Ever known someone—maybe yourself—who keeps returning to a relationship time and time again, hoping things will change for the better knowing full well the person is bad for you. Maybe not a bad person, just bad for you. But for some reason, you can’t let go. You get hurt again and again.
So why do we try to fix things with the wrong people over and over, hoping for a different result?
Relationship expert and upscale dating site Platinum Poire co-founder Rori Sassoon has a theory.
“A lot of time, when people go back, they have what’s called a cyclical relationship it’s nonstop, people become so sick of you they don’t want to hear about it anymore,” Roti says. “They never know who’s showing up for dinner thinking are they together or not together?”
Despite your friends and family being annoyed, there are a variety of reasons people keep returning to the old flame.
“When your hormones are involved it’s a whole other story, especially if sexually there’s insane chemistry, it’s very hard to break up, Rori says, adding that one pattern for these couples is that “sometimes sex is how you make up.”
“It has been proven scientifically that these type of relationships don’t wind up working out,” she says. “People are in those types of relationships they’ve made impulsive decisions- they moved in too quick, they got married too quick, and that often comes with a good side dish of bad communication which impacts the relationship negatively.”
The future of the relationship then is based in this perpetual pattern that some couples feed off.
“Sometimes the pattern is broken when one person grows up,” Rori says. “It can be years into the relationship and there can be children involved, so it’s not fun anymore. You’re not doing such a great job if mommy and daddy are always breaking up and getting back together.”
Take for example Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, who can’t extricate themselves from their relationship—because of their three children, but also because they are so emotionally entangled it’s become their pattern to break up and make up.
“It’s a damaging relationship, but I’m team Scott,” Rori says, explaining why.
“Unfortunately Scott really learned a lesson- he really didn’t appreciate Kourtney and the stability she gave him, then both his parents died. When he hit rock bottom I felt like they were all there as a family to help him pick up the pieces. When they left him alone after he messed up he knew what it was at that point to be so alone and it wasn’t feeling good anymore.”
Some cyclical relationships are salvageable, says Rori, like Scott and Kourtney’s.
“I really think that if he genuinely learned a lesson and has a real job—not at clubs where he gets wasted—he can make a success out of himself and has the emotional support of Kourtney they can make it work. She loves him.
“The difference wit them is that they were kids when they got together and Scott is young enough to change. If they both can meet in the middle—she needs to not be his mother, they can breathe new life into a dead relationship.”
When it’s not OK to keep returning to the bad pattern?
“When it becomes physically or emotionally abusive,” says Rori. “When you’re left disappointed all the time, or the person doesn’t show up for you. Think hard about why you want to reunite.
“If it’s you’re lonely, financially they bring a lot to the table, you feel too old, too lazy, or don’t want to date again, that’s fear of unknown. Everybody in your world can’t be wrong if they are all saying the same thing about this person with you. Take a break, see how you feel—you know how you feel with that person not in your life—and look inside yourself and see why you keep going back.”
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