Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Are You Addicted to Love?

How do you know when you are in an addictive relationship (or an unhealthy, emotional affair)? Here are more excerpts from Halpern that will help you determine that.

There is probably an addictive element in every love relationship, and that, in itself, need not be bad.
What makes a particular relationships an addiction is when these little addictive “I need you” elements expand to become the controlling force in your attachment. This creates an inner coercion that deprives you of several essential freedoms: the freedom to be your best self in a relationship, the freedom to love the other person through choice and caring commitment rather than being compelled by your own dependence, and the freedom to choose whether to stay with the other person or to leave.
If you are deeply unhappy in a love relationship, and yet you remain in it, how can you determine whether your decision is based on preference and commitment or if you are addicted? There are several signs of addiction that you can look for in yourself:
1. Even though your objective judgment (and perhaps the judgment of others) tells you that the relationship is bad for you and you cannot expect any improvement, you take not effective steps to break it.
2. You give yourself reasons for staying in it that do not hold water or that are not really strong enough to balance the negatives in the relationship.
3. When you think about ending the relationship, you feel dread, even terror, and you cling to it even harder.


4. When you take steps to end it, you suffer acute withdrawal symptoms, including physical distress, that can only be relieved by reestablishing contact.
5. When the relationship is really over (or you fantasize that it has ended), you feel the lostness, aloneness, and emptiness of a personal eternally exiled–often followed or even accompanied by a feeling of liberation.
If most of these signs are there, you can be quite certain that you are in a relationship where the addictive elements have become so large and so controlling that they destroy your capacity to direct your own life. And, in the same way an alcoholic must begin the journey to sobriety by admitting “I am an alcoholic,” you must begin with the recognition that you are indeed hooked. That is the essential first step in understanding the basis of your addiction, in seeing how it works, and in becoming free enough of it so that you can decide whether you wish to work to improve the relationship, to accept it as it is, or, if you can neither improve it nor accept it, to leave it.

  • Patricia Arnold

    I believe I am in an addictive relationship. I also know that I have severe abandonment issues. I really feel like a mess when it comes to relationships, of any kind. So many times, God does for me what I can’t do for myself. I am still confused. Am I running, which is a character trait of mine, avoidance, fear, insecurity and the whole ball of wax. I am truly looking forward to the upcoming post. Maybe the remainder of your posts will help me decide what is healthy and what I should do next.
    God bless you,

  • Robin Johnson

    I don’t believe that I am addicted to love, I believe that love exist for everyone, that we strive to find a peace of that happiness for ourselves, it maynot always be with the right person, but at least you recognize that you are capable of loving another human being, keep in mind that there are no respect of person with god, and although we search for that couple love, that companionship that we see everybody else seems to have found, we have to keep in mind of those that may never had experience a smile, a hug, a kind word, what a difference we make in their lives.

  • Sharon Gilmore

    How long should you wait for a person to “get themselves together”? I have been in a relationship with my youngest daughter’s father for almost 6 years. We have had many many ups and downs. At this point in our relationship, he is recovering from drug addiction and is working really hard to stay clean and has been for almost a year now. He is a wonderful father and great companion. Now the problems we have are financial. He can’t seem to find a job. He has tried and won’t get hired due to criminal convictions that occurred during his addiction. My family sees the good in him, but blame him for the financial problems because he is unable to help. I am working two jobs right now to support us. Am I a fool for sticking by him through so much or “addicted”? Should I kick him out and make him take care of himself? Our daughter loves him very much and he is great with her. Should I break up our family because he can’t take care of us financially? I think I am going to have a nervous break down. I don’t know what to do. I get mad at him sometimes because he can’t help, but I can’t stand the thought of us not being together.

