On And Off Relationships Can Cause Depression

It worked for Ross and Rachel but it might not work for you.
Relationship Psychology

We all know that Ross and Rachel were in an on again-off again relationship during the entire 10 years of FRIENDS. We were happy when they finally ended up together. For some, this form of relationship might be exciting and dramatic but it is harmful for the mental health of the people involved. A new study proves that loving the wrong person and being in a toxic on again-off again relationship can have a negative impact on your well being.  

How Did We Find Out

The study published in The Family Relations Journal in 2018, was done to find a connection between this on and off relationship psychology and its effects on the mental well-being of those involved in the relationship. The study was done with 545 individuals out of which 279 were in a same sex relationship and the remaining 266 were involved with partners of the opposite sex. The study proved that consistency of breaking up and getting back together with their partners was maximum in male-male relationships as compared to male-female and female-female relationships.

The research showed that approximately 60% of the population agreed to being in an on-off relationship and one-third of these couples had lived together and ended their relationship at some point before reconciling.

Kale Monk, the lead author of the study mentions in the paper, “Breaking up and getting back together is not always a bad omen for a couple,” he added. “In fact, for some couples, breaking up can help partners realise the importance of their relationship, contributing to a healthier, more committed union. On the other hand, partners who are regularly breaking up and getting back together could be negatively impacted by the pattern.”

Relationship Psychology


What Did We Learn

The researchers concluded that constantly going through a relationship breakup and getting back together was directly related to increased symptoms of psychological distress such as depression and anxiety. To conclude, the researchers also gave relationship advice to men and women to avoid such situations,

  1. Whenever thinking of getting back in a relationship that has ended, partners should thoroughly think about the reasons they broke up in the first place and determine if those matters will affect the relationship again.

  2. Have explicit conversations about the issues that led to the break up. If there was violence involved, it's always better to talk it out if there are chances of it to re occur.

  3. Always remember that it is okay to end a toxic relationship. Do not feel guilty while ending the relationship if it is beyond repair.

  4. Do not think that couples therapy is only for couples who are at the brink of a divorce. Even happy couples should consider counselling to strengthen their relationship and have additional support in approaching relationship transitions.

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