5 Toxic Reasons People End Relationships — Only To Come Crawling Back

What to know and how to deal if your ex wants to come back.

couple sitting in bed unhappy Federico Marsicano / Shutterstock

Why do men pull away, only to eventually come back later, saying he wants you back? Does he tell you that it’s over and walk out, only to return a few days or weeks later, smiling and charming? Is this happening over and over, leaving you confused and unhappy? This tendency, to declare that you don’t love someone, but to be unable to stay away, is known as "yo-yoing". And, despite its playful name, yo-yo relationships can be devastating and confusing. What is a yo-yo relationship?


A yo-yo relationship, where someone is "yo-yo-ing," is when a person thinks that they no longer want to be with somebody and they declare it but have a hard time staying away. This leads to the person on the other end not knowing what is going on and being left in limbo. So, why do men pull away — only to come crawling back later?

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Here are 5 toxic reasons people end relationships — only to come crawling back:

1. He gets lonely

It is the human condition to want to be part of a pair. For many of us, being alone is not a comfortable place. If your guy tells you that he doesn’t love you and no longer wants to be with you but keeps coming back the may bee is simply lonely.


He knows that he doesn’t want to be with you but, because he is unable to fill the space that is left in your absence, he keeps coming back so that he won’t be alone. And you probably let him come back because you aren’t enjoying being alone either. So, if your guy keeps coming back, it could very well be not because of you but because he doesn’t want to be alone.

2. He is insecure

A guy who says he doesn’t love you but keeps coming back is a guy who is most likely very insecure. He says he doesn’t love you but he then wavers, wondering if he’s made the right choice. He could come back hoping that things could be different. He is constantly second-guessing himself and pulling you into it. Guys who are secure are more definitive in their decisions and more apt to follow through on the secure guycure will make his decision and move on.



Furthermore, a guy who keeps yo-yo-ing you could be a guy who feels insecure about his place in the world. Not being in a couple could make him feel unsafe and unwanted. The idea of trying to find another person to date might be just too overwhelming and, as a result, he comes back to you, hoping to make it work so that he can feel better about himself. Is your guy insecure? If yes, that could be a big reason why he keeps coming back.


RELATED: 15 Signs He Doesn't Love You, He Only Loves Using You

3. He wants to be intimate

This will be no surprise to any of you. Guys want — and need — to be intimate. When your guy says he doesn’t love you but keeps coming back, he could very well be coming back just for the intimacy. I have a client who wanted a divorce from his wife and he moved Despite this, he regularly was intimate with her. I asked him why and he said, "Why would I not take any opportunity to be intimate?"

This man is a good guy but he just didn’t understand that, for women, intimacy is about connection, and being intimate with her was a signal that he might be coming back to her. Once he understood that being intimate with her was leading her to believe they had a chance, he stopped doing so. He wasn’t happy to be going without intimacy but he knew that he didn’t want to lead her on. So, when your guy reappears, does he do so for intimacy? Think about it.

4. He can’t break the habit of you

One thing that’s very interesting about breakups is that one of the reasons they are so difficult to stick to is because of the habits that we have created in our relationships. By habits I mean those things that you do together regularly. Maybe it’s Wednesday night movies, Saturday trips to museums, or lunchtime meetings at the sushi place. These are things you guys enjoyed doing together. When you are no longer together, those spaces and time are left empty and might be difficult to fill. So, if your guy keeps coming back, it might be because he can’t break those habits. They have been so ingrained in the fabric of his life that he doesn’t want to let them go.


RELATED: 11 Psychological Tricks To Make Your Ex Regret Losing You

5. He wants to work things out

Of course, sometimes guys come back because they genuinely want to work things out. He generally wants to make a life with you. And when that happens, and you want to work things out too, I encourage you to greet him with open arms. And caution. If your guy comes back because he wants to work things you guys must talk talk about what went wrong in your relationship. That you both completely understand any issues that might have developed over time and that you make a plan — together — to do things differently.



You can stop the yo-yoing by doing things differently. History repeats itself over and over until we take steps to make a change. Take a good hard look at your relationship, see what went wrong, and work together to make those things right. You can do it. When your guy says he doesn’t love you but keeps coming back, it can almost be worse than him disappearing altogether.


If your guy disappears from your life, it's easier to get over him and move on. But if he keeps showing up at your door with his handsome face, you’ll just get sucked back in and the pain will continue. So, take a good look at what happens when your guy comes back. Is he doing it because he feels lonely because he can’t break the habit or he because just wants to get with you? Is he feeling insecure about his place in the world and needs you to help him feel better about himself? Or perhaps he genuinely wants to try to work it out. Ask these questions before you open that door. Knowing the answers and acting on them could prevent a whole lot of pain.

RELATED: 10 Different Types Of Guys — And What Your Attraction To Them Says About You

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.