How to Get Over an Addictive Relationship

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!

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

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 Help for Codependent 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 How to Let Go of Someone You Love and Be Free.

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.

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.

If you’re having a difficult time knowing what to do, read How to Stop Going Back and Forth in Your Relationship.

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


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88 thoughts on “How to Get Over an Addictive Relationship”

  1. I can’t tell you how to heal from an addictive relationship, because I don’t know how you generally cope with the problems in your life. Some people find that “mind over matter” works, while others benefit from counselling.

    I’m sorry I can’t give you the answers you’re looking for, and hope that writing about your addictive relationship has helped a little!

  2. I was in a 10 month addictive relationship with a controlling alcoholic that pretended to be someone he wasn’t and sold me on a life in California that i was clearly desperate to buy. he had 2 alcoholic fits where he yelled and threw things. I made excuses that his behavior was anger over a 15 week old baby that passed away. I moved everything i owned and moved everything he threw out on the front porch in april. He had about one alcoholic fit a month and the life he sold me was clearly never going to happen. After 2 exact drunks ( and emotional beat downs) in cali after i moved i could no longer believe the excuses i had been making for him. i knew i needed out and planned and got out. He changed and the more control i gave him the more he wanted. When i left i was scared he would come for me and tried to be his friend to diffuse his anger. Then is become obvious being his friend was no longer an option, I changed my number and blocked him on email and social media. I’ve been home going on 7 weeks,the first 5 weeks i had feelings of thankfulness and glad to be away. NOW IM RAGING MAD AT HIM AND NOW MYSELF for making such a silly move. I’m back home with family that love me and slipped right back into my life and life looks great. I blocked him from my life April 27th, I’m no longer scared of him but the more i think about how he LIED to me and cheated and messed with my mind basically kept my mind so full of several versions of the same story. HOW CAN A SMART WOMAN FALL FOR THIS and why am i so angry at him and cant let it go? its the smallest stuff. i try to feel the feelings and tell myself the facts of knowing he manipulated me. Reading books initially helped me know it wasn’t me and comforted me a great deal. i know he isnt worth the energy but its inside me but the thoughts are there daily now!

  3. Dear Lauri:
    Please help me! Please answer this!!
    First off I should explain the situation in my country (Iran) so you can understand why while being 21 I’m writing a comment in a teenager’s site! In my country girls and guys are almost completely separated before university. So when we’re 18 it’s in many cases the first time we talk with the opposite sex (I mean besides cousins and uncles ). Well in some families with a lot of aunts and uncles you have a lot of cousins, so these girls are lucky, but I was not. And if you wanted to have a boyfriend before university, you had to find him in the streets or weird chat rooms and I got to tell you Iran is a hell of unsafe and insecure!!!!!!! Finding a boy before university was dangerous and by the way we had A LOT to study for university entrance exam in high school. So now you can figure out what a weirdo I was when I entered university!!! I’ve had this huge crush on a guy since nearly 3 years ago, when I entered university. He was a friend of my friend. We went out in a group and I met him there for the first time. I started to like him. I asked him out to theatre again in A GROUP. ( I was even worse than other Iranians because till term 4 when I actually fell for him completely, all I could think of was studying and grades and becoming a TA and stuff I was also very rude(I mean too honest!!), very idealistic, justice seeking, too confident!, very WEIRD!!!!!!!) I had no feminine side. I WAS A CHILD!! For example in that first time that we went out in a group my flirting’s been: what grade did you get in math? What average did you get last term! Do you even believe that! I myself don’t when I look back!! I have changed a lot since 3 years ago! But I still think that he liked me a bit. the next term we had a very important class together which required a lot of teamwork. Him, me, one of my girlfriends, and his boyfriend started to work together mostly in a fashion that they helped us. My friend was, well the kind that had boyfriends since she was 13 so she had a lot more experience than me and attracted the other boy (his friends) attention and they kind of, just kind of started going out. She was one of these sexy girls who attract everyone and she had attracted him a little bit too. They only paid attention to her and that drove me mad. My entire world was crashing on me. All my values started to change. I lost my confidence and tried to be like my friend. I was so sad that I stopped talking to him which was very childish!( I thought maybe this way he will come to me and ask me why I’m like this and I’ll tell him everything) well obviously he didn’t!:D after 2 or 3 weeks of their relationship my friend started dating another guy in order to get some help from him in her other lessons( what a…! ) so my crush’s friend got mad and our group fell apart silently as it had never existed. We all stopped talking together and in summer he found a girlfriend out of university. I stopped for one term trying my best to forget him and I failed. So the next term I tried to get as many lessons as I could with him. we started talking a bit but just a bit. Very little because everything was weird. One day in a card fortune telling (he was not there) his name slipped my tongue and his friends found out that I like him. I asked them not to tell him but I think they did (not sure) but still he didn’t ask me out. Well he had a girlfriend and I knew it but I couldn’t get rid of the thought that he might like me! I wanted to forget him but I couldn’t. I tried going out with other guys. But I hated them all! And couldn’t stay with any of them! I went to a psychologist and he recommended me to tell him (although I knew he had someone) I did it and he said he has someone (Duh! .. ) and he added that it’s not like he doesn’t like me ( he was murmuring and he looked stupid so I’m not 100 percent sure he said that but 75 percent sure! ) after that I again stopped talking to him, this time it was not sulking and it was not in any way childish. It was just because I knew talking to him would make him stick in my mind.) Now everything is totally weird. I’m dying, not to be with him, but just to be able to see him ( I don’t have any classes with him) just to be able to talk to him, be his friend, look at him. I have changes during these events and have become a very more mature and feminine person. I have really changed but he doesn’t give me any chance to show it to him and as we don’t have any classes together and don’t see each other very often, I can’t show him how Ive grown. I have totally screwed up. I can’t forget him and recently I have come to realise that I don’t want to forget him!!!! help me please! what should I do? ((

  4. Addictive friendships and addictive relationships have a lot in common. If you have a bad friend that you can’t seem to WANT to get rid of, read:

    One-Sided Friendships – How to Stop Bad Friends From Getting Worse

  5. I’m not involved in an addictive love relationship, but I am involved in an addictive friendship. After reading this, I can say that some of the things mentioned still apply. I’m a college student right now, sophomore year. My roommate and I became pretty close last year, although I’m starting to think it was all in my head. I have a habit of getting way to attached to people way too quickly and seeing things that aren’t there. I shared some of my deepest darkest secrets with her because I thought it would make us closer friends and maybe she would open up a bit more. She was nice to me for the most part, and we got along great. The few times that she aggravated me, she REALLY aggravated me. She never apologized for the things she did wrong and I cared about our friendship too much to bring them up and talk about them. I’m the kind of person who won’t make waves to keep people happy, so I said nothing. Last minute, when it was almost time to apply for a dorm room for the next year, she decided that she didn’t want to be my roommate anymore even though we had decided months before to continue. I tried to keep our friendship going, I invited her to get dinner on campus and be gym buddies, but it just seemed like such a one-sided friendship. I wanted to be friends with her so badly that I compromised myself to try and win her over. Needless to say, it hasn’t worked to this day. I’m sick of being the only one contributing to this friendship, or whatever the hell it is, but I also can’t let go of her or the memories of last year. I know for a fact that it doesn’t bother her at all, but it’s killing me to know that I lost a friend that I may have never had in the first place. I wasted my time, but I’m not going to waste anymore. A part of me hopes that if I focus on me instead of trying to appease her, she’ll notice that I stopped talking to her and come back. Another part of me says, “Good Riddance.”
    What do you think? Am I being foolish for feeling this way? If she does come back, do you think she’ll change or it’ll be last year all over again? Please help :(

  6. I started seeing an old female friend after 5 years. Our relationship was an addictive one for me. This woman had my heart. Both times in the past when we were in each others lives something always happened just as we were getting closer and it all fell apart, but we remained friends until I had to walk away.

    This third time around I talked with her for 7 months before I stopped listening to my gut instinct and stay away. I was afraid all of those dormant feelings would rise back to the surface and go thru a lot of pain again.

    Talk about Omens…the first night I saw her again, after 5 years, we went out for drinks and then were going to head back to her house but I decided we should at one last bar before heading back to her place.

    This decision cost me any future chance at romance with this woman. At this new bar she ran into one of her exes and I could tell she was excited to see him again after not seeing him for 6+ years.

    Since that night, I’ve seen this woman and was reintroduced to her daughter. We enjoyed two weekends of dinner and movies together, seemingly enjoying each others company. My feelings all came back in a flood for her and than I found out she has been seeing this other guy whom she first told me were just old friends.

    Now I’m being pushed out of her life, beating myself up for stopping at that last bar and wondering what might of been as she really has seemed to settle down in life in regards to men friends and sleeping around.

    Now I sit here in misery wondering if she will ever return my call. What is weird is that during all those months when I was talking to her on the phone, I had no yearning to see her again and no feelings other than friendship, but once I saw her again…bam…now it’s history for the third and most likely final time. Bummed and feeling stupid!

  7. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Shelzy,

    Thanks for sharing your story here! It sounds like you are addicted to the love and companionship your boyfriend offers — and you’re right, it’s not that healthy.

    I wrote this article for you:

    Do You Feel Insecure and Unsure in Your Relationship? 5 Solutions

    I hope it helps, and welcome your thoughts there or here.


  8. Hi I’m so confuse right now. I’m in a relationship for ten months right now and i feel like I’m so addicted to my Iranian boyfriend. He broke up with me like 2 times now. Its not like he broke up with me literally but he just stop calling or contacting me then me always sending him messages and begging him to come back.
    Well, the first one its my fault because I cheated on him but it was the time that im not so in to him so thats what happen then after a week we got back together.. and then a few months we have a huge fight just because I ask for time and he said his busy at work and study. His a doctor and its his last year to be a professional doctor his going to have a exam later this year. So, I understand that but his too unfair all I need is a little time from him. I said something he got mad then he stops communicating me for a month. All I did in that month is to keep sending him messages, emails, invitations for movies, dinner or something.
    I feel that life is so dull without him. His a very sweet boyfriend thats what I like about him, his kind, respectful, a homebody, and a loving person. This things really made me so in love with him despite that fact that his so unfair.
    Every time we got problems he puts the blame on me then i started to have very low esteem recently. He always makes me feel bad all the time but I still love him. sometimes just by hearing his voice makes me cry even were ok. I really don’t like this feeling please help. Now he gets mad at me because he saw me in a photo with another guy and to think its my friend. He don’t trust me anymore, i just don’t know what to do right now. I keep on telling him the truth but he didn’t care his reason is he gets embarrass because someone told him that she saw a photo of me with a guy. This thing happens only for teenagers.
    Well im 20 and my boyfriend is 31. just dont care about the age gap. I care about my feelings more. I feel that he cares more about other people than me.I keep on listening to him and understanding him. I even trust him so much but this is how he repay me. I don’t hate him at all…I cant, I just can’t even if I want too. Im so in love with him but I don’t think this is healthy and I don’t deserve this. I just dont know how to let him go.

