According To Science, You’re Probably Stuck In That On-And-Off Relationship For A Few More Years

a couple holding hands in a field
Unsplash / Brooke Cagle

We all have that one romantic interest we can’t really get rid of — the one that started out with tons of chemistry, fizzled out, and then inevitably came back after a “wyd?” text. You know, the person you’re constantly trying to get over because right when you think you’re better, you get pulled right back in. Yeah, that one.

Well, bad news: you’re probably going to be stuck in that cycle for quite a while.

According to a new study, this kind of relationship is the norm for Millennials. In fact, 60% of Millennials have experienced an on-and-off relationship. But what’s really mind blowing isn’t the fact that we all go through it, but how long most of us do — according to the research, the average 20-something will spend 4.2 years with the same person, though often not consecutively.

So, what does that mean? Most of us are stuck in a terrible rollercoaster of a relationship and there’s nothing we can do about it!!! Or, at least, we don’t really do anything about it. We are fated to waste our youth on someone we can’t make up our damn minds about.

Of course, there are a lot of reasons people have these kinds of relationships — sometimes people just need a break to be alone, sometimes people just move away for a while, sometimes you just miss someone. And sometimes we just suck at relationships.

“Those who’ve had negative experiences with their peers growing up – social withdrawal and less peer likeability – often moved into the romantic sphere much later,” psychologist Dr Stéphanie Boisvert told Vice. “This is a pattern we see repeated throughout adult life. They will have difficulty finding, and maintaining, sexual partners.”

You’ve been warned: that tumultuous on-and-off relationship of yours? It’s here to stay. At least, for a couple more years.

Callie is a writer, editor, and publisher at Thought Catalog. Her debut book, ‘The Words We Left Behind,’ was released in January 2024.

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