Addictive relationship


Addictive relationship


your avatar   Anonymous (woman)

Okay here goes: I dated a man for about 2.5 years with 3 break-ups in between. Each break-up was for about a month and I was the one doing the breaking up. Each time it was because I didn't feel like he was treating me with respect. We'd argue a lot and say terrible things to each other. I also felt number like 10 on his priority list after friends, golf etc. Although I must say, when we had a good time together it was awesome. So the pattern was: I'd break up with him, he'd call me numerous times, I would finally agree to see him and he'd say everything right to get me back. I would believe him - and seeing him made me weak. Within a month or two his pattern would start again, leading to another break up.

The last time we broke up it was for 7 months. We had not seen each other and he would call me periodically (mostly drunk) wanting to know how I am. This annoyed me a lot and I was also very hurt about the break-up. I was so sure that I was over him! So after all this time we happened to come face to face with each other on the street. We chatted for 5 minutes. Then he asks me to hang out with him and I say yes. We have a great night and he tells me he has never stopped loving me, wants to marry me (eventually), and have children. Wow! Although by this point I was very confused because all these feelings came rushing back for him.

We hung out a few more times and then I finally had to write him a letter about how I was feeling. It was better than talking to him because he would interrupt. It said I was willing to give him another chance but I needed to be respected. Well, he didn't call me for two weeks, which hurts me a great deal. I was crying big time. He then calls me and tells me he did get my letter but was very busy and had no idea I would be hurt. I told him I couldn't handle this and to leave me alone. Then he calls me non-stop for two weeks and again I finally agree to see him and we end up spending 5 evenings together, which we never did during our whole relationship.

Now here's the deal: During our 7-month break-up I did not date at all. Why? I don't know. I was preoccupied with my friends. Well, he dated a great deal of women. Part of this new business of his is a restaurant and he has met tons of women. I am jealous thinking of him with other women, but it was when we were not together so I have to get over it, but I am feeling so incredibly insecure. We were having a picnic together and his phone rang and he told the person that he was with his friends. I asked him why he lied and he said it was a buddy of his and he didn't want him to know his business. It makes me feel like it was a girl. He told me that lots of girls call him, they are just friends and not to ask him every time who was on the phone.

What is my problem? Why am I suckered in every time and then feel sad and insecure with him? I feel like I am addicted to him. Why am I addicted to him? What is it? I am strong and never called him but as soon as he gets me on the phone or in person I am so weak. Is it love or something else? I know it is not his responsibility to make me secure but he does things the make me feel like I am being taken for a fool. How do I stop this pattern?


    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

Dear ?,

I am sorry you are in so much pain. Yes this is an addictive relationship. I think you said it all when you felt like you had to write him a letter so he wouldn't interrupt. The letter though was to let him know how much you needed respect. It is not respectful to interrupt and that alone tells you that you are not going to get what you want from this relationship. That is why you have broken up with him so many times. It sounds as if you know better, but your feelings of wanting override your good judgment. Therefore, the need is too great and that defines this as an addictive relationship. Addictive love is desperate love. It is possessive love and it is controlling love. In a real sense it is not real love at all, but simply self-love. It is extremely common and often the norm for young relationships, but not exclusive to any age. It is often portrayed as romantic in movies and songs and therefore we shouldn't be surprised by how common it is.

When someone has lived alone and relied on themselves for a decent amount of time they often develop self assurance and self-love. This state is really essential to be able to have a good relationship with oneself and is a prerequisite for any really loving, balanced relationship with a lover. It is rare for people to reach this state of maturity. Addictive love is the result of inadequate individuation and this lack of individuation is often the result of early abandonment or abuse. Below is a list of the characteristics of addictive love. I hope this has been helpful.

Jef Gazley

Characteristics and psychology of Addictive Love:

  1. Consuming, all-pervasive need for the other person. This might only show up during a breakup where one partner or both feel incomplete without the beloved.
  2. Difficulty defining ego boundaries. This means the partners do not realize where one begins and one ends. A couple is still two separate people!
  3. Partners that exhibit sadomasochism. This does not necessarily mean whips and chains. It simply means they tend to either specialize or take turns playing abuser and victim.
  4. Each person being afraid to let themselves go and take risks either as individuals or as a part of the couple. They often tend to do the same things and do not try things that are different.
  5. Resisting and being fearful when a partner tries to grow personally. The other partner often views this as a threat.
  6. Not experiencing true intimacy in any sense - intellectually, spiritually, physically, or emotionally. Intensity takes the place of intimacy. Drama signifying nothing.
  7. Partners playing psychological games, as in one being the giver and one playing the victim.
  8. Addictive partners barter and keep score, rather than giving freely without expecting something in return.
  9. Partners attempting to change the other instead of dealing with their own problems or feelings.
  10. Partners requiring the other to feel complete.
  11. Seeking solutions for problems from their partners, instead of themselves.
  12. Demanding and expecting unconditional love. This type of love can only exist between a parent and a child. We don't always like or approve of what our partners do. There are behaviors a partner cannot allow in the relationship and might well result in its termination
  13. Finding it hard to really commit to each other.
  14. Partners look to each other for affirmation and worth, rather than to themselves.
  15. Fearing abandonment when separated.
  16. A tendency to recreate old negative patterns with their present partners that occurred in childhood.
  17. Desiring, yet fearing closeness.
  18. Attempting to take care of others' feelings (co-dependence).
  19. Playing power and psychology games.

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit:


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