  9. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    I am very sorry to hear about your breakup — it sounds like your partner is a bit confused, and you’re a bit addicted!

    It’s difficult to overcome the loss of a relationship and cope with the consequences (fear, inability to trust, etc). Trust me, I know how hard it is.

    While I can’t give you personal advice, I can encourage you to move on with your life. You need to get strong and healthy emotionally, physically, spiritually, and even professionally. I know it seems hard or even impossible to get healthy and strong again, but it’s really important.

    The best advice I have for overcoming an addictive relationship and breaking up is to learn how to let go of the person you love. Where and how do you start letting go? You keep trying different things until you find what works for you. Maybe the recovery program won’t help overnight. Maybe you need to do something at the same time, such as changing your life. Perhaps by moving to a different city, traveling, or getting personal counseling. Some people find physical spa treatments helpful, or alternative therapies such as reiki or energy healing.

    There are SO many ways to get healthy and move on! The trick is finding what works for you.

    I wrote an ebook to help people let go after a breakup, called Letting Go of Someone You Love: 75 Ways to Heal a Broken Heart and Let Go of the Past

    Check it out; it may be just what you need. I hope it helps, and wish you all the best.


  10. I have been with someone that is narcissistic and constantly dumps me to go looking for a man at bars… This person is now taken meds (unprescribed) to become a female… I am so sick and tired of going through break up after break up with him/her that I really don’t know what to do..I’m so much in love with him/her that I can not picture my life without this person at all… Tonight once again he told me tomorrow is off that he don’t want to see me..I asked whats going on…and he said coz i am losing interest in you… I am at wits end…I am working a 12 step program of recovery and still am unable to let go…Its driving me crazy… Any suggestions???????

  11. Ten years ago I met whom I thought to be the love of my life. We maintained a long distance relationship for three agonizingly long years before moving in together. Three months after that, we were engaged. I was 18 and my parents were beside themselves. So I asked him to be understanding and could we wait, knowing that I intended to spend the rest of my life with him anyway.

    Three years later I found that our sex life dwindled. I had gained about 15 pounds, but he made me feel like it was 50. He would go out with friends, but not invite me. We blew up into a fight when he said he couldn’t invite me because I would embarrass him. A month later he was moving out.

    We were broken up for six months before getting back together. But I still wasn’t allowed to meet his friends or really be a part of his life. We did not move back in together and broke up again.

    Six months later and we’re back together, this time we manage to stick it out for two years. He graduated school and now we’ve broken up again. This time he told me that because I didn’t marry him, I’m at fault for us breaking up. That I shouldn’t have “let” him move out. That he dissaproves of my friends, hates my family, and “dreams of having a wife and kids” but not with me.

    I miss him and I still love him. But I’ve been given strength from all of your postings. I’m hoping that I can stay AWAY from him. I have already recieved his usuall “I’m sorry, let’s work this out,” letter and I am just trying desperately to let him go and keep him away.

  12. I have been in a relationship for 16years, we had a ceremony 15yrs ago and have had our ups and downs. Four weeks ago I found a text from a colleague to my partner saying she loved her. When my partner saw this she became almost demonic, crying, running around the house and phoning the woman to tell her I had misconstrued this text. The following day she wanted time out and would hide her phones in the car. Last week I was told by her work colleagues that she had announced to everyone she had left me but had not informed me. This week she came home and said she tried for the past 15months to fix what she was feeling but it didnt work so our relationship is ended. She denied her relationship with this other woman and this was devastating because I had already seen texts from my partner declaring her love and devotion to this other woman. She has also kept from me she has been using a visa card in my name, this was discovered when I found she had eight master cards/Visa Cards all at their maximum limit. This she tried to tell me I knew about but had forgotten. I think she knew I was never going to admit to knowing given I don’t own or like Master or Visa Cards. Have never owned one and dont intend to. Since this time I have struggled to let her go even though she has hurt me and this has affected our children and grandchildren I still love her. Police are involved and she has turned ugly on me for reporting the matter to Police. I want her back but then I find I dont want the pain and anguish of mistrust again. She said I didnt trust her and that she was sending the texts to me but I know and she knows that wasnt true. She was very controlling and held all our monies, I was unaware of the number of credit cards and am shocked at the debt she appears to be putting herself into. In regards to this other woman I dont feel much anger given it was my partner who was pursuing her not the other way. Her parting words to me were. “Your unpredictable and I can’t control you anymore” How painful that was to hear.

  13. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Will,

    Taking a break from a relationship is often a helpful way to figure out what’s really going on. How would you feel about a “trial separation”, or 3 months of time and space apart? If you dislike the idea, then maybe you need to stay in the relationship and see where it goes. But if the thought of some time apart seems like a good idea (even if it makes you sad — because we can still feel heartache at the end of even the most unhealthy relationhip), then maybe distance is what you need.

    Another option is to talk to a counselor. You don’t necessarily need months or weeks of counseling; sometimes a visit or two can help us gain clarity and insight. You might just need to bounce your thoughts and feelings off someone objective and trained, who can help you figure out what’s really going on. Many counselors are fantastic at putting things in perspective.

    I think it’s important to look at why you’re feeling drained by her. It could be her personality, or that you and she just don’t mesh well. Maybe it’s part of your experience with depression; when we’re depressed, even the most trivial tasks are exhausting! Once you figure out why you’re drained by her, you’ll be better able to decide if you should stay in the relationship.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best.


  14. Hi, This is my first time writing in any sort of blog but I thought I would try it since I appreciate the value of other’s perspectives and insight.

    I’ve been with my girlfriend almost 8 months now. We met at work last summer and she really took me by surprise at a time of my life when I really wasn’t ready for a relationship. At the time, I was coming out of a stent of mild depression and inability to sleep. It was a time of my life when I was very weak and vulnerable but tried to hide it well for the sake of being able to have a relationship. Underneath I was wrecked physically, mentally and emotionally due to the condition and dealing with past hurt…

    No matter how much I tried to contain this, it didn’t take long for her to see through it, but because of her desire to help me, stuck through it, somewhat out of care for me, and somehwat out of fear of what I might do (her words although at the time, I never percieved fear on her end). Anyway I was temporarily unstable and here was a girl that stuck by me.

    Long story short, I’ve come such a long way.. I think meeting such a sweet person, intorducing sex into my life again, and learning so much about her point of view really helped me overcome to of the causes of my condition. I can honestly say that such a transformation happened within me that I feel like a different person. She also saw the change in me, so much so that when the relationship blew up a few months ago and all the truth came out about how she really felt, she didn’t want to leave based on the person I had become. I think there was also an element of neediness on her part…regardless we are still together.

    There are so many things about her that I really like and there are also things about her that I question.. questions about her maturity level (22, Im 28), her ability to communicate, to deal with life and make it through arguments. When I look at her, I see someone that I want in my life but that I also feel that I’m being drained by her. I don’t know if it is still my issues that keep me feeling that way, my insecurity or my habit to incessantly worry and over think things or if its something about fundamentally as a person..

    I’m torn between the viewpoint of just waiting things out, having fun, loving unconditionally even though she might not be the one and trusting the way I feel now and just walking away..

    Any insight?


  15. Even though this may not be the correct forum for a diary incerpt, just because it’s as a result of an addictive relationship and my last goodbye in writting to it, especially after Laurie’s reply, here’s my lament & goodbye to the girl that once stole & kept my heart… ‘My lost love, do u really hate me that much???. There’s some things i really wanna kno coz beba I’ve almost left to never be close to you again :.(.. !! & all I can think about is that I never ever hated u or planned to do u wrong untill I found out that you loved & was seeing another behind my back, I swear it!!. You honestly broke my heart so bad, i can never fully heal no matter how much i try or pray!!!. From all you have written & said to me so far, it’s obvious u were always so many steps ahead of me in everything :(!!. & I was nothing but a phase to you!!… I honestly thought u loved me for real, I really did, up to now, I tell my self I was not just another stupid boy to you. Why can’t I let you go???. Could it be that you just knew how to pretend so much?? : /. I saw true love in your eyes, & I shall always remember that I truely loved you. You might think I’m just like every other guy coz i promised you so much & now I’m with another girl!. Well, everything I ever promised you was true and real no matter what you may say or wanna beleive. I pray to God that you may believe & never doubt it!!. The question is, “Why I’m I not with you right now?”, Is what you may ask!. Especially, if I promised that I would be there for the long run. All I can say is this… ‘My great love!!, please be true to yo your self in answering this!!.. What did you honestly expect me to do in finding out that you were still sleeping with your ex & other men including friends of mine while with me?? :(((!, yes, I fooled around too when our relationship was not at it’s best at times but God knows, I would never have left you & from the bottom of my heart loved you with all my heart till My own death :(!!!… They say time makes us forget & move on easily…., Incredibly tho, your presence, your stories, your smile, your laugh, your stupidity :P, your family, & your sex despite any woman i may see is what I think about most days!!!…. What’s wrong with me????? :((((… End’ of diary incerpt!!

  16. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Susan,

    What a dilemma — it sounds like you’re really “caught between two lovers”!

    My best advice is for you to take a break from both men for several months. I think you should move into your own place alone, and take advantage of the time and space to figure out what (and who) you really want. When you’re in the midst of living with one man and thinking about another, you can’t see your life or either man objectively. But, when you have time and space to look at your life objectively — and the men objectively — then you may have a better idea of what to do about your relationships.

    You might also consider talking to a counselor for a session or two. Often, talking to a trained professional who only has your best interests at heart can give you the clarity and support you need to make a decision about your life.

    I hope this helps, and would love to hear how things unfold!


