Do you find yourself constantly getting back with an ex despite knowing deep down inside your soul that this person is bad for you? Science says you should stop doing that because experiencing roller coaster relationships can deteriorate your health.
Research from the University of Missouri published in the journal Family Relations found that people who regularly engage in boomerang relationships are more inclined to suffer from “psychological distress.” The study surveyed 545 individuals in romantic relationships and rated their levels of anxiety and depression. The survey also asked whether they have broken up and gotten back together with a partner and if so how many times.
Approximately one third of the participants found themselves in on-again, off-again relationship cycling. Researchers found a correlation between those who got back with their ex over and over again with higher rates of psychological distress. The more times a person broke up and got back together, there was an increase of depression and anxiety.
“The findings suggest that people who find themselves regularly breaking up and getting back together with their partners need to ‘look under the hood’ of their relationships to determine what’s going on,” said study co-author Kale Monk (real name), an assistant professor of human development and family science at the University of Missouri. “If partners are honest about the pattern, they can take the necessary steps to maintain their relationships or safely end them. This is vital for preserving their well-being.”
“We know that breakups are upsetting in-and-of themselves, but this distress is considered normal and is often temporary. However, a tumultuous pattern of stressful transitions in and out of the same relationship might have more pervasive implications for our well-being,” Monk said. The assistant professor added that people “fall back into toxic relationships because of habit, convenience or obligation, none of which bode well for relationship quality.”
Of course, there is the possibility that those who already had higher rates of depression and anxiety are possibly more prone to engaging in toxic relationships, which they will do for the rest of their life.
Here are 10 early signs of a toxic relationship.
So what should you do if you are considering getting back with an ex? “I recommend partners think about the reasons they broke up when considering rekindling a relationship. Will things really be different this time?” Monk advises. “Then, it can be helpful to have an explicit conversation about issues that led to the breakups, especially if particular issues are likely to reoccur. This can help partners get on the same page about what needs to be improved or repaired.”
The assistant professor recommends that if you are contemplating getting back into a potentially hazardous relationship that you should consider therapy or counseling before jumping back in. Monk also suggests that you should never feel guilty for leaving a relationship that is beyond repair.
Monk does say that “taking a break” is not always a bad idea and has provided many with “much needed perspective and time to re-evaluate their relationship,” which led to a stronger relationship in the end.
Here are seven sound reasons not to get back with your ex.
Here is the “The Science of Heartbreak” presented by AsapSCIENCE.