Everyone has some degree of addiction in their life. People can be addicted to alcohol, cigarettes, legal or illegal drugs, caffeine, food, and even people. I am sure there are a few I didn’t mention but those are probably the most common. I would say that relationships are probably one of the biggest addictions in the population. Most people dream of finding “the one” but the real question is, why do you dream of having another person in your life? Is it just because it is something you feel you should do? Is it because you are lonely? Is it because you are an over-achiever and you want to complete the perfect life and wrap it up with a nice looking, successful spouse and 2.5 kids?
Anything that we are addicted to is used to cover up pain within ourselves. The person, drug or food helps us escape the present moment and for a while that escape feels really good. However, when that really good rush of a new found love or that really good meal or high from a drug fades out the pain just returns. I am not saying that all relationships are based on addiction, but I think many of us act and react in a cycle that is much closer to addiction than love. I have mentioned unconditional love previously in my blog and it is something that is very rare to come by. Love is a state of being within yourself and is not dependent on someone or something else. If you find yourself going through the cycle of being judgmental, critical and annoyed by your partner for a while and then returning to the loving state over and over throughout your relationship, that is a sign of something missing. However, unlike what many believe, it is not something missing in your relationship or within your partner, it is something missing within yourself.
Nobody is conscious all the time, but you can be aware of the difference between your self and your thoughts. Our thoughts are not who we are, that is our ego, constantly judging ourselves and others, and if other people are not helping benefit our ego in a moment we may lash out in fear, jealousy, anger, frustration or many other negative emotions. Our ego instantly starts cycling through all the bad things our partner said or did to us over the years. Then we dwell on what we should have said or done and how it hurt us, and those painful feelings build. If we are aware, we understand those are just thoughts and feelings recycling and not really who we are; it is not what our relationship is based on or who are partner is, then we can focus on what is really important. If you are truly whole in yourself and understand that there is something bigger than all of us, connecting us as one, you will begin to look at the world a little differently.
Nobody is perfect, we all have unconscious moments where the ego takes over and we want to feel sorry for ourselves and blame our partner (or others) for our misery. Usually when we become critical or judgmental it is because words or a situation has reignited a past hurt or fear from a previous relationship. This past hurt can come from any relationship, not just romantic. Being called stupid by your Dad as a child every time you made a mistake can leave a mark on your ego. So if you are in a relationship as an adult and your partner jokingly calls you stupid, (even though this isn’t very nice) it is probably taken much harder than it should be. Your partner does not understand your past hurt and should not be held responsible for it. The truth is, we can choose how we respond to those hurtful moments and when our partner is judgmental, critical or hurtful there are three things we need to understand: the negative words or behavior is saying more about them than it is about us, it is probably coming from a place of insecurity and hurt within them from something in their past, and if we can just accept them for who they are and not take it personal then we can begin to understand what real unconditional love is. We are all here working towards many of the same goals in life and many of us share some of the same hurts and disappointments. So when your partner is going through a critical, and maybe even hateful, moment ask yourself why they may be that way. Are they stressed at work, is there some underlying issue that can be addressed?
Instead of responding in a defensive or accusatory manner try being compassionate and show some empathy towards them. If you are addicted to the relationship you will know because you will only feel love when they are feeding the ego within you. Some relationships become so addictive that they are down-right abusive. This is an individual who has let the pain and the ego completely take over and this person is most likely not in a healthy state to even be in a relationship. I do believe there are hurt and broken people who must work on the relationship with themselves before they attempt a relationship with another person. That is why addiction programs recommend that people get a plant, then a puppy, before they attempt a human relationship. Addiction is very selfish, we want the other thing or person to complete us and that is not how love works, that is how addiction works. If there is something missing in your relationship or in your life as a whole, it has nothing to do with anything or anybody else, it has to do with you. Probably the best break-up line in the world is “it’s not you, it’s me” because the truth is, no matter how perfect you are you will never be perfect enough for the wrong guy even on your best day. However, with the right guy you will be loved even on your worst day. Break-ups hurt, but they are bitter-sweet because even though you thought it had more potential for bigger and better things, it never reached that potential and that is sad. Then again, who wants to constantly spin their wheels for something bigger and better with a teammate whose heart is not in it? So ultimately, you saved yourself from a bigger heartache not a bigger, better relationship.
So if you are dating someone and at a point where you are re-evaluating where you stand, can you be honest with yourself? Can you ask yourself why you want the relationship in the first place? Can you ask yourself what may be missing for you and why? Are there some things from your past that you could address and work on so they no longer affect your present relationships? Would these past issues be something you could share with your partner so they better understand why are you are more sensitive to certain words, actions or situations? Can you truly accept this person for exactly who they are or are you constantly trying to change them and mold them in to the perfect guy or girl for you? This will help you discover if the relationship is just an addiction at this point and time or if you are working towards something bigger and better.
I do believe that an addictive relationship can transform into a relationship of unconditional love. If both people are willing to accept and understand each other. Being able to be apart and have trust is very important. Being able to have shared friends and your own friends without jealousy is very important. Having things you enjoy doing together and apart creates a healthy friendship that is critical for a healthy romantic relationship. Being able to respectfully disagree and resolve conflict in a mature conversation is very important. Allowing one another to be exactly who you are without judgement or criticism is also extremely important. I once had a boyfriend who was embarrassed of my loud laugh, I never in my life thought to be self-conscious of it until I saw the look on his face as he mumbled something under his breath. A close girlfriend of mine said, I think your laugh and smile is one of the most beautiful things about you. So was my hurt at his reaction to my laugh justified, yes I think so, but was it really because something is wrong with me? No, of course not. If he is annoyed or embarrassed by another persons laugh that most definitely says more about him that it does me. Especially when those have known me longer and better find it beautiful.
Do not let another person choose how you feel about yourself. You make the rules, you call the shots, you get to choose who you allow in your life and why. If at any time it does not feel like love but more of an addiction, you have a choice to ask the hard questions and address it with your partner. If you are in a relationship that can never lead to unconditional love, then you can simply be honest, take ownership and tell them…”it’s not you, it’s me”.
With happiness, healthy and some unconditional love