  17. Laurie,

    I am a 50 year old women living with Bill a 41 year old man. Bill and I met 2 years ago when I was ending a very bad relationship with a man that has a substance problem. Dan the ex had not worked in 6 years due to a bad back and my resentment just kept on growing. I had told Dan for the last year that I was going to leave him, but he never beleived that I would do such a thing since he had no way of supporting himself. Bill was working on my mothers house when I met him and he looked like the most beautiful human I had ever seen in my life(still look at him that way). We had a whirlwind affair, and during that time Bill would keep on telling me he did not want a relationship. I moved in with my mother due to her health problems at the time, finally freed myself of Dan and rented my house to Bill who wanted to live in a better neighborhood since he had two young children that stayed with him on the weekend and feared for their safety at his present home. I thought that Bill had steady income and he was responsible and relaible due to his demeanor and the fact that he was such a great father. Well as the weeks went on he leaned on me to help him straighten out a problem with his drivers license and other issues. He was acting erratic and my repsonse was to turn and retreat away from him. I would hear from him every couple of days and then we became enemies. He was living in my house with two other fellows and none of them could come up with the rent. This went on for two months with him acting absurd, so I just went along my own way and threw myself into the dating market again. In between I would hear from Bill, he finally fessed up and told me he had a crack habit and that the guy that had just moved in with him over a month and a half ago fueled the need for the drug. He wanted me to move in with him so I could help him with his addiction and help him pay the bills in the house. I still had an attraction to him and I needed to get my house out of his control. My mother was doing better and even though I love her dearly, I cannot live with her, We are both dominant women who wants it their own way. I moved in with Bill threw out the other loser and took over my house. I dated other men and we kept to ourselves.I guess When I met David 3 months later warning bells went off in Bills head that I would get seriouse with David and he intervened. Bill was doing well at that time, completely off the drug and working hard at a job site across the state. Bill would only come home on weekends, when he did come home I rewarded him with a well kept house, food in the fridge and hot meals on the table. it’s very hard for me to be any other way when a man is living under the same roof and me,I just automatically turn into the domestic goddess. David at this time is coming on real strong but yet, never really affording me any of his time. Said he had a young son he was taking care of and his time was limited. I put up with the David thing because I really felt we had alot in common and both had the same intimacy needs. Not long after he announced he had testicular cancer for the second time and needed to be treated. I did not see David to much during this time. I bought books and made all type of dishes to keep his strength up, but he would get angry and tell me that he didn’t need me to take care of him. Well it finally came out that he was married to a women he said cheated on him and he didn’t love her anymore. Once I found that out I dropped him like a rock. My husband of 15 years cheated on me with his childhood sweetheart and I swore I would never do to another female what has been done to me. I will not ever date a married man! In the meanwhile Bill and I are discovering we live together very well and have some of the same interests. We do have sex from time to time and we seem to be getting closer. Bill is still saying he does not want a relationship, but yet, he has grown quite accostomed to the good care I give him and his children. When we get to close Bill doesn’t come home one night and ends up 300 miles away from home visiting and old girlfriend he has been in touch with for years. Althoug I am hurt I remind myself that he kept on telling me he didnt wasnt a relationship, I stop all the extra care I give him and carry on with my life with him as room mates. I still heard from David he would touch base once a week through text. David wanted to talk with me and I agreed, he pretty much broke me down. He said he was sorry for lying to me about him being married, but that he loved me and didn’t want to lose me and that after having cancer twice he doesn’t care about anyone elses happiness only his own. He said he wanted to leave his estranged wife and son and give up his house for me.That I would just have to say when and he would come and live with me. Bill has also decided that he doesn’t want to lose me, declares his love for me and he now wants to start a relationship. When Bill said this I was under the impression that he would start sleeping in the same bed with me. Bill has never even layed next to me and have an intimate moment. He will have sex in every other room in the house except my bedroom, he is almost afraid to cross the threshold. Bill does not like to cuddle and runs to the shower the second sex for him is over. He will hug stading up, kiss and hold hands, but that is the extent to our closeness. This has bothered me greatly for the last two months to the point that I can’t live with him anymore. I feel cold and empty every morning I wake up alone and go to bed alone. I do love Bill and have from the moment I saw him. It is so difficult for me to leave him. It has always been a matter of finances for him. He can’t seem to get steady income and I beleive that I have become his safety net that he is afraid to go without. This is no replacement for true love and it has been tormenting me that I must leave him. David is always waiting for the other shoe to drops so he can slide right in. Don’t get me wrong David would have been a more suitable partner for me if it wasn’t for his lying to me about his marriage. Please help.

  18. Congratulations on a nice article. A person can have rebound human relationships the rest of their experiences, or they can work what went wrong in a romantic relationship whether it was their fault or their partners that ended the relationship – and do things to convert those things. A individual might get into a relationship that lasts for long times but if there is still a shade from the prior relationship, the present one will either not work or will be painful for one or both. A recent divorcee needs to ask interviews of themselves and find the answers, and reckoning upon the resolutions, may well never have a rebound relationship but rather one that works.

  19. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Dj,

    I’m sorry I missed your comment, and I truly hope you’re feeling better these days!

    There’s nothing wrong with you…you were in love with her, and she turned out to be much different than you expected. You’re heartbroken, confused, and bewildered…and that’s normal.

    I suspect she did love you, because not very many people can fake a relationship for two years. I don’t know what’s going on with her, but it sounds like she’s in pain. She’s spreading her pain around, which is what people do when they’re hurt. I’m not saying YOU hurt her, but it’s a sad and common cycle for people who have been hurt to perpetuate the pain. You mentioned that she had an eating disorder, which tells me that she has some emotional health issues to sort out.

    My best advice for you is to let her go and move on. Letting go of someone you love — especially if it’s an addictive relationship — is very difficult. And, it takes time to heal from a breakup. But, I hope you know that you WILL love and laugh and live fully again, and you CAN be happy with a new girlfriend! First, though, you may have to go through a valley of healing and despair.

    But…good things are in your future! You’ll learn from this relationship, and become stronger and happier for your next one.

    I wish you all the best, and thank you for coming back to remind me that you wrote earlier!


  20. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Mark,

    I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out with this girl. You fell in love fast, and it’s heartbreaking when it doesn’t work out!

    It’s totally normal to want to talk to her sometimes. You have strong feelings for her, and those don’t just disappear. But I think you’re doing the right thing by saying good-bye and letting her go. It doesn’t sound like she’s ready for a committed relationship — even if she loves you (and she may!).

    I hope your heart heals quickly, and you love and laugh again soon…


  21. I met this girl on this online chat game. I was very young at the time (14 years old). We eventually exchanged emails and started having strong feelings for each other. In fact, for the next 5 years we talked quite frequently. I did manage to see her once over those 5 years but it was quite hard because we lived in different towns and were too young to drive. However during last summer we started to hang out because we both had cars and it was only a 30 min drive. I spent about 2 months with this girl until I found out what she was doing. We got very close quickly, we thought this whole thing was fate, we told each other how much we loved one another, she even told me she wanted to marry me eventually. But then I found everything out. I had small suspicions from the beginning and they eventually grew. I found out by myself that she was with some other guy from before and still with the whole time we were together, I was devastated and heartbroken. She said it was a huge mistake and she didn’t know what to do and she promised to leave him for me. Except she never did leave him but she did keep making promises to do so and tried to hide it that she was still with him. This process happened very many times. I couldn’t take it anymore, this happened to me again and I said goodbye to her exactly like the other times. I haven’t spoke to her in a week but I still feel this urge to sometimes talk to her even though I know how bad of a person she is.

  22. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Rick,

    First, I have to say that I’m sorry about your dad. You’re mourning for him, and you also have to cope with this addictive relationship…that’s alot for any person to handle.

    It’s good that you recognize that she’s not good for you, and that this relationship is a type of addiction. It’s easy to fall into it in the short run…but I think you have to focus on your long-term emotional and physical health. Can you imagine yourself with her in five or ten or fifteen years? Does she uplift and support you? Is she the best partner you can imagine — or that you deserve?

    When you’re thinking about these questions, I encourage you to remember that you WILL find someone who loves and respects you for who you are. I also encourage you to join a support group for addicts in recovery. You need in-person support — because nobody can succeed or achieve their goals alone! Spending time alone is good, but it’s important to balance that with interacting with other people.

    I wish you all the best, and hope you feel more power in your life soon.


  23. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Rick,

    It usually takes me a least a day or two to respond to comments — I haven’t had a chance to read yours yet, but will very soon!


  24. My Dad died two months ago, and my ex had just stopped answering calls and the door, and stayed out of my life during the hardest time I ever had. He had cancer. I took care of him almost all the time. After he died she came back with some food for the family…I broke it off with her, yet three weeks later went back again…just so damn weak! Sick in the head. And now afeter a couple of so so weeks, she wont answer her phone again or door. She likes this control which she things is power. And I dangle at the end of her rope. But I have started walking, and taking better care of me. I am not saying we are broke up I am not strong enouigh to say that, but i am tired of her promises to be more giving, to be there emotionally for me and so on. If we have one small spat, she wont answer her phone for weeks. Its so bizarre but whats worse is I then chase her to get her back, even if I did nothing wrong, and she wants me back and we get back and we make promises. But the only one who gives emotionally is me. This doesnt make her bad, but she does have a maliscious streak and uses my insecurities against me. But I have been thinking in my mind, “what is loving behaviour”? And I cannot find much of that from her. Love is an action word and she does not provide love for me, for us. And I am so insecure and jealous, afraid iof her going to a bar (which she did this past summer whenwe split for awhile) and dancing with guys. I am not into bars and dont like that lifestyle, she says she doesnt either but two weeks after we split she was drinking in a bar. So there is evidence that she is not true to herself as well, and certainly not to me. I have been in recovery from addictions forn over 17 years, and have worked so hard and came so far in areas of healing and emotional freedom, yet now I seem to have given away my power yet again, to someone else. There is a part of me deep inside that feels worthless I guess and I have to work on it, I am tired of playing the abandonment game. I have ‘terror of abandonment’ not fear of it. And I thought that with her it would be ok cause she seemed so kind and sweet at first. I am going to go for my walk today, and head to the country to an isolated cabin for a break for a couple of days. Although, I know on sat nite I will be obsessing about where she is…thats gonna be rough, lots of prayers, use of recovery tools, like POWERLESSNESS over people places and things will get me through. I just wish I could find someone who would not use my honesty and insecurities to hurt me. Someone who would be coming to the cabin with me, and being there for me. Thx for reading.

