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
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“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
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“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
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“…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
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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
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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
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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?
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…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?

How to effectively screen an online date

Having trouble navigating the murky waters of online dating? Online dating can be fun and rewarding when done correctly, but for first timers it can lead to a lot of disastrous dates and disappointment. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to screen potential candidates that will improve the odds of finding someone who is right for you!

1) Read between the lines

How to read an online dating profile

First, start by looking at the name. Does it seem like the name of someone you’d like to get to know better, something like JimInNewYork, or MovieLover123? Or does it reek of ego and attitude, e.g. SuperHotBuffMan99 or SexiestLadyEverToWalkTheEarth? You’d be surprised how many profiles can be successfully eliminated at this preliminary stage, depending on what you’re looking for.

Second, what does the profile say? When people don’t post a shred of information about themselves, they aren’t really putting themselves out there, or else they are expecting the other person to take all of the initial sharing risk. On the other hand, there is such a thing as “TMI”, otherwise known as “Too Much Information.” Overly wordy profiles with very specific criteria for a mate or date often belong to closed-minded narcissists who aren’t interested in learning about other people. A big red flag is any negative or detailed information about a previous relationship or the opposite sex in general. Someone who initially displays negative information on their profile is probably not a lot of fun in person.

Look for someone whose username and profile has a similar vibe to your own, and you’ll be much more likely to find someone who is a good match.

2) S/he’s got the look

Not all photos are created alike

Sometimes photos don’t do a person justice so it’s good to keep an open mind. That said, it’s important to pick someone that you could be attracted to, who has features that you appreciate. While that can be difficult to figure out from a photo, there are signs in the types of photos themselves. Is the photo a head shot? If so, chances are higher that the person may look significantly different (read, less attractive) than they do in real life. Is the photo completely blurry or taken from very far away? This is probably not someone who is very confident about their experience. If the photo does not show the person from the neck below, they may be insecure about their body type. Does the photo have a cut-out of a person who was probably an ex girlfriend or boyfriend? Pass. Is the person doing a body shot in the photo? Next. You get the idea.

3) Communication is key

Matching your writing styles

Are spelling, punctuation and grammar important to you? Do you like being called Baby or Sweet Cheeks? The way a person communicates tells us a lot about them. Look closely at the messages you’re reading and the profiles you’re viewing, and make sure that the style of writing is one that you’d expect to see in an email or IM from an acquaintance. If it’s not up to par, move on.

4) Under pressure

Does this feel like an obligation?

If you’ve waited a day to respond to someone and they’ve gone ahead and sent a second, third or fourth message pleading with you to get back to them, you should strongly consider looking elsewhere. This indicates desperation, a quality that is not attractive in anyone. The same applies for texts and phone messages. The minute you feel overwhelmed or pressured in the slightest, cut it off, because it is only going to get worse.

5) Let’s have a chat

Screening with IM

A lot of people will try to insist on having a phone conversation immediately. Don’t succumb to this pressure. It is much more efficient to screen via an online conversation initially. This way you can conduct more than one conversation at once. multitask in other ways, or leave the conversation quickly and easily if need be. This also gives you a chance to screen their chat style as described above, and to gage whether you’re feeling any pressure. Most importantly, this gives you time to think of an appropriate answer if you’re put on the spot and the other person asks you on a date when you’re not sure if you like them. If you’re still interested in the person after 10-15 minutes of chatting online, have a quick conversation on the phone to see if they sound okay, then schedule a date somewhere public. Do not plan on anything lengthy like dinner or a movie, because you may instantly dislike the person and you want to leave yourself lots of options to escape after 30 minutes.

Conclusion: Trust your gut

It won’t let you down

Take your emotional temperature at every stage of the game – from viewing someone’s profile, to deciding who to correspond with, to meeting in person. If you’re getting an unsure or bad feeling, this probably isn’t the right person for you. If you get a good feeling, congratulations – you’ve successfully screened an online date!

This entry was posted in Dating.