• The Surprising Reasons for Your Yo-Yo Relationships

    Sometimes relationships can make us feel stuck. Like a planet locked in orbit. Even if we know and understand the relationship may not be the best for us at the time. Perhaps we’ve even had the courage to leave. Once. Twice. A few times. But somehow, we always find ourselves being pulled back to the other person. Like gravity.

    Off-again, on-again relationships are a fairly common dynamic that many of us have experienced firsthand. That brief honeymoon period where the two of you truly believe that yes, this time you’ve finally figured it out. You’ve cracked the code and things will be different this time. But the honeymoon is inevitably followed by conflict and breaking up as you realize those issues you thought you’d resolved had merely been shoved in the back of the closet only to come tumbling out.

    Here are a few answers explaining why you may be stuck in a relationship loop of breaking up and getting back together:


    1. Hope is hard to kill


    If the relationship has history, it’s likely you remember a time when conflicts were few and happiness was plentiful. Maybe you’re hoping that things can return to the way they were in those early days. Common thoughts are, “we felt that way once, we can feel that way again” and “maybe they can change.”

    But we really shouldn’t resume a relationship on the basis of hoping for change in the other person. This can lead to resentment and further conflicts aroused by the partner’s belief that you don’t accept them for who they are. Are you holding onto unrealistic hope? Are you letting it dictate your relationship decisions?


    2. Trapped in a system of pull-resist


    Yo-yo relationships tend to involve one needy partner constantly seeking approval, attention, or sex and one resistant partner who opposes being controlled. The relationship can operate well enough for a little while, but sooner or later one partner (usually the resistant one) will hit their threshold and pull away. And once apart, the system pacifies enough that you start to feel good around each other again and the cycle continues.

    The real questions here are: why is one partner so needy and the other so resistant? To truly break the pull-resist system, inner work must be done.


    3. You fear loneliness and doubt the future


    Dysfunctional relationships have a habit of making us want to withdraw. To retreat into isolation as a sort of reboot. But after the initial detox, fear takes over. We begin to fear the fact that we’re alone and what that means. Are we unlovable? Is there something wrong with us? Will we ever find someone to truly love and appreciate us? This kind of self-talk isn’t only self-destructive but it’s also fed by deeper issues relating to security and attachment.

    Again, taking time to do some inner work and focus on personal healing is essential to overcoming these doubts.


    Are you looking to break the cycle of an on-again, off-again relationship? John Gallagher, LMHC has been providing individual and couples therapy services for over 20 years. Call to schedule your appointment today.

    Therapy services available via Telehealth.