Toxic on-off relationships are bad for mental health, can cause depression and anxiety
Do you have an on and off relationship with your romantic partner? Beware, it can affect your mental health, say researchers. The findings showed that an increase in breaking up and reuniting was associated with more psychological distress symptoms such as depression and anxiety. It is because such relationships are associated with higher rates of abuse, poorer communication and lower levels of commitment.
“Breaking up and getting back together is not always a bad omen for a couple. In fact, for some couples, breaking up can help partners realise the importance of their relationship, contributing to a healthier, more committed union,” said Kale Monk, Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri in the US. “On the other hand, partners who are routinely breaking up and getting back together could be negatively impacted by the pattern,” she added.
For the study, appearing in the journal Family Relations, the team examined data from more than 500 individuals currently in relationships. They found that partners often break up and reunite on necessity or practicality. For example, a person might stay in a relationship for financial reasons or partners might stay together because they feel they have invested too much time into the relationship to leave.
Former partners should get back together based on dedication, not obligation, Monk suggested. The researchers suggested that people in these kind of relationships should make informed decisions about stabilising or safely terminating their relationships. “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,” Monk said.
“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,” Monk noted.
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