A couple who's always breaking up and getting back together kissing in front of a mirror.

A wise man once said that, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” While he probably wasn’t talking about dating, as anyone who has ever been trapped in the cycle of breaking up and getting back together with their ex knows, his words definitely apply.

Getting back together with your ex is completely understandable. But if you’re in an on-again, off-again relationship, have you ever wondered why you keep breaking up and getting back together? Consider these seven reasons and see if it’s time to break the cycle for good.

1. You’re attached to each other.
Once you have a strong connection with someone, it can be hard to break things off. If you’ve been together for a long time, it’s as if they’ve become a part of you. Attraction and chemistry don’t just disappear overnight; it’s only natural that you keep finding your way back to each other. But just because you’re attached doesn’t mean that attachment is good.

2. You’ve already put a lot of time into the relationship.
To many people, the thought of having to start all over at the beginning with a complete stranger (let alone having to find said stranger) is overwhelming. You’ve already invested so much time in someone, so it’s natural to want to make it work with them rather than starting from square one. But again, just because you’ve put a lot of time into a relationship doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you.

3. You’re not prioritizing your own needs.
Take a moment to think about why you keep getting back together. Is your partner guilting you into it? Setting clear boundaries for yourself—and sticking to them—will help you see what you really want with more clarity.

4. You’re not listening to your gut.
You know that feeling when something is “off” or just isn’t right? Or that voice in the back of your head that doesn’t agree with what you’re doing? Don’t ignore them. Trust that feeling in your gut and listen to that voice in the back of your head. They often tell you what your heart doesn’t want to hear. Listen to them. You probably won’t like what they have to say, but they’re usually right.

5. You think it’s going to be different the next time around.
How many times have you heard (or said) the phrases, “He’s really changed,” or, “It’s going to be different this time”? Quite a few, probably. But all too often, no matter how committed you are to a relationship being different, people inevitably revert back to their old ways. Sometimes it is different, and things do work out for the best, but that’s usually the exception, not the rule.

6. You’re scared of being alone.
That might sound harsh, but be honest with yourself: Do you keep getting back together with your ex because the thought of dating, meeting new people, and starting all over is exhausting? You shouldn’t get back together with somebody because you’re scared of what the future holds, but it’s extremely common.

7. It’s easier to be together than to be apart.
Breaking up is hard; being together is convenient. When you’re faced with the reality of no longer being with your partner—and having to find a new brunch place and losing some mutual friends—getting back together is very tempting. It’s the choice that will make you happy right away. But unfortunately, it’s not always the best choice in the long-run.

Sometimes, after spending some time alone and reflecting on the relationship, getting back together is the right choice. But if you find yourself trapped in a cycle of constantly breaking up and getting back together, it might be time to ask yourself why you’re doing it.

Elizabeth Entenman

Freelance Writer

Elizabeth is a freelance writer, editor, and advertising copywriter in Brooklyn. Right now, she’s probably somewhere Instagramming her dogs.