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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.

is it love or addiction

Love or Addiction?

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.

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!

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. And, here are seven tips for moving on after getting out of an addictive relationship…

How to Get Over an Addictive Relationship

My first tip should be about building a life outside your relationship – but that’s not just a single tip. It’s a whole article! Read 10 Tips for Building a Life Outside Your Relationship.

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.

addictive relationships

“How to Get Over an Addictive Relationship”

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.

Are you and your ex co-dependent? Read How to Untangle a Codependent Relationship.

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.

For more tips on kicking an addictive relationship, read How to be Happy Without Your Husband’s Love or Money.

Are you struggling with your relationship? Get free help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.

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

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

  1. I have two kids for this person and it hurts every day knowing he is with someone else , I just don’t know how to let it go .

  2. Wow thank you for sharing your experience, I just got out of a 7 year marriage which was similar in the amount of love and fellow feeling involved, but in the end it was toxic and we now are co parenting a little boy together, but just couldn’t be together it would of only gotten worse, so thank you for sharing how to get over an addictive relationship. It means a lot to know somtimes you just have to walk away.

  3. I have made up my mind to leave now its actually doing it. I know he will continue to cheat on his wife but I don’t want to be a part of it.

  4. Dear Mary,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing about your addictive relationship. I wish you could leave this man, because you and he are betraying his wife by cheating. I wish you could find the strength, courage, and self-esteem you need to break free and start over! I wish you could realize that you are more important and special than this, and you deserve better. I wish you were happy.

    I wrote an article with you in mind, but I don’t know if it’ll help. If a year of counseling hasn’t motivated you to get out of this addictive relationship, then a wee blog post won’t make much difference! But I believe you are working towards getting healthy and strong. Sometimes it just takes time, that’s all.


    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers, my friend.


  5. I am currently in a very addictive relationship and the most toxic one in my life.I am with a man that has abused me physically mentally and emotionally..and I am always the one begging him to stay with me. I found out over a month into the relationship that he is married back in his home country but by than I was already addicted to him that I didn’t end things at that moment and after that is when the physical abuse started…I am currently in counseling trying to get out of this relationship but its going to be a year this Friday and I am having such a hard time letting go.

  6. Dear Brandi,

    Thank you for being here. It sounds like you’re aware of the cycle – you get some distance from your boyfriend, but you keep going back because it feels good, safe, and familiar. Sometimes the hell we know is safer and better than the hell we don’t know.

    What would life look like in three months, if you got away and stayed away from him for the whole time?

  7. I have been in an “unhealthy” relationship for 5 years. He initially got me addicted to crack. I have free from that for 5 years. I am having issues with he being a narcassist and me being addicted to him. I am physically and mentally drained. I know what I need to do but I am struggling. We will fight, not talk for few days and then he will call and I pick up and the cycle starts all over. He is controlling, manipulative, demeaning and he blames me even if its his fault for everything. I get that “high” after a few days of not talking to him, he calls and I get that good feeling but its temporary. I don’t like to be alone and I know he is bad company but I still stay. I am truly at wits end and it’s destroying me.

  8. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for sharing your experience about your addictive relationship here. I hope it was therapeutic to get it all out – sometimes it helps to write it all out and vent, even if you don’t receive any answers in return!

    One of my favorite quotes is something about loving a man, but not necessarily having him in your life. You can love someone with all your heart – a boyfriend, a parent, a sibling, even a child – but it may not be good to have that person in your life. It sounds odd, but sometimes love isn’t about being together.

    Sometimes love is about letting go, and being separate.

    You will create the life you always wanted for yourself, and you will be happy and free! It’ll take time to grieve the end of your relationship, and your loss. You may always love him, but you know you’re happier and healthier without him.

    I admire your strength and courage.


  9. I was in a very addictive relationship. I was with him for two years, during which the love of my life physically, mentally and emotionally abused me, to the point where I miscarried. He was controlling, didn’t want me to see my friends or family, borrowed crazy amounts of money which were never paid back. Little rules began to develops without me realizing… I had to call the second I got home, on the rare occasions that I did, call from house numbers if I was out so he knew I was where I said I was… he would flip if I ever forgot to call. He destroyed my car, kicking and punching dents into it, smashing the mirror, indicators and gear stick off and breaking both seats. But my god he could be so lovely and it happened very gradually and we still had amazing fun times even during the worst stages of the abuse, I felt at times so happy I could burst. I left the day he smacked me in the face for forgetting to pick up milk… we weren’t even having an argument, which was different as usually he was in a rage when it happened. I spent a year burying it and trying to forget. It was very confusing as I felt I loved him but knew it was wrong, I couldn’t be as angry as I felt I should be. He popped up again after a year saying he couldn’t live without me and knew what he had done etc. I was very weak. I started seeing him secretly behind my friends and families back. He was angelic. He didn’t put a foot wrong and spoilt me rotten. I couldn’t fault him but when I said to my sister I was thinking of getting back with him (to test the water) she was absolutely horrified. My best friend had the same reaction. I suddenly thought about all the lies I had told them over the last few months to see him… i thought about how i could still see the temper in him, and how he was trying to contain it and nearly failing. Then i thought about how, although he bought me things and treated my nicely, he would still spit and swear loudly in public, knowing how uncomfortable it made me, and made no attempt to stop. When he did buy me things it was “pick something, anything, have this, have that, take it take it” but was unconcerned whether it was something i wanted or liked. I realized that if i couldn’t tell the people who i knew loved and cared about me then it was because i knew deep down it wasn’t quite right. He brought out the worst in me too, turning me from an honest and supportive friend into a lying and evasive version of myself. It was difficult to leave. He has no family and moves around a lot – he told me i was all he had, how he couldn’t bear it the last time, how we were bound, how everything felt empty and pointless without me. The worst thing is i know how he feels because i feel the same, but i am now honest with my friends and, instead of acting on my need for him and hiding it from them, i talk to them about it and they remind me why i can be ok without him. It’s horrible because i do love him, but i am slowly starting to realise that to have the life i have always wanted for myself, i had to not be with him. (neither of my parents know officially about the abuse but have a very good idea, the also don’t know i got back with him as both would have upset them so much to hear) but my dads approval means more to me than anything in the world, he is the one person i know who Unquestionably has my best interests and happiness at heart, and he hated him. If i feel sad i look at him and it reminds me exactly why i did it. So sorry to rant don’t expect a reply thought it might be therapeutic to spit it out. Xxx