  25. I am in a place in my life where I so badly want to move but have no idea where to even start from.
    I want to let go so desperately and with every failed attempt, I wish I was dead. She is not the sweet innocent girl, I had thought her to be, but still I loved her. I was so in love with this girl that In my head, I pictured how our kids would look like. 
    A previous relationship she had been in was what made her who she is, she was manipulated, abused, humiliated & even shunned by her overprotective family over it. Sadly for me, everything that was done to her, she did to me, i met her in my early twenties where I was so naive. She verbally& physically abused me, humiliated me, alienated my friends, & controlled every aspect of my life, convinvinvg me that she truelly loved me like no other.. Jokingly saying Her love for me was an obsession.
     Brain washed, I gave up on having a life of my own & devoted it to her. Even after all this, as if to add salt to injury, she kept in contact with her abusive ex &slept with him a number of times behind my back which at first she denied with every breath. When she realised, I had all evidence of her lies, she confessed crying saying it was out of force. So stupid, I believed it, but more truth came out & she was still contacting him later. I bled my heart dry of blood & painful tears, but still I feel so much pain wen I think of how much I loved her,& wat I gave up for her. I think I still do.. She did so many things to convince me she truelly loved me, & wanted to start a new life with me, but after so many lies, I jus cry hoping there were some true memories of happiness & love in our past. She spoke of having my baby & would stop it at nothing trying to ruin my life if I ever left her & would consider it as betrayal. 
    Well, I went cold turkey after she trashed my house one day, & promptly moved out & cut all phone contact, giving back all her stuff & that’s how I got out of it about 2 months ago.
    Im now gone & her last MSG horrifyingly reads, “I’m the only guy she has & will forever truely  freely love with all her heart, body & mind & that she prays to heaven she did not lose me for good because to her I was her soulmate. Now, I can’t eat properly, sleep, be in peace & i have a constant heavy heart thinking did she truelly love me? Memories linger of her friends tellin me I had changed her for better & helped her get over her past abuse and some serious eating disorder. Memories of her crying to forgive her indescretions which Had I not found out by my self, she blatantly admits would have hidden them to not risk losing me at the time. Her claim is she was raped by her ex while with me, evidence shows she made plans 2meet up with him when he demanded sex and she’d hide her phone always wen texts came thru. I was gobbled up by her strong personality & manipulative ways, yet i stayed loving, providing & even did her Uni reports when mine were past their due dates. Two years could not have been a lie could it?, I have friends & family who love me& care but all I do is show them what they wanna see, a smile here, a smile there when truth be told my hearts in a million pieces. For all the bad that she did, she always mentioned that it was only coz she loved me so much that she used to go so crazy & take out her past on me. Y do I still feel, I love her, y do I still feel I have something to say to her, knowing very well that the type of personality she has will only leave me in 10times more pain. She did so much other wrong that’s too intense to describe. Take this, She has never apologised for her abuse to me, & most likely never will even though I have apologised for any mistakes on my part. Last I got from her is a bunch of emails saying she slept with this or that other guy while we dated and that she hates me & does not care about me at all. She said hurtful stuff during our relationship too when we fought & she always explained it was to cause me direct pain like she was feeling, but never meant any of it. 
    To the readers relief, I’m lost for words. I just want to know, is there something terribly wrong with me?, is it love that I still feel for her?, y can’t the excrushiating pain that no one sees behind a fake smile go away. More importantly, did she truely love me or does this girl sound like she’s just beyond good at lies. I’m I a fool? 

  26. I have read a lot of what everyone has written and feel like I can empathize with much of the heart ache. My perspective is that we are attracted to others on a primal level and are unaware of the effect it has on us. I often hear women complain about men who cheat and treat them poorly and then I notice they chose the tall alpha male with the with high testosterone. He is successful, competative, confident, and often arrogant. They are Presidents, actors, atheletes, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, Govenors, etc.. They are wired to spread their seed to as many women as they can get away with. He might love you but he wants every attractive women he can get his hands on and will risk losing you to have them all. He will leave you for a younger women when you get older. Find a man who you are attracted to but who is not too alpha. Someone who could not replace you easily. I think it is harder for women because they are mislead by men who are out of their league who just want them for sex. Many women point their noses up at nice guys who would worship the ground they walk on and go for men more alpha who use and abuse them.

  27. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    I’m sorry to hear things aren’t working out for you and your ex-boyfriend. It doesn’t sound like you’re a good match, which I think you’ve figured out!

    It might be better for you in the long run to let him go. Don’t contact him, and don’t ask him for advice. Focus on healing from this relationship and rebuilding your self-esteem…and getting emotionally and spiritually ready for the next man in your life.

    You WILL love and laugh again…it just takes time to heal from unhealthy relationships and become ready to fall in love again. I’m glad you shared your experience, and welcome your thoughts anytime.


  28. Hi,

    I haven’t been reading all the comments (a bit lazy, a bit lack of time). It will probably sound silly and as if it was sth too short to become a problem. I was dating this guy for 6 months, and at the beginning he was really incredibile towards me, but after a while I realized he is so self centered and I can’t cope with it. Everytime I would show him any kind of emotions he would become really rude ( and it was totally not like that the first two months while he was running after me)
    I’ve tried to ignore it for a while, and the last couple of weeks were just a torture for both of us and he told me he simply isn’t into being in relationship with me anymore.
    I totally understood that, though I still wanted him in my life for the good things we had at the time. I told him that was ok with me, and it’s better for us to be friends otherwise we might come to a point where we hate eachother.
    Than he had spent two months calling me everyday just to talk on the phone for couple of hours and to help him over the phone with different stuff. I thought he wants me back ( which was kind of logical to me? And he knew I had feelings for him).
    I went to Italy for a month…and left at home all devices he could reach me on. Came back and he called me after a while, came to my place….and so the story goes. I thought we are getting back together, but he just bacame terrible to me and left with no answer for 6 months. If tried to stay friend but no answer.

    I called him for an advice ( relly needed it (mistake) cause we do similar jobs), he was profesionall,me too and that was it. After two months he started calling me, sending me chat messages…so I thought maybe I was just too much for him the first time so I should give him another chance.

    And I gave a chance to hime after his two months trying, but then he told me he wants no relationship at the moment, but he really likes me. I was stupid enough to take the “great offer” he made and even better to understand him.

    After three months, during which I really tried to be “good girlfriend” and not to bring up and kind of attachment or emotions, we got in fight one night out with his friends cause I drunk a bit more and showed him a bit more attention that it was expected from me to do ( No drama, no other ppl included). He got mad, and no answer on his phone since, no anything.

    I don’t want to get back with him. I feel better for writing this. My self esteem is really low at the moment and while with him. And this is which hurts me the most cause normally I’m really comunicative, openminded person, easily making friends, being appreciated by others not only privately, but profesionally and in sports life, so this is why this really makes me sad.

    Thanks for listening and sorry for any lapsus lingue, I’m not a native speaker.

  29. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    I’m sorry your relationship ended this way — and I definitely don’t think you’re nuts! You’re a caring woman who loved a man for five years. You’ve learned alot from this relationship, and it will make you stronger and healthier for the next love in your lofe.

    I don’t know why your boyfriend was having internet relationships with other three or four other women at the same time…he’s trying to fill some sort of need with these women. The bottom line is that he’s got a few issues to work out.

    The right thing to do, in my opinion, is to let him go and move on. It’s painful, sad, heartbreaking…I know how hard it is to get out of a relationship. But, if you can’t trust him and you can’t forgive him anymore, then you have to let go.

    I wish I had the magic words to make the pain go away, but I don’t. You WILL heal from this heartbreak and you will love and laugh again, Aline. It’ll just take time.

    If you’d like to read articles about letting go of someone you love, I’d be happy to paste the links here. And, feel free to come back anytime and let me know how you are.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you,


  30. The only comfort I find at this very moment of my life is seeing that I am not alone in this dreadful experience…I am sorry for everyone here, I share the pain.
    I just had to leave my boyfriend…it’s 3 days now. We met 5 years ago and we fell in love immediately, it was such a warm feeling…although I was 25 and he 43. In the first year I found out he had many other women in his life, contacts with many at the same time…some were ex’es who remained “friends”, some were women he had found on chat from all over the world…he even traveled abroad to meet them in the time when our relation was 1 yr old. I discovered the situation and he apologized, promised to change, etc…because of my love for him, I decided to continue our relationship.
    During the 4 years afterwards, I would not find peace; I loved him so much, but I became obsessed with him, he was the only focus of my life. And also I became paranoia, wouldn’t trust him anymore…also because during all those years he kept his mobile off when we were together. We had so many fights, I became jealous and controlling for every single thing. At a time when I went to counseling and started to trust him, I again caught him chatting and sending his picture to some woman. He said it was a “stupid joke”, and promised he would have never met that woman. He promised again, but again my trust was broken. I tried again, but the bad feeling I had inside wouldn’t give me peace. He kept complaining I made his life a prison, that I changed him with my controlling behavior and he didn’t know himself anymore. I became then more “relaxed” and tried to give him space. He knew I wanted to get married and have a child; I am 31 now. Then I felt a strange urge to interrogate him…and what I found out? During few days we were apart he had been registered in a chat and chatted with girls at least 20 yrs younger then him (I am 18 yrs younger than him), and have been exchanging pictures and have been calling them. At least 2 of these girls from Asia send him emails now, pictures and sms and telling they miss him…(God, how can a woman loose dignity and “miss” a man she knows from a chat since 2 days???). He replies to both of them, same wording, “hi my angel, my honey…my sweet…”…and at the same time he is behaving good to me…
    Am I gone nuts or what? I would understand maybe a man falling for another woman…and maybe cheating…but a man who has a relationship since 5 years, 4 of which living together…and this man creates this type of internet relationships not with 1, but with 3-4 women at the same time?!?
    I left the house.
    I am dieing to see him, hug him, and feel his warmth…I miss him, but I cannot forgive anymore, and I do not want to live my life in doubts again…I will not be able to trust him anymore…
    What is the right thing to do? What now???

  31. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Karolina,

    I’m sorry to hear about this stage of your relationship — and that’s all it may be! Your boyfriend may be stressed and preoccupied with law school, and unable to express his love or affection.

    The way I see it, you have a couple of options. One, you can call and talk to him about it directly. Tell him you feel distant, and ask if anything is wrong. He might open up about what’s going on in his life. Or two, you could give him time and space, and focus on your own life and studies. He may need some room to breathe. Sometimes people need “spaces in their togetherness”, which means they just need time to do their own thing. If you’re truly like a married couple, then you WILL come back together after a stage of distance or lack of communication. That’s what relationships are often about: ups and downs, periods of closeness and periods of distance.

    I can’t tell you which option to choose…you need to trust your heart and gut about that! But, I hope you let me know how things are going — I’m wishing you all the best!


  32. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Lee,

    I’m sorry to hear about your girlfriend…you may not be able to see it now, but I think you’re better off without her! She’s had so many unhealthy relationships in the past and couldn’t talk to you — that’s not the basis of a strong, happy, secure relationship.

    You need to let go of her and move on. I know how hard that is, but trust me — the sooner you shake off those old memories and questions about the past, the happier you’ll be. You gave all you could to her and that relationship, but it wasn’t enough. It’s time to move on.

    If you need some tips on letting go of someone you love, let me know. I’ve written a few articles on letting go of the past and moving on, and I can post the links here. You might even be comforted and feel supported by the comments other readers have made about overcoming addictive relationships. You’re not alone, and you CAN be happy again.

    Take care, and let me know if you’d like some tips for letting go…


  33. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    I have to apologize — for some reason, your comment got right by me and I missed it! I’m sorry to be responding so late, and hope you’re doing better these days.

    You deserve better than your ex-boyfriend. It doesn’t sound like he was over his ex, and he was disregarding your feelings and relationship by inviting his ex-girlfriend out with you and him!

    You HAVE to let him go, because that relationship was not meant to be. You have no choice. Soon, you’ll feel much better about the breakup — and you’ll even be happy that he broke it off.

