Jan 182009
addictive relationships

The road to getting over an addictive relationship may be sad and lonely — but it is NOT endless! (image by h.koppdelaney, via flickr)

Addictive relationships are like drugs – you have to work hard to kick the habit. These tips for getting over love addiction are practical and effective, and they’ll help you stay away from someone who’s not good for you.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get over even the worst relationship – but when you’re obsessed about your ex, it feels like you’ll never move on. I know the feeling – there were certain people I thought I’d die without. But I’ve learned that I can actually be very happy without them!

Before my tips, here’s one of my favorite quips about letting go:

“Giving up doesn’t always mean you are weak; sometimes it means that you are strong enough to let go.” ~ unknown.

Breaking up with an addictive person can make you stronger and healthier in the long run…if you can just get past the pain and heartache of letting go of someone you love.

Is It Love or Is It Addiction: The Book That Changed the Way We Think About Romance and Intimacy will help you understand love addiction. It was written by psychotherapist Brenda Schaeffer, and includes many stories of real people struggling to overcome addiction to love.

And, here are seven tips for moving on…

How to Get Over an Addictive Relationship

If you’re not sure what an addictive relationship is, read 7 Signs of Addictive Relationships.

1. Enlist a strong support system. Ask your friend, sister, or someone you trust to be your “go to” person. Then, when you feel compelled to call or visit your ex, call your “go to person” instead. She or he will help you remember why you broke up, why you need to let go of this addictive relationship, and how happy and healthy you will be once the worst heartache has passed.

2. Make a list of reasons for breaking up. When you’ve lost someone you love, you may be tempted to obsess about the best parts of your relationship. You may magnifiy your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend’s strengths — and forget about their weaknesses and flaws. Instead of obsessing about your ex, make a list of the reasons your life is better now that you’re single. Pull this list out when you feel lonely or sad.

3. Do something different — make a change in your life! Take a scuba diving class, go on a singles cruise, or join a hiking club in your city. Do something unexpected, something you’ve always wanted to do but were too busy or scared to try. This tip for getting over an addictive relationship has all sorts of additional benefits: you’ll enjoy meeting new people and expanding your horizons – which can translate to increased self-confidence.

4. Cleanse your life: out with the old, in with the new. To get over an addictive relationship, you need to cleanse your life. This means putting, throwing, or giving away everything that your ex gave you or left behind. Deal with everything that you accumulated as a couple, or that reminds you of your ex. This tip serves a double purpose: you’ll declutter you home at the same time!

Are you tempted to call, email, or text him? Read 3 Reasons to Stop Begging Him to Come Back.

5. Focus inward — but not on your heartbreak. What have you done lately to achieve your goals? Start thinking about the things you’ve always wanted to change about your career, personality, health, life, home, or relationships. Start thinking about your overall life goals, and write down small steps to achieving your goals.

Are you and your ex co-dependent? Read How to Untangle a Codependent Relationship.

6. Take a vacation from your daily life. You may not be able to afford a trip to Maui or Belize, but you might be able to take a day trip to a nearby city or town. Getting out of your everyday surroundings is a great tip for getting over an addictive relationship because it pulls you out of your normal life!

7. Get and stay physically healthy. Taking care of yourself means staying away from the carton of ice cream (a classic way to heal from breaking up with someone). Instead, stay in the “sweat zone.” Don’t give up on your fitness routine — you need to nourish your body with exercise, food, and sleep. When you’re getting over an addictive relationship, you need to stay physically strong and fit.

For more tips on kicking an addictive relationship, read How to be Happy Without Your Husband’s Love or Money.

Are you healing from an addictive relationship? I welcome your thoughts below.


How to Get Your Ex Back

Stop the Divorce and Save Your Marriage

How to Captivate a Man and Make Him Fall in Love With You

  88 Responses to “How to Get Over an Addictive Relationship”

  1. I am having trouble moving on from an unhealthy relationship. Its technically been over for a year and it lasted 4yrs off and on. I’m 28 and this is the longest I’ve been single in my adult life. My first long-term relationship was a psychotic fiasco where she was a liar, cheater , violent and would even threaten suicide to hold me hostage in the relationship. I was single for a brief period before entering into my 2nd long term relationship. She was’nt violent or volatile, but she did lie and cheat frequently in spite of the how much she said she loved me… I finally ended it by moving across the state and she immediately took up with another guy ( whom I am pretty sure she was seeing even before we split) Occasionally she calls or texts and wants to get back together. We start talking but resentment comes flooding back and communications break down. She says she cant picture herself growing old with anyone else but she can’t seem to keep her legs closed, or refrain from dragging me into these sordid love triangles. The entire relationship… if it wasnt one guy it was another. I finally recently changed my number to end this charade once and for all but I have huge amounts of anger and resentment towards her. I really cared about her and wanted to spend my life with her and she continually used my heart as a doormat. It doesnt feel healthy to depsise someone as much as I despise her. I sometimes want to call her up just to vent how much I hate her and let her know how much she hurt me. I guess I just need to let go and figure why I am attracted to these emotionally abusive women who put me through hell! The things Ive been through in the last ten years are stranger than fiction and make soap operas and Jerry Springer look functional in comparison. I don’t think I should contact her for several reasons…
    1)I really have nothing nice to say, and it won’t change anything anyways.
    2)I don’t want to give her the satisfaction of her knowing that she has toyed with my emotions any more than she already has. ( I almost feel as though she gets a twisted fix out of hurting me…. no matter how much she says she cares)

    I guess the hurt and anger eats at me constantly and I am interested in tips on how to overcome it. And also under the anger I still care about her and miss her, but logically I know this needs to stop because all it does is eat at my resolve. Any tips for moving on appreciated thanks.

