On Again, Off Again | Why Roller Coaster Relationships Are So Addicting

Hello reader and welcome back to the blog!

Last year I started a series here on the blog on relationships and I had so much fun writing those pieces. I wanted to pick back up and write a few more pieces over the next few weeks, tackling different issues and stressors in the relationship arena.

Today, we're starting with On Again, Off Again Relationships.

This type of relationship is where a couple is known to break up and get back together fairly consistently. And we're not talking once or twice. Many couples break up once or go on a "break" at some point or another. No, these couples are notorious for it. They'll break up and get back together with the seasons and then be mad at you when you're upset with them for doing it.

These couples seem to know that there's something that isn't working, but can't seem to stay separated long enough to experience what a healthy relationship would be like. They're addicted.

Now, this could be attributed to extenuating circumstances. Say, for example, if you live in different parts of the world, have fallen in love, but can't figure out what to do next. Or, if there are people close to you who don't want you to be together; family members, friends, etc.

But more often than not, this is simply a sign of toxic codependency and an addiction to the high.

We've all heard of the neurotransmitter, dopamine. A hormone that promotes a happy mood and positive feelings. According to Into Action Recovery, Dopamine communicates with brain cells and encourages them to act in a pleasurable, excitable, euphoric way.

The high of being in an on again, off again relationships, feels very much like the high when dopamine gets released. You're over the moon excited, euphoric and can't imagine being with anyone else besides that person. But this sort of radical happiness usually doesn't last forever. Life comes up, arguments occur, but because your relationship is based off of the highs, you're not equipped to deal with the inevitable lows. So you break up. Then find yourself craving the high, so you get back together. And the cycle continues.

Being in this type of relationship can negatively affect you in a multitude of ways.

  1. You start to think it's normal.

  2. You base your relationship on an ever-fleeting feeling.

  3. Your friendships can suffer when your friends feel a need to protect you from this cycle.

  4. You can start to view a healthy relationship as "boring".

When you're used to the thrill of the high and the euphoria, everything else that's healthy and stable can start to seem boring or lacking in passion. Thus causing you to feel like your roller coaster relationship is the one that is right for you.

But in truth, up and down relationships aren't right for anyone. The truth is that there is a reason, probably a very good reason, why you keep breaking up. And that *thing* will continue to arise, as long as you two are together.

Don't mistake toxicity for passion.

Instead, cultivate passion and chemistry in a relationship that has a healthy foundation.


So how can we avoid this relationship pitfall?

First, don't choose relationship partners off of chemistry alone.

While chemistry is an important factor in relationships, it's not the only factor. Choose relationship partners based off of compatibility, shared goals, shared morals and values, and an overall enjoyment of being around them.

Second, get off the roller coaster.

As soon as you start to notice a pattern, step away. If you're truly meant to be with this person, I promise the Universe will conspire in your favor. But maybe you both need time to grow, before you can have a healthy relationship. Step away from negative patterns.


I know it's a prevalent ideology that we can't control who we love and it's just something that happens to us. While that may be true in part, we are not just passive participants in our romantic lives. At some point, we are actively making a choice to be there.

You can either choose to deal with this issue forever, or you can choose to find a different relationship partner who might be a better match for you.

The choice is yours. But remember that you don't get time back. And every year you spend going back and forth with someone, where you can't seem to quite put your finger on why you continue breaking up, is a year spent away from someone who might show you the possibility of a beautiful and healthy relationship.

For more of my relationship style content, check out the "Love & Relationships" tab here on the blog, or on the relationships playlist on YouTube!

Happy dating!