Love and Sex Addicts – Addictive relationships
Addictive relationships are characterized over time by unhealthy dependency, guilt and abuse. Convinced of their lack of worth and not feeling truly lovable, Love and Sex Addicts will use seduction, control, guilt and manipulation to attract and hold onto romantic partners. At times, despairing of this cycle of unhappy affairs, broken relationships and sexual liaisons, some Love or Sex Addicts may have “swearing off” periods (like the bulimic/anorexic cycles of overeaters). The addict believes that just “not being in the game” will solve the problem; only to later find the same issues reappearing when they re-engage in any type of potential intimacy.
For a Love or Sex addict, the above signs or symptoms consist of pervasive patterns of emotional instability inevitably leading to isolation, heartache and loss. Not everyone who has engaged in one or two of the above has an addiction problem, many people may have their judgment skewed by a difficult person or situation from time to time in their lives. However, when these situations become the norm, lived over and over again in some form or another, the diagnosis can be made.
Love and sex addicts who are not in recovery, like any addict, do not learn from their consequences and mistakes. It is only when the pain of these behaviors and situations becomes greater than the pain and challenges of creating change, that recovery begins.
WOMEN, are loving creatures, and whether recovering from an addiction, an illness, surgery or break-down of any kind, one of the first ‘feelings‘ she will encounter will be brought on by that niggling ‘relationship’ question in the center of her heart, mind and soul. Those recovering from ‘sex or love’ addiction have even deeper work to do, on themselves…here is some suggestions.
- How will I start over, if divorced?
- How will I attract a lover, if recovering from mastectomy, hysterectomy, etc.?
- How will I ever find REAL LOVE , if recovering from addiction?
Romance, with or without sex, encourages personal growth as each new relationship forces new insights and self knowledge. The beginning stages of a potential love relationship can be intense and exciting. Most people easily relate to that “rush” of first love and romance; the stuff of songs, endless greeting cards and warm memories. Healthy intimacy, however, is characterized by more than romance, intensity and sex. Intimacy evolves over time. Loving relationships develop partially through utilizing those first exhilarating times to begin to build a bridge toward deeper, longer term closeness.It can be difficult for anyone who is not a love or sex addict to understand how love or sexuality can be exploited or evolve into destructive patterns of addiction and compulsion. Yet for the Love and Sex Addict, romantic love, sexuality and the closeness they offer, are experiences most often filled with pitfalls, anxiety and pain. Living in a sometimes chaotic emotional world of desperation and despair, fearful of being alone or rejected, the Love Addict endlessly longs for that “special” relationship.Caught up in the constant search for a partner, the addict’s endless intrigue, flirtations, sexual liaisons and affairs, leave a path of destruction and negative consequences in their wake of his or her behavior. Ironically, the Love or Relationship usually has few options to resolve these painful circumstances except by engaging in even more searching, creating an escalating cycle of desperation and loss. Just when seemingly “safe” in the rush of a new romantic affair or liaison the troubled Love or Sex Addict grows steadily more unhappy, fearful and bored and ends up pushing their partner away or looking outside the relationship for yet another new intensity or “love” experience.Thus the cycle begins anew…
Unlike the healthy person seeking partnership and sex as a complement to their life, the Love and Sex Addict searches for something outside of themselves (a person, relationship or experience) which will provide them with the emotional and life stability that they themselves lack. Similar to a drug addict or alcoholic, love and sex addicts use their arousing romantic/sexual experiences in an attempt to “fix” themselves and remain emotionally stable.
When love and sexuality are used as a way to cope, rather than a way to grow and share, partner choice becomes skewed. Compatibility becomes based on “whether or not you will leave me“, “how intense our sex life is ” or “ how I can hook you into staying“, rather than on whether you might truly become a peer, friend and companion.
Much of the love addiction literature speaks to the love addicts’ inability to live their lives without a relentless search for a partner in most any situation or experience. Upon reflection many recovering love addicts can relate to having used some strategy or another all of their lives in an attempt to find and keep sexual and romantic partners.One woman put it this way, “I never once went to a party without wondering who I could get a date with or get into bed, I always dressed for it and I always looked for it”. Whether through revealing dress, flirtatious manner or seductive talk; the addict is always hunting and searching in one form or another to try to bring that special attention, intensity and arousal that the latest tryst or liaison can bring forth.
Change, signs of a Healthy Relationship
“One important part of the love recovery process of change into health,
is the recognition of those methods used to attract and manipulate others.”
Celebrate Yourself First!
You will attract the like-minded soul to LOVE ‘with‘;
not be loved by and not to be doing all the work alone, a true partnership on a ‘two-way’ street.
Following are ten signs of a healthy relationship:
KINDNESS: Is kindness more important to each of you than having your way, being in control, or being right? Do you each receive joy out of being kind to each other? Being kind rather than controlling with each other is essential for a healthy relationship.
SPONTANEOUS WARMTH AND AFFECTION: Do you and your partner well up with warmth and fullness of heart for each other and express it with affection? Are you each able to see the beautiful essence within each other, rather than just the faults? Are you able to get beyond the outer to the unique inner Self of each other? Do you enjoy sharing affection? Warmth and affection are vital for a healthy relationship.
LAUGHTER AND FUN: Can the two of you laugh and play together? Do you appreciate and enjoy each other’s sense of humor? In the midst of difficulties, can you help each other to lighten up with humor? Can you let down and be playful with each other, letting yourselves be like kids together? Laughter and fun play a huge role in a healthy relationship.
ENJOYING TIME TOGETHER AND TIME APART: Are you both each other’s favorite person to spend time with? Are you motivated to set aside time just to be together? Do both of you have friends and interests that you enjoy doing? Are both of you fine when you are not together? Some couples spend a lot of time together because they really enjoy it, while others spend a lot of time together out of fear of being alone. It is important for a healthy relationship for each person to have friends and interests, so that they are not dependent on each other. Dependency is not healthy in a relationship, particularly emotional dependency.
A METHOD FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION: All relationships have some conflict. It is not the conflict that is the issue, but how you deal with it. Do you have a method for resolving conflict, or do the issues just keep getting swept aside? If fighting is part of how you deal with conflict, do you fight fair, or are you hurtful when you fight?
LETTING GO OF ANGER: If one or both of you get angry, do you hang on to it, punishing your partner with it, or can you easily let it go? In healthy relationships, both partners are able to quickly move on, back into kindness and affection.
TRUST IN YOUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER: Do you each trust that the love is solid, even in very difficult times between you? Do you each know that you can mess up, fail, disappoint the other, emotionally hurt the other – and the love will still be there? Do you each know that the love is about who you are, not what you do? This level of trust is essential for a healthy relationship.
LISTENING, UNDERSTANDING, ACCEPTING AND LEARNING: Do you each feel heard, understood and accepted? Can you share your secrets with your partner without fearing being judged? Are you each more interested in learning about yourselves and each other than you are in controlling each other? Is listening to each other with an open heart and a desire to understand more important than judging each other or defending yourselves?
SEXUALITY: Is your sexual relationship warm and caring? Can you be sexually spontaneous? Can you talk with each other about what brings pleasure to each of you?
FREEDOM TO BE YOURSELF: Do you each feel free to be all that you are? Do you each feel supported in pursuing what brings you joy? Does your partner feel joy for your joy? While some people may naturally be open, kind, affectionate, accepting, and emotionally responsible for themselves, most people need to heal the fears and false beliefs they learned in their families. Healthy relationships evolve as each person evolves in his or her ability to be loving to themselves and each other.
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Love and Sex Addicts – Addictive relationships
July 15, 2012 by Leave a Comment