René M. Dailey, Abigail Pfiester, Borae Jin, Gary Beck, and Gretchen Clark, Communication Studies Department, University of Texas at Austin.
On-again/off-again dating relationships: How are they different from other dating relationships?
Version of Record online: 30 MAR 2009
© 2009 IARR
Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 23–47, March 2009
How to Cite
DAILEY, R. M., PFIESTER, A., JIN, B., BECK, G. and CLARK, G. (2009), On-again/off-again dating relationships: How are they different from other dating relationships?. Personal Relationships, 16: 23–47. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2009.01208.x
A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2007 National Communication Association Convention, Chicago. The authors would like to thank Dr. Susan Boon and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback on this article.
- Issue online: 30 MAR 2009
- Version of Record online: 30 MAR 2009
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.