Friday, 14 September 2012
The chances that a couple that breaks up after dating for a longer period of time will have a clean break up the first time “it’s over” is highly unlikely, at least for most people I know. The pattern of breaking up and getting back together is for the most part a big waste of time, energy, and tears.
Some long term couples take a break in their relationships for a couple of weeks, and it helps them come to terms with certain aspects of their relationship, and address the problems, only to make the relationship stronger. But most couples embrace getting back together as the ‘happy period’ only to find that they are back where they started, with the same old problems. It’s more than likely that in a couple of weeks, they will be breaking up again.
Professor Amber Vennum from Kansas State University calls these “cyclical relationships.” Vennum states that, "If you tend to be cyclical while dating, you tend to be cyclical while married. The more you are cyclical, the more your relationship quality tends to decrease and that creates a lack of trust and uncertainty about the future of the relationship, perpetuating the pattern."
A friend of mine is currently going through this with her boyfriend of about two years. It’s a huge struggle, and there’s no way to downplay the emotions involved. They definitely love and care about each other, but there are so many things that make them different and incompatible. My friend recognizes this and she wishes he could change. He is even willing to try and change – over and over again. But the question is, will he? And what about her? She could change a few things about herself as well.
Can people change once they have already grown up? Will he change the way he acts when he is drunk? Will he change the way he reacts when they fight? Will he start going to sleep earlier so he can wake up early like she does? Is anyone actually willing to change for the long term? Or is it a willingness to change for the short term, to shut the other person up, and make them happy in the near and present future?
Change in a relationship is possible, as long as both people aren’t opposed to changing. It takes two to tango. One person is not solely at fault.
There are so many little things that when looked at closely just actually create one big problem. As hard as it is to admit, the problem is actually the person. Or, who the person is not.
Only time can tell…
Vennum recommends the cold-turkey approach, at least for a little while: "Researchers have found that on days when we see our exes, we feel more feelings of love towards them than on days we don’t." So turn off Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” and stick to your guns!
Have you ever been or are you in a cyclical relationship?