Oftentimes, when going through the divorce process, you might think about getting back
together with your stbx. Divorce can be emotionally, spiritually and physically grueling. There
are many tests to your your emotional fortitude and questions about your children’s current and
future well-being as well as fears about financial security might help sway the decision to just go
back to what you know rather than face what you don’t know.
Well, before you consider jumping back into your marriage, you may want to think about
a recent study conducted by the Family Relations group, which surveyed 545 couples and their
levels of depression and anxiety related to what they term “relationship cycling”—a pattern of
breaking up and getting back together.
The study found that those who relationship cycled had higher levels of psychological
distress and the more times they broke up and reunited, the higher the levels of depression and
anxiety each time. Rather than a reduction in these symptoms, actually the greater the
symptoms. In other words, if you think that getting back together with your stbx will alleviate the
depression and anxiety you feel about the breakup, in reality you may feel much more anxious
It is widely acknowledged that couples who reunite may experience temporary relief or
change but toxic relationship patterns quickly return. If you are considering getting back
together with your stbx—and he feels exactly the same way—there are a few things to consider:
*Have you had a deep and meaningful series of discussions about what led to the
*In these discussions, has there been blaming and shaming or individuals not taking
responsibility for their own actions,
*Has there been counseling,
*Has there been sufficient time apart to take a clear look at any changes to be made.
If the answer to any of these questions is no, I urge you to consider taking all of these
steps before re-involving yourself in the relationship again, especially if children are involved. It
is emotionally damaging to keep your children involved in relationship cycling.
It’s OK to end a toxic relationship. You will heal and survive emotionally. The emotional
distress will be temporary; however, going back into an unhealthy relationship can have
permanent effects on your—and your children’s—well being.
Take good care.