  2. i recently broke it off with my x. we were together for 4 years AND IT WAS A ROLLERCOASTER. He said he loved me we planned on getting married and having kids, we had our future all planned out. He wasnt perfect ofcourse, I think he lied to me many times. He’d never want me to go around his friends, big red flag, and he’d barely ever call. I was always the calle and theres more. The first 6 months were ok but 2 years after that he was mentally emotionally and physically abusive. I stayed and faught back many times thinking hed change. And he did. Very unusual by the way. He never put his hands on me again the last year and half of our relationship. I personally am a strong person but he brought out the worst in me and vise versa. Like I said in the beginning hed never call and hed never bring me round his friends. I finally got my shit together and got my mind right and I left him. Now im sad happy sad and depressed then happy and sad again. But I no 1 thing it can only get better from here, it cant be worse then this. I thought he was it im not very good at putting my feelings out there like that but i gotta say it feels good 2 no im not alone. We all have a choice, either we tell ourselves its impossible 2 move on or we tell ourselves enough is enough. We are adults and we make decisions everyday. We need 2 treat these situations like lessons well learned. Women are beutiful and strong lets start acting like it!!!! No man can ever brake me like he did and thats wat i mean by lesson well learned.

  3. hi, my name is younggirl. im 20, had a relationship w a guy recently for three months, then separated with him because the relationship was all about sex. i had sex with him after our fifth date. and it went on and on until i was in a christian program and felt silly about not having normal conversations w him, since our relationship was only sexual. we’d do it almost every night and by the late third month we found ourselves just arguing and fighting constantly.

    that all happened four months ago. during the last four months, i found myself contacting him continuously although i knew i shouldnt but i did it anyways. he’d reply, sometimes he sounds interested, other times, he’d say hi and tell me he’s busy. its thoughtful that he doesnt cut me out completely, prolly he has the idea of keeping the friendship alive for his own sexual needs.

    i have my fair share of twisting words around w him as well and seducing him at all times only to see how interested he is in me. i would say he is very sexually inclined towards me, but nothing more.

    that was my first relationship with a guy. i never said yes to being his gf but somehow just played along when he introduced me to his friends as his gf. in my mind, i was just interested in the sex as much as he is.

    now that its over, i think i wouldnt want to have anything to do with that scene anymore, since i knew that i am slowly walking down a dark road ahead of me if i keep continuing this behavior, although that was my first relationship, but the thought that i might end up in an addictive/abusive relationship or perhaps marriage someday is not fun. my dad was a very abusive husband to my mom, although he was a respected man in “my” society, still both of them were unfaithful to each other, although they were almost divorced all the time but never did. they constantly argued until i felt as if it was normal when they start beating up each other, but of course my mom would end up being the loser because men naturally are physically stronger. this drama ended two years ago after my father passed away. God bless his soul anyways, he was my father, even though he’d always hit me ever since i was a kid. as mean as this sounds, i actually felt free when he passed away. he was always controlling my life.

    so, here i am, 20 yrs old, just starting to learn what relationships are all about, since i never really had the chance to have bfs when my dad was alive, i was never allowed to go out, especially at nights, i still have the fear that i might end up being like my mother. but i know that i DONT WANT to. and i would do anything to stop that from happening even if my next relationship will only be 20 years from now.

    although i never had a bf before, i was always fascinated w the idea of LOVE. although i am in no place to really talk about it since i havent experienced enough, i think LOVE is what we make them to be. we all have our own idea of LOVE, and it is nobody’s mistake, even if the people who are closest to you cant understand that, especially your spouse.

    men generally believe that they are meant to free themselves by shooting their manhood to as many women as possible, even when they do have “the ONE” at home waiting for them with a big big smile. women generally believe that men are supposed to understand their needs, which is not true. women are supposed to understand themselves better and not expect anyone to do it. after all, women are stronger mentally than men. so knowing ourselves better would only result in men seeing us stronger without them, and this would make them feel helpless. woohooo *in today’s monogamous society, probably “made” monogamous because of the growth of religions into our modern society, many are forced to abandon their natural animal instincts, or so, since relating back to the older days, men and women would have multiple sex partners.

    men hate women somehow because they are afraid of our wrath, women hate men because men would come into womens’ lives wanting what they think they deserve, although most women are angered by mens’ behavior they somehow fall into their sweet gestures,smiles, gifts, and of course their sweet sweet lovely words ie “im sorry, u know i love you, i never meant to hurt u, ure the only ONE for me”.

    while im still too young to understand what its all about, i see something very clear. men and women crave attention, men and women need assurance that someone loves them, in order to feel good about themselves. but sadly, when this happens, both start taking each other for granted.

    my best effort to stop myself from being in an abusive/addictive relationship for now is to not be in any relationships for as long as possible, make friends with as many psychologists as possible, remind myself how great, beautiful, smart, attractive i am as a person EVERYDAYY, and read more about basically anything.

    its been 14 days since i stopped msging that guy, and i feel gooooooooooooood. i hope this continues for the next 140 years.:P

    till then, to all you women in love and in pain, know that your God is with you. whoever he/she is. theres that feeling deep down in your heart that says, WHATEVERRR, and its a good feeling. you are your own best friend, and hey, u’re still alive arent you? ur battery is still running and it wont stop only if u decide to stop it. thanks for reading my comment. i wish you best health and luck in love. bye

  4. Thanks for sharing your story, Gina. Good for you for seeking help and figuring out why you’re drawn to men who aren’t emotionally available! Just knowing how our childhoods and parents affected us can make a huge difference in our relationships and marriages.

    No, you’re NOT stupid in thinking that he was cheating. He was betraying you by kissing that woman, and he was destroying your relationship by sending flirtatious emails to other woman. You did the right thing.

