Makeup Only to Break-Up? Stopping the Love-Hate Relationship Cycle

We all know that couple that is constantly breaking up and getting back together. Or maybe you are a part of THAT couple, in a constant state of making up only to break up. This kind unstable relationship pattern is a sign that either you or someone you know is in a love-hate relationship cycle. These types of relationships are characterized by constantly breaking and making up, a state of heightened emotions, volatility and retribution. In a love-hate relationship, partners have strong feelings for one another, but are inconsistent with their actions and expression of their feelings. These types of relationships are often critiqued by outsiders who are able to see the unhealthy nature of the relationship that is perhaps lost on the people who are actually in the relationship. Even though these relationships have a tendency to cause more pain than purpose, it can be hard to break free of the cycle because the couple has a shared history and dependence on one another. And at the end of the day, they really do love each other!

There are ways to stop the love-hate relationship cycle if you and your partner are willing to address the underlying, unaddressed causes at the root of your breakups. But, before committing time and energy to making the relationship work, it’s important to consider if the relationship is worth saving. Love-hate relationships can sometimes develop into abusive relationships, in which one person is unable to completely break free from the other, even under bad circumstances. Even if the relationship isn’t abusive, it’s still necessary to evaluate whether it is worth the time and energy to try and fix. If you are committed to fixing the relationship, here are some tips you should consider to help stop the love-hate relationship cycle:

Cultivate healthy non-romantic relationships

Stopping a love-hate relationship cycle can be difficult, especially if your partner is your main/only source of support. If you don’t have anyone else to turn to, it can be easier to get back together with your partner even after a tough breakup/fight. It can also be easier to justify getting back together if you don’t have a close friend to talk you out of it.... To help break this cycle, and get out of an unhealthy romantic relationship, it’s important to cultivate healthy relationships outside of your romantic relationship. Maintaining and cultivating close relationships with friends and family members will make you less reliant on your partner for support. That means that after a bad fight and subsequent break up you will be able to lean on friends, NOT your ex, to help you get back on your feet. Breaking these types of relationships off for good can be super emotional so you will absolutely need a support system of friends around you. These close friendships can also provide important insight into your relationship that you may be missing because of your proximity to your partner. Close friends and family want the best for you and can help offer guidance if things aren’t going well in your relationship. Even if you don’t find yourself in a love-hate relationship cycle, or you are able to evolve your relationship out of this phase, it’s still so important to cultivate healthy, platonic relationships. These relationships can help you through the good times and bad times in your romantic relationship, and are just necessary for a generally happy and healthy life.

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Prioritize your mental health

Love-hate relationships can be super taxing on your mental health, and the problems causing the love-hate nature of the relationship can also stem from personal insecurities and mental health struggles. If you find yourself in a love-hate relationship, take some time to focus on prioritizing your mental health. Afterall, you will not be able to work on your relationship, or end the break up/make up cycle unless you take care of your personal needs. Personal problems are often at the root of relationship problems, which makes it extra important to prioritize your mental health. Prioritizing your mental health means different things to different people, so it’s important to know what works for you in terms of maintaining your mental and emotional health. For some people, exercise can be a super great outlet for processing complicated emotions. For others, journaling, mindfulness activities, meditation and even personalized therapy are great options. It is possible to prioritize your mental health even when you are in a relationship, but sometimes it’s necessary to totally take a step back from your partner and instead focus your energy inward. If you are in a break up/make up cycle, that can mean dedicating time and space to yourself during the break up, and even staying broken up for longer (or even forever) if that is what is best for your well being. Taking time to yourself can also provide your partner with the space to take care of their own mental health.

Have big talks with a mediator

Learning how to fight effectively is another way to end the break up-make up cycle. Couples caught up in a negative relationship cycle may find that they are always having the same fight over and over again. Perhaps the fight isn’t big enough to justify a permanent breakup (hence the cycle), but it is significant enough to be a recurring problem. If this is the case it’s important to change your mindset and have this recurring fight effectively. Effective conflict involves communication, compromise, and goal setting to help create a plan for how to avoid the conflict in the future. Doing these things can help you break the cycle. But this is often easier said than done. It can be super difficult to learn how to resolve conflict effectively, which is why it’s often helpful to have talks with a mediator. The mediator can be a close friend or family member or even a therapist (more on that to come) that can help you and your partner sort out the conflict in a civil way. The fight is less likely to get blown out of proportion if there is a third party there, and the mediator can help you come up with solutions and compromises to avoid the same conflict from recurring. It is possible to break the love-hate relationship cycle if you approach conflict with discipline and a determination to move past the problem as a team. Fights are not always planned, so it’s not possible to always have a mediator present. But, if you are planning on having an important conversation, and there is a possibility that it will end in discord, then it can be better safe than sorry to have a mediator around.

