You keep breaking up and getting back together – and you know it’s not good for either of you. These tips on how to stop the “breakup and makeup” cycle are inspired by a reader who is struggling to accept a recent split from her boyfriend.
On 5 Healthy Ways to Cope When You Miss Him, Sara said: “My boyfriend left me yesterday, for the second time. I thought fate had brought us back together and we were going to be together forever. We had so many plans together. I’ve been feeling extremely down lately, and I don’t think he could cope with it. The reason why he broke up with me the first time was the same as this time. I hate to think that one day he is going to be with someone else, who will make him happy the way I can’t. I know I will move on eventually, I just hate the thought of having to do so. I’m in my last year of university, and most of it is on a placement. I hope I can put myself into my university work, and not let this affect anything. I don’t know what to do, I feel lost. 🙁 ”
Breaking up and getting back together can actually be healthy for your relationship – but it depends on the reasons for the breakup. It also depends on what you and your ex do during the breakup, and why you’re getting back together. If you and your ex have both spent time working on the issues leading to the breakup – and if you’re both committed to rebuilding your relationship – then getting back together might be good for both of you.
But, sometimes getting back together after a breakup is just a way to avoid the pain of grieving. It hurts to end a relationship, even when you know it’s unhealthy or wrong for you. If you feel trapped in a “breakup and makeup” cycle, then you might be avoiding the grief that follows the end of a relationship.
7 Ways to Stop Breaking Up and Getting Back Together
My thoughts on how to stop cycling through the same old relationship patterns are inspired by Sara’s comment above, but they apply to many different types of relationships. Let me know in the comments section below if your situation is the same. I can’t offer advice, but you may find it healing to write about your relationship.
1. Be honest about why your relationship keeps falling apart
Sara said two really important things about her “breakup and makeup” cycle:
- Her boyfriend broke up with her because she’s been feeling extremely down lately, and he couldn’t cope with it.
- Their last breakup happened for the same reason.
It may not be the relationship itself that is causing problems for Sara and her boyfriend. Rather, it’s her feelings of sadness or depression. There’s something going on in Sara’s emotional, spiritual, or physical life that is brining her down – and that is having a negative effect on her relationship with her boyfriend. The solution isn’t in the breakup or the getting back together…it’s within Sara herself.
What about you – what is the underlying reason you’re trapped in the “breakup and makeup” cycle? If you really want to learn how to stop breaking up and getting back together, then you need to be honest with yourself. Maybe your own personal issues are disrupting your relationship, or perhaps your boyfriend’s emotional or spiritual issues are creating problems. It’s important for you to get to the root of the reason you keep breaking up and making up, or you’ll never stop the cycle.
2. Identify the changes that happen between breakups and makeups
Does your relationship keep breaking down because of a specific issue (for example, your boyfriend doesn’t have time for you)? If it’s the same issue every time and nothing changes or solves the problem, then you’ll stay trapped in the same old cycle of breaking up and getting back together.
Something has to change in your relationship, your communication patterns, or your personal habits if you want to stop the “breakup and makeup” cycle. You may know exactly why you keep breaking up, but you’ll never learn how to stop getting back together for no good reason unless you make specific changes in your relationship or personal issues – or both. Think about the last time(s) you broke up and made up with your boyfriend. Did anything change? If not, then you’re falling back into old patterns because you’re too afraid or unmotivated to let go of an unhealthy relationship.
3. Learn how to let go of someone you love
You can be physically attracted to your boyfriend, but not be right for him. You can feel connected at an emotional and heart level, but not be compatible in daily life. You can even love your boyfriend with all your soul, but still be unable to build a healthy, committed, happy relationship with him.
Learning how to let go of someone you love is the healthiest and best way to stop the pattern of breaking up and getting back together. Emotional freedom is the key to a spiritually and emotionally healthy woman.
Even if you do get back together with your boyfriend, you still need to learn how to hold him loosely. Don’t grip him too tight, or he’ll feel suffocated and you’ll feel overbearing. Learn the art of loving in freedom and healthy detachment.
Love isn’t enough to save a relationship, no matter what the famous songs or Hollywood movies say. Love isn’t all you need, and it can’t sustain unhealthy personal issues, abusive relationships, or destructive habits.