    And you definitely deserve a better man! You’ve accomplished so much: your career, your kids, your homes, your stable life in this shakey economy.

    He took advantage of your love, intelligence, and ability to cope with life. And, he ignored your boundaries. You did the right thing by leaving — and you’re doing the right thing by making yourself stronger through therapy!

    Keep going, Gina. Keep forging ahead, developing your sense of self, and learning how to be a strong, independent woman.

    And the right man will meet you halfway :-)

    Come back soon and let me know how life’s going!


  5. Hi,
    1.5 months ago my boyfriend and I broke up after a 3 yr on and off relationship. There was always a list as to what he didn’t like about me, my son, the relationship. Some were valid since I just started dating again after a 8 yr hiatus of men. So, I worked on things. I noticed that he didn’t. He would throw tantrums here and there, pull away emotionally too. He admitted from suffering from major depression and hated his job. His son’s mother is a malicious mother and gives him gried constantly and always going to court over something. He was barely making it financially. After a year of dating, i found out that he was confiding to a married co-worker about us and she confided about her horrible marriage. they talked all the time. I never knew it. 3 days after we broke up, they kissed. I found this out because 3 months later, he started reaching out to me. I had already moved on and been dating a wonderful man for a month. The ex shows up at my door with roses, a poem and is begging me to take him back. I say no. Every day for 4 days he tries until the last day, he proposes. I told him, I couldn’t tell him anything. I couldn’t go back to his depression and i was the same person he complained about and left.

    During this begging, i found out months later that he was on eharmony talking to other women. he also went on a date with an ex. But, it was too late, i ended up taking him back thinking that from what he said, his proposal, and what he said in counseling (we went for a short time while i broke up with the other man) that he was going to do the work. 2 months after being together, he leaves me, comes back 2 more times. During those two months of on and off, i found out later that he contacted a past eharmony match and went on a date with her. When that didn’t go anywhere, that is when he came back and proposed again! By this time, I didn’t trust him at all and it is my fault for taking him back. I thought that because he now asked me 2 times to marry him, that he loved me. He has never proposed to anyone so this must be it! But, to protect myself, i installed a spy program. That is how i found out about eharmony searching while trying to get me back, the eharmony date, and the other things i’m about to reveal. The spy program reveiled that he had another secret relationship with another married woman from work, lied one day to me that he was going to Border’s but, had lunch with her. The thing is, he never told her about me. Talked about his son but not me. Then the program sent me an email of him flirting with another married friend that i knew but never met (that’s another thing, in 2 years, never met any friends. all of his friends are ex girlfriends. no guys!) and it was a little sexual. That is when i kicked him out. 2 months later, the same thing happened, he wants to try again and explains to me that he hid the one lady because of my jealousy and the reason why he flirted with the other friend is because that is how they talk to one another. We spent a weekend together and i set the boundaries, again. His depression worsened and he stopped taking his medication. He quit his job to go back to school. i ended up supporting him for 9 months until i kicked him out for good.
    During this past 9 months, he would lash out, say mean things to me and my son, and i begged him to get some help. i kept trying to help.

    i saw a therapist a couple of weeks ago and he told me to read, “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. This book has opened my eyes. I was addictive to the unrewarding relationship. I would say, “he’s really a good guy. we do have fun together, when he is in a good mood. i know he loves me.” Well, this wasn’t love. He denies what he did was cheating. For some reason, i have this need to try to fix things with a man. He needs my help, with his health, with court paperwork, providing the means so he could go to school, and i didn’t take care of myself. I forgot to love myself more than him.

    I also ignored my boundaries and needs to make sure his were met. He ignored the relationship boundaries and I made excuses, it was his depression and since he can’t emotionally connect, he keeps going to outside relationships to get that lift. Well, that isn’t fair to me. I deserve better because I am worth it! I am a catch and why i did this, how many times? I don’t know. I’m a successful career oriented mom of two that have bought all 3 homes of mine on my own. When i have my mind set on something, there’s no stopping me. I guess I had my mind set on him that he was the one for me…even if i had to convince him.

    I’m still in therapy trying to figure out everything. I do think it has to do with my dad cheating and I found out when i was 9. I lost respect for him. They say we try to fix our childhood in our adulthood. So, it makes sense that i pick a man that is not emotionally available, emotionally retarded really, and try to make him available or make him love me and be faithful. Not going to work! As my ex said, “i think i’m a good guy, just a sh*tty boyfriend/fiance.” I can’t argue with that.

    I’m not stupid in thinking that the 2 ladies he kept secret and kissing one of them, was cheating, right? And the flirtatous email was too, right?

    If you see yourself repeating this patter, read the book “Women Who Love Too Much.”

  6. Lea, thanks for sharing your story – I know you’ll come through this stronger, healthier, and happier!

    I was so glad to hear you say that you want to love yourself. You can love him and miss him, but choose to love yourself and give yourself a better life instead of being in an unhealthy, destructive relationship. Making the best decision for your life is never easy…..sometimes the harder the decision is, the better it is for you, your kids, and your life.

    I don’t know if I mentioned this in my above tips for overcoming addictive relationships, but it’s important to remember that it takes TIME to let go and move on. The beginning of a breakup is often the worst part — and you just have to keep telling yourself that. It will get better and easier, I promise.

    You won’t get over him overnight, or even in a month. Sometimes just accepting that you’ll be in pain for awhile makes it a little easier.

    Surround yourself with people who support you, who want the best for you, and who will be honest with you.

    Treat yourself well. This could mean getting away for the weekend, pampering yourself with a massage and pedicure, or just renting your favorite movie! Be kind to yourself as you heal….and keep reminding yourself that you’re doing the right thing.

    If you can get counseling, do it. It’s so important to have an objective and wise person help you survive letting go of a bad relationship.