    I’d love to hear how you’re doing these days, and if you comment on Quips & Tips again, I promise to respond sooner! :-)


  34. Hello there,
    I havnt been able to talk to anyone about this. I mt the love of my life when i took a year off of college moved to nyc and met him in my building.. after a month long inseprable friendship we became intamite and soonly after moved in together. We have beeen in love since the day we met. However after living together for 3 yeaqrs and moving to california he seems distant and doesnt reciprocate my love for him , only every other day. i dont know if what were going through is a rough patch since hes in law school and im still in undergrad..or is it a “im in a higher level of learing” situation where its time for something else.. our familiees know each other, we have all vacationed together and i just dont know.. we have been through soo much, i feel like were married already.. help..
    sincerely, 22yr med student

  35. Hello, ive just split up with my partner when i found a filthy email she’d sent to a friend on facebook. Im a 31 yr old man and she is 40 and i feel so letdown as i did everything for her and was a good man, i just feel so letdown. She could never talk to me about anything so i left with no explanation to why she did it. I keep remembering all the times when she went to see her ‘friends’ sister, was she really seeing him? She has had more than 30 partners, been married before and blames all the previous breakups on the other men. We split up for a bit only 2 mnths ago and 4 days later invited a man friend from work to lodge with her for 2 weeks, she claims he was just a friend but i feel as if ive been took for a fool for the past 3 yrs. Why do i keep thinkng its my fault. I sent her a letter telling her she was a filthy promiscuos woman who has mulitple personalities, im glad i wrote it but i cant stop thinking about her, and torture myself thinking of the sordid details, cant seem to get back on track. Sorry about the rant but i thought at her age she would no better, cant help thinking its a mental problem with her. please help, as its ruined my christmas and to top it off ive come down sciatica :-(

  36. I met a guy on New Year’s Eve this year. He was turning 40, had his own home/job, but never lived with a woman and had not dated anyone for longer than six months. Everyone at the time said it was too good to be true, but I just thought I’d landed on my feet…
    We fell in love and within a short time were together four and five nights a week. We lived only a few miles apart so everything fell into place, until I saw his flaws. After six months he became more and more argumentative and would often pass sarcastic and hurtful remarks to me. I brushed it off because I adored him, even though we would often row.
    There was also the issue of his ‘platonic’ friend. They’d had a fling a long time ago but were still friends. He was single when she was and they’d socialise together. In fact in the end I was convinced they were each others’ crutches. Both were insecure and relied on each other for assurance when things went wrong. Thing is, he couldn’t let her go when we met. At one stage he wanted her to join us for a drink, when we were going as a couple!
    He broke it off three weeks ago after a series of rows. He walked away, saying he didn’t love me enough to make it work. I was heartbroken, and still am. Have cried non-stop since, even though I know he will not change. I am convinced he is in love with her, even though he said he considered her as a friend only.

    Please help. I am in bits and cannot let him go.


  37. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Ana,

    A big part of getting the strength to let go of someone you love is to keep reminding yourself why you need to make the break. Make a list of reasons you’re getting out of the relationship, and look at those reasons every time you feel tempted to get back with him.

    Also, here’s a link to my article about letting go of someone you love — you may find some helpful suggestions there:

    How to Let Go of Someone You Love

    Look at tips #7 and #10 especially. It’s not easy to get over any relationship and it takes time, but you it DOES get easier as the days and weeks go on. You just have to hang on through the worst of it, which is at the beginning. It WILL get better, trust me!

    Read that article about letting go, and try to do at least three things on the list. Let me know how it goes…

    Best wishes,

  38. PLEASE HELP!!! someone. anyone.

    Ok I have been in a relationship for going on 3 yrs now (in decemeber!) and since the very beginning it has been complicated because despite the fact that he is 25 now he has never been in a real commited relationship other than with me. I have cought him in countless lies about talking to other women and such but the one thing that is REALLY breaking us is this…two years ago i got pregnant for the first time by him and the very next day after we found out we were expected HE CHEATED ON ME!!! He tried denying it like crazy but I just recently found out from his own family that it indeed did happen just as I suspected. Anyway, I have never fully recovered from it and bring up to him all the time causing countless fights and so on. Honestly, our relationship could NOT be any worse!!! I dont trust him I am not happy and I feel like I’m disrespecting myself by knowing what he did and still sticking around. The only problem is…I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO LET GO, literally. I have tried so many times and each time I find myself asking for HIM back. Pathetic huh?
    I just want to be strong for the first time in my life and get on with my life, even now I know if I could just get him out of my life for good I would be so much happy, unfortunately its alot easier said than done!
    Please help me someone, I want to finally look in the mirror and not be disgusted :(

  39. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Janelle,

    I don’t think you’re crazy or a lunatic, my friend. You’re just in an unhealthy relationship with a man who isn’t a match for you. He’s not treating you well — and you’re not being your best self! You two do not bring out the best in each other, and you need to let go of him.

    Love is alot, but it’s not always enough to overcome other problems. Love doesn’t cure everything — and it doesn’t solve or heal addictive relationships!

    I think you should take a break from your boyfriend. Stay away from him for four or six months (or even longer).

    And, I’m always a big proponent of counseling. An objective, trained professional can shed light on relationship problems and personality issues that cause problems. She or he will be able to help you figure out if you have attention issues, an addictive personality, or if you’re just in love with the wrong man!

    I hope this helps…please do think about getting help (you won’t regret taking care of your mental and emotional health!), and take a break from your boyfriend.

    Let me know how things are going!

    Best wishes,

  40. Dear Laurie,

    I feel like I am in a dependent mess. I am 24, my boyfriend 27. We have been together for almost 2 years. We moved in together pretty quickly, about 9 months into the relationship. We fight so much, about everything. He doesn’t antagonize much of anything, usually it’s me. But I love him dearly, he just likes to spend more time drinking with his friends than with me, therefore I feel robbed of quality time with him.

    Two weeks ago he asked me to move out. I can completely understand, I mean every weekend he pseudo breaks up with me. Who wants to live like that? Since then I have been acting like a crazy person. One night he accused me of cheating on him (which I have never!) and he locked himself in his room turned up his music so loud and ignored me. I decided I would flip the breaker for his room to stop acting like a child, and talk with me about his accusations. It didn’t work, he stayed in his room.

    The next day he is painting a room in the house, and he left his phone out, I grabbed it and read the texts. He had asked one of his female friends to move in with him. She is quite unpleasant to me, which is completely unwarranted, I think she has territory issues.

    I have always been honest about “snooping”, so I told him I read her text (I couldn’t read his because he always erases all of the texts so I wont read them). He was upset, and tried to snatch the phone away from me. I ran, and texted her, pretending to be him, saying that if she moved in she would need to treat me with love and respect. And to treat me how she would expect to be treated in return. She replied with, “now that won’t be very much fun”. UGH! This girl is my worst nightmare of a female best friend of a boyfriend. She has female friend issues needless to say, and yes I have made many attempts to do the noble thing and befriend her.

    My point is, I feel like a lunatic, and I can’t figure out why I go to such extremes to control situations. I want to be in a healthy relationship with him, but with my crazy mind, I don’t know if that is possible. I believe I have addictive tendencies here. Or at least major attention issues. Should I be seeking professional help? Being committed? My boyfriend tells me I’m crazy all the time, I am starting to believe it…

    Your thoughts about this situation is greatly appreciated!


  41. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for sharing your story, Rebecca — you’re definitely not alone!

    The thing to remember is that, sadly, love isn’t enough. We can love someone with all our heart, mind, and soul — and still not be able to have a healthy, happy relationship with him or her. Hollywood makes love and happily ever after seem so easy, but real life isn’t like that. Neither is real love.

    And we can’t control how we feel. You can love him all you want and accept your feelings as part of who you are and how you feel….but you can also choose to let him go because he’s not good for you. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you have to be with him.

    I’m glad you took the time to comment. :-)

    Best wishes,

  42. to everyone who has expressed their feelings and stories I can relate! And it is so helpful for me to hear others who are going through similar situations!
    I am still dealing with the aftermath of an addictive relationship that i fear will never end! Basically I was with a guy for five years off and on, and by that i mean it was mostly off, but still hooking up. It is hard to sum up the relationship but it is the classic case of me giving and putting forth so much of an effort waiting for him to change or finally “realize” what he has. He is the typical charmer, with a gift for playing words to sound like hes forever in love, cannot find anyone else who compares, theres no one who he has as much passion and feelings for. blah blah blah. So the basic and key points with our relationship and why it ended this last time was… throughout the 5 years i had helped nurse and care for him through two surgeries. He was an athlete so this was a huge upset for him. Losing his sport and having to deal with feeling unable or worthless I did everything I could to be there for him. Trying to put my feelings on hold for him, and not seem too needy or pushy or clingy. He was always telling me how much he loved me, but he would say things like he wasnt able to get back together or completely commit to me because he wasnt confident enough with himself to be a good boyfriend. He wanted to feel worthy and he was dealing with so much i settled and did not push. I was there like a stupid idiotic easy call girl.
    Then I come to find out once he starts getting back into football, feeling a little more confident, he started seeing another girl behind my back. A girl who he already knew i hated. When i found out i hit the fan. I was so angry and hurt and devastated. But the worst part is the week i found out about this i also had told him about my own surgery i would have to undergo. I am an athlete as well and this injury was devastating for me. loosing my sport, school scholarship, and an unsteady family life he threw that at me. The one person i wanted there for me, who I thought would understand better than anyone what I was going through. He chose her because he said when she found out that he and I had still been hooking up he “didn’t want to hurt her” and saw the pain it caused her. They ended up getting together. after all his crap of not wanting to be a boyfriend period he got with her. Sooooo….
    I spend months getting over him, and I thought I had. I dated around and was finally feeling stable. And i went through my surgery and recovery with a broken heart. Then like so many other times he then comes back into my life. I had needed a favor and he used it as a was to inch back in. Now saying the same old things like how much he loves me how right we are and perfect it feels with me. no one compares (he is still with the girl) and basically tries to get in my pants. He acts jealous of other guys and possessive saying hell never stop loving me. So stupidly i agree to see him and all those feeling come back for me. I have no idea why! I buy into the lines he says when were in person. It is only when i am away from him i think clearly. as of now he wants me to be like a second girlfriend. never offering to break up with his actual girlfriend i am so appalled with myself for still having feelings for him. It sounds terrible and i know I am dumb but i dnt know how to get over this guy. As i rant of all the terrible things i know ive left out all the amazing parts. Because he and I honestly have had so many of those amazing times. Where I have never felt closer to anyone. But basically the guys cheated, and after me being there for him, washing his hair after shoulder surgeries, giving my everything. the one time i needed him he cheated and bailed.
    I dnt know how ill ever fully get him out of my life, and sadly i still secretly havnt given up on the idea of him realizing it. even though i am too embarrassed to admit that to my friends. Its just nice to have an outlet with people going through similar stories, so i do not feel alone.
    Thank you and I pray yall have an easier time moving on then i have lol

  43. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Chrissy,

    That’s a tough question and such a difficult situation — and I don’t think it’s easily answered. But, I do have two suggestions for you to think about…

    One is to try to always have someone else around when he’s around. Anyone will do: a neighbor, your mom, a friend, your babysitter. The idea is to avoid being alone with him and your son, and avoid all signs of intimacy. The less time you spend together, the less he’ll think you two are still together or have hope for the future. Encourage him to spend time with his son, without you.

