On-again, off-again relationship

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An on-again, off-again relationship (also known as an on–off or off–on relationship) is a form of personal relationship between two persons who keep breaking up only to reconcile afterwards, thus repeating a cycle.[1][2]

Researcher Kale Monk, an assistant professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Missouri, cites several reasons as to why a relationship might be on-again, off-again, including one partner relocating to a new place or the couple re-assessing their relationship.[3] Many continue to reunite out of a persistent hope that the moments of happiness and gratification they have known will eventually constitute the entire relationship.[4]

Being in an on-again, off-again relationship can damage one's mental health,[5][3] leading to possible depression, eating disorder, and/or anxiety.[6][7] Additionally, Monk also notes how these types of relationships have higher rates of abuse, poorer communication, and lower levels of commitment.[5] Not all on-again, off-again relationships are considered toxic, as breaking up and reconciling can help a couple with better communication and address the issues in their relationships.[1][5]

A 2009 study published in the Personal Relationships journal revealed that nearly two-thirds of participants have experienced being in an on-again, off-again relationship.[8][2]


  1. ^ a b McAlex, Alice; er (30 October 2015). "8 Great Things About On-Again/Off-Again Relationships". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b Strong, Rebecca (7 August 2018). "4 Signs Your On-Again, Off-Again Relationship Is Toxic — Even If You Think You're In Love". Elite Daily. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b Lampen, Claire (27 August 2018). "A New Study Reveals Just How Damaging On-Again, Off-Again Relationships Are To Your Health". Bustle. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  4. ^ Svoboda, Elizabeth. "Domestic Drama: On-Again, Off-Again". Psychology Today. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Monk, Kale (23 August 2018). "On-again, off-again relationships might be toxic for mental health". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  6. ^ Rajan, Ravi Shankar (19 October 2018). "On-Off Relationships Are Toxic. Get Out Immediately". Medium. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  7. ^ Kosik, Alli Hoff (15 September 2018). "This Is Why On-Again-Off-Again Relationships Are So Bad for You". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  8. ^ Dailey, Rene M; Pfiester, Abigail; Jin, Borae; Beck, Gary; Clark, Gretchen (30 March 2009). "On‐again/off‐again dating relationships: How are they different from other dating relationships?". Personal Relationships. 16: 23–47. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2009.01208.x.