Self-evaluation exercise: Am I in an addictive relationship?

What is an addiction and how does my relationship qualify as addictive? Found out by doing this Addiction Evaluation Exercise:

Here is the dictionary definition of addiction: ad·dic·tion  Pronunciation: ?-?dik-sh?n

compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;  broadly: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful

Now substitute the name of your partner here and swap out “use of” for “sex with”:

compulsive physiological need for and sex with [NAME] characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;  broadly: persistent compulsive sex with [NAME] known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful

What do you notice? Any similarities? Let’s deconstruct this and see how it applies to you and your relationship. Please go get a pen and paper and follow along with this brief writing exercise.

“Tolerance”

What are you putting up with in your relationship that you wouldn’t tolerate in any other area of your life? Poor eating? Persistent anger and sadness? Anxiety? Feelings of hopelessness? Feeling disrespected? Feeling neglected? Feeling alone? What else are you tolerating? (write it down)

Things I am tolerating in my relationship
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

“Well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal”

How does it feel when you think about leaving him or do leave him? What do you sense in your body? Fear? Sadness? Terror? Like life wasn’t worth living any more? What do you feel that is so intolerable, it has you put up with all of the things you listed in the previous exercise? (write it down)

Unbearable things I feel when I imagine that we are apart or leave
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

“Persistent, compulsive sex with [name]”

How many times have you told yourself that this is the last time you would be with him and then done it again anyways? How many times have you told yourself that you’re not getting entangled this time? How else have you lied to yourself in order to justify being with him again? (write it down)

Excuses I make to keep having sex with him
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

“…known by YOU to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful”

a) Physically

Are you experiencing any health problems? Do you feel exhausted or sick? Do you have any injuries as a result of this? Are you accepting physical pain as a cost of keeping him?

How my body is affected by this relationship
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

b) Psychologically

How do you feel most days? Are you as happy as you were before you started dating him? Do you have as much drive, enthusiasm, joy? Are you still interested in the things you loved before you got together? How is your outlook on life?

How my outlook on life is affected by this relationship
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

S

c) Socially

How has this affected your friendships? Have you lied to your friends about seeing him? Do you withhold information from them because you’re embarrassed to tell them you’re back with him again? In what ways have you been hiding this from your friends? How does this affect how open you are, how compassionate you are, how caring you are?  (write it down)

Ways in which this relationship has hurt my friendships
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

What questions are you asking yourself?

Or better yet, what questions have you been unwilling to ask yourself about your behavior as it relates to this person? Questions like: Am I happy? Am I at least happier than I am unhappy?  Do I see a future with this person? What have I been sacrificing in order to be with him?

What questions am I unwilling to ask myself or answer honestly about this relationship?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

…And you’re finished! Congratulations on completing the exercise and for being so honest and candid with yourself about your situation. What do you see?

Leave a Reply