    Another suggestion is to explain the black and white of the situation: tell him you don’t think your relationship will work out with him for X reasons (explain or list them), but you hope he will stay in your son’s life. If this doesn’t work for him (your ex), then it doesn’t work for him….you might not be able to make sure your son still sees his dad. Some fathers just don’t see their kids.

    This would be a choice your EX makes (not to see his son because he’s angry or hurt) — and not something for you to feel guilty about. Of course, it’s not as easy as that — you might still feel guilty — but you can’t live your life out of guilt or fear.

    Regarding your stepkids — can you see them every so often? I don’t know where they live, but it would be so good for them to not lose you totally. Even just sending them cards or calling once in a while might be helpful to them; it would show them you still care.

    I’m afraid there may be no way to avoid heartache and a bit of hurt. Separating from someone after seven years affects so many people — but you can find ways to minimize the pain, I think.

    If there are any single parent support groups or divorce support care in your area, I suggest checking them out. Connecting with people who are going through the same things as you — or who have come out on the other side — can be comforting and helpful.

    Best wishes,

  44. I have been with this guy for 7 years. We have a 5 year old son together. I have been for years knowing that I really dont like how he treats me. He has 3 children from a previous marriage which now since I have been around so long in their lives they call me mom.
    Recently (Feb) moved out of his home to get my thoughts in order away from him. We still hang out sometimes, since he only lives a few miles away so we do alot with our son together, but I still don’t like how he treats me. I find myself wondering where all my friends went and my family, and since moving out I realize he didn’t really like anyone around and if they did come around while we were together he would some how make them fell uncomfortable and wanna leave. My problem is I want him cleared from my head. But with a child together and his children call me mom, its so hard. I have in many ways left him inside my head, but how do I make it clear to a person who seems to only see it black or white. How do I let go but still let my son see his Dad and the guilt of my three step children?

  45. Thank you very much for taking the time to read and respond to my story. I’m so used to hearing people say “follow your heart”, but I thought about what you said and you’re absolutly right there has to be something more than just love.

    I need to be strong for my daughter and I’m very thankful that you pointed that out because now everytime I get upset about not being with him I’ll remember that I’m doing it for her which makes things alot easier.

    You’re an Angel for taking time out of your day to respond and give advice to strangers.

    You’re appreciated….

    God bless you Laurie :-)

  46. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Darla,

    I’m sorry you’re in such a tough situation…and the worst part is that sometimes love isn’t enough. No matter what the Hollywood movies and romance novels teach us, the truth is that we can love someone with all our heart….and still have to let him go. Sometimes people just aren’t good for us, which is why addictive relationships don’t work, and why we have to move past them.

    Your boyfriend did completely disrespect you, and he has proven that he can’t be trusted. People do change, and maybe he is changing — but change doesn’t happen overnight!

    I suggest putting some distance between you and him until he’s had a few months to live out his “changes.” Give him time to sort out his problems with the police and get his career on track.

    In the meantime, find your own place to live and build your own strong, healthy, fulfilling life. Just because he doesn’t respect you doesn’t mean you have to disrespect yourself! Listen to what your gut and your head is telling you. Your heart is in love with him, and that’s fine…but your heart isn’t rational. Your heart isn’t looking out for the long-term benefits.

    Again, you can love and miss someone terribly, and still have to leave because he’s not good for you.

    You’re right: you and your daughter both deserve to have a good family. But, what will she learn if she grows up seeing you bend over backwards for a man who doesn’t behave with honor or love? And, what will she learn if she grows up seeing you do things you don’t want to do? You want her to grow up to be a strong, healthy, vibrant, independent woman….which means you have to be that woman. She can’t learn how to take care of herself and love herself unless you take care of yourself and love yourself!

    I wrote an article on leaving abusive relationships, and a reader asked almost the exact same question as you — except her boyfriend is quite mentally and emotionally abusive. Another reader gave her an excellent answer about why she should get over that addictive relationship and move on.

    Here’s the link to that article:
    How Do You Leave a Mentally Abusive Relationship?

    I hope this helps a little, Darla. I hope you’re able to leave him — still encourage his relationship with your daughter, but separate yourself from him until he can prove he can commit to you and your daughter. Right now, he’s just all talk.

    I wish you all the best, and welcome you back to share your thoughts or talk about how it’s going anytime. It’ll be painful, but…at least it’s only short-term pain.


  47. Me & David met over the internet (myspace) we met up and didn’t engage in any intimate activity or where interested in becoming a couple but remained friends for about 1yr.

    We started speaking more frequently & became interested in eachother & have been in a relationship with him for 2yrs now. When our relationship first started I had recently left a relationship because my partner was unfaithful to me. I was hurt & I guess it made it easier for me to get over this by finding someone else. I felt an emmense amount of fault on why my last relationship failed (I would always tell myself I could of been a nicer & more caring person & I would make sure to do that in my next relationship) which is why I went into the relationship with David with my heart wide open. David also let me know that his last relationship failed for the same reason as mine, his partner had been unfaithful to him & I got it in my head that we could help eachother through it & creat an honest healthy fulfilling relationship of our own.

    About a month into our relationship I found out that he was involved with another woman. He would leave the room to take calls & if he recieved text messages he’d leave as well. One night he left his phone in the same room as me & even though I felt guilty (like I was being very insecure) I picked it up and read through the messages. He had pictures of a woman named Victoria as well as a few text messages…nothing too extreme was said but the tone they used with each other was not one you would use with a friend. I quckly read through them before he got back in the room and confronted him about it when he came in. He claimed that she was just a friend & I told him that I knew better, told him it was over & proceeded to leave his house. He stopped me and confessed that he had met her on myspace and had been talking to her for about 3 weeks but had never actually met up with her. He said it was all through phone conversations and text messages. He seemed very sorry about what he had done and claimed that he did it because he wasn’t sure where our relationship was going & he was insecure. I decided to forgive him but I told him that I would not stay with him if he ever did anything like this again.

    Our relatinship was very confusing to me. He would pick on me about the way I looked but then other times he would say that I was s**y & beautiful. His friends have a very corrupt way of seeing women…sometimes they would say very disrespectful things to me in front of him & I would defend myself but he would act like it wasn’t even happening. He would spend most of his time with me though & stopped going out with them to clubs even though they would give him a hard time about it. We would get into arguements sometimes & he would push and shove me. He did slap me in my face 2 different times in front of other people but he’s never left any bruises. He has an alcohol addiction he doesnt get drunk every single day but on nights that he does he becomes very aggressive towards me and only me. When he does this I try to be nice & have patience (thinking that I’m the sober one) and reason with him but its no use.

    My father is in the military & he got orders to move away to California. We where both very hurt and sad that this was happening but promised to stay faithful and make this relationship work no matter what. Once I got to California I felt very depressed inside & I would constantly think about him. Of course I didnt have a job so I would have to wait to call him at night to preserve minutes on my phone. He would pick up the phone but never really seemed very excited to hear from me. I stayed in California for 2 and a half months until he convinced me to move back to stay with him. So I did, I left home & drove 15hrs to go see him. The first night I got there he didn’t spend as much time with me as I thought he would. I remember being so tired from the trip that I just wanted to lay on the couch with him and relax but he didnt want to so he spent that night playing video games on the computer. The next night we went to the movies & after he said he was going out to see his friends. Maybe I’m wrong but I figured that after 15hours of driving to see him he would want to spend the first nights together. I told him that this was my second night here and I wanted to spend it with him but he left anyway. I got into my car & chased after him and told him that if he walked away from me I was going back to his house packing my stuff and leaving…he responded “do whatever you want”. So I left and drove 9hrs to live with my Aunt.

    I didn’t call him for days but I kept recieving emails from him so I finally called. He apologized and said that he had been very selfish & still loved me very much. I stayed with him. Things where great for a while but it soon faded. Alot of times I couldnt get in touch with him, he was never home & he would go for days without calling me. He would call sometimes from diff. numbers. I would talk myself into going out but I felt dead inside and I never really enjoyed myself. Men would try to talk to me but they wheren’t him. I have a very strong mind when It comes to being faithful in my relationships so talking to someone else was out of the question. The way he was acting just finaly took its toll so I told him that maybe we should just go our seperate ways. He insisted that I was talking crazy and got on a bus that same night to come stay with me. We moved out and got an apt. together but the stress of going to work (he never had a job while we where dating) & paying bills was too much for him. He said he wanted to provide a better life for us and he was going to join the military but he wanted to spend the last couple of weeks at home with his family. So we drove back 9hrs to his mothers house. He was slacking on getting everything moving to join the Military like he said. One day I was watching television and he claimed that I was starring at a guy on TV and hit me. I was very angry and decided right there and then that he would never put his hands on me again. I packed all my stuff that very second and left back to California.

    I was so ready to leave him and move on with my life but a month after I got to California I found out that I was pregnant with his child. I told him and he was very upset, he said he needed 5 months to think and do things with his friends. I told him that I didnt have 5 months and I brought up the plans he had for the military. He said he would do it & started the whole process of joining. I had no medical insurance so our plan was for me to fly down there, get married so he could put me as a dependant so I could get prenatal care. When my flight landed his mother was there to pick me up…she then told me that he had been arrested the night before and thats why he wasnt able to pick me up. She bailed him out and but now he had a pending felony which ruined his plans to join the military.

    I came back to California & I’m attending school full time. So far he hasn’t done a thing to help me with the baby. He’s been telling me he’s going to get a job but hasn’t. He has managed to get arrested 2 other times & now has 2 pending felonys. He went to jail and I would write to him. I always had a feeling that he was being unfaithful throughout our relationship but I never had proof so I couldnt just blame him. I decided to test him and I made a fake profile on myspace of a girl. After he got out of jail I started having conversations with him through this profile. He immediatly started flirting & even invited her (me) to dinner & a movie. Here he is telling me he has no money for pampers but he’s willing to spend $50-$70 on a complete stranger. I finaly confronted him & he started blaming it on his brother (he has a twin) but I knew better so I stopped talking to him for about a week and a half. He finally fessed up and told me that he is a complete idiot and that he is sorry for everything he’s ever done to me. He claims he sees things in a different way now & wants to really be there for me and the baby. Ive asked him what has made him change his mind and he says “he’s never felt so close to losing me”. This is the longest Ive EVER kept my mind set on leaving him & I havent called him since that happened. He says he went to interview and is sure he’s going to get the job by the end of this week. He wants me & the baby to move back to live with him (at his mothers house which I hoestly dont want to do) until he’s able to get the charges dismissed & get back to the military plans he had. He says that he doesnt drink anymore & that he’s really ready this time. And he’s basically made it clear recently that I either take him back now or he’s just going to move on.