    And finally, I think it’s good to picture your ideal, healthy, best life. Who do you want to be? What kind of relationship do you want? Where do you want to be in 1 year, or 5 years? Write it all down, put it somewhere you can see it every day, and make sure everything you do takes you one step closer to your idea life.

    I hope this helps a little….and I hope you come back to let me know how you’re doing!


  7. I have been in horrible relationships over and over again since I was 16 after my first boyfriend. They were controlling, manipulative, intimidating, cheaters, liars you name it. My last boyfriend I dated for 4 years. He became the same as the others a year after we started dating. We were always on again off again. He was so much harder to let go than anyone else. We got back together and a few months later I got pregnant. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum the first few months and he started to become very cold and distant and sometimes very disrespectful. Throughout the entire pregnancy he kept becoming meaner and more distant. He wouldn’t come anywhere near me and barely spoke to me. He made me feel absolutely repulsive. All he did was play video games or watch tv. I’m almost certain he cheated on me but he never admitted it. I was extemely depressed but still wanted to try and make things work. When our son was born I was very happy. He was absolutely beautiful. My boyfriend seemed to be very happy too. A week or two after we brought him home my boyfriend started becoming very distant again. He would not help me take care of our son. He refused to get up at night and take turns with me. For 2 more months this went on and I was up almost 24/7. My son was colicky and barely slept and cried for hours. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I finally left and moved back in with my grandmother. Actually My boyfriend drove me and our son there. I was there for 2 months when he decided he was going to join the army. He always apologized for the way he treated me and for neglecting his family. While he was in basic training we decided to give it another try. When he came back he seemed like a completely different person. We decided to get married. So we got married and he had to move to Texas. I had one more month to go to finish school. So he went and I stayed and was going to join him later. I cannot even remember that entire month because he and I fought on the phone everyday. He was supposed to be finding a place to live for us and get it ready and he wasn’t at all. He had to take out a loan from the army and another one from his father. I still don’t know the reasons why he didn’t have any money. That month was horrible. But I still went to give him another chance. Everything was great for the first 2 weeks. Then the other 4 weeks were the same as before. Cold, distant and mean. He was mean to me not our son but he was very neglectful with him . So then He was being deported to Iraq and I came back to my grandmas. He was there for 3 months and got a 2 week leave. Same story, great at first then shortly after distant and mean. I caught him looking at porn in the bathroom and later got billed for him ordering it one night when i was sleeping right next to him. He was even more disrespectful to me than he had ever been before. After the 2 weeks he had to go back to Iraq. We kept fighting about things. I was miserable. He accused me of being unfaithful even though he was talking to all these girls on his facebook page and emails. He sent me a sex toy “so I wouldn’t have sex with other men” I felt very offended by that and we started fighting about it and then he told me he wanted a divorce. I want the divorce too. I am finally done with this person. I want to be happy for once but it still hurts so bad that its over. How can I deal with this? How can I get over all the pain he caused me and how can I get over him? I don’t even know why I still love him but I do. But I want to love myself finally….I don’t think I know how. Please please help me!

  8. Here I am 56 years old and just figuring out I have been in an addictive relationship. My boyfriend is the dashing adventurous kind – world renowned academic expert, travels to far away places for extended periods of time. In four years I have gone from being a striking independent woman with many friends and interests to an overweight depressed stay-at-home nobody who waits for his calls. He is definitely a commitment phobic and I knew about his unfaithfulness and unwillingness to commit from the beginning. Somehow I felt that I was different and he was such an interesting challenge. I now realize the relationship is totally centered on him. My needs have been completely ignored. He wants nothing to do with my friends and family not does he have any interest in my goals and worries. I cannot believe I am in this situation. I got out of a long term abusive marriage and thought this relationship was such an improvement. I even joked that I had moved upward from abuse to neglect. Truth is, one is just as devastating as the other with the end result being my loss of self esteem and anger at myself for staying. Now I know I am classic co-dependent. I am going to have to do something about this current relationship as I am still very much in it. Thanks for helping me see the light.

  9. Thank you Laurie,
    And to answer your question…did my partner want anything to do with my life goals? Absolutely NOT. It was a 100% him. His friends, his activities and his behaviors. His life! His addiction. He showed no interest in any of the many things I wanted and needed to do. It just took me awhile to discover this. In the beginning I enjoyed doing his things. It was fun and exciting. As the relationship grew I realized I was doing less and less of my own activities. When I forced the issue, I found myself doing them alone. He did not want to nor would he. I often felt alone and lonely in my activities. I became too insecure to reach out to new people within my activities. Loosing ground very quickly. Or feeling isolated in a crowd of people that at one time I had a great deal in common with. Again, I am happy to say I stepped back. And that was absolutely NO CONTACT for over a month! I do have a great deal of work still to do on myself. Time, God, MFT support, education, running, trusted friends, are enough to keep me away from my addiction… There is no going back! Finding a good support group is worth a try too. Anything to find health and peace. Thank you Laurie, your contact to women and men is wonderful. You just never know who you may help. We all need a light bulb moment.

  10. Recognizing whether your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse is bringing out the best versus the worst in you is an excellent way to know if your relationship is healthy!

    A related question: does your partner help you achieve your life goals? Or is he or she pulling you away from what you most whant to do? This is another excellent way to determine if you’re in a healthy relationship.

    Thanks for your comments, Carolyn…I’m happy that it’s getting easier to get over that addictive relationhip. You’re getting stronger and healthier every day — and soon you’ll be ready for a relationship that’s even better than you could hope for!

