It’s not all bad when it comes to on/off relationships. For one, it can be comforting to be with someone who not only knows you so well, but has already been through substantial problems with you. Maybe the past isn’t all bad, if you can get past the past. After all, you broke up for a reason – a reason that gets farther away with time, and seemingly more forgivable.
But let’s be clear: you’ve already dated and it didn’t work out. You’ve already made the smart decision once, twice, maybe even three times that your problems with this person were too big a mountain to climb and to call it quits.
Why Yo-Yo relationships won’t do your love life any good
Let’s face it. At the back of your mind, you know that these types of relationships rarely work out for the better. Below are the reasons why.
#1 Old problems come back. Old problems seem to re-emerge in on/off relationships with more vigor and power than they do for first-timers. Why the switch-up? Because these aren’t new problems emerging through that 3-month puppy-love.
In repeat relationships, you’re more likely to turn into a snarling dog than express that perfect puppy-love that allows you to overlook initial faults in a relationship. Problems have more depth in an on/off relationship. Either they are reoccurring issues you couldn’t seem to deal with the first time around, or they are stemming from a deeper place, like whatever the issues were that ended the relationship in the first place. [Read: 10 big relationship problems and how to fix them]
#2 You don’t trust each other. As much as you want to trust, and as much as you might want your newly renewed relationship to work, it’s going to be twice as hard to trust your former flame than the last time around. Let’s say your last go-around ended when she abruptly cheated and got caught. Odds are, even if you forgive, you won’t forget and deep in the back of your mind, those doubts will begin to fester.
Aside from the already difficult notion of trusting a new individual in a relationship, hurt feelings tend to linger in on-again off-again relationships, and since you had to deal with a breakup not only once, you have myriad issues and betrayals to ponder over. [Read: 11 signs you can’t trust who you’re dating]
#3 You know each other too well. A double-sided coin in a yo-yo relationship is that you simply know each other so well – too well, sometimes. You know all of the wonderful things about them, like how they kiss you, comfort you, how they laugh, play, and how good they are in a tough situation. However, you’re also well versed in how they cheat, lie, and avoid you.
#4 You’re in a “Presto, serious!” relationship when all you wanted was good *. So maybe Mr. Ex drove you crazy. Maybe he was a cheater and a liar, but man, was he great in bed! Or maybe you simply tried to stay friends post-breakup, and you somehow wrestled back into a relationship. Regardless, don’t let lust for an old flame turn into a faux “love” situation, just to escape the * buddy status.
Now instead of a quickie, you’re in “Lights, camera – relationship!” territory. No taking it easy for you two former-lovebirds. What you get when you get back with an ex is an insta-relationship. Because you’ve already been serious with each other, that ooey-gooey puppy-love found in the beginnings of relationships that leads to real, serious love is kind of done away with. Instead, you’re left with the shell of a former serious relationship – and you’re expected to slip back into it like a snail. [Read: Is it love or is it lust?]
#5 You have a separate life without them. While it’s healthy for couples to pursue activities outside of simply being with each other 24/7, this separate life falls under an “unhealthy” category. This is a mental block created by knowing that this person will eventually split on you.
If you’re not 100% in it, then you won’t get 100% hurt if it all blows up in your face, right? Wrong. If you’re really trying to make this work, it isn’t fair to simply write off your relationship and not let your respective mate into your life. Unfortunately, this tends to happen because…
#6 You’ve stopped trying. Another recurring problem with yo-yo relationships is that you stop trying to make it work. On/off relationships are easy when they’re not taken seriously. As already stated, you’ll be hooked up with a “presto relationship” with someone you already know you like in the snap of a finger. But that may just be the problem with your renewed relationship: you’re not trying.
You can’t take it seriously anymore, because to some degree, floating somewhere in there between friends with benefits and relationship, your old flame may have simply become your fallback. Your fallback flame is someone you likely go back to after the other relationship you were actually trying with has failed. Kind of like having a rebound relationship, or a summer fling, it’s that “in-between” relationship to keep you company.
It’s familiar, it’s comfortable, and it’s guaranteed *. Essentially, this mate is just someone who is there as a placeholder, until your next great love. And is that all you’re worth being, or having: a placeholder relationship? This isn’t fair to you, and it isn’t fair to your partner.