What Does It Mean if Your Boyfriend Breaks Up Then Comes Back Repeatedly?

Make changes to end the exhausting cycle of breaking up and getting back together.
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It can be frustrating and heartbreaking when you and your boyfriend are stuck in a cycle of breaking up and getting back together. It can be an emotional roller coaster that is tiring, not only for you, but also for the people around you. Understand why he may be doing this and ask yourself what part you play in this on-and-off relationship. It is healthier to make a decision to either stay together or say goodbye for good.

1 Not Acknowledging the Cycle

The on-again, off-again cycle may keep happening because neither of you have acknowledged that the pattern is unhealthy or made an attempt to stop it. He may not know why he keeps breaking up with you, only to come back later. In the “Psychology Today” article “Domestic Drama: On-Again, Off-Again,” psychiatrist Gail Saltz suggests that for some, parents’ romantic relationships may have an influence on the on-and-off cycle. Your boyfriend may have parents who engage in on-again, off-again relationships, which may make it seem normal to him. Getting him to realize that it is not good for either of you may be the first step to ending the on-and-off saga. Have a serious talk about what keeps him breaking up and coming back -- and discuss whether it's worth it in the long run.

2 Doesn't Want to Be Alone

Although the relationship is not working, your boyfriend might keep coming back because he doesn’t want to be alone, psychologist Steven Stosny asserts in the same "Psychology Today" article. Following a break-up, he may think to himself that he’ll never find someone else to love him again. If he has low self-esteem, he might find comfort in being in a relationship. He might find your companionship easier than being alone, despite the stress the troubled relationship, writes life and relationship coach Marni Battista in an eHarmony blog post, “On-Again, Off-Again Relationships: How to Know When to Walk Away for Good.” The next time he breaks it off and comes running back, ask if he wants to make things work or if he is only returning to you because it is easy.

3 Wants to Make It Work

Relationships aren’t always smooth sailing, but the benefits of being with someone who makes you happy can make it worth the hard work. If there is a real problem in the relationship that is causing the breakups, your boyfriend may keep coming back because he is positive that each new reconciliation will be better. When asking for another chance, he may be focusing on the positive parts of the relationship, thinking it is worth another shot. He might even think he can change you, says Saltz. If there is something about you or the relationship that he doesn’t like and wants to change, ask yourself if you are willing to make this change. If what he is asking is not in your best interest, the relationship simply won’t work.

4 Unaddressed and Unresolved Problems

Your boyfriend may keep coming back because you haven't acknowledged what is causing the breakups or made an attempt to fix it. Relationship coach and therapist Yangki Christine Akiteng warns against not identifying the problem each time you break up, in her blog post "On-And-Off Again Relationship -- Time to Give Up?” You and your boyfriend may have petty fights that lead to each split, but beneath those arguments may be a deeper issue. You may keep breaking up if you never make the changes to solve the real problem. Both you and your boyfriend must acknowledge your part in the problem and make changes if you want to continue the relationship.

Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".