  11. I too have recently ended a relationship. I have struggled daily since February. I want to share what is helping me each day. I have found a connection with my higher power is helping…I pray daily for my own mental health. I too got rid of all the things that reminded me of him. It was just to wounding to see these things. I have made no contact…he has tried several times. I agree with the idea focusing on ourselves after a breakup. Do things that impower you! I also am trying to imagine my long term goals. I would not have had these if I stayed in a toxic relationship!
    My relationship was very addictive. I agree with finding a good counselor. And having a good support system of friends that love you. Having the accountability is helpful. Its okay to start out living minute by minute…slowly it will become hour by hour and soon day by day. I am happy to say not every minute is my mind controlled my memories and thoughts of him.. It is getting easier and bearable. I will always care and think about him. He and I had a journey together…he will always be a part of me. However, our relationship did not bring out the best of me. I was not growing as a individual, I was not healthy with him. The relationship vs. my own identity… no way! I am stronger because I was and am listening to my inner voice of reason! I have hope again. I am thankful for each person that has shared their story…it is good to know we are all human and not alone in our struggles. Love is good, and waiting for us! And we are all worth healthy!!!!!

  12. I have to stay away from her…she is my world, but it is for the best. If I rally love her, I have to let her go.

  13. I don’t know how you have the willpower to stay away from her.

  14. Not sure why she stays…most likely that she is in her mid 40’s, we have a signifcant amount of history together, she works part time and has nowhere else to go…not sure. We have both ‘threatened’ each other with divorce, but neither of us really wants to go through that, nor can we afford it. She is not a big fan of counseling; we did it a few years back, waste of time; she got more resentful in that she could not put her feelings into words as easy as I could, and other things.

    This all really sucks, and I am becoming more and more resentful towards her. Miss my other friend a lot, but it would be foolish to go back and ruin her life all over again.

  15. Does anyone else have any experience with this?

  16. Your honesty will take you a long way, John — and so will your counseling sessions. There’s no way I can give you better advice about addictive relationships and behavior than your counselor, so you’re moving in the right direction! Remember that it can take time to figure out the root of the problem….and even longer to actually change your thoughts and behavior.

    I’m curious why your wife is staying with you. Do you know why – have you talked about divorce? If she can’t give you what you need, and you’re looking outside your marriage for intimacy and love, then it seems like separation might be a logical choice (though we aren’t always logical, are we?) Couples counseling – so you two can figure out the dynamics of your marriage and make it healthier – would be my advice.

    If there are any men willing to give John some advice, I welcome your comments (and so would John, I bet!).

    Good luck, John……and NO, neither of you should live unhappy lives…you both need to figure out what you want out of life, and how to achieve it. It’s hard, but worthwhile. To come full circle: counseling is a great way to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and I encourage you to stick with it.


  17. I have been married for over 20 years. I have, unfortunately, been in and out of various relationships with women over the years, all the time making the other women feel more apprecaited than they ever have before any other man. I have been therr for them, vome to their rescue, provided for them monetarily, purchased gifts, trips, etc. Unfortunately, I have never felt like wanting to do any of this for my wife, and she is a good woman, cute, in good shape, but not very sexy (she does not dress sexy for me, nor want to do anything for her appearance nor provide any sort of eye candy for me, like I regularly do for her).

    I am always caught up emotionally with these women and I know I have a problem and have been going to counseling now for about 4 weeks. However, my most recent breakup I feel the worst about. She was my confidant, my lover, and my very best friend. We broke it off; which is probably good for both of us, still it is like a death. I am slowly coming to grips with her absence , but the fact that she did everything I have ever wanted a woman to do and be, is killing me, and I am not dealing with it very well at all.

    I need some advice and help as I know it is unhealthy, and I know these are comments that may more or less come from a female and not a male but I just wish I could get my act together. Perhaps my wife deserves someone who is not going to change her, but I have told her what I need and she still refuses….does this mean I need to just live and not be happy either??

  18. Emma, it’s good that you see that you’ll never get what you want from him. Remember that, because it’ll get you through the worst times!

    Letting go of someone you love – and getting over an “addictive relationship” – is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do…..but you need to put your long-term goals ahead of your current feelings. Yes, it hurts right now, and you may be scared to be alone, and you may feel like you’ll never find someone better.

    But you have to remember that you’ll struggle for the short-term – it’ll hurt bad for awhile – but then before you know it, you’ll be feeling ready to meet new people and move into a healthier relationship.

    Getting through the initial pain is the worst. But hang in there. You WILL come through it, and you’ll be glad you stayed away from him!

    Warm wishes,

  19. I met an amazing beautiful boy two years ago. It wasn’t long until we fell in love and spent every moment together. Neither of us had ever felt so strongly before, we talked about marriage. He cried when I went away on holiday for a week. We were besotted and so in love. It was heaven.

    Then we started having problems. I guess I felt trapped so I started playing up and acting like a cow. He would cry and say he’d do anything to be with me. We went on like this for a year. Then he met some new friends, girls and boys. I sensed he was drifting away from me so clung on tighter to him. It didn’t help. He ended the relationship two weeks ago.

    The hardest thing is accepting that he fell out of love with me. But I did accept and for two days I attempted to move on. He kept getting in touch because he knew I wasn’t coping well. We have a holiday booked and he said to me that we’ll still go. I saw a glimmer of hope that we could get back together and took it. We met up and had sex.

    Afterwards I suggested to him that we could still see each other, go on dates, have sex spend time together, but we’d be officially single and allowed to see other people. I had a notion that he would fall back in love with me, he tells me he doesn’t want anyone else all the time.

    So this continued for two days. We’d text each other and talk on the phone. But it would always be me who text first and rang him. I told myself that is he didn’t still love me he wouldn’t have met up with me again. He could have just dumped me and that would have been the end of it. maybe he was scared of letting go as much as I was. Maybe I’ll never know what’s going on inside his head.

