Divorce: The On again, Off Again Relationship

Q. “I am dealing with the pain of a long term relationship break-up I can’t seem to let go of. He comes back, missing me terribly, we get back together and then 9 months to a year later we are apart again. How do I get off this roller coaster?”

A. “Should I stay or should I go?” This is a question that torments many separating couples. Having a significant relationship end really throws you into a gap. Fear of being alone, the desire to avoid heartache and a willingness to simply stay in relationship with someone when you know the love you truly desire cannot be found there are some of the reasons people engage in these “on again, off again” relationships.

To help you sort through this situation, allow me to offer some questions for you to contemplate and get really honest with yourself as you answer them. First, every relationship is a co-creation. You are participating with your sometimes-ex-partner in perpetuating a situation that seems to end up with you letting your heart twist in the wind. What are you getting from …staying on this roller coaster? What is it costing you to stay stuck in this pattern? How will you feel if in 5 years from now you are still wrestling with this same issue?

This leads me to the great insight of Einstein who said that problems cannot be solved at the level of thinking that created them in the first place. To truly step off this roller coaster will require a decision on your part. If you’re going to be in this relationship, make the decision to do whatever it takes to create a new, loving relationship with this person. Engage the support of a relationship expert or counselor to help you start your relationship with a clean slate and a clear vision of why you want to be with each other.

Or you can decide to end the relationship once and for all. Realize that you are contributing to your own suffering by letting this revolving door relationship be the source of your romance and intimacy. Grieve your loss, discover the lessons you need to learn from this particular partner, and commit to leaving yourself energetically available for a new relationship in the future that can better meet your long term needs. Right now it sounds like you are sitting on the fence in your relationship. That state of indecision and lack of clarity ultimately disempowers you. In the meantime , the most incredible possibilities may be right there for you, but continuing to be enmeshed in this old relationship will block you from being able to see them.

© 2010 Carolyn B. Ellis

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