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Abstract

This article explores the understudied yet prevalent phenomenon of on-again/off-again (on-off) dating relationships. Study 1 (N= 445 U.S. college students) showed that almost two thirds of participants had experienced an on-off relationship. Analyses of open-ended responses about relationship experiences showed on-off partners were less likely to report positives (e.g., love and understanding from partners) and more likely to report negatives (e.g., communication problems, uncertainty) than partners who had not broken up and renewed. Study 2 (N= 236), employing quantitative measures, substantiated these findings and further showed a greater number of renewals was associated with greater negatives and fewer positives. Results highlight the need for further investigation regarding on-off relationships, and theories potentially useful in explaining these relationships are discussed.