The on-again off-again relationship cycle is terrible to endure.
One minute he’s all in, the next minute he’s packing up his emotional luggage and leaving you. Again.
You’ve been through this with him before, and you expect you’ll go through it again…with him.
Is it possible to stop the on-again off-again pattern of a struggling relationship?
“Hi Claire. My boyfriend and I have been together on and off for 3 years, more on than off. We lived together the majority of the time but he recently moved out after a huge fight. He has his own place now but keeps contacting me to tell me he loves and misses me. He wants to talk constantly like we are in a relationship and wants to meet for lunches. I’ve been pulling back because I’m not sure where we are headed. I know I want a solid relationship and with him it always feels like everything is up in the air. One day things are perfect and the next he’s moving out. He says he has a lot of unresolved issues from his childhood and he gets very needy. Then the next day it’s like he doesn’t “need” me at all and is fine going weeks without a single word to me. We both have children from previous marriages and I don’t want this kind of relationship. I love him and his child with all of my heart but it is so damaging to have such a lack of stability in a relationship. My head keeps telling me I need to just call it quits and stop responding to him but my heart is on a different wavelength. How do I get him to be all in or all out? I’m not sure if I really care which he chooses at this point, as sad as that is, I just need to know where we really stand. I don’t want to keep trying if it’s not going anywhere.” — H.
Darling H: I absolutely think you CAN salvage this, but it’s going to take a few changes. Let me explain the main ones and you can decide what you think.
You have a man who loves you, but doesn’t know (exactly) what you want and need.
Clearly he’s interested in trying to make things work with you, or he wouldn’t be “talking constantly like we’re in a relationship and wanting to meet for lunches.”
The problem is that you haven’t made clear — very specifically — what you want and need in the relationship.
You did a great job of putting the BIGGEST PIECE into one small but powerful word: stability.
You have kids to think about, and your own life; having big fights and dealing with someone who moves in and out of your life with this kind of drama does NOT support stability.
And there’s one other piece that you mentioned, but you may not be giving enough thought to…
You said he gets “very needy” one day, then will go “for weeks without a single word” to you.
If you want stability, and you are angry that he clings then disappears, then you also want a more even, regular rhythm of contacts and conversation.
This is also a part of the on-again off-again problem with a clear solution:
If you want stability and regular contact, then you should
- communicate the specifics of those two needs to him
- be willing to do at least half the work of both maintaining the stability and maintaining the regular communication
That way he KNOWS when he trespasses on one of your main boundaries, AND the two of you would never go weeks without a word, because not only would you be getting in contact with him, you would also be calling his attention to the lapse.
Your relationship would be less on-again off-again because the TWO of you would be alert for the pattern and not allow it to start it’s destructive cycle.
There’s also a dark, lurking monster in the room…
You said he has unresolved issues from childhood.
Which is CERTAINLY NOT UNUSUAL, but it does something very sneaky and ugly to relationships.
Those unaddressed issues and unhealed wounds can act on adult relationships in a very destructive way.
Both of you need to begin to dig into that pile of old problems, and it should start with him.
These two questions will help you break the on-again off-again cycle in this particular area:
- How is he getting regular help with those old wounds?
- Are the two of you having regular conversations about the issues that are coming up for him in this “past issues” work? (Because they will definitely affect your relationship.)
Be sure to think in the long term. It takes years to work through some things, and new patterns of behaving don’t happen without bumps along the way.
Before you get back in touch with him, you need to figure out these specific things:
- What exactly goes into stability for you? How can you lovingly communicate it to him?
- What exactly goes into regular communication for you?
- How can you support him as he gets help in untangling his unhealed wounds from childhod? (And are you willing to wade through some of that muck with him?)
And one last big question for you alone, as you consider breaking the on-again off-again cycle…
How long are you willing to work on this? One month? Six months? A year? Do you have a timeline in mind?
If you know how long you feel like you can spend on this AND if you can lovingly communicate that to him, then he knows that he can’t put off making changes forever.
You know why?
Because you won’t wait around on him forever.
You’ll go through the breakup, the grieving, the heartache, then you’ll start dating other men.
You CAN save your relationship (and it’s worth fighting for!)
If you’re heading towards a nasty breakup, separation, or a divorce, or even if you’re already at that point…
Then a new video by relationship coach Brad Browning will show you how to stop the downward spiral and breathe some life back into your relationship.
I know this has the word “marriage” in it, and you might not actually be married right now, but I PROMISE you this is incredibly valuable help for ANYONE who WANTS to save, heal, and renew a serious relationship.
Because the strategies Brad reveals in it are extremely powerful and can be the difference between “unhappy and broken-up” and “happily ever after.”
The best part is that you can apply the techniques described in his video on your own… without your man even being aware that you’re making an effort to save the relationship.
Yes, I know, EVENTUALLY it takes two to heal things (especially when you’re deep in the deeply painful on-again off-again pattern), but Brad shows you how YOU can begin the repairs, and get them to the point where suddenly you’ll find that BOTH of you are FINALLY working together.
So don’t lose hope just because your partner refuses to attend counseling, or feels too discouraged to try again, or won’t put in the effort to fix the problems that are slowly eating away at your relationship.
There’s no catch to this, no marketing gimmicks…
At the very least, you should watch the first few minutes where Brad reveals the 3 “Marriage Murdering Mistakes”… These 3 massive myths alone are a huge reason why nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.
Start fighting for your marriage or relationship NOW. Watch this quick video that will teach you everything you need to know about salvaging the most important thing in the world:
PS: If you’re reading this right now, then chances are your relationship isn’t what it used to be… and maybe it’s so bad, that you feel like your world is falling apart.
You feel like all the passion, the love, and romance have completely faded.
You feel like you and your guy can’t stop yelling at each other.
And maybe you feel that there’s almost nothing you can do to save your relationship, no matter how hard you try.
But you’re wrong.
PPS: One more thing. Even if you’re in a NEWER relationship and things are fine, you should still watch Brad’s video.
You will at least come away with valuable information that could save your existing AND future relationships.
Don’t forget: even though Brad’s talking about marriages, this is still true for ANY relationship that you want to eventually become serious and long term.