Maggie and Jack had been dating for a few years when Maggie felt Jack starting to pull away. She became fearful and started calling more often, questioning him about what he was doing, and even driving by to see if he was home when he said he was. Eventually, Jack couldn't stand how clingy she had become, so he left her.
Barbie and Dan were married for 4 years. He had been possessive and domineering, and he was only getting worse. When he came home from work, he would check the caller ID to see whom she was talking to. He complained whenever she went out, so much so that she eventually left him also.
Both of these couples suffered from relationship addiction often called co-dependency, a very common problem among both singles and couples. When a co-dependent person is already in a relationship, they feel the need to sustain and maintain that relationship at all costs even if it is unhealthy or even downright harmful.
If you are truly addicted to the relationship you're in, you may want to control most, if not all, of the variables in your partner's life. This could include your partner's plans, social or work activities, and sometimes even phone calls. This is absolute poison to a healthy relationship because it tears apart the peace that is necessary for individuals to feel comfortable. In order for a romance to thrive, each person must be able to trust the loyalty of his or her partner.
Many people believe that they simply cannot be happy while they're alone, so they constantly size up possible partners in everyone they meet. Then, when they go out with this potential partner, they're willing to do just about anything to make the relationship work.
One common mistake that every co-dependent person makes is changing his or her personal preferences in order to please the other person. It may start with something minor, like what they eat or how they dress, but they may soon find themselves adjusting their morals, values, standards, or needs. Many are even willing to sacrifice their own personal pursuits merely because their partner requests it. Some people are forced to give up their social life, hobbies, and interests. In extreme cases, they are manipulated into sacrificing connections with their family, or even sacrificing career and personal dreams and goals.
Manipulation is a red flag of co-dependency. This is the attempt to get you what you want through lying or deceit, including lying about your age, your income, or your marital status. It also includes using guilt to force someone to follow your agenda or inventing things that cause jealousy, fear, or obligation in your partner. If you feel that you have had to compromise yourself or if you are passive much of the time, then chances are you are being manipulated. If you are forcing your partner to live by your agenda, then you are being manipulative. Either way, these are signs that you are co-dependent.
In order to release relationship addiction you need to consciously create a new definition of yourself. Everything you experience in life is filtered through your self-definition. Release any personal definition that is based on external conditions, like your looks, education, or income and create a healthy self-definition that starts with a spiritual foundation. It's also important to release the negativity of self-judgment and conditional self-acceptance that you may have become accustomed to.
Instead of seeing yourself as hopeless, weak, or even just mediocre, choose a new self-honoring and self-empowered view. Never look to a relationship to define you. Know that you are a valuable human being who is worthy of love and respect. When you learn to love and respect yourself, you broadcast a beautifully magnetic energy that attracts real love from the Universe.
Finally, to resist the trap of relationship addiction, always remember to maintain your autonomy. Whether you're just starting a new relationship or you've been together for years, celebrate your own individuality and keep your spirit of independence. Set aside time and space for yourself and your own priorities and set clear and reasonable boundaries throughout the relationship. Never expect to change your partner, and don't allow them to change or dishonor you. Whether it's about money, socializing, or your own personal goals, always take action in your own behalf. It's the most empowering thing you can do for yourself, and the best thing you can do for the relationship too.
Sandra Anne Taylor has been a counselor in private practice for 23 years. She lectures throughout the world on the energy dynamics of personal, financial, and relationship success. Her audio seminar program, Act To Attract ($119.85) is the first comprehensive program revealing the real methods of romantic success. To learn more about changing your personal energy and eliminating relationship addiction in your life, visit www.acttoattract.com or call 440-871-5448 to order (Mention this article in New Living and we will deduct the shipping charges.)