Make it or break it
Couples in on-again/off-again relationships are usually headed for more heartaches in the end
Article Written by Veronica Granja-Sierra
Photography by Ivy Lin (ivylinphotography.com)
Love can be full of comfort and wonderful emotions, but it can also turn into a wild rollercoaster ride when the infamous vicious circle of “taking a break” sets in.
According to an informal on-campus poll, about 68 per cent of students are in on-again, off-again relationships, but the chances of those resulting in a happily ever after ending aren’t so high.
Students are constantly getting caught up in these recycled romances, repeatedly coming back with the persistent hope that those moments of happiness will someday comprise of their entire relationship.
Breakups hurt. However, sometimes permanently ending these unhealthy relationships is simply for the best as on-again/off-again relationships involve control, manipulations, and codependency.
Dr. Dan Andreae, Psychology Professor at the University of Guelph-Humber says: “We like to have security, we like to feel accepted and valued by somebody else. … and there’s also that fear of the unknown, ‘what happens next? Will I meet somebody else again?’ Sometimes we stick with the comfortable… but as difficult as it is, you will survive it.”
According to Andreae, the hardest relationships to break up in are ones that are on and off again. “They are called intermittently accepting and rejecting. In other words, you accept mean behaviour thinking it’s not them, and you believe them when they tell you they won’t do it again, but yet they do.”
People in these cyclical relationships tend to feel less satisfied, have lower self-esteem, and live a life of uncertainty regarding their future with that certain partner.
“I don’t take breaks,” says second-year Business student, Alisha Dhillon. “I’m either in or I’m out. Break aren’t good- they’re useless, pointless and even disturbing. You part ways, each of you go do their own thing and ‘explore’, and then when they come running back to you, you can’t even face them anymore knowing they were off doing who knows what with who knows who.”
Second-year Business student, Tasneem Jama compares on-again, off-again relationships to a dirty pair of underwear: “If I’m taking a break, it’s for a reason. So why go through it again? It’s like wearing a pair of dirty underwear- and you don’t wear dirty underwear twice.”
“Students usually think that a relationship that didn’t work out was a waste of their time—but it’s really not,” says Jama. “Every relationship that you have teaches you something, and helps you grow as an individual. As much as it may hurt, sometimes certain relationships are better off to be left as memories.”