Getting Back With Your Ex May Be Bad For Your Mental Health

couple

Trending News: On-off relationships aren’t always a good idea.

SHORT STORY

A new study confirms what many of us already knew. Going in and out of a romantic relationship with the same person can be a source of misery.

LONG VERSION

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you break up with someone, only to get back together again? Have you repeated this cycle of dating over and over?

If the answer is yes, you wouldn’t be alone. Something like 60% of people have been involved in on and off again relationships, going by some estimates.

In many ways, these types of romances make sense. First, you already know the person. Second, there’s a strong sense of familiarity. And finally, it’s a lot easier to start dating someone you’ve been with as opposed to starting anew.

But what I told you that repeatedly breaking up with your ex and then reconnecting wasn’t so great for your mood? Would that make you think twice about reconnecting?

Well, according to a new study published in Family Relations, on and off love affairs may be bad for your mental health.

University of Illinois researchers assessed data from over 500 individuals who are currently in relationships. What they observed was a noticeable increase in mood-related issues [like depression and anxiety] among the on again-off again crowd.

One of the researchers, Kale Monk, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Science, shared the following observations in a press release:

“The findings suggest that people who find themselves regularly breaking up and getting back together with their partners need to ‘look under the hood’ of their relationships to determine what’s going on.

If partners are honest about the pattern, they can take the necessary steps to maintain their relationships or safely end them. This is vital for preserving their well-being.”

In many ways, the takeaways from this investigation make sense. In truth, what couples often do when attempting to reconnect is “fix” deeply rooted problems that weren’t dealt with in the past.

That said, if there is a repeated pattern whereby insolvable differences can’t be mended, trying to force the romance can cause stress.

In terms of men, this may help to explain why some guys get depressed after sex with a mate.

If you have broken up with someone only to find yourself back with them – and you keep doing it – now may be a good time to reflect on why this pattern exists.

Guy Counseling spoke to Dr. Greg Harms, a relationship expert and clinical psychologist, about the study.

“Sometimes, people go on autopilot in relationships and don’t take time to reflect. This is particularly true in on and off again romances where some couples engage in willful denial,” observed Harms.

So, are you thinking of getting back with your ex? How many times have you repeated this pattern? If you play the movie in your mind, how will “this time” be different?

About John D. Moore 347 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast