“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”  Maya Angelou

Every week, my friend and I watch our favorite relationSHIP shows, and afterward, we hold a debriefing session to share our favorite and unbelievable show moments. This week, our debriefing session was about the couple on Will Packer’s hit show, “Put A Ring On It” who has been in an ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP for 14 years.  Fourteen years is a looooonnnnng time to date someone who is reluctant to commit. Although I’ve heard of ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS, I’ve never given them any thought until this show. When I hear the words ON AND OFF AGAIN, objects like a light switch, a computer, a car engine a TV, a radio, are a few things that come to mind, NOT a relationSHIP. When you hear those words, what comes to your mind? Do relationSHIPS come to mind? To me, the words, ON AND OFF AGAIN, don’t even seem compatible with the word relationSHIP. What’s the purpose of an ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP?  How do they work? Are there rules? Who benefits? Can a relationSHIP grow when it’s ON AND OFF AGAIN? Have you ever been in an ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP? You already know, I HAVEN’T!!! So for this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS!!!

What is an ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP? An ON again, OFF again relationSHIP is when a couple keeps breaking up and getting back together AGAIN. The relationSHIP typically continues on repeating the cycle of being ON AND OFF AGAIN until someone makes the decision to finally end the relationSHIP. These relationSHIPS seem confusing and overly complicated. But, let’s be clear, a relationSHIP that is ON AND OFF AGAIN is NOT a relationSHIP…… it’s a CRUISE!!! Only cruise SHIPS allow folks to get ON, and while docked for an extended period of time, allow them to get OFF at various ports along its journey, NOT relationSHIPS. In relationSHIPS, couples are supposed to sail through adversities together and if they can’t, they don’t take a break, they end the relationSHIP. If the problems within a relationSHIP are so severe that they require a break from each other, that may be a sign of incompatibility, and instead of a break should consider ending the relationSHIP. The ON AND OFF AGAIN thing is invariably a waste of time because relationSHIPS are either ON OR they are OFF, there is NO in-between!!!

The foundation for ALL of our relationSHIPSfriend, partners, etc.- is communication, trust, and respect. Successful relationSHIPS interchangeably use and rely on these foundational elements to make them work. Since relationSHIPS involve feelings, they are already delicate and fragile so if one of these characteristics is missing, the relationSHIP may not work. How can it? These characteristics- communication, trust, and respect-aren’t optional, they are mandatory in relationSHIPS and are usually what is missing in ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS. The very term ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS infers that there is a breakdown somewhere that is probably caused by a LACK of communication, trust, and respect. ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS are red flags but they are also unhealthy and can be both- physically and mentally taxing. No doubt, ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS are filled with doubt and rob us of our sensibilities.

During this couple’s 14-year ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, he fathered 2 children with 2 different women and she still has hope that he will marry her. I’m not judging her because she seems to know what she wants but she doesn’t seem to understand that what she wants may not be aligned with who or what she needs. During this ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, she’s waited so long for him to grow up, she stopped growing herself. During this ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, she was too busy taking his inventory, she stopped taking her own. During this ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, she stopped dreaming when she’s realized that he wasn’t her dreamcatcher. During this ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, she became internally broken when he fathered children with 2 other women and doesn’t have a child with her. During this ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, she’s become so fearful that his past infidelities are an indicator of what lies ahead. During this ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, she’s lost the ability to talk to each other and instead talks at each other. During this ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, even though she’s lonely, she has conditioned herself to accept his neglect. During this ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, not only is she losing herself, but she is also letting go of her wants, needs, and desires. ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS are not worth it, especially since they rarely end in romantic reunifications. ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS are merely a waste of time.

Earlier, I mentioned that I’d never been in an ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP but that’s not entirely true, I have. I’ve been involved in several ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS throughout the years. I’ve gotten ON AND OFF  a plane, a bus, a train. But, I’ve never been in anON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS with a person. I would never have an ON AND OFF AGAIN friendSHIP, so you know I’m not having one with a BOO!! I wouldn’t allow that kind of confusion and chaos in my life, because I know I deserve better than that and so do you! Don’t spend your time in a relationSHIP with someone who is interested in cruising and taking breaks. RelationSHIPS are meant to sail forward, to progress. So, if you find yourself stuck in an ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIP, jump SHIP!!! Don’t waste your time cruising in ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS, let them know you NOT wasting your time and that……. either we ROCKIN’ or this SHIP is DOCKIN’!!

SHIP TALK: What are your thoughts about ON AND OFF AGAIN relationSHIPS? Have you ever been in one? How did it end?

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