  • scribe_fairy

    Um, who said HE had to take care of you financially? Where is that written? What if instead of HIM getting a job, he took on the role of ‘supporter’ by making YOUR job easier? What if, instead of him going out and working, he took care of the house so when you got home, your time could be spent ENJOYING your time together, instead of worrying about him finding a job? The decision here is pretty straight forward: do you pressure him to do something he can’t seem to do and destroy all that you have; or do you find something else that he CAN do and enjoy all that you have.
    Of course, accepting him the way he is (unemployable) is the first step in getting rid of the stress; and what if, just what if, he found taking on the role of “homemaker” was so enjoyable that he did it well? Couldn’t that be a win-win for everyone?? Just my two cents worth.

  • sasha the co-dependent

    WOW, very ‘to the point’
    I have attended Adult Children of Alcoholics[ACOA] and so have identified that I am co-dependent. But it does not stop the behavior. I am 56 and the past 2 relationships[ hey, who am I kidding…ALL have been] have been codependent and caused financial losses for which I will be paying [ to the creditors]
    The emotional scars are long gone.
    I have had such shame because of these relationships. After all..only a fool [me] would stay in those relationships.
    Now several years down the line I realize how much I need to look at this ‘unhealed’ part of me. Otherwise I will spend the rest of my life alone. And THAT is not what i really want.
    Thanks for an eye opener.

  • Deb

    Well Love is not enough…after a point of time in a relationship…the infatuation or goofy feelings leave…then the real relationship begins…when you are addicted to “love” it means you are addicted to the behavior of the other person’s behavior…how they act towards you etc…if you do that you have relationship issues…perhaps your father/mother ignored you or wasn’t even there…you may be afraid of being alone…or something…yet being by yourself can be a good thing for a space of time…and you need to know what you want in a relationship or maybe even more…what you don’t want…once you know that, you can handle things better…one thing is for certain, you will get over the person that is not right for you…and someone else can/will come along…and by that time you will be better prepared…

  • Sharon Gilmore

    This is my very first time posting personal information and I must say everyone’s input has been helpful. Scribe, you made me look at the situation differently….in a not so negative way, while the others helped me to look inside myself. I know that I am co-dependent and I do have relationship issues. I do feel that I was ignored by my mother and my father was not there. I do believe that once I work on myself, than I will have a better understanding of what I do or don’t want. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

  • Anonymous

    I heard what I already knew about myself and just did not want to admit… that I was in an un-healthy relationship and addicted to it. I get these feelings of wanting to save him, make him into a better person, in doing so… enabling him to continue with his behavior which I was trying to change. I have heard this many times and and finnally understanding it, you can’t change people, places or things.
    I can totally relate to patrica, I run all the time when I get un comfortable with a situation.
    In fact I ran out of this un-healthy relationship, to another state and still could not stop contacting him. Hoping to renue our relationship and hoping it will bring us to another understanding of each other.
    What I know today is that I need to be happy with myself, not rely on him to make me happy. His view of me does not make me feel good, so if I do go back, I am not going to live with him, We are going to have our own places, being responsible for ourslelfs and be friends again. Hoping it won’t turn back into the co-dependent relationship we previously had.

  • Dee

    I, too, am an addict. My addiction of almost 3 years just got out of jail (6 months) and I told everyone he would come back to me and the day after his release he showed up drunk. (Well, of course I gave him my address when I wrote to him). He wants just to be ‘friends’ with benefits but also needed a place to stay (he’s on probation til Oct). He does have a job, said he’d only be here a week. Well, it’s end of week 2 and I don’t see him moving on just coming and going whenever he wants. The two times we were ‘intimate’ it was as if it could have been anyone for him and he said so when I asked.
    BUT the point is I keep thinking he will change. To add insanity to this story I have kicked him out 6-8 times before he went to jail but he waits a few months and just walks back into my life.
    I am using the excuse that because he gave me some money ($75) last week that this is why I tolerate his behavior and allow him to stay with me. The real reason is that I hated being alone (and even had the withdrawals symptoms stated in the previous article) that 6 months and wanted him. I am sick of the way I let him walk over me but am at a loss how to quit my destructive behavior (being with him usually brings me down financially as well as emotionally).

