How to find a “normal” partner and how to nurture a healthy relationship? What are addictive relationships? Why do people engage in addictive relationships cycle? Are you in such a relationship yourself without even being aware of it?
The term addictive relationship means one or more of the following:
- that one of the partners is addicted to a substance or behavior (whether it is alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling addiction or certain activities involving adrenaline)
- that there is violence in the relationship (dependence on aggression and abuse pattern, either physical or mental)
- that the partners are dependent on each other (there is dependence on the person or dependence on the relationship).
Most people who engage in addictive relationships do not do so only once, but often repeat this pattern. Each of us has a pattern of relationships and people who suit us and attract us. “Our type of man or woman.” The subconscious need for addictive relationship makes us attracted to people who form this type of relationship.
Have you ever experienced sitting across from a person and not being able to take your eyes off him / her? At the same time, the attraction was mutual and it was as if an addiction on a person developed… How did your relationship develop further? If you came out of a relationship like this, or perhaps more relationships like this, how did they usually end?
What happens in addictive relationships is that partners use each other to evoke certain feelings in themselves. In doing so, they do it in the same way that they would use a certain psychoactive substance.
Characteristics of unhealthy relationships
Very quick, intense start
This is usually characterized and romantically described as “love at first sight”, and in fact it is only an initial passion or longing for a new, interesting person. Dependence on that person is strong. People who want this feeling to develop, use relationships with people just as much as they would use drugs, to evoke instant gratification through intense experience.
Dishonesty, lies, mistrust, manipulation, controlling behavior
The partners spend a lot of time trying to control each other. Partner’s behavior, their thoughts, vision, worldview, etc. Also, partners tend to blame each other for their own feelings. Sometimes only one of the partners does it.
There are also some topics that are not discussed. Also a lot of “mind-reading”, guessing and interpreting what the other person thought or wanted.
Relationship addiction: the desire for total unity
Out of fear of breaking up, the partners are intertwined so much that they give up their own needs and individuality. This happens because the partner is perceived as part of their own personality. That is why there is a feeling that, when the partner is not there, a part of oneself is missing.
Thanks to such behavior, relationships with others gradually fade and the number of contacts decreases. Activities that do not involve a partner are also avoided.
Jealousy on the one hand, as well as fear of what other people, family and friends will say and think about their partner and the relationship, interfere with existing relationships with other people.
The need to change the partner and solve their problems
Often, an important unhealthy relationship sign is the feeling that the partner has huge issues and a difficult life, or they are in a situation they need help with.
In this way, our own problems become irrelevant, small, we feel good about ourselves. We feel strong and superior because we can help the other person. At the same time, the fear of breaking up decreases because we feel that our partner needs us.
On the other hand, here is the list of the characteristics of a healthy relationship. Use them to help you navigate your partnership.
Gradual development and growth of connection through building closeness
Psychologically healthy people are careful and wise. They do not allow themselves to be too open. They do not commit themselves 100% until they are sure that it is safe to open up and enter into a relationship. They progress with slower steps towards each other, examining how much that other person is worth further engagement.
They recognize the feeling of passion as such. They do not mix it with love and do not fall in love until they have met their partner well.
Honesty, trust, respect, and acceptance
Healthy partners do not need to control each other, nor let their partner control them. They have understanding for each other, empathy and trust that the other person thinks and feels the same way.
Healthy partners understand and tolerate each other’s differences and different choices. They allow mutual disagreement.
They clearly express their wishes and expect honesty and openness from their partner. Instead of hitting each other’s thoughts, such partners communicate effectively.
Acceptance of separation, independence and the existence of a rich social life
Psychologically healthy people understand that they are separated from their partner and that each of them has different needs, different personal history, interests, etc. And that it is very important.
Partners maintain their own activities and social contacts they had before entering into a relationship. They are aware that one person can never meet all the needs of another. Each of the partners feels capable of functioning independently.
Healthy partners are together because they choose so, not because they can’t do without each other.
Expectations that a partner can solve our problems, or vice versa
Healthy partners do not try to “fix” their partner’s life, save them etc. Instead, they imply that the other person is able to solve their own problems and progress through life without their help. Support and care are provided without taking responsibility for the outcome of the problem.
When it comes to relationship addiction and addictive relationships an important question is …
How to build a healthy relationship?
1. Work on yourself.
We attract people who are at the same level of emotional maturity as us. People who are attracted to us have the same needs as us and are just as “mentally healthy” as we are. The partner is a mirror of ourselves. To attract a healthy person, we must be psychologically healthy ourselves. This is best done by psychotherapy.
So, you will avoid addiction in a relationship by avoiding addictive behavior.
2. Look in the right places.
You can’t expect to find chocolate in a jewelry store.
3. Be open and honest.
Be what you are. If you are not like that, you do not give anyone a chance to accept and love you as you are.
4. Be picky!
Tell yourself that you have the right to have your partner respect, appreciate and love you. That you deserve a partner with whom you enjoy spending time with. And that you will not accept anything less than that.
Never agree to be with someone out of pity, or guilt, and obligation.
5. Don’t expect your partner to change.
People do not change significantly. If they are not what you need now, they probably never will be.
You can’t be with someone because of what they might be like. But just because of what kind of person is right there in front of you.
6. Give yourself time.
Move slowly, in small steps. Weigh things realistically and with caution. Invest in a new relationship at a slow pace.
7. Ask for a second opinion.
Talk about what’s going on in your relationship with people you trust. Sometimes people around us are better at recognizing what is going on than ourselves.
8. Rely on your instinct.
If a feeling is disturbing, and you feel anxious because something inside you tells you that things are not right – be careful! Get an advice from an expert.
Pay attention and keep in mind that a healthy relationship implies security, comfort, easiness and quiet happiness. Not excitement and heartbeat, which is often based only on fear, and not on positive feelings.
If you feel like you’re spinning in a circle, if you constantly find yourself in “similar” stories… If you’re irresistibly attracted to people your environment finds problematic, and you think they are wonderful deep down… Think about your needs and what is it that you really want from your life and relationship with someone.
Don’t be fooled by the opinion that things are only “temporary”, that they will change. He, she, the situation, the relationship… Just ask yourself if that is good enough for you and if that is what you wanted.
If not, it’s time to work on yourself and put some things in your life in perspective. Because you deserve it. Let’s work on it together.
If you have any more questions or concerns, or think you or someone close to you needs someone to talk to about these issues, contact us:
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