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Breaking Up to End a Complicated Relationship

Janis has extensive experience as a licensed professional counselor in assisting clients recover from the pain of unhealthy relationships.

Breaking Up a Relationship Involves Intense Back and Forth

The intensity of a relationship can ignite several reunions following break-ups, creating a roller coaster ride of back and forth mixed emotions.

The intensity of a relationship can ignite several reunions following break-ups, creating a roller coaster ride of back and forth mixed emotions.

Relationships and Poems are Complicated in the Forms They Take

Relationships, as some types of poems, are often misunderstood. Both can bring us to the highest heights of joy and to the lowest lows of grief.

Relationships can become as confusing and as unclear as a piece of poetry, written with good intention, but in the end, leaves us wondering, "What was that all about?"

The poem below, "Back To Square One," is an example of a poetry verse form called the Villanelle. This piece was inspired by a couple who kept repeating (as some poems do) the same lines over and over, returning to couples therapy to mend or, shall we say, "edit" their broken relationship.

They didn't realize how they were literally going around in circles with no resolution in sight (as poems can sometimes do). Their attempts were futile and the relationship eventually ended.

Examine the parallels between an unstable relationship that goes 'round and 'round and the shape of the Villanelle form in the poem.

The Ups and Downs of a Passionate Relationship

Passion, coupled with unresolved issues, creates intense ups and downs in a volatile relationship. It sometimes resembles a roller coaster ride.

Passion, coupled with unresolved issues, creates intense ups and downs in a volatile relationship. It sometimes resembles a roller coaster ride.

"Back To Square One"


'Round and 'round we cannot stop

Each hurting heart returns

The roller coaster makes us drop


We keep repeating the same old hop

Continuing to yearn

'Round and 'round we cannot stop


The same mistakes from the top

Nothing more to earn

Then, the roller coaster makes us drop


Let's take a break before we pop

Or we'll crash and burn

'Round and 'round we cannot stop


Our efforts will begin to flop

The more we push and churn

As we ride, the roller coaster makes us drop


On our heads we need a bop

Maybe then we'll learn

'Round and 'round we cannot stop

The roller coaster makes us drop


A Relationship Stuck at an Impasse

Relationships can go up and down and back and forth with no resolution for a time before the couple realizes it's time to end it.

Relationships can go up and down and back and forth with no resolution for a time before the couple realizes it's time to end it.

Unresolved Needs Lead to Poetic Drama in Relationships

The Relationship and the Villanelle Poetry Form

Relationships are Villanelles in the flesh, illustrated by the ups and downs, the back and forth, the confusion, the repetition and the volatility.

Full of passion, intensity, and spark, relationships reflect the essence of the Villanelle, especially when the couple is in transition, crisis, or at crossroads.

Origins of the Villanelle

The Villanelle is a complicated form of poetry, said to have derived from an Italian rustic song (a villanella).

It is thought to have its origins in the word "villano," an Italian word for peasant. The peasant would sing a "round song" with refrains and repetitions, as he worked in the harvest field.

The poetry verse form was coined in France with the work of French poet Jean Passerat.

What makes a Villanelle?

  • Nineteen lines
  • Rhyme scheme "aba"
  • Two rhymes are repeated according to refrains
  • Six stanzas
  • Five stanzas have three lines each; one stanza, the last, has four lines
  • The first line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the second and fourth stanzas
  • The third line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the third and fifth stanzas
  • Those two refrain lines follow each other to become the second-to-last and last lines of the poem

[Complicated and confusing, just like a relationship]

The Break Up of a Relationship

© 2013 Janis Leslie Evans

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