  • Ya

    I am in the middle of this right now, I always find the person who I think is sweet or great and funny but they have some kind of problem I think I can fix for them to help make them happy. I feel like a happy person, and when i think helping someone which seems so simple at first is going to make another person happy, I do it. To a fault. till my life revolves around helping the other person deal with their life. meanwhile , my life doesn’t exist. I stop seeing my freinds, becuase if I don’t spend all my time with him he will go back to drinking. If I do go out with my friends he feels alone and drinks more. If I dont help him run all of his errands, then he accuses me of being difficult or not helping and being a bitch.
    I have spent six months in a relationship like this , and realize I have nothing to show for six months of my life. He hasn’t stopped drinking, the money I gave him for school and the clothes I bought him he cant even take care of. There is a reason someone has a problem, and it isn’t going away becuase of me.
    and once a person like that latches on, good luck getting rid of them till you stop giving him “things” try just giving him love without things and see how long that person stays with you.

  • Suzi

    I can’t get past a friend,I fell in love with.We were just friends at first,for about 1 year,We both really cared for each other for long time as in at least 4 to 5 years. Just one day,he stopped calling,sending email etc.. We met on the interent,but,we have never met in person..I was devasted,because,I didn’t know why,he stopped all at once,keeping in touch with me. I still don’t have the answer,but I still love him very much. Any advice out there?

  • Heart

    As much as I don’t want to admit it, I to am an addict. It is hard to imagine my life without him, yet I’m wondering if I really want the life “I see” I will have with him. He is wonderful and very loving, giving, kind and considerate, but some areas of the relationship are stagnate as it relates to conversations we’ve had where I’ve told him of things that I need, expect and want in a relationship, which when we went from a friendship to more, he wanted those same things too. I want to be more forth coming with my feelings, but the fear is that if I do, he will decide that he doesn’t want the relationship anymore. Sometimes I feel I’m not giving him enough credit, but we’ve had “several” conversations about it. I do feel communication is extremely important, but when it seems in vain, what do you do?
    I’ve tried to figure out where the change took place from when we transitioned to the next level in our friendship and he did all those things that I wanted and needed, but I don’t know how to get it back. My kids love him and want it to work out but I don’t want to be lonely now being single and end up still lonely but married. Any advice will help.

  • Chris

    I too found myself in an addictive relationship with my physical therapist a couple years ago. It started the day we met, we had a very intence physical attraction to each other which ended up an affair which i tried to end 7 months ago, but recently contacted him again online. He is now divorced, I don’t know if this relates to us, however i am in a relationship with a man 9 years older than me for 18 years i met him when I was just 17 he was much older, I am not happy in this relationship but don’t know how to leave. I never married him but I am dependant on him he takes care of me, so if I leave I leave with nothing, and I don’t think I know how to start over by myself.
    The man I know still speak with wants me to be an adult quote, he says I need to leave this relationship but I’m unsure he is the one for me.
    We are very different, but I know he will make me strong and independant something I have never expierienced before. I am 37 yrs young he is 39 has a son and an ex wife. I am confused about my feelings any advice for me on what I should do?

  • Your Name

    Hi. I am 18 years old male and I am addicted to my gilfriend Madison. She is a beautiful 15 year old girl. I am joining the Marines and I dont want to leave her. What do I do? I am a very loving, kind and im joing the Marines because I want to help. My girlfriend told me that she wont keep in contact when I leave and its breaking my heart. Im in holland now and I talk to her for about 4 hours a day. I am so misserable without her and im scared that if I join the marines she will be out of my life for good. I understand where she is coming from about not talking to me because it will hurt her. She is not a bad girl at all. She is very sweet and she loves me. She wants me to do what I want to do but she is against the war as well and she thinks me going to war wont solve anything. Just another good guy being brained washed in the Marines. Should I stay with her or should I go to the marines. Im already sighned up and the only way for me to quit is if I go to boot camp and fail. Its no easy but I will do this if I have to. If I stay i dont know what ill do with my future and she might go to New York if she gets accepted to the Ford Model Agency. Ill follow her where ever but I dont know what I will do to someday marry her and support her and my kids. Can someone help me because im going crazy.

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