    Today i text him saying do you want to meet up at the weekend. He said ‘yeah sounds good maybe don’t know we’ll see.’ talk about cryptic! so I text back a long message saying that if we’re going to have this sort of semi-relationship I would need something for me. Just a sign that he does care. Even something as small as him saying ‘yeah I understand we’ll definately meet up’. he text back saying ‘stop pestering me I’m not planning ahead, I might see you I might not.’

    That was all the sign I needed to see that he considers me a burden and he doesn’t care about my feelings. He ended it for a reason he didn’t want me anymore. I read online a tip for getting over someone who dumped you is not to chase after them thinking you can fix whatever went wrong. there was a lot of stuff wrong in our relationship but mostly I suppose we were just too young to be in such a serious heavy realtionship.

    So I’m trying to accept that I want from a realtionship I’ll never get from this guy. I’ve tried to compromise what I want to suit what he wants and I know deep down I couldn’t live with myself if I’m not true to myself but I can’t seem to let go. I still yearn to be a part of his life to be something to him, anything! I know he was upset too that this amazing first love we shared has come to an end. But it’s only been two weeks and evidently he is over it. He’s loving his new life with his new friends.

    I meanwhile am struggling badly. Like I said it’s only been two weeks and so far we’ve split up, met up for sex, started seeing each other again and split up again! I can’t seem to give myself the time to heal. But I don’t know how to fill the days. The last two weeks have been the longest weeks of my life. I cave too easily and text him. But even though I can admit it to myself and all of you I can’t seem to stop.

  20. Having read the comments above I am a bit saddened at the discouse that is focused on “getting over” another person. By placing your focus on “getting over” that other person you are still trying to continue that relationship by focusing on the other person and taking the focus off the most important thing… YOU!

    Ending a relationship is painful. It is similar to a person dying and you have to go through the same type of grieving processes (shock, sadness, anger, nostalgia & acceptance). Grieving is a completely personal process and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. This process is ALL ABOUT YOU!

    My view is a simplistic method to place your focus on ACCEPTING REALITY as follows:
    1. Whether you are in or out of a lousy relationship it IS STILL a lousy relationship!
    2. The ONLY person who has an 100% vested interest in your wellbeing is YOU so focus on you you you.
    3. Ending an unhealthy relationship is NOTHING in comparison to the suffering that exists in the world today; people die from starvation, horrible violence and war, disease. (you should feel very lucky if the worse trouble you have is a relationship that doesnt work!)

    I hope that you can all find the strength that exists in you all to realise that YOU are the most important person in YOUR life! It really is THAT SIMPLE!

  21. Sometimes men need less closure than women….which would explain why he isn’t interested in working things out. A man once told me that it’s physically difficult for him to talk about his feelings and relationships — it’s hard work for some men to tap into the emotions and feelings!

    Letting go of someone you love or care for a great deal is one of the hardest things to do in life. It’s incredibly painful to let go, and I don’t think the pain ever really goes away for good. I guess it’s part of loving someone, part of living a full life.

    Agatha Christie said, “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be ALIVe is a grand thing.”

    Oh yeah — and here’s another little saying that I love: “One tear met another tear while traveling down the river. ‘I am the tear of a woman who lost her man,’ said the first. ‘I am the tear of the woman who found him,’ said the second.”

    I hope to hear from you soon, Sana — when you have a happy hour, or a happy moment, or a happy day! You have control of what you think about…and you need to stay strong and focus on what you love about life.

    All best,

  22. Thank you Laurie for taking the time out to reply to me with such warmth and concern. I guess with time hopefully my wounds will heal and I will do as you suggeste – keep myself in the company of interesting people and if it still persists, go to a counselor.

    I am still pained by how much he hurt me and more importantly, didn’t repay my efforts to work things out one bit. I feel humiliated. Yet until very recently I’d justify his actions saying things like his upbringing and other difficulties had made him bitter and cynical. Now I have come to realise he had no reason to ill treat me for that, since I hadn’t done anything to hurt him and was protective of him if anything else. In addition, he is very kind and charming around his new found admirers and whatever were his problems, they have been solved and he has moved on…without me.

    Thanks again Laurie, really appreciate what you are doing in this space. I hope to get back to you soon in the future and let you know I’m a happier person.

  23. Sana, why aren’t you able to let him go and move on? Actually, I totally understand — when I was in university, a good friend of mine suddenly turned her back on me. To this day, I don’t know what I did wrong or why she decided that our friendship was over….and the truth is, it still bothers me today! In fact, I spent the day with another old university friend just a couple days ago, and I went over the whole thing with her….and it’s been almost 20 years!

    So, I understand. It’s really hard to let go and move on. And, it’s also possible that you’ll never be fully “over” the breakup of your friendship.

    That said, you can’t dwell on him or obsess about your friendship indefinitely! Don’t be ashamed — you’re human, and you’re in pain over the loss of a good friend. But it is time to move on and be healthy. How do you do that? I honestly don’t know what will work for you, but I know what works for many people — and I discussed it above, in the article.

    I encourage you to fill your life with interesting, dynamic, adventurous people. Move on, make new friends, join new clubs on campus, try new things. I know it’s much harder than it sounds (and it may even sound hokey)…but you have to force yourself past this.

    Maybe you should speak to a counselor, or someone who can give you an objective perspective. Maybe there’s other things going on here – I don’t know because I know almost nothing about your personality or life – but even you think your reaction is extreme (otherwise you wouldn’t be so ashamed of yourself). Maybe your reaction to your friend is connected to other things in your life.

    I wish I could be more helpful….I think the best thing to do is talk to a counselor. Your life seems quite disrupted because of this, and that’s not normal after all this time.

    Do come back and let me know how you are, and what you’ve decided to try. I wish you all the best, Sana.

