How To Break The Cycle Of An On-Again, Off-Again Relationship, According To Experts

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

One of the most exhausting relationships you can ever be in is a never ending on-again and off-again relationship. Otherwise known as a yo-yo relationship, the situation usually consists of one indecisive person that's sometimes in and sometimes out, when it comes to commitment. It's that one relationship that never feels like it's completely done because you somehow always find a way to come back together, even if it's for a short period of time. On-again, off-again relationships happen all the time, and experts say there's a psychology behind why these types of relationships are hard to quit.

"We stay in push-pull, on-off, good-bad relationships primarily due to a behavioral dynamic called intermittent reinforcement," psychotherapist, Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW, tells Bustle.

According to Koenig, this process occurs when we sometimes get a reward and sometimes don’t. "We stay in or return to relationships hoping that we’ll get the reward (i.e. the good behavior) and not the pain (i.e. the bad behavior). In fact, intermittent reinforcement is as strong as ongoing positive reinforcement because it is based on the hope of receiving pleasure."

Basically, if someone is nice to us one day and not so nice the next, we tend to stay right where we are because we hope they'll continue to treat us well. That being said, being in an on-again, off-again relationship might not leave you better off, especially if you're hoping that a long-term, committed relationship will come out of it. So if you're stuck in the endless on-again, off-again cycle of a yo-yo relationship, here are ways experts say you can finally break out.