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I’m stuck in a loop of of breaking up and making up

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I am caught in this dysfunctional loop of making up and breaking up with my girlfriend. This has happened three times in 5 years. Each time I return I promise to do more but cannot sustain it for more than 6 months or even less. I’m afraid the next time I’ll probably propose marriage.

I have also found that the more I see opportunities out there to relate with other people or possibly get involved, the more I seem to commit myself to this dysfunctional relationship, making myself more miserable in the process. My self-esteem seems to take a beating as well in the process as I feel myself becoming more insecure in the relationship by the day.

The main reasons for breaking up are that I struggle to get over her past behaviour such as experimenting with drugs, smoking weed or drinking heavily when she’s not in a good mental space. Whilst she has stopped this behaviour, she reverts to weed when we’re broken up and actually appreciates. I feel judgemental for but I really don’t get it, and it really irks me that she is comfortable with the concept of being high from time to time. I find myself unable to feel secure with her or trust her.

I don’t want to be the person who brings stability to her life. I would prefer for her to not have to change that much to accommodate me.

I feel all of this stress in my body in the form of headaches and generally low energy levels.

Is this a workable relationship or am I just afraid of leaving the dysfunctional familiarity?

I’m stuck in a loop of of breaking up and making up

Answered by on -


Q: Sometimes the very fact that you have to ask a question is a kind of answer. The last line of your letter is like that. You already know that this isn’t a workable relationship. You don’t share fundamental values with this woman. You don’t trust her. Repeated break-ups haven’t resulted in important changes in her that would make it possible for you to feel secure with her. Instead of feeling your best self in the relationship, your self-esteem is taking a beating. So why do you persist? You answered that too. Familiarity is a strong motivator. You already know what this woman is about and how to relate to her. Finding a new person means dealing with the discomfort of being alone in a world that is so focussed on couples. It means getting back out there and risking rejection. It means uncomfortable first dates and maybe an awkward series of dates while you decide if this or that new person is for you.

It looks to me like you have a choice between two kinds of discomfort: On the one hand you could marry this woman and live a life with low self-esteem, suspicion, and a sense that you are missing something. On the other hand, you could deal with the discomfort of going through the process of finding someone you can whole-heartedly love. From where I sit, it’s no contest. If you’re going to be uncomfortable, why not be uncomfortable in a way that at least gives you the chance for happiness?
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I’m stuck in a loop of of breaking up and making up

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I’m stuck in a loop of of breaking up and making up. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 25, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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