    Warm wishes,

  24. I should have added this earlier. But i find it difficult to recognise myself sometimes. I was the girl everyone called a “fire-brand” for her boldness. I have try to distract myself, but somehow everything I do reminds me of him. For example: I’m a verocious reader, but I wish I could mail him the interesting passages from a book, like we used to. I even went abroad for a trip for two months, it did make a lot of difference and I don’t cry as much anymore. But I still can’t get him out of my head. My studies are suffering and nobody knows this, but I feel someone has taken away a crucial part of me away from my me. I don’t hate him, and I still have images in my head of getting in touch again. Maybe we won’t be friends like before, but he’d at least be around. I know I sound desperate and weak, and I’m ashamed of myself. Please help. This is the first time I’m reaching out to someone I don’t know. I have poured my heart out enough in front of many friends because there was a time when I couldn’t evn think of anything else but cry over him. Now its much better from that, but I want to end it completely. Just like the way he erased me from his head and hangs out and has fun with the whole world. I’m so ashamed of myself and still don’t do much to get out of it.

  25. I am a very lucky girl, with caring friends and a supportive family. Three years ago, I left home for college where I became very close friends with this guy. We didn’t have a romantic relationship, but we were ALWAYS together, sometimes up to 11-12hours a day! I thought he was different from the rest, held interesting opinions, called himself a feminist and presented himself as a reclusive person. He attracted the attention of many people in our college, and by the time we reached third year (our final year of undergraduation), he had several people appreciating his intellect. But I liked him as a person too, because I thought I could trust him with my problems and he held opinions similar to mine.
    However things turned EXTREMELY sour towards the end of our college life. He’d laugh and joke with everyone, but sulk around me. This despite the fact that I had actually helped him and encouraged him to hang around with a girl he liked. So there was no question of him “liking” me or some such thing. However whenever I’d confront him why he’d go silent Only around me or get irratated by my presence, particularly when other people were around, he’d say he’s going through a rough patch at home. Now that’s not entirely untrue…but he was nasty with me for often no reason. He knew that, I had cried several times in front of him. Once he even threw a muffin at me which i had got for him to eat since he hadn’t had lunch.
    Since January last year I have been getting fits of either depression or extreme anger. The thing is, last May or so he told me he wanted to end this relationship after I pointed out that one of his friends constantly keeps misbehaving with me. I tried to work things out, repeatedly. But he just wouldn’t repay my efforts. In one of my mails when i angrily exclaimed that he abused me but later even apologised to him for such an accusation, he said, “Don’t worry. I’ll call you when I get date-raped by a bull, for you to raise a toast. Farewell.” Its as if he never knew me! Yet I persisted in sorting things out, but each time he’d hurt me, either by not meeting up or sending only one line responses to my friendly emails. I didn’t hesitate to tell him he’s upsetting me, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
    This february, his friend (who had misbehaved with me on several occassions in the past) walked up to me and gave me a novella. It was written by the boy who was my best friend, almost family, for three years. I was pained by this, since we both always shared our essays or whatever intellectual works we discovered…and he didn’t tell me about this…
    So again, like a fool I contacted him. But he refused to pick my calls and asked me to message him only. And over a few messages, he ended this relationship once and for all. He said he was sorry for everything (for the first time he clearly apologised), but he can’t change. Things will get worse if I persist.

    I don’t understand if he’s truly apologetic, then why doesn’t he talk about amending this relationship and not ending it. Like I said, we weren’t a romantically involved couple. We were each others best friends…how can a little popularity take him away from me or forget me or all that I did for him in his rough patches?
    Its been over a year since all this has been going on and not a day has passed by when I didn’t think of him or us getting back together like the way we were. I feel depressed all the time and although I have a good support system, I can’t bother them all so much. Like I said, its been a year. My mother has been remarkably understanding, but even she’s growing concerned why aren’t I letting go of it…

  26. Jennifer, I don’t know what to say! I really feel for you, and I wish I had magic words that could get you through this.

    But I don’t. And pointing out my tips for getting over addictive relationships wouldn’t be that helpful, either!

    One thing that comes to mind – and I don’t know if it’s helpful – is putting your kids before your own personal relationships right now. They need you to be totally there for them, and since the man you had the affair with isn’t available….maybe you should focus on your family. You’ve been with your husband for 15 years, and that’s not something to just throw away.

    I’m sorry I can’t offer you more….but my best advice is to give yourself time to get over this man, and rebuild your relationship with your husband and kids.

    This probably doesn’t help too much, does it?


  27. I am blown away that I am writing this. I have been married for 15 years with 2 kids. I fell in love with someone quite unexpectedly and with the force of a fourteen year old girl. I had never been in love with my husband and never felt a physical attraction to my husband. All of the sudden, I found myself obsessed with this uneducated worker type who is not a great gorgeous hunk or anything, but he brings me to life and I feel alive ,loved and truly happy when I’m with him. I love so much about him, but within the first month and 1/2 he told me that he had a live in girlfriend. He broke up with her and was living on the couch until the lease was up with him and another roommate. He would tell me how much he loved me…romantic and unbelievably sweet and loving things and (later I would come to know) would run home and have sex with his girlfriend. He had broken up with her and was just waiting to move out. On the day of move out, I got a text that he was staying with the girlfriend, who he claimed he never loved and was not attracted to. I am still married, but in this 6 month long affair (only had sex 3 times) I hired and attorney and told my husband I wanted a divorce. I’m crushed, want to still believe all the shit he told me and am affraid I’ll never feel this way again. I’m 49. I never thought I’d feel this way about anyone. Help

  28. Hi Tamara,

    I can really relate to what you’re going through. I don’t know that I have much in the way of advice, but I’ve found comfort in just knowing I’m not alone. So, for what it’s worth…

    I broke up with my boyfriend of two years when I found out he’d been cheating on me and lying to me right and left. We became fast-lovers early on. After only four months of dating, upon his suggestion, we rented a house together, bought a Great Dane, and started talking marriage, and for the first time in my life, about kids.