    I’m very confused & I dont know what to believe anymore. I feel very guilty because I feel like if I dont take him back I’ll be taking my babys father away and I know she deserves to have a good family. On the other hand though…what if he hasn’t changed? Then we would be better off without him in our everyday lives. I love this man with ALL of my heart & I wish I could just get over what he did but I try and it just hurts. I feel like he completely disrespected me. I do miss him alot though and my heart is destroyed. I dont know what to do…I really need help.

  48. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Susie,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and insights! You sound very self-aware, and I know the counseling helps with that. You also sound like a smart, rational woman — a survivor.

    I found it especially interesting that you’re trying to separate the addict from the real person underneath all the problems. I don’t see it quite that way; I think the addict IS the real person. I don’t mean that he’s ONLY about his bad choices, betrayals, lies, and addictions…but that is part of who he really is.

    In other words, I don’t think we can separate our “good” and “bad” selves. We are whole. He is who he is, and you have the choice to love him as he is — good and bad, without separating his bad qualities. Or, you can close that chapter of your life. You can still love him, still wish the best for him…….and decide that who he is as a WHOLE man isn’t the healthiest thing in your life.

    I think I understand why you want to separate the addict from the “real” man….but I think that keeps you mired in the same old marriage, with the same old struggles. Making that distinction makes it more confusing and difficult to figure out what you want to do with your life.

    I also think that it’s very, very difficult to leave a marriage or long-term relationship. Even relationships of 2 or 3 years can be so hard to leave! We’re scared we’ll never find someone new to love us, never have another chance to connect with someone.

    The familiar – no matter how unsatisfying, unhealthy, or abusive it is – is safer and easier than the unknown. You’re poised to jump off into the unknown, and that is terrifying.

    I encourage you not to feel pressured to make a decision right away. Maybe you’ll resume your marriage (but hopefully it won’t be the same one!), or maybe you’ll venture off on your own. Either way, it’s your choice and your life. But, give yourself the gift of time. I know you’ve traveled and explored different ways of healing…but I encourage you not to rush into a big decision right away.

    You don’t have to decide right away what you want to do with the rest of your life! Don’t let your husband pressure you. Take a deep breath, and give yourself a 3 or 6 month window to just live and heal and breath. Let him keep working through his own issues. I know it’s been a year since you and he separated, but it takes ages to move past such shocking realizations and huge betrayals from a man you thought was a loving, caring husband.

    Healing is a process that takes time. And, it’s full of setbacks and leaps foward…as well as periods of what seems to be stagnation.

    You know how fast time flies: maybe you could even take a whole year to think. Work on how your father figures into this. Let your heart, mind, and soul recover from the shock. Figuring out who we are and were we’re going takes time — and we’re allowed to to change our minds! :-)

    I’m sorry your husband did this — he’s a damaged, unhealthy man — and again I thank you for sharing your thoughts here. Feel free to vent or think out loud here anytime; that’s what we’re here for!

    And, be good to yourself. Be your own nurturing mother, kind old auntie, and loving sister. You deserve lots of pampering and kindness.

    Best wishes,

  49. I’ve just read all the responses on this board and want to thank everyone for making the time to share their stories. I have also read the accompanying articles. I gained valuable insight from each and every one of you.

    I am currently struggling with ending my 2nd marriage (1st one for 9 years) of 22 years this fall. My husband moved out a year ago, no reason, we were content (I thought), we had a great intimate life (I thought), he just wanted a divorce he said. To say the least I was sucker punched by this. I drove myself mad trying to make sense out of insanity. He is 49, I am 56 – was it mid-life crisis? Our teen daughters had both just left home for college at this time as well – empty nest syndrome. Needless to say this was almost a non-event for me as I watched my life partner walk out the door at the same time!

    We are enmeshed with business interests, which I am involved in, so I have not sought legal action yet. I also got myself a part time job the year prior, so that I would have something of my own and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I expanded my support network to include warm, nurturing people I work with, as well as several very close long-time friends. After the separation I read every book and article I could find, I plunged myself into physical fitness, counselling, other healing behaviours. I also travelled alone for a month to clear my head. Good, healthy behaviour, right?

    As the rest of the year unfolded I discovered my husband is a s*x addict, he has OCD, ADHD, and is a pathological liar. He admitted that he had been cheating on me almost from the beginning and not just the one time he got caught about 5 years ago. Here I was, feeling so evolved at the time to have overcome infidelity and learned to trust him again. When he moved out, it was on the cusp of ending a 2-year affair he had been having, which he finally admitted. He has been in regular counselling since February and is just now learning things about himself and what drives his destructive behaviour, and why he is unable to achieve intimacy in our marriage. This, along with his fervent verbal desire for me to give him another chance gave me pause to reconsider the solo path I had begun to pursue.

    In the past few weeks I discovered he has engaged in dozens of s****l encounters with strangers, men and women, you name it, he’s been having a s****l heyday! He is also in intimate email exchange with a woman he met when he decided he had to laser all the hair off his genitals 3 years ago. I questioned this bizarre behaviour at the time and he fluffed it off saying he decided he was turned off by body hair despite my objection. Laser woman is urging him to come and be with her in Brazil, he told her he loved her and wanted to but couldn’t in an email. When I questioned this, he looked startled and said “Oh. I guess that could be taken the wrong way eh?” Does he really not have a clue? On reflection I realized this has been a pattern throughout our marriage as I watched women come on to him right in front of me and he responds with flirting and says to me “It’s nothing” completely avoiding validating my feelings – it’s all about him. When I told him I felt that this communication with her (or any other person outside our marriage) is emotional cheating he got defensive, like he was entitled to have “friends” to give him “perspective.” He even went so far as to tell me that she is a psych nurse (giving her some credibility?) telling me he respects her opinions, and denying that she has any bias or ulterior motive, that I don’t have the right to ask him not to do this. I reminded him that any discussion of our private life and our relationship with anyone other than a paid professional, destroys any chance at intimacy for us. He didn’t get that.

    Just a week ago I found his online advertisement for “casual fun” complete with a photo of him in his underwear. He has recently racked up $1,100+ in driving offenses including totalling his truck after drinking and driving. His insurance claim is now in question since he fled the scene, and may be denied. He is now awaiting a decision to revoke his driver’s license for 4 months. He said this was a bottom point for him to change his behaviour. He recently gave up drinking (2 months now) but has taken an interest in playing poker online and at casinos. I know he has a separate bank account where he keeps his secret money. This potential addiction is frightening me much more than a s*x addiction and I have alerted our accountant and am keeping a close eye on daily activities. We work very well together in our businesses, respecting one another’s strengths and abilities. Together we are financially stable, apart it would be a disaster for both of us – undoing 20+ years of investment. At 56 this weighs heavily on me.

    My therapist asked me why I felt I needed to protect my girls (20 and 22) from what has been going on. Good question, but I don’t want to destroy their relationship with their father. My motivation would never come from a place of vindictiveness or hatred, but would be for a desire for the truth to be in the open so we all know the real players. I know I am also protecting him from their reaction to the truth. The way it is, they only know we are separated and we only show them our best selves. It is a false relationship on many levels and I am unsure how to proceed. Is it fair to them to keep the truth from them? Is this just my ‘cross to bear’ alone? Is it fair to me that they don’t know the truth and think their father is a saint, just a confused one? I am torn between keeping this muck between my husband and me, and just how much truth I should share with my daughters. I am still caught up in the game because we are friends, we are both very close to our young adult children and deep down he is a good man, just one riddled with demons.

    He is in denial and truly believes the answer to his need for connection will be satisfied when he finds his soulmate. He actually said he had hoped to find someone he loved so much that he wouldn’t feel the urge to act on his addiction. I think he is just beginning to understand the futility of this and he says he sincerely wants to be in a relationship with me. Yes I know, I am shaking my head as I re-read this, but my part in this relationship comes from a place of low self esteem, of weak boundary setting, of feeling like at my age I have no other options. This is very painful for me and I know I need to end it; I am just unable to commit to myself because I can’t seem to visualize me any other way. I am stuck on being a supportive partner while he copes with his demons. I can’t seem to let go and let him be. I know consciously that I am fighting a losing battle with my emotions because I am focusing on the good things. I can’t seem to stay in a place that is healthy for me because some tiny part of me still believes I want him in my life. It just feels wrong to deny these feelings and I am in turmoil because the rational part of my brain is screaming “Save yourself! Get out now!”

    I have done extensive reading on addictions and I know that I am not to blame for any of this, nor can I control his behaviour. I also understood for the first time in 20 years why he was emotionally distant and why I felt frustration over unresolved issues. By not being smothering and allowing him as much freedom as he needed to enjoy his solo stress busting activities on his own, I was like the parent who didn’t set boundaries and their kids ended up drug addicts because they are needing the boundaries to live up to in order to know they are loved. I believed it was healthy for couples to have separate interests. The huge void was that we didn’t do much of anything together because he was always so busy. I waited (for years) for “my turn.”

    All his attempts at complete disclosure, total honesty have been half-hearted at best and usually only when I find things out on my own. When he does share, I do not reprimand, blame, or play guilt games; I listen. I know he is still full of secrets, he is in denial and not ready to be in a mature relationship. I have finally given up hope that we will ever have a healthy relationship as he is not able get over his overwheming fear of initmacy with me. He is still in therapy but I have lost faith that Humpty Dumpty can ever be put back together again. I have given this man too many chances. I have been weak and focused on the good things, the big picture, made excuses for him for too long. This relationship is unhealthy for me.

    I know the man is mentally ill. I have driven myself crazy and wasted too much energy understanding all this, trying to accept the situation and move forward in creating a fresh relationship with him. I am still staggering from the realization I have been living a lie with a stranger I never knew, burying my head in the sand and focusing on raising our children while he led his double life. It all worked as long as we both played our roles. I have really tried to separate the addict from the real person underneath all these problems, the person I once loved.

    It all boils down to what are my limits? What am I prepared to sacrifice in order to be in a relationship with him? I have avoided spending time on this because it is so damn hard for me. I have been in counselling since January and my quest is to heal my relationship with myself. I have good friends but sometimes that’s not enough. What is so hard is visualizing what I want, who I want to be, believing that there will ever be anyone who wants me at my age, wondering why this matters so much. I know I have a lot of work to do.

    I read with interest the comment about healing our childhood as adults and after pondering this concept I believe what has kept me in this addictive relationship so long is my need to heal my relationship with my father, who was emotionally distant since I was in puberty.

    Thanks for letting me vent. If you have read this far, I would like everyone to mirror what I have said and hit me over the head with the reality of my situation so I can start to heal myself!

  50. Hi David,

    First, thanks for sharing this part of your life here!

    It sounds like it’s been a long, emotional road — I’m not sure if it’s an addictive relationship or not, and I don’t think it matters what we call it. I think the right thing is to end that relationship now.

