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While watching an on-off relationship on TV can be dramatic entertainment, in real-life these types of relationships could be bad for your mental health.
A new study published by the University of Missouri-Colombia has found on-off relationships are toxic to mental health and are associated with depression, anxiety and abuse.
The pattern of breaking up and getting back together denotes a need to make informed decisions about stabilising or safely ending the relationship, the study suggests.
Previous research found that more than 60 percent of adults have been in one of these relationships at least once in their lifetimes.
Kale Monk, assistant professor of human development and family science, and co-authors Brian Ogolsky and Ramona Oswald from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, examined data from more than 500 individuals currently in relationships.
This found that, compared to relationships without this pattern, on-off relationships are associated with higher rates of abuse, poorer communication and lower levels of commitment.
However, "breaking up and getting back together is not always a bad omen for a couple," said Kale Monk, assistant professor of human development and family science.
"In fact, for some couples, breaking up can help partners realise the importance of their relationship, contributing to a healthier, more committed unions. On the other hand, partners who are routinely breaking up and getting back together could be negatively impacted by the pattern."
While some break-up causes may be practical, Monk advises that former partners should get back together based on dedication, not obligation.
Monk says: "Remember that it is okay to end a toxic relationship. For example, if your relationship is beyond repair, do not feel guilty leaving for your mental or physical well-being."
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