On-again, off-again relationships look normal, but feels exhausting. On-again, off-again relationships keep you running into the same problems and trying the same—unworkable—solutions over and over again. Everytime you end it, you mean it, but you find yourself unable to stop thinking about him, and then you fall for him all over again despite what you promised yourself. This relationship pattern isn't easily broken, even after you call it off.
It's very difficult to get out of the breakup/makeup cycle with toxic men. The cycle tends to be unending because these men see your resistance to the established pattern of on-again/off-again as a challenge to get you back. It's part of their fun. When you see the on-again, off-again cycle (and feel pressured to return to the relationship because he suddenly "gets it" only after you leave) know that you have most likely been in a destructive relationship and prepare yourself for breakup drama.
To break the cycle, you need extreme self-awareness, honesty and to stick to a time frame. Once you become aware that the relationship pattern is warped, you will most likely see that the relationship has always been unworkable. That's rough because you'll feel like you wasted your time.
Give yourself a break because it takes time to see that someone is unable to change or to sustain change. You may have focused on his good qualities and overlooked or excused his flaws—and that is a great relationship quality providing you are in a solid relationship with a man who can meet you halfway and seeks improvements himself. If you are not, then focusing on a man's strengths at your own expense is nothing more than a strategy for self-sabotage. It is critical to know the distinction between a workable and an unworkable relationship, or you may repeatedly find yourself in on-again, off-again relationships that absorb your time and energy. Here's how to stop the cycle in 3 steps:
1. Decide how long is too long in the on-again, off-again pattern—and stick to that time frame. You draw the line, hope, wait, and repeat. Once that's happened three times for the same reason, you better start paying sharp attention. Try to notice what role you are playing in the pattern of the on-again, off-again setup, as you may be waiting for evidence that proves you wrong about him so you can stay; it's self sabotage at its finest. When you hang on despite what you've experienced, it's time to look at yourself, not him, to figure out why you're being so tolerant of this behavior. Keep reading...
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