Posted by: richarlm | October 24, 2018

On-again, Off-again Relationships

Holdings hands in front of ocean

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The following is a transcript of a Research that Matters piece from Oral Historians Collect “Stories to Save Lives” YOUR HEALTH Radio October 20, 2018

Dr. Adam Goldstein: Our very first research is about relationships that are on-again and off-again and does that lead to higher rates of adverse bad mental health? Were you ever in a relationship that was on-again or off-again?

Dr. Jamila Battle: Yeah, when I was young and in high school, you know.

Dr. Adam Goldstein: Young and reckless.

Dr. Jamila Battle: Young love.

Dr. Adam Goldstein: I kind of like, one year, then two years, then three years and all of a sudden, I got married. And I’ve been married 33 years, so I didn’t have too many of those on-again, off-again. But apparently it’s pretty frequent and the question is, from the researchers at the University of Missouri, is there something more to it that could actually be bad for your health?

Dr. Jamila Battle: Well prior research has estimated that more than 60% of adults have been involved in these on and off relationships and more than 1/3 of cohabiting couples report breaking up and later reconciling at some point. And that these relationships are often associated with higher rates of abuse, poor communication and lower levels of commitment.

Dr. Adam Goldstein: And this current study, they actually looked at data from 500 individuals who are currently in relationships and interviews and looking at their breaking up and getting back together. And they’re looking at how those events may be related and found that they were significantly associated. The more you had those type of episodes, the more you had psychological distress like anxiety and depression. It didn’t really matter if it was same-sex or heterosexual relationship. And that, I guess, is concerning, though I’m not fully certain what to make of it.

Dr. Jamila Battle: And I don’t think they really knew what to make of it either. But they did say that partners that break up and reunite for a number of reasons. And the common ones were necessity or practicality and that partners should get back together based on dedication not obligation.

Dr. Adam Goldstein: Yeah, I like that, though, I think it’s complicated, right? And certainly there’s lots of factors going into it, which is probably why they’re getting back together and breaking up and getting back together and breaking up. There. I think the key point is, and I like what they say, it’s okay to end a toxic relationship. I like that. If it’s not working, it’s not working. This is in the journal Family Relations. “Coming out and getting back in: relationship cycling and distress in same and different sex relationships.” I like the research even though I don’t understand it, fully.


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