When to Call It Quits: On-Again/Off-Again RelationshipsJune 2, 2023
Passion is the foundation of our romantic relationships. For better or worse, this passion can lead to both positive and negative outcomes for those involved. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to maintain objectivity in our love lives, which can cause us to yo-yo back and forth with the same partner or partners long past the relationship expiration date. So, when is it okay to let the flame die and make the brave decision to call it quits? Read on for some eye-opening advice for your on-again/off-again relationship.
First, Understand and Respect Your Relationship's Complexity
Love is not black and white. Advice to honor your love's complexity may seem like a call to stay entangled; however, it actually asks you to provide some distance in perspective. One of the most exciting parts of falling in love is our tendency to get lost in one another. This behavior can eventually lead to a blurring of lines between what is right and wrong for us. When we allow our feelings to rule over rationality, our relationships tend to suffer in important ways you cannot easily see. So how do we begin to see your relationship's big picture? Read below for some tips:
1) Ask your tribe: Your friends and family have most likely been by your side since your relationship started and can provide some great perspective with your best interests at the forefront. Use their testimonials to help create your relationship pros and cons list—other essential people in your life should also have some say.
2) Take a Physical and Emotional Break: We often confuse love and possession. Being physically, emotionally, and spiritually entangled with our partner can be beautiful, but this can also blind us from some harsh truths. If you are on the fence, impart a strict no-contact break from your partner to clear your mind for future decision-making. Notice how you feel and what emotions, thoughts, and feelings arise when you are alone.
3) Honor Past Selves: Love can transform us. If you're struggling to move on, try to conjure past versions of yourself before the relationship. You can do this through writing, meditation, or looking at old photos or journal entries. Do you like this person? How do they differ from who you are now? Are these changes overwhelmingly negative or positive? Use these discoveries to inform your choice.
Trusting Your Gut Is Not a Cliche
Love has no laws, but we can learn to be better in tune with our organic feelings around our relationships. For example, do you find that you are conflicted about your love for your partner? Are you unable to picture a clear future with them? Do you sense that your loved ones are concerned about your relationship? These are some fundamental questions you should be paying attention to when you are around your partner alone and with others. If there is an overwhelming sense that something is not quite right, learn to trust that these signs are attempting to tell you something.
Know the Difference Between Love and Abuse
A conversation about the intersections between love and abuse can be difficult to breach within your relationship. However, it is common that romantic relationships might mask some abusive behaviors. Below are some tell-tale signs that you might be involved in an abusive relationship:
1. Verbal or physical abuse or threats
2. Controlling and possessive behaviors
3. Gaslighting or victim blaming
These occurrences can be difficult to talk about; however, if your relationship features any of these behaviors, it is time to pursue a different path. Your health and well-being are more important than maintaining these on-again/off-again ties.
Love is beautiful and complex. Leaving an on-again/off-again relationship can be one of the most challenging decisions to make; however, things that transform us into stronger versions of ourselves are never easy.