    We were in law school together at the time and looking forward to graduation. We agreed to apply for jobs in the city where grew up because it was pretty much half way between where our families lived. I was fortunate enough to land a sweet job, but he didn’t. Not because he couldn’t, either, but because he became increasingly disinterested in everything but video games, sports and pornography.

    We began fighting a lot, and no matter how hard I tried to be happy go lucky (which was what he wanted), things simply weren’t okay. When I’d try to talk with him about it, he’d get really upset and frustrated, and tell me talking about it all the time only made things worse. At one point, he told me I had no soul!

    Somehow he convinced me it was my problem, and I was just acting crazy. I suppose his playing SIMS with a man like him, a wife like me, and a naked maid who just happened to look exactly like my new “friend” should’ve been enough to tip me off. But I wanted it – us – so badly that I blinded myself to all the signs and refused to listen to that inner-voice.

    So, you can probably guess what happened. I still have trouble talking about it, but it was bad. I had a complete breakdown. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, failed my bar exam…the stress and depression literally almost killed me. And here I was about to move to a big city I’d been to twice in my life. No family. No friends.

    Needless to say, it’s taken me a long time to recover. Just wondering how I could be so naive and allow myself to be humiliated by this man I’d tried so hard to be with. And on top of that, fail the most important test of my life because I was consumed by our troubled relationship. It wreaked havoc on my self-confidence, not to mention my psyche. I just kept thinking it would never end. I’d never feel better and this terrible man would just haunt me for the rest of my life.

    After such a long story (sorry, I just wanted you to understand the gravity of it), I’m happy to tell you it does get better and you will find happiness again; but only if you let this man go. Absolutely, completely, do whatever you have to do to cut him out of your life and your thoughts and look ahead to better things. Trust me, you deserve a better man in your life, he won’t change, and you will find someone who love more than you think you love him.

    Love is much better and way more fulfilling than a false ideal of it. You deserve a man who will be faithful and honest, and it’s not your fault he cheated on you. It has nothing to do with you and everything to with him.

    And PLEASE, if you take only one thing from this windy response, let it be that you will not let yourself or him convince you his cheating was your fault, or you could’ve done something differently to prevent it. IT’S NOT TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So, like Laurie said, I think you should try focusing on yourself, figuring out what you really want, doing something you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t. And there’s this great book called “20 Something, 20 Everything” by Christine Hassler. I don’t know how old you are, but I think just about every woman (esp any woman go through what you are right now), could benefit from reading this book. Remember, you decide who you are and where you are going. The power to make things better is in your hands, and only yours.

    I feel for you and hope better things soon come your way. I believe everything happens for a reason, and you will be find yourself so much closer to true happiness once you let go and embrace the bright future that awaits you. Trust me, lady, it’s out there!



  29. Once you get through this — the aching, the wanting, the wishing, the hoping — you’ll be SO glad this guy isn’t in your life anymore!

    I have a hard time understanding why you want him back. He’s unfaithful, he’s dating someone else, he’s being unfaithful to her by telling you he loves you, you don’t trust him, he has a history of being unfaithful, and for part of your relationship all you did is fight. I wouldn’t want someone like him in my life as a friend, brother, or colleague — much less a partner!

    Tamara, you need to stop focusing on how good things were and how much you miss him, and start looking onwards and upwards. You were NOT a power couple! Power couples achieve goals, have healthy relationships, are faithful to one another, and respect each other.

    Practical ways to move on:

    – stop idealizing him and the relationship. It wasn’t like he was a good man, but you two just couldn’t work things out. He’s a cheater and a liar — and if he was your boyfriend, he’d be cheating on you faster than you can say “Where are you going tonight, baby?”

    – pick up some new hobbies. Try something new, like a hiking or snowshoeing club, book club — anything that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t made time for.

    – do things that you LOVE to do, that make you feel happy and alive and passionate.

    And, read my “10 Tips for Surviving a Breakup” article: http://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/quipsandtipsforachievinggoals/411

    Please move on with your life, Tamara! He’s not worth it.


  30. my boyfriend and i broke up a few weeks ago, because he’d cheated on me. we’d been together for a while, and we were even talking about marriage. maybe even a lot more than we should’ve been.
    we had been going through a long-distance relationship, though only temporarily. he was in grad-school in london, and i was following him this coming june. however, the stretch from mid september to mid december was the longest we were going to go apart.
    he had a history of being unfaithful, but there was more to him. and i brought out the better part of him, as he did me.
    all we do is fight now, about her (who he is now dating) and about everything that has gone wrong.
    i can’t seem to keep my cool, and i can’t focus on anything but how terrible everything has become. we were so happy. and everything about our relationship, from the sex to the little things, just felt right. i still love him, though i don’t trust him.
    we’ve spoken about working it out, and he can’t handle long-distance (even if for the next few months) anymore. he claims to still love me too, and always tells me how sorry he is and how guilty he feels for what he’s done.
    but he’s dating her. i don’t understand how he can date her and still love me? or rather, how he can say all the negative things he’s said about her, tell me how much he loves me, remind me of how great of a power couple we were and still see her. am i being too harsh by not believing him? it kills me that he’s actually dating her now, as it feels like he picked her (she’s easy and sleeps with just about every man she meets) over me.
    i am no fan of drama, and it’s been 12 weeks of it. i just want to move passed this, because my health and mind are both on the brink of breaking down yet again. but my heart and gut (hell, even my mind) can’t seem to move on. what do i do? i’ve tried the 7 tips in the Tips for Getting Over Addictive Relationships with hardly any success.

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