Relationships have their ups and downs, but some have more ups/downs than others, leading to breakups that eventually lead to getting back together and then back to break up. But why do these things happen, and how do we stop this cycle?

Yo-yo relationships are entirely frustrating. And honestly, many ends in immense pain when the yo-yo finally breaks, and the couples end once and for all. With that being said, you may never know when this time is coming, and each time you break it off, you expect for things to come back together, but the thing is, how long can this cycle continue?

“We stay in push-pull, on-off, good-bad relationships primarily due to a behavioral dynamic called intermittent reinforcement,” psychotherapist, Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW,  explained to Bustle.

And she says that while we may sometimes get the reward we wait for, we often don’t. “We stay in or return to relationships hoping that we’ll get the reward (i.e. the good behavior) and not the pain (i.e. the bad behavior). In fact, intermittent reinforcement is as strong as ongoing positive reinforcement because it is based on the hope of receiving pleasure.”

To put it basically, the fact of the matter is, these relationships are nothing but training sessions, and when the trainer gets tired, well it’s OVER. Instead of staying in this neverending cycle, you may need to try separating entirely. Honestly, we are too old for games, and when it comes down to it, relationships need consistency.

In order to break the cycle, it’s time the two of you set clear boundaries.

Either this is going to work or it isn’t and the obvious reason that it isn’t working is that one or both of you aren’t meeting the expectations set out for you by your partner. Are you going to be able to meet those expectations, or are things just not meant to be? If you are honest with yourself, you will find your answer.

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