    Commit to one woman, and focus on her alone. If you’re commiting to one woman, that means you’re not seeing, emailing, texting, or corresponding with other women (I wrote several articles on emotional cheating here on Quips & Tips for Achieving Your Goals, and dozens of readers are sharing their struggles!).

    Yes, it is definitely possible to love more than one woman at a time. But, it’s not healthy, right, or good to act on your love for both women.

    To borrow a phrase from Judge Marilyn Milian, it’s “time to put your big boy pants on.” If you’re truly done with being selfish, if you really want to do the right thing, then you’ll stick with your current great relationship. And, you’ll leave your other woman in the past…where she belongs. That part of your life is over.

    I wish you all the best,

  51. I guess that I am the “selfish sam” in the addictive relationship. She finally ended it in december after 3 years (but the last 6 months of it having the roles reversed i.e. I realized how I had been and she became selfish)
    I did not speak with her for almost five months after her decision to end it. (she started seeing someone right away which I guess makes it easier than being alone.) she then called and we spoke and slept together once. We talked more, and a couple weeks after the initial meeting, we had coffee and she told me that she wanted to give it another chance. She had been very resentful of my past behavior and I can not blame her one bit, so I had to ask her “what had changed in the 4-6 months that could now allow her to get over all of my past mistakes and attitude, behavior ect….. She did not have an answer, just “want to try one more time” I told her that I could not do it, she did not understand. Soon after our meeting I started seeing someone again that I cheated on her with 2 years prior. She did not react well (can not blame her). I was very upset about her feelings that I must have never loved her if I was going to move on with this person from the past.
    I have had a very hard time with moving forward because the thought of her not knowing or I guess not going to have at least the memory of my feelings toward her. As stated this has been eating at me. So I contacted her a few weeks ago and to my surprise, she was actually kind and welcoming.
    I told her that I would appreciate it if she would sit down and listen to a few things I wanted to tell her. She told me to call her anytime and I did this on sunday. I ended up going to see her yesterday and it was great seeing her and getting everything off of my chest (again me being selfish to feel better), but she felt better too.
    Now my problem, seeing her brought back so many feelings that I enjoyed about her so much, and I believe she felt the same way. I know that I have changed and acknowledge my faults and what I did wrong and have grown. From reading everything, if I have changed is it really an addictive relationship? I am very confused right now, because I am in a great relationship with a loving girl.
    I needed to get communicate this to someone, is there something wrong with me or can I love to women at the same time. (and the thing is, they are so much alike, so I do not think that I am trying to get out of one that I can not of the other) I want to do the right thing by everyone, but I want to be done being selfish,
    anyone who reads, thanks for listening

  52. Greetings Laura,…

    I am certainly not new to any of this. I’ve been around for 61 years. I was married to a man who had two small sons, we had our daughter, and the great attraction was that he seemed so “Mr. Mom” and unassuming. He was a spiritual man, quiet, funny, and charismatic. I have come to learn that the last word in that sentence is a ‘red flag’ when it comes to relationships. Perhaps it goes back to Imago Therapy and listening to one another, addressing the wounds of childhood, and breaking old habits. I am learning. Of course, I have come to this therapy and realization about my own ‘stuff’ since. He is a narcissist. Look it up and his photo should be right there. It was a process, an evolution of the dynamic in our marriage. It left me feeling almost numb, without a defined sense of self, and completely void of any vision beyond my existing life. He came to grow and develop an institute whereby he became the spiritual leader, replete with adoring groupies! Oh…lest I bore anyone else, it became a common scenario. Affairs with ‘students’ of his spiritual practice, using his followers to support his non-profit status. He bankrolled his ‘salary’ as the spiritual leader and I had no idea until the financial disclosure portion of our divorce. But, I was traumatized when my 11 year-old daughter and I came home from school one day and found that he had moved out, empty spaces on the walls, missing furniture, ironing board (an ironic item since he never ironed anything!). Oh…it was years ago, and I only recall details because they help me remember why life has been better. Well…for a time.

    After about five years, never dating but devoting time to myself, my child, my stepsons, and my profession (teaching), I renewed a friendship with an old boyfriend from high school. He was recently divorced, very accomplished, and we had always been in contact over the years…intermittently. We began an email/phone friendship which developed emotionally and finally, romantically. It was all so beautiful and comfortable.

    But, things began to crack. He seemed to be hot and cold about us, especially when we would disagree about something…little things. He was jealous, rushed to ‘claim’ me as his, and became more and more critical and controlling. He also divulged, over Chinese food, that he had had several affairs over the course of his marriage and that I had “taken him away” from his most recent one from when he was married. He did tell me this in the spirit of “full disclosure”, but, then, that was enough to give me pause to reconsider. Wish I had listened to that little voice. I listened, carefully, thinking I was different. But, as time has gone by, the abusive verbal and sometimes minimal physical abuse continued. Every negative thing became my fault. I had an ephiphany once when he was yelling at me about asking questions about clarification of some things he had said. As I stared at his face, I realized he was projecting onto me. The things he was saying were INSIDE his head. This just became worse.

    The culmination came when he asked me to accompany him to Tahiti for his daughter’s wedding. It would be a small party…parents of couple, the couple, and me. It all became so bizarre. I was often ‘left out’ and he seemed to be uncomfortable with my presence. I would be looking in a store window and turn and see the group walking away down the sidewalk. As his partner and an invited one, I felt like he distanced himself often. I asked him about it later, when we were alone, and he exploded. I cried and couldn’t understand why he had asked me along. But, he was sullen, and was cold for the remainder of the trip.

    When we returned to the states, he broke up with me saying he couldn’t do this anymore because of my behavior. Now understand, I had taken an early retirement to go and live with him, to begin our lives together and eventually marry. When he did this, the ground dropped away from me. I was free-falling and dazed. I was faced with a terrific financial crisis, which, for the past year, has been devastating for me. I have used up most of my savings even though I worked this winter (I live in a resort ski town) at minimum wage to supplement. That morning, when I was getting ready, he came down and asked if he could help me get my things in the car. I wasn’t quite ready, and said he could go ahead and leave and I would, too, when finished. A friend took photos of my subsequent bruises, black and deep. He insisted that I leave immediately, in a hurry-up way. I said I’d do my best, but he didn’t need to stay. He grew angry, grabbed my biceps, threw me around in the bathroom as I panicked that I’d hit my head on the tub. Then, he threw me on the bed and began to throw my bags, open, out into the front yard. He was a madman. I was frightened as I watched the rant and saw him toss everything all over the outside. I phoned 911 and the police came and helped me leave. I left. I was angry, resentful, and ultimately felt so foolish to have invested myself so profoundly. I questioned my own sanity, my judgement, my common sense. He began calling me. I did not pick up. This went on for two or three months. They began to subside. One day, I picked up, off guard, and it was him. I was stunned. I kept it neutral. Long story short, we have been together again. However, I live over 600 miles away, so I have the benefit of time alone, distance, and the reality check mode. Most recently, he phoned and asked me what I was doing on my birthday. I had planned to be with friends and have lunch or dinner. He said he was sending me flowers, which, to me, required me to be here. Frankly, I didn’t want the flowers since he still sends them to his ex-wife on her birthday, too. It didn’t feel right. He got angry, swore, and I hung up. I took off on my day. When I returned, he had left me a mean-spirited message that said I didn’t need to worry about a delivery, he had cancelled it. What have I made of this? Well…I think THIS guy is a total narcissist (NPD) and I am galvinized against taking calls or having any further contact with him, ever. It is difficult because I held an illusion of romantic love…throughout our lives. Someone said, it is better to lose an illusion than discover a truth. I believe this with all my heart.

    What I bring to this discussion board is this: if it doesn’t feel like love, it isn’t. By that, I mean, if you come away from encounters with such a person feeling confused, sad, off-balance, then that person is NOT your friend…much less your lover. IF you feel that you are doing all the giving, constantly trying to please, but never quite getting it ‘right’, then that person is most likely some degree of a narcissist. It is said in the literature that NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) that only about single digit percent of the population suffers from this. It has no cure. It isn’t bipolar disorder. It isn’t schizophrenia. It has to do with a person’s inability to identify with another’s needs or have compassion for another. The other person is not seen as separate. Instead, they are viewed as part of the NPD individual. Friends and lovers inspire one, lift one up, one should come away feeling refreshed and comforted. By the same token, when I want to talk with a friend about a problem, but, she begins by saying she has cancer or something else equally distressing, I drop my problems and listen, comfort, and sincerely am present. With my ex-lover, I got none of that. I had a precursory time of listening…it seemed almost superficial…and then, I was criticized for something I did to cause the problem, and then it was on to his health, his problems at work, with other things in his life. When you step back and look at things, it becomes clear.

    I’m still working on dealing with the emotional wounds of this relationship…one so similar to my marriage, but in subtle ways. I have to look at myself and why I attract such types to me. I’ve read in these blogs that many of us feel lost, a loss of identity through seeking to please, to be perfect. I was accused of so many things my head would spin. I have never, in my life, been called ‘hateful’, but that was the litany. Again, it was simply a projection onto me of the train wreck in his own head. He was unable to ever look at his own responsibility in any conflicts. So, ladies and gentlemen, sociopaths come in both genders and in all sorts of situations. I remember my Mom’s words: Always be able to take care of yourself because you never know what will happen in life. Thank you, Mama! …Gretchen

  53. I wrote about about moving on from bad relationships in my article “Letting Go of Someone You Love”, here on Quips and Tips. The link is below — those tips sum up everything I’d say here! Please read that article, because give you some ideas. It’s geared towards women and men have commented about that in the comments section, and I’ve addressed it. I’ve also offered tips for men and getting over bad relationships in the comments section of that article.

    Don’t call her — like you said, Lance, you have no real reason to. Telling her how much you hate her won’t help you move on, it’ll just keep you mired in the past.

    Getting over a bad relationship takes time, and deliberate effort on your part. Our thought patterns are habits — and we can control our thoughts and habits! Right now you’re not in control – your hate and anger is.

    If it’s been a year and you’re still not over her, I’d suggest seeing a counselor. Getting on with your life shouldn’t be this difficult! You may need a little guidance and objective feedback. There’s something that’s keeping you stuck in resentment, pain, and bitterness….and simple tips for letting go might not be as effective as taking a good, hard look into yourself!

    That said, here’s the link to my article on letting go:

    Thanks for opening up here, Lance — and feel free to come back again — even just to vent :-)


  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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

  57. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    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!


  58. 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.”

  59. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    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!


  60. 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!

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    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!

  64. 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!!!!!

  65. 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.

  66. 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.


  67. 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??

  68. 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,

  69. 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.

  70. 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!

  71. 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,

  72. 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.

  73. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    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,

  74. 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.

  75. 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…

  76. 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?


  77. 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

  78. 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!



  79. 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:

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


  80. 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.