On-And-Off Again Relationship – 5 Things That Make It Work

On-and-off again relationship can work once and for all and can last a long time if you do certain things right.

What is on-and-off again relationship?

There are two types of on and off again relationships:

Toxic on-and-off again relationship – Both people are in some ways hurting each other but the attraction and chemistry is so strong that they can’t imagine life without the other. It is as if they’re locked in what I call “madness for two.”

Non-toxic on-and-off again relationship – Two people who love each other keep breaking up and getting back together because of the same issues or problems; issues and problems they are not addressing or cannot come to a solution about.

Can an on-and-off again relationship work?

It’s always best to walk away from an unhealthy relationship especially if it involves abuse, control, manipulation, entrapment and codependency issues – which in most on/off relationship is the case. But what if you are not in any physical danger but just riding the emotional rollercoaster with the object of your affection and strong desire, when is it time to walk away?

I personally do not think people should rush to end a deep connection that is so strong unless they’ve explored all options, looked at it from all directions and done whatever is reasonably possible to make it work. Maybe what you have is good enough and you’d be a fool to abandon it in search of a better relationship you may never find.

Besides, there are some relationships that are just meant to be – problems and all. If you asked or looked closely enough, you’ll find “we stuck together through it all” love stories everywhere.

So before you go looking for something better (that you may never find), make sure you’ve tried all you can to make the relationship you already have better.

If you do these 5 things right your on-and-off again relationship can work once and for all.

1. Get clear about what the problem is

What most people do is simply weigh the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving. The trap in this is that there are always pros and cons in every relationship. If you really want to stay you’ll find more reasons to stay and less reasons to leave. And if you really want to leave, you’ll find more reasons to leave than stay. You are not really weighing anything.

Walking away from an on and off again relationship before you really know what the real problem is self-defeating. Remember the saying : Everywhere you go, there you are! Whatever caused this relationship to end if don’t dealt with, will be carried over to the next relationship.

So make sure you really understand why your on and off again relationship isn’t working.

2. Take 100% responsibility for your own feelings and needs

Many relationship are on-again and off-again because one or both people have not taken full responsibility for own their feelings and needs. Some people haven’t even had a discussion of feelings and needs; and wonder why they keep breaking up and getting back together.

If you want your on-and-off again relationship to work: be totally honest with yourself, after all you are the very person hurting from your choices and decisions. Get to the bottom of what you are reacting to in your partner’s behaviour and what they are reflecting back to you (anger, neediness, emotional distance etc).

3. Change what you need to change

You must continue to grow and change for the better because relationships by nature change. No relationship remains the same. If your thought pattern is anything like :

  • If my ex changes then everything will be okay
  • My ex is refusing to change, this relationship can’t work

Your on-and-off again relationship is not going to work. Yes, it takes two people to make a relationship work. But it can take only one person to change a relationship dynamic. And the only person you can change is you. Your ex will react or respond to the change you make.

So before you walk away from an on and ff again relationship, try t change first. If necessary, talk to someone who has worked on their own “issues”. An objective person can help you ask yourself the questions you probably would not ask yourself. They can also help you out of your comfort zone and push you to make the change you need to make.

4. Get off the negativity and “bitter” people’s wagon

Choose the kind of advice you follow; but even more importantly avoid asking or taking advice from people who are simply reacting from a place of pain and hurt themselves.

You can always tell where someone is at in their own lives by how they react to experiences that bring out hidden pain. Just check out most relationship blogs and forums – so many hurting, angry and bitter people dishing out relationship advice.

It takes just a few threads for you to figure out that some people seem to have an agenda to provide destructive advice that will rob others of the precious thing that they themselves do not have; and perhaps, will never have for any number of reasons.

People who are incapable of love are also incapable of being around love without having some deep feelings of resentment, jealousy or even anger stirred up. These people may even seem like they have your best interest at heart; but clandestinely attack the love you have or seek to have. This is because they can’t bear to see anyone with the “thing” that forever eludes them.

If you want your on-and-off again relationship to work: seek the company of people who know what it takes to make a relationship work; and last.

5. Talk about how things will be different before you get back together

Most relationships are on and off again relationship because two people start of where they ended the relationship. They are so happy to get back together that they go right back to the old relationship; and old dynamics.

Make sure that before you get back together, you sit down and talk about why the relationship ended; and what will be different this time around. Make small commitments, both of you, how you are going to make it work. Be clear about what each party needs o do and how you make each other accountable.

When you’ve done all you can and feel happy, joyful and peaceful, and the relationship is still stagnant or on/off again, then you can leave and start the next relationship where you ended this one.


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  1. says: Johnny

    Thank you for this post. I’m in a similar situation but I’ll not give up. Love conquers everything. I’ll fight for her because she’s the only one that makes my life complete.

  2. says: solo_flierr

    I don’t think that one should declare it over just because one isn’t happy, peaceful and joyful. No relationship is happy and joyful all of the time.

  3. says: Fragilegalaxy

    I believe in working out problems and not running away from them but I can’t keep trying to work on a relationship when the other person isn’t putting in any effort. I’ve done everything I can think of including counselling but he says the way he feels about me has changed and he does not think any effort on his part will change how he feels.

  4. says: Tola

    Still, you need 2 people working in a relationship. If just one side wants to work, it’s not gonna happen. And I think you need to want for real.

  5. says: Vishi

    I love this post. Relationships are too easy to get out of these days and its time people grew up and learned to work out their relationship problems.

  6. says: Cassy

    Tons! Thank you 🙂

    I find your blog informative and so refreshing. How can I contact you to get some coaching? There’s someone else I’m very interested in, older guy, (47) but he’s quite elusive. I guess it’s because he knows I’m with this other guy just for sex. I’d like some more honest ways of getting him more interested in me and hopefully have a long term relationship.

    1. Ummm! There is someone else?! … 🙂

      Just click the “Get Help” button above and you’ll find all the information you need including how to contact me in case you want to talk to me right away.

      Thank you for your kind words about my blog.

  7. says: Musathegentlesoul

    That crossed my mind many months ago but feared I’d get slapped, WHACK! I’m only 5’11 and African women are very strong, so I’ve heard. LOL

    1. ihihihihi… listening to “voices” again, are we?

      It’s nice to see you’re back to your “easy” self. Judging from your comments a few weeks ago, you seemed a little down (before you say it, yes! I try to guess people’s mood by what they write). Hang in there!

  8. says: Musathegentlesoul

    Yangki, my favorite post by far.

    I’m guilty of leaving many relationships at the first sign of problems. It’s our consumer mentality (Don’t fix it just buy a new and better one).

    With more personal growth (emotional and spiritual), I’m making more effort not to treat people and relationships as disposables. Relationships are hard work and not for the faint hearted.

    Your articles and posts have been of great help in my journey. I believe in true love! Thanks to you.

    1. I agree with you on “consumer mentality” and have written quite a few articles about it.

      I’m deeply humbled by your kind words and proud to be part of your journey, even in a very small way. I do hope that one of these days love sees your readiness to love and be loved and comes knocking. You deserve it.

      PS: For a second there I thought I read, “I believe in miracles…. Where did you come from… You sexy thing…You!” lol!

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