Ever been in an on-again off-again relationship? I find them to be very perplexing, and wanted to know more, so I recruited the advice of a relationship therapist and found out, and then wrote about it in this week’s Love Essentially, published today in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.
We are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together. Like Ever.
by Jackie Pilossoph
Taylor Swift said it best in her 2012 hit song, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
“This is exhausting,” is a line of the lyrics in the song about an on-again off-again couple riding an emotional roller coaster of temporary highs that continually come barreling down every other week like the Goliath at Great America.
Several years ago, I had a friend who was in an on-again off-again relationship, and every time I’d run into him, my first question would be, “Pam or no Pam?” which meant, “Is Pam currently your girlfriend or are the two of you broken up? Again.” This went on for several years, and eventually my friend and Pam broke up for good. If I’m not mistaken, I think Pam is happily married to someone else now.
What I want to know is, why do some couples fall into this pattern? In other words, what keeps them coming back? Stupidity or true love?
For help on the subject, I turned to Anita Chlipala, a licensed marriage and family therapist and the founder of her Chicago-based practice, Relationship Reality 312.
She said the root of couples breaking up usually stems from one or both of the people being dissatisfied in some way, with countless possible reasons. They also might break up because one or both wants to date other people, perhaps to see if there is someone better out there for them.
But what if time goes by after the breakup, and one day one of them picks up the phone and basically says, “I’m not done?” Then what?
“Reasons people might get back together include lingering feelings, fear that they won’t find someone else, loneliness, and feelings of missing the companionship and familiarity,” said Chlipala, who has been a relationship therapist for nine years. “They could also go on several bad dates and start thinking their ex is the one.”
Chlipala said that before couples get back together, she encourages them to answer the question: What would be different this time around? Otherwise, they won’t be able to break that pattern.
Click here to read the rest of the article, published today in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.