By some estimates, over 60% of people, at one time or another, have experienced the complicated relationship trajectory that defines an on-again/off-again relationship (Dailey, Pfiester, Jin, Beck, & Clark, 2009a).Instead of having a clean break-up, on-again/off-again relationships take a cyclical form, involving a series dissolutions and renewals. People in on-again/off-again relationships often initially break up because of conflict, personal characteristics of the partner or self, general relationship dissatisfaction or stagnation, or wanting to date somebody else (Dailey, Rossetto, Pfiester, & Surra, 2009b).Couples break-up and then make-up, then break-up and make-up again, establishing a routine roller coaster of intimacy, hurt, passion, and loss. These break-ups typically lack the clear and open communication that characterizes the kind of negotiated farewell common in permanent break-ups (Dailey et al., 2009a). After the break-up, on-again/off-again couples decide to renew their relationship for any number of reasons, such as: lingering feelings, beliefs that their ex may be “the one,” missing the companionship that comes with being in a relationship, or wanting that comfort and familiarity of the relationship (Dailey, Jin, Pfiester, & Beck, 2011).Sometimes they discover it’s hard to find other dating partners out there, making them more interested in reconnecting with their ex (Dailey et al., 2009b).It is different for every relationship and not all relationships follow the cycle—many report a constant stage of siege with little relief.This cycle has three parts: This cycle continues over and over, and may help explain why victims stay in abusive relationships.The abuse may be terrible, but the promises and generosity of the honeymoon phase give the victim the false belief that everything will be all right. Domestic Violence in the Suburbs What is Domestic Violence?Initially, Walker proposed that the cycle of abuse described the controlling patriarchal behavior of men who felt entitled to abuse their wives to maintain control over them.
The more frequently couples cycle back and forth between being together and being apart, the more their relationships tend to deteriorate to involve negative interactions, less satisfaction, and less commitment (Dailey et al., 2009a).
The victim does their best to reason with the abuser, calm the abuser, and stays away from their friends and family to try and work on the relationship.
This is the same stage where the abuser is nitpicking at the victim.
To prevent violence, the victim may try to reduce the tension by becoming compliant and nurturing.
Or, to get the abuse over with, prepare for the violence or lessen the degree of injury, the victim may provoke the batterer.