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Consider the Root of the Conflict

When you are trying to stop a love-hate relationship cycle it’s important to consider the root of the hate and the reason that you are always breaking up. It could be that you are unable to effectively communicate and/or effectively navigate conflict. But, a lot of people that find themselves caught up in the cycle discover that they actually create a lot of drama in their relationships out of nothing. Couples in love-hate relationships often egg each other on and create conflict out of nothing. This can be a hard phenomenon to explain, but for some people, the drama and the rollercoaster of emotions keeps them excited by the relationship. A relationship without conflict might feel stale or uninteresting, so people fabricate conflict out of nothing. People don’t always do this consciously, it’s often a totally subconscious instinct that people uncover when looking at the root of their relationship conflicts. Even if this is not the case, it’s important to understand why you and your partner are always breaking up. And if these disagreements are even reconcilable. Is there something that you and your partner can change to make the relationship work? Or is the root of your conflict a deep seeded incompatibility that will always create problems? Understanding why you are always breaking up will help you understand how to break your relationship cycle, whether it’s through committing to the relationship, or deciding to call it quits once and for all.

Decide Whether the Relationship is Worth It

Constantly fighting and making up can create a huge amount of stress and emotional hardship. Love-hate relationships are often characterized by high highs and low lows. This type of volatility can take a toll on your other relationships and on your mental health as well. If you find yourself in this situation, you should evaluate whether the relationship is really worth it. Even if you care about your partner, it’s possible that the negative toll of the relationship is enough to outweigh the benefit of being with them. Doing things like making a list of pros and cons, and evaluating the relationship when you are at the lowest low can help provide perspective on whether the relationship is worth it for you. While it may feel difficult at the time to come to this conclusion, your partner may be feeling the same way. Love-hate relationships take a huge toll on both partners, so choosing to end the relationship can actually be good for you both in the long term. It is possible to turn a love-hate relationship around, but this requires both people to want to fix the relationship, and commit the time and effort to making meaningful changes. If you aren’t willing to do this, or your partner is unwilling to acknowledge the problem and try for improvement, then it might be time to move on. Breaking the love-hate relationship cycle may require you to end the relationship, permanently.

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Consult a Therapist

If you and your partner evaluate your relationship, and decide that you are both willing to put in the time and effort to make the necessary changes, then it could be helpful to consult a therapist. It can be very hard to break out of a love-hate relationship cycle, because of the patterns of behavior that make the relationship cyclic. Behavior patterns are super hard to break on your own, especially if you aren’t able to identify what the pattern is. Even if you can identify the problematic behavior, it can be hard to think of a new solution. It can also be hard to call out problematic behaviors on behalf of your partner. Consulting a therapist can help you identify the unhealthy behaviors in your relationship that keep leading you and your partner to the same breakup. Therapists can also help you work on how to resolve conflict more effectively, and they can even act as a mediator if you feel uncomfortable turning to family or friends to mediate your conflict (which, btw, is totally fair). While therapy can be a pricey investment, it can pay off in the long term if you and your partner are able to break the love-hate relationship cycle!


If you and your partner are committed to working on your relationship and overcoming your pattern of breaking up and making up, but don’t have the time or money to sort things out with an in-person therapist, you should turn to Relish, an affordable and convenient relationship coaching app. Relish provides personalized relationship coaching that allows you and your partner to evaluate your relationship, set goals, and make progress towards your goals. Relish is an excellent tool to use if you are interested in stopping the love-hate relationship cycle, but don’t have the time or money to go to traditional therapy. Relish is also an excellent resource for goal oriented couples, who are willing to make a plan and follow through with consistent action. Relish’s experts are qualified to help you identify negative behavior patterns and address the conflicts that continually affect your relationship.

Tired of making up, only to break up? Relish relationship coaches can put you and your partner on a path to break the love-hate relationship cycle for good. What do you have to lose? Download now to start your free one week trial.

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