The Most Toxic Type Of Couple, According To Research

Photo: Hector Pertuz, Cristian Darío | Canva
Parents then and now

Drama, drama, drama.

Although Hollywood has taught us that it's the couples who split and then reunite later in life who have "true love," researcher Amber Vennum says otherwise. According to 2012 research by Vennum, "second chance romances" aren't what they're cracked up to be and should be left in the past. Essentially, there are good reasons the two of you broke up.

Couples who try again and again to make their relationship work, but fail, actually have a name: cyclical couples. Unlike couples who have never separated, cyclical couples tend to be more "impulsive" when it comes to major decisions like moving in together or having a child because of their addiction to the thrill of trying to make sense of their relationship.

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These couples are also more prone to being less satisfied with their partner, have communication issues and low self-esteem, as well as a habit of making terrible, destructive choices in their relationship. 

These factors are the perfect storm for a future that's more uncertain than for couples who have never taken a break. And to what does all this on/off roller-coaster riding lead? Lack of trust and drama. As Vennum points out, a breakup results in "irreparable damage" to the relationship and is, to use her words, "permanent." 

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Based on what she has to say, there's no salvaging a broken relationship, so quit your daydreaming. What Vennum wants is for us to use our heads and not our hearts when it comes to love (because this is obviously how human beings work).

However, I disagree with Vennum on her "study." Why? Because I'm the biological product of an "off-again-on-again" relationship. 

My parents met and fell in love when they were 16 years old. For years, they had a ridiculous tumultuous relationship that eventually resulted in my mother marrying another man, and my father leaving his East Coast roots behind to try to recover from his broken heart in San Francisco.

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Although my mother was married for three years, she and my father continued their crazy relationship and were married the same day her divorce was final — in Santo Domingo, of all places. They have been married, quite happily, for 37 years with two daughters, two grandsons, a bunch of dogs, and a love story that's pretty much pulled from the script of a Hollywood film.

That being said, you can heed Vennum's "warning" all you want, but you know what? Sometimes the drama and the uncertainty are all worth it in the end. For some of us, it just takes a while to get things perfectly aligned. And when we do, the result is forever.

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Amanda Chatel is an essayist and intimacy health writer for Yourtango, Shape Magazine, Hello Giggles, Glamour, and Harper's Bazaar.