Addicted to Relationships: A Cautionary Tale

by Bill Brenner on June 22, 2010

The author on relationship dependency and the damage done.

Mood music:

Calling relationships an addiction may sound ridiculous on the surface. We need relationships. This post is about people who need to have a mate for their lives to have meaning.

They’re so desperate to be part of a union that they get intense about it very quickly, squeeze too tight and become a dysfunctional mess when the inevitable implosion happens.

Oh, yes. I’ve been there.

When I was in my late teens/early 20s I was absolutely obsessed with finding a girlfriend. Coveted relationships failed to take for a variety of reasons, one being that I’d be way too intense about it.

I thought I would surely rope in one girl with all my dark, brooding poetry. I think I scared her off, instead.

My friend Aaron — God Bless him because he was always by my side despite my being an absolute prick — was always trying to find me a girlfriend. He thought one girl would surely take to me because she had made a passing comment about me being “cute” the night of our high school graduation. I hounded her from that point on. She’s the one I pushed my dark and not-all-that-great poetry on.

Funny how some people think they are master poets because they can write a lot about how much they hate their parents. That was me. Of course, I was a teenager and most teenagers hate their parents for a little while.

There was another girl I thought would surely take to me because we were both avid Def Leppard fans. She spurned me — likes to joke about how she broke my little heart — but never went away, either. She went on to marry the guy she constantly complained about and had four kids. To this day, they are close friends and we always laugh about the old days.

A couple of the girls Aaron introduced me to did take to me, but THEY were the ones who squeezed too tight and scared me away.

One was borderline crazy but she had red hair, so I gave it a shot. I fled from her as if she were the house from The Amityville Horror. Not sure whatever became of her.

Another was 10 years older than me. We had an intense relationship that lasted two weeks before I decided to run for my life. The day I broke up with her, she threatened suicide and threw things at me, including a bunch of small, thin light bulbs she kept unscrewing from this lamp I called the middle-finger lamp, because all the small bulbs attached looked like they were giving the finger to all who walked by.

The second I was done with that relationship, I went off in search of another one. Because I felt like I was somehow less of a human being unless I had a mate.

Eventually I smartened up and realized this was a ridiculous hunt. I stopped looking and in the summer of 1993 was actually starting to enjoy being single.

That’s when I met Erin. The rest is history, and it just goes to show that you often find your soul-mate when you’re not looking for one.

I mention all this because I wanted to point out my own sordid history before turning to the real catalyst for this post.

I know someone who just experienced a break-up. I’ll keep the person’s name out of here to protect privacy. This person has NEEDED a relationship for as long as I can remember.

Without one this person starts to lose that sense of self worth you need to get out of bed every morning.

Past break-ups have coincided with massive episodes of depression.

Then a new relationship comes along and this person is the happiest soul on Earth. Then comes the split, followed by more depression.

It can be as vicious an addiction as drugs, alcohol and compulsive binge eating.

I really feel for those caught in its grip.

Relationships are like food. You can’t live without ’em. So when you start to approach them in an addictive fashion, it’s all the more difficult to kick.

I have no real point to make this morning. This is just something I was thinking about when I woke up.

I do pray for the person I just mentioned and hopes he/she can find some equilibrium soon. This person is pretty tough and has been though a lot of adversity, making it through stronger each time.

I’m hoping for a similar result here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael Haynes June 24, 2010 at 6:42 am

This one as so many other pieces you have written explain me better than anything I have ever experienced.
I have alway’s felt I needed someone to be someone. And in that thinking I have set myself up so many times for heart ache and failure that I got to the point where I expected to be “shit on” and thought I deserved anything that came my way verbally from them, if not only for the reason that I didn’t want to be alone, but I desirved it because some how I was less of a man because my limits held them back in some way.
I just this week came to believe I too desirve happiness. Now i’m on the journey of just being happy in my own skin first. It’s a new concept for me.
Thank you for your work. I may live alone, but i’m not alone. And I may suffer in silence but you are the voice for me and many others i’m sure.

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