It's Complicated: 20 Realities Of On-Again, Off-Again Relationships

by Good Mornan

So, your partner left you. Again.

You aren’t sure whether to be completely frustrated and wait for the “I’m sorry, let’s talk” phone call or to just move on, but you know the call is coming.

Your friends and family are tired of your inconsistent relationship, and you’re tired of constantly having to change your status from “single” to “in a relationship.” You aren’t quite ready for “it’s complicated” yet.

You and your partner ex-partner love each other -- there’s no doubt there. But, somewhere along the line, wires were crossed and you ended up in an unstable relationship. Now, you’re tired of the back and forth. You want it to stop.

Still, you aren’t certain where to draw the line or even if there is one that needs to be drawn. Try to keep these things in mind while you’re considering your next move:

1. The problems you had the first time you broke up are likely the same ones you have now and will have again. The problems have simply matured, as you probably have, too.

2. You are who you are and your partner is who he or she is. You can’t change it.

3. Since it’s not fair to assume your significant other will change, you will have to love and accept this person as he or she is.

4. You can’t be on-again, off-again when you’re married, so you have to deal with whatever issues you are having now. Don’t put them off until later. They are clearly important if they’re pushing your relationship to its limits.

5. If it is about cheating, remember this: If he or she cheated once, chances are, it'll happen again and likely for the same reasons. Note what those reasons were.

If the reasons disappear, your partner may not cheat again, but if the same scenario presents itself, don’t be surprised if you end up with the same outcome as last time.

6. Don’t take words; take actions only. Words are erasable and can be twisted and forgotten. Actions are tangible representations of a person’s character (and, actions speak louder than words).

7. You aren’t too cool for the “chair." Get a counselor if you need one and are serious about fixing things to move forward.

8. Figure out who is doing the breaking up. Both of you? Just one of you? It speaks a lot to a person’s character if he or she constantly bails, so watch out.

9. Something has to be different for you to “try again.” It shouldn’t just be because you miss each other. Promises should be made and followed through on.

10. There are issues, and there are non-issues. Make a list of things you absolutely will not tolerate and a list of things you are willing to compromise on. Do not waiver!

11. Pay attention to what your family thinks! Mama knows best… most of the time.

12. Pay attention to what your friends think. Much like Mama, they see things you won’t and they have your best interest at heart. Also, you and your partner probably spend a lot of time with them, so they’ll know you two from different perspectives.

13. Keep your relationships private! It only complicates things when too many people are involved. Have a good sounding board, not an audience.

14. Take your time! There is nothing wrong with reconsidering your relationship, but take a good amount of time to make that decision. Time and space equal clarity.

15. The more you prolong dealing with the issues in your on-again, off-again relationship without making concrete decisions, the more relaxed you’ll become about it and the cycle will continue. That is not healthy!

16. A major factor as to why a relationship does not work out is because of poor communication. Make sure that during your “break,” you are clear in all communication with your partner.

17. Don’t make it emotional. While this is hard, you have to make a non-emotional list of the pros and cons of restarting your relationship or walking away from it. Make sure you know what you are getting into with either decision.

18. Whether to start again or walk away, make sure your decision is final. Don’t second-guess it. Trust your instincts.

19. Know what you want. Don’t take no for an answer.

20. Know your worth and don’t forget it. And, don’t settle for less than you deserve.