there are several notable celebrities who have been through on-off coupling. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were on-again, off-again for several years until they tied the knot. Even annoying little Justin Bieber practices the on-off concept with teen queen Selena Gomez. The most famous on-off couple is, of course, Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big from HBO’s hit television series Sex and the City. Sure, they may be fictional characters but hey, you catch my drift.

Why is an on-off relationship so bad for you?

We regular folk are not rolling in dough with world tours, fame, fortune, and a world of hookup options available to us. At the end of the day, you have to hunker down and really think about how healthy having an on-off relationship is. If you are stumped or have too many excuses up your sleeve to justify leaving the relationship for good, here are 10 good reasons why you totally should.

#1 It’s downright toxic. According to a post on Psychology Today, “The more frequently couples cycle back and forth between being together and being apart, the more their relationships tend to deteriorate to involve negative interactions, less satisfaction and less commitment.”

I don’t know about you but it sounds to me like people in the know are saying that being in an on-off relationship is toxic. The same way you would not knowingly drink bleach, why poison your heart when you know it is going to end badly? [Read: 15 toxic relationship types you want to get away from]

#2 You need time to heal. The second reason why you should not be engaging in an on-again, off-again relationship is because you may not be ready for it. You need time to heal from your breakup, and getting over this person is key if you want to move on. The reason you keep getting back together is because your judgment is clouded by mixed emotions. Love, anger, frustration, temptation, loneliness and everything else come into play when you break up with someone and still yearn to be with them.

You have to take time off from this person to see things clearly. Perhaps a decade from now, if your paths cross again and you end up together, then good for you, but if you are still heavily involved in each other’s lives, you will never be able to completely heal. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]

#3 You need to find yourself. Being in an on-off relationship is also a sign that you do not know who you really are and what you want. Sure, you may justify this by saying that what you want is to be with this person. So then why do you keep breaking up? Take a step back and seriously ask yourself if doing it all again is what you want and need. Do not depend on an ex to make you feel worthy and happy. You can feel all of that without needing to be in a relationship with this person yet again. [Read: 11 tips for finding yourself so you can have a better life]

#4 The world’s your oyster! A big reason why there is no point in being together, then breaking up, then getting back together, then breaking up again is because there are plenty of other fish in the sea. Why torture yourself knowing that things could end just as badly yet again with the same person?

There’s a big world out there and it’s filled with viable options, so why not be brave and explore? Sure, you may stand the chance of getting hurt again with someone else, but at least you had the courage to head out into the unknown and see for yourself what is out there. The only way for you to find your soulmate is if you stop cowering behind your ex.

#5 You deserve better than this. Knowing that you deserve better should be enough for you to snap out of your hazy daydream, thinking that being on-off with someone is healthy. You eat right, work out, buy sustainable products and do the whole “I love taking care of my well being” thing, so why not do the same for your heart? Going back and forth between being a couple and being exes can take its toll on your mind, so why keep it up?

#6 It’s close to impossible to justify making the same mistake over and over again. I have a friend who is the poster child for on-off relationships. She has been breaking up and making up with the same man for close to five years. Sure, she dates guys in between, but refuses to let anything serious happen between them.

Every time she ends things with someone new, she would call her ex up for a booty call, drinks, a date, a movie, snuggles or whatever she fancies at the time. She boasted once that being able to decide when she wants to be with him is a sign of independence. I told her straight up, “Girl, you are kidding yourself. That is a sign of bad decision-making.”

Thankfully she did not take it the wrong way and took a few days to ponder what I said. She got back to me admitting that as fun as it is to keep heading back to her comfort zone, it was doing her no good. If you are like her, the first step is admitting that you have a problem. This can be likened to having an addiction. Only once you look at it straight in the eye and admit it will you be able to kick the habit. [Read: 16 signs you’re just settling for your ex]

#7 You need to put your needs first. Why do you keep taking your ex back even though you know that it is not going to be an easy journey? Sure, it is true that all relationships take work but considering that this is not your first time on the carousel, why keep doing it again? You have to put your needs before your ex’s or partner’s, depending on what state you’re currently in.

Give yourself the opportunity to recover and detox this person from your system. On the other hand, if you are the one who keeps running back to your ex, think it over for a minute. Are you running back because you see a better future, or are you running back because you’re lonely, you don’t have other options, or you’re too tired to go for someone new and potentially better? [Read: How to fall out of love when you see no future]

#8 You may not even be meant to be together. Whether you believe in the universe’s plan for whatever happens to us mere mortals or you’re more of the pragmatic type, you have to ask yourself why you keep going through the same motions with the same person. Maybe the cosmos dictated that you shouldn’t be together. Maybe the reason you keep breaking up is because you simply don’t jive.

Whatever it is that’s keeping you apart for all those times you weren’t a couple, you have to take notice, and possibly accept that there are forces beyond your control that tell you to just let your ex go.

#9 You’re recycling your mistakes. Aren’t you tired of breaking up over and over again for the same reason? Whether he is a cheater or she is a mean hag, think about why you keep breaking up in the first place. It is easy to justify why you keep getting back together. Sex, love, romance, companionship and all that jazz easily overshadow the reasons why your relationship keeps ending, but why put yourself through the same bullshit?

Remember that people may change, but they don’t change much. So if you think it is going to be different the seventieth time around, think again. People talk about needing to wait for the right time to properly be with someone. Whether you had to break up because she wants to focus on work or he has to move across the country to be close to his family, it should be crystal clear that you are not the priority. What makes you think that things will be different the next time around, and that something more important than you is not going to crop up again?

#10 Put a little more faith in your gut than your heart. The final reason why you should not be engaging in an on-off relationship is because your gut says so. Do not deny that this is true. Your gut probably freaks out every time you run back to this person, since our instincts are borne from our experiences.

If you keep following your heart towards the spiral of doom that is your relationship, you’re just hammering home the point that your gut may be right whenever it tries to warn you not to go through the whole thing again.

[Read: How to get over the one you love by hating them]

How many more cycles do you want to go through before you let go of this on-off relationship? When you finally realize that you want it to be over for good, you may look back and kick yourself in the head for wasting time with someone who’s just going to drag you back into a vicious relationship cycle!

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Lianne Choo
Born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia to multi-racial parents, Lianne is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the wor...
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