What you need to know:
- The makeup and breakup cycle can be broken if you and your partner are willing to look beyond the romance.
- The anxiety or mental anguish that comes from routinely breaking and making up will be a catalyst for more breakups in future relationships.
- Fresh breakups tend to have mild to moderate symptoms of depression among partners without psychotic disorders.
“I can’t keep a relationship. Almost every relationship I get into ends within six months. The longest one lasted a year and two months. Even when I try to makeup, we always end up breaking up again,” begins Maureen Kwamboka. Maureen is conflicted about what she is doing wrong, and whether there is something wrong with her as a woman. “I don’t feel like I am woman enough. Something is wrong with me,” she says. Over time, her failed relationships, makeups, and breakups have taken an emotional and mental toll on her. She is teetering towards depression. This is not so farfetched. According to a 2019 study on breakups and depression conducted by researchers from the University of Groningen and published in the journal PLOS One, consistent breakups fit into stressful events which increase the likelihood of developing depression.
This study established that fresh breakups tend to have mild to moderate symptoms of depression among partners without psychotic disorders. However, in repeat cycles, this could trigger full-blown depression. This study echoed findings from a 2018 study on depression in, on, and off relationships by the University of Missouri – Columbia. It found that routinely breaking up and making up with your partner can be a catalyst for anxiety and depression. “The cycle of breaking up and making up can negatively impact a relationship, and can go on to cause depression and anxiety,” said Kale Monk, who led the team of researchers.
Additionally, the anxiety or mental anguish that comes from routinely breaking and making up will be a catalyst for more breakups in future relationships. “Relationship patterns of breakup and renewal are linked to increased symptoms of psychological distress. This effectively indicates accumulation of relationship transitions and can create turmoil for individuals in future relationships,” the study said.
The chances of a couple falling into this cycle are quite high, with 60 percent of people in relationships highly likely to undergo a break-up and make-up phase during all their relationships. However, this does not mean you should stay in a bad relationship to avoid the possibility of depression. Staying in a bad relationship will accelerate you towards depression. According to psychologist Patrick Musau, where you are stuck in a bad relationship, chances are your partner will have ensnared you with a web of mental and emotional manipulation to keep you from leaving. “The damage to your mental wellbeing may not be so evident, which is why it will be so easy for you to assume you’re unworthy, can’t find anyone better, and, or are better with the ‘devil you already know’,” he says.
The makeup and breakup cycle can be broken if you and your partner are willing to look beyond the romance. “If partners are honest, they can take the necessary steps to preserve their well-being by either maintaining their relationships or safely ending them,” the study ‘Coming Out and Getting Back In’ says. It was published in the interdisciplinary journal of applied family sciences, Family Relations.