The Strange Benefit Of On-Again, Off-Again Relationships

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According to a new study, on-off relationships may not be that bad. While they might do a number on our nerves and up the drama in your romantic life, the study found that these relationships are actually the stuff that holds friendships together. You may think that the on-again, off-again relationship you’ve been having for years is taking a toll on your friends, but it’s not actually not as bad as you might think.

The study by the University of Texas at Austin surveyed people ages 18 and older who were either presently in a relationship or had been in one at some point in the past six months. Each participant was asked to describe, in detail, their relationship, then were asked which friend of theirs they confided in the most regarding the aforementioned relationship. Next, the researchers interviewed the friend that the participants had mentioned to see how they viewed the on-again, off-again relationship. What they found was that while those in the on-off relationship perceive those around them to think poorly of them, in actuality, the friends reported “experienced the greatest positive influence on the friendship." Exciting news, no?

Here are six other facts about on-again, off-again relationships.

1. Those In On-Off Relationships Are More Open With Their Friends

According to the study, those who are on-again, off-again relationships are more open with their friends than those in relationships where things are running smoothly. Because of the inevitable drama, people in these relationships need their friends more, leading them to be more open about the trials and tribulations of their lives.

2. They Communicate Better With Their Friends

People in on-off relationships just naturally cling to their friendships, because they feel they’re viewed in a negative light by their social network. While that may not be the case exactly, that perception forces them to be more communicative with their friends about things that are both relationship-related and not.

3. It’s Pretty Common

Even if you’ve never been in an on-off relationship, you probably know someone who has. Research from 2014 has found that 37 percent of couples who live together and 23 percent of married couples had reported breaking up and getting back together again at least once in their relationship.

4. It’s A Difficult Habit To Break

The same 2014 research found that those who were married and had done the on-again, off-again thing while cohabitating had also done so while dating. Once the pattern gets started, it’s just becomes a vicious cycle that can go on and on and on and... you get the picture.

5. It’s Less Satisfying Than Noncyclical Relationships

While those in noncyclical relationships can sleep at night, having greater confidence in their relationships, those who do the on-off thing can’t say the same. Research found that relationship satisfaction is lower for those who break up and get back together over and over again.

6. On-Again, Off-Again Relationships Can Last, But That Doesn’t Mean They’re Healthy

While we already know that such relationships can be positive for friendships, for the two people enduring this cycle, it can be toxic. In addition to the lack of relationship satisfaction, the emotion and psychological toll that every single damn breakup takes, is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. Breakups are never easy; no matter how many you have.

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