Some relationships are complicated – there is an on-and-off pattern that leaves you confused. It is important to escape from this pattern and either go completely "on" or completely "off" rather than remaining in a limbo.
On-and-off relationships can get quite tedious. On one hand there is the overpowering love for each other that keeps bringing them back, and on the other, there are the same old misunderstandings and hurt feelings that cause them to run away from each another. The same pattern over and over can cause a high level of emotional and mental stress, leaving both parties exhausted and frustrated. It is as though the couple is stuck in an endless loop.
"The problem with such relationships is that they take an emotional toll on you as the drama is quite high," says Sumaira Khan* who has been in that situation.
Couples in such on-off relationships tend to break up for the same reasons time and again. It may be because they weren't getting along. It may be because they had a fight and broke up in the heat of the moment. It may even be because they just needed a break from the relationship to get their priorities in order.
"We evolved as individuals, as we grew up together," said Afsara Mahmud* who had been in an on-off relationship for six years. "At one point, we didn't have much to share anymore."
Getting back together has mainly one reason – the love is so strong between the two that they cannot stay away from each other. When you are in a romantic relationship and are very comfortable with your partner, you always have that soft spot for them. The two of you know each other well, including your interests, aims and even fears. That level of comfort can cause you to turn a blind eye on the adverse sides of that relationship, thus paving the way for reconciliation.
Shehrin Hossain shared her experience, "Even though I knew I was making a mistake going back to him, I did it. He had become my comfort zone and understood me, which gave me the excuse to hold on to him because I did love him."
However, this "break up and patch up" cycle needs to end if you want some peace and stability in your life. But where do you go from there? Should the two of you break it off for good? Or should you get back together and stay that way?
In order to get to that ultimate decision, it is very important that you understand why the two of you did part ways in the first place. Pinpoint that one factor or incident that drove the two of you apart. Now, analyse that reason. Was it a reason so bad that it can never be resolved? Were you in any physical danger around each other? Or did either of you cheat on the other? In such cases, it is best to just call it quits for good and never get back together.
Ben Yamin Khan* weighed in, "Regardless of how much we had in common and wanted to fix it, she was falling for someone else. So I decided to call it off for good and move on."
However, if it is a problem you both can resolve somehow, then consider this – can the two of you put the rocky past behind and start afresh? Can you forgive each other and concentrate on building the relationship for the better? And more importantly, is your partner as interested as you are in making this work?
There is no point of getting back in a relationship that will never work out or leave either partner unhappy and regretful. You should assess your and your partner's needs, and even the pros and cons of continuing this relationship. But if you are unsure even after evaluating, ask for advice from a trusted friend. It should be someone who has seen the constructive and destructive sides of your relationship or has faced a similar situation themselves. Ask how they made their decision and how to cope.
It can actually be difficult to decide that you've had enough of this tiring cycle of breaking up, patching up and breaking up again. So when you finally decide to call the quits, you need to be mentally prepared. You should explain to your partner (or former partner, in this case) that this cannot go on any longer, and that you are, in the words of Taylor Swift, "never ever ever getting back together." They might try to fix things up again after some time, promising that they will change for the better. Though it will be difficult, you must stick to your original decision and not let them back in your life.
Just like Ross and Rachel had a long standing on-again, off-again relationship in "Friends", we sometimes have such relationships in real life. Though the aforementioned couple finally got back together in the end after being called each other's "lobster," this may not always be the case for us. Practically, the chances of an on-off relationship turning into a successful one are quite slim. That said real life success stories aren't unheard of.
Every relationship is different. Depending on the dynamics of your on-off relationship, you can either decide to get back together for the better, or to completely call it off. So take some time off, evaluate your relationship and decide where to go from the stressful pattern. And while deciding, just remember: your long-term happiness should be your top priority.
Some interviewees have requested their names be changed to protect themselves from their parents. Bashay jaane?