I love you, and you, and you, and you.
One of our secret pleasures is watching Sober House or Celebrity Rehab. We think that Dr. Drew is a great guy and the nay sayers can suck it. Dr. Pinsky is showing the reality of rehab. Now granted, most rehab facilities aren’t that nice but the drama, process and insight are still very realistic. We can joke all we want to about the over indulgent celebrity and the lack of willpower from the spoiled babies of the world but the reality is addiction is as common as blinking and to deny it is just more symptom of an addiction.
Prior to this incarnation as a writer, I was a practicing psychotherapist. My specialty was addiction. Usually, people assume that serious addictions are contained in the drug and alcohol realm. They say to me, ‘Lee, you don’t die from a shopping addiction’. The reality is that addictions of any kind strip your soul. Whether you are gambling, drinking, having sex or shooting up, you ultimately die in some way if it goes unchecked.
One of the worst, most insidious of the addictions is a relationship addiction. You ask, ‘But Lee, it’s not like I’m selling my body to pay for my stuff’. My response is simple, ‘Sure you are!’ The classic symptoms of a relationship addiction is identifying yourself with a status of a relationship (if the relationship is happy, so are you), you ignore obvious signs that the relationship is not right for you (this is where the gem ‘opposites attract’ came from), attachment issues (lots of breaking up to making up) and you go from deep loneliness to periods of euphoria in a relationship. You tend to hate being alone and obsess about your partner or lack of one.
You are probably thinking, ‘But Lee, this is every movie, song and TV show I watch!’ And you would be right. Relationship addiction is so pervasive that we think it’s normal. But, normal does not mean healthy. Sure it’s normal to drink during college but it can be quite deadly. And the worst part about this is that your friends and family support the addiction! You’ll never see an intervention like the one on TV for this type of addiction. They can hate your boyfriend then give you crap for being single. There is no pleasing people.
I say screw them and please yourself. The greatest gift you can give yourself is placing you as your priority. It is relatively impossible to have that mentality and have a relationship addiction. If you choose to be happy, you refuse to allow people to mistreat you and you would never settle for mediocre love.
Many people thought Paul and I wouldn’t last. We never had any big fights, breakups or went to parties while angry with one another thus making all the other attendees uncomfortable. We were weird. I will give you a clue, if you are dating and you spend more time fighting and crying than having fun and laughing then change your name and phone number and move away. It will never work and you will never be happy. Sure you will have brief glimpses of contentment but you deserve so much more. And for those of you who actually say things like, ‘I’m staying for the kids sake’, I have news for you. Your kids will do better when you divorce and you are only teaching them to settle for dysfunctional, addictive love. Be honest and tell them, ‘Hello my name is ____(insert name here) and I am a relationship addict’.