On-again off-again relationship: the dangers

The dangers of on-again off-again relationships

By Sarah Moses July 23, 05:48 am
Physical violence and verbal abuse are more common in on-again off-again relationships, a recent US study found...

Think about your current sweetheart or your last relationship. If the going ever got tough, what did you do? Did you talk about the problems with your partner or did you call it quits only to decide that you couldn’t stand to be apart? 
Breaking up, getting back together, and doing it all over again might not be uncommon among young adults – almost 45 per cent have been in an on-again-off-again relationship, according to the results of the study.

Researchers asked 792 young adults aged 17 to 24 about their most recent or current relationship, including whether they’d experienced physical violence or verbal abuse.


Half reported verbal abuse in the relationship – for example being criticised by their partner about their beliefs or appearance. For 40 per cent, physical violence, including being pushed or shoved, hit, or slapped had taken place during the relationship.

Relationship status – whether a couple was on-again-off-again, permanently broken up, or happily together – really affected patterns of abuse, the researchers found.

Being in an on-again off-again relationship had serious consequences – physical abuse was twice as likely and verbal abuse also more common compared to couples in both a stable relationship and to those that had ended their relationship for good.

The researchers also looked at what other characteristics besides relationships status were linked to abuse. Not trusting their partner was a major one, predicting both physical violence and verbal abuse in a relationship.

Dealing with conflict

Violent behaviour and verbal abuse might go hand in hand with on-again-off-again patterns if a young couple doesn’t have good communication and relationship skills. When conflict comes up, they may not know how to deal with it and small issues can blow up into something far worse, like abuse. This could also lead to a cycle of separating and getting back together.

And though young adulthood is a time of learning what works and what doesn’t with a partner, and it’s no surprise that on-again-off-again relationships are common, the abuse that seems to go along with them should be a warning sign, believe the study’s authors. Patterns of abuse and breaking up and making up, they say, might lead to problems with romantic relationships in the future.

Have you ever been in an on-again-off-again relationship? Tell us about your experiences. Leave a comment here or on Facebook.

Did you learn something new?

I have dating this guy for months and am in love...am nt praising him bt he is the kind every girl would want bt we have a problem of where i come from his parents really hate people from my place...what should i do
Hi Mims, Getting approval from your partners parents is always a big pls, but just because they don't like a certain people does not mean they will dislike you. Just be yourself and always know the most important approval is that of your partner and not everyone else.
Am in this kind of relationship now, shedding tears almost everyday. I love my guy, he loves me too But the issue is, we are two, we comes to his house, and he compares me with the other girl, things has been terrible, to the extend that his mum hated me...saying her son can never marry me but she do not know what have been facing...we tried to leave each other but we keep coming back
Sorry that that is happening to you Enny. It sounds like there is unresolved issues in your relationship. Read this article to get more insight https://lovematters.co.ke/resource/relationship-problems .
Mon, 01/02/2017 - 12:08 pm
I have a problem with my relationship. There is a lady whom I love so much and I believe she loves me back. We have dated for four years. The problem is her parents. She is from Kikuyu origin and am from Luo side. Her parents does not want anybody who is not a kikuyu. This has given the lady undue pressure and we have even broken-up. What should I do since we still love each other
Sorry about the break up Calvince. Its always difficult dealing with outside pressure in a relationship. Therefore its always important to remember that the two people in a relationship is what matters the most and what they want goes above what others want for them. If both of you feel that the relationship is right for you and both want to be together, you should have a conversation about how you can deal with the challenges so that you are able to move on with your life.
Katushabe solomon
Sun, 01/08/2017 - 06:02 pm
I have a girl whom i love so much can you immagine that she told me that i stop calling her many calls as not calling her SWEET HEART but i use her names yet i have been using it for a year .now whether i call her answers rude way and some of her cloths and shoes are at.my place cos uses to sleep over my home am so confused about her
Hey, It would be important for both of you to talk and define your relationship. It will help you understand what you mean to each other and what you expect of each other.
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