4. Prepare to grieve the end of your relationship
Take a deep breath, and remember that you can’t go back. Whatever happened in your relationship happened for a reason. You can’t change the past, but you can move forward into a happier, healthier future. You can learn from it, you can grow and change and flourish into a new life.
But first, you have to grieve the end of this relationship. Grieving your loss is a painful process that takes time, but it’s an important part of learning how to stop the cycle of breaking up and getting back together again. If you don’t grieve, you can’t move on. If you don’t grieve what you lost, you’ll keep going back to it. You need to gather your courage and start moving through the painful process of grieving the end of this relationship and moving forward in your life.
5. Practice healthy grieving by leaning into your own spirit and soul
Healthy grief involves accepting what you don’t want to accept. Healthy grief is active, and requires you to express how you feel and what you’re going through. Healthy grief takes time and attention, pain and suffering – but if you do it right, you will stop the “breakup and makeup cycle.”
So, what is healthy grief? It’s allowing your feelings of disappointment, fear, sadness, and loss to flood through you. Take 30 minutes or an hour to just feel the pain. Cry, wail, sob, break down. Stop avoiding the pain and start working through it. Get a book on the grieving process, and understand how “good grief” can heal you and prepare you to move forward.
Thrive Anyway You Can Heal Your Broken Heart by Julie Anna Bishop Book on grieving is an empowering, simple guide that will help you through the roller coaster of emotions that naturally occur after a breakup, separation, or divorce.
While you may be in a great deal of pain and struggling to believe that you can live happily without your boyfriend, the truth is now is the best time to recreate your life on your terms. This valuable recovery guide will show you what healthy grief is, plus teach you about the stages of the grieving process.
6. Find strength to stop breaking up and getting back together
While you go through the grieving process, you can start making healthy changes in your life! This is part of Blossoming into a new season of your life. It’s time to change your priorities and refocus your time and attention. It’s time to take care of yourself, to challenge and motivate yourself to step into a new way of being in the world. It’s time to learn what you’re made of, and perhaps even surprise yourself!
Here’s what a reader said about finding strength to move forward:
“I left my emotionally abusive partner for the last time two months ago,” says Kylie on How to Leave a Man You Love – But Can’t Live With. “I broke up with him in the past and managed to stay away from him for a year and a half. However, when contact is made he tries everything to get back together. He is sweet, charming and just what I want in a man. However, this only lasts until shortly after I move back in and start paying the bills, etc, again. He then goes back to picking at me for everything I do, belittling my friends and downright hateful about my family. He used mind games to manipulate me to do everything he wants. I have been away from him for two months now and was starting to recover. However, he sent me another text last night telling me he loves me and wants to talk to me. I can’t talk to him! I have MS and just seeing the text last night made the pain intensify all over. When I left him in the past, seeing him somewhere caused anxiety attacks. So, my question is, how do I toughen up to this? How do I get strong enough to deal with it if I ever come face to face with him again? He is so experienced at manipulating and controlling me that I am scared of what might happen. I can’t go back but I can’t go forward if I don’t deal with this somehow.”
7. Refocus your priorities
This is a junction in your life – an opportunity to start working on yourself. Until now, your relationship was a huge and important part of your life, wasn’t it? Maybe it was even your main priority or sole focus. Maybe your relationship was all you had, and you allowed other parts and people in your life to fall away. Maybe you even sacrificed your other relationships – including your relationship with God – to focus on your boyfriend.
Now is your chance to refocus. Take time to think about who you are as a woman, and who you want to become. What were your priorities before this relationship developed, and how have they changed? Who were you before you met him? Who were you becoming, and do you miss that person?
What are your strengths and passions? What does it mean to have a fulfilling life – and how can you pursue meaning and fulfillment apart from your relationship? Even more importantly, how are you doing spiritually and emotionally? Use this time to heal and grow. You don’t need to focus all your energy on learning how to stop breaking up and getting back together. Break up the grieving and letting go process with activities that jazz up your life and add pizzazz to your day.
If you don’t feel like you’re strong enough to stay apart, read How to Be Strong About Not Getting Back Together.
While I can’t offer advice on how to stop breaking up and getting back together, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.