Stay, Go, I Don’t Know: The Pain & Pleasure of On-Again, Off-Again Relationships.

Via Kimberly Lo
on Jan 10, 2014
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Nearly all of us of a certain age have some sort of experience with what I dub “merry-go-round relationships.”

Generally speaking, these are the sort of the relationships that run from hot to cold. There is seldom an in-between, and some of these go on for years.

Although it’s tempting to dismiss these relationships as “silly” or “a waste of time” the truth is, I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t been in this sort of relationship be it with lovers, friends or even family members. While many of us are aware of the downsides of such relationships: the endless drama, the pain, and the uncertainty—there are also some upsides as well.

For one thing, the making up part tends to be great. The passion—while it lasts—can be almost like a drug.

Furthermore, an argument can be made that these relationships can be viewed as a reflection of life itself. After all, what sort of life doesn’t include a fair share of drama, pain, uncertainty and passion? In fact, it is what most of us strive for when we express a desire to live a full life.

However, we all have our limits. Having been in quite a few of these relationships myself, there often comes a point when even the most patient amongst us has had their fill. Often, this occurs with the people who simply cannot decide what they want or suffer from what I call the “Mr. Big Syndrome” aka those who keep disappearing and reappearing at often the most inconvenient of times. (As the long-suffering Carrie Bradshaw once put it, “You just can’t come back in my life and f*** it all up.”)

While there is the very real possibility that some of these relationships may end up as emotionally abusive or co-dependent relationships (in which case it really is in both parties best interest to part for good), for many there may be no clear cut answer whether to stay or exist the merry-go-round.

Ultimately, no one can answer for that for us except ourselves and our own unique circumstances.

Sometimes, these things end badly. Other times, they end happily and sometimes, it’s a combination of both.

In any case, sometimes the best thing we can do is surrender to the unknown. Surrendering to the unknown is not the same as giving up. It isn’t the same as staying stuck either. Rather, it’s accepting that the future is unknown and unwritten.

It may mean staying for now or leaving and accepting that the ultimate future of the relationship is still undetermined.

It may not be the perfect solution, but it may ultimately save your sanity as well as the sanity of the person you are involved with.

That alone is priceless and a gift that is guaranteed to last forever.

Relephant Reads:

The Ingredients for a Secure Relationship. 

Why Relationships Don’t Work.

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Editor: Bryonie Wise


About Kimberly Lo

Kimberly Lo is a yoga instructor and freelance editor & writer based in Charlottesville, VA. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework, travel, and photography. Connect with her on Facebook.


10 Responses to “Stay, Go, I Don’t Know: The Pain & Pleasure of On-Again, Off-Again Relationships.”

  1. Jessa says:

    Love this, thank you.

  2. Jenna B Wiser says:

    I’m in it for the long term. No more yo-yo. We are two of a kind working on a full house!!! Garth Brooks. Miss you!!

  3. Jenna B Wiser says:

    Last comment on this. “I Adore You.” Miley Cyrus. My song to you tonight!

  4. Dee says:

    Kimberly, I have been trying to sort out what happened with an on-again off-again relationship that went on for much too long. I've been reading all these articles about love addiction and co-dependency, and while there was some of that going on, it's really nice to see something that makes it feel a little more okay to have engaged in this kind of drama. (Not that I intend to ever be in a relationship like that again though). I appreciate that you're not labeling it, or insinuating that deep childhood wounds caused us to behave in these pathological ways that have ugly labels (and stir up my inner critic in full force). Again, maybe these things are at play, but also, maybe on a higher spiritual level we just weren't done with each other. We hadn't learned what we needed to, we hadn't played out our karma, or whatever one believes. In your view, it's just okay, it's what happened or is happening, and I am very grateful for your simple, light touch in this article. 🙂

  5. Ratna says:

    There are no coincidences in life and I was meant to read this. I love all your articles and how from the heart they are keep I doing what you are doing. Much love

  6. Ms. G says:

    I needed this.

  7. Carla says:

    Thank you for this article. My marriage to my husband if 6 years is ending. We were friends for decades before we became involved romantically. I’ve been hard on myself for not being able to just make a quick, clean break. This was healing for me to read. It isn’t helpful to add self/judgement into the mix. It just complicated things. This helps. I will keep it to read when I need it.

  8. loca_bia_bia says:

    Dee, your response was right on point with how I feel. You took the words right out of my mind and wrote down what I was thinking but couldn't write.
    Thank you!

  9. Rob says:

    Excellent that you have brought this up. I have been single for over 10 years. I sometimes think its not healthy. I see people,however, engaged in co-dependent, parasitic relationships. Fear of being alone is not a reason to throw yourself at someone. Love comes from within and you share it. You don’t need someone else to experience love.

  10. Roxy says:

    I'm so confused, help. Mu b/f is so unsexual. I've tried everything, he hates it all. Is there such a personal who is just not sexual?