Healing from sex, love and/or relationship addiction can be a scary and anxiety provoking journey. The journey of healing can feel impossible, intimidating, and hopeless at times but it is one that is worth taking because you are worth it. You are worthy and deserving of true intimacy and connection. You are worthy of a genuine and healthy relationship with yourself and others.
What is sex, love and/or relationship addiction and how does one define it? Some of the hallmark indicators of sex, love and/or relationship addiction include:
- Have you stayed or are you staying in relationships that are abusive, avoidant, and toxic out of fear of “being alone”?
- Do you have thoughts about your significant other such as “I can change them”? Or “I can’t let go”?
- Do you have porous or nonexistent boundaries?
- Are you needy and fall in love very easily and too quickly?
- Do you have a high tolerance of suffering in a relationship in order to avoid being alone?
- When a relationship ends, do you feel life is over?
- When in love, are you too trusting of those unworthy of your trust but, when not in relationships, are untrusting of others?
- Do you find yourself in the same relationship patterns, doing the same behaviors and picking the same people?
- Do you obsess about your partner and look for the “magic -make it all better” feeling?
- Have you ever thought you may be addicted to fantasy?
- Sexually, are you doing things you really don’t want to do but can’t stop, even if you have tried?
- Are you having painful consequences as a result of any of the above behaviors?
While these are some signs of love and relationship addiction, they are not all inclusive. Love and relationship addiction can be extremely isolating and painful. They can reinforce a cycle of loneliness and despair.
To define it simply, sex, love/relationship addiction are “process addictions” and they can have the same devastating impact on an individual and their systems as substance and alcohol. They can keep the individual stuck in a cycle of hurt, confusion, and despair.
Female sex and love addicts (FSLA), as well as female relationship addicts, can find themselves marginalized and overlooked. Compounding this are the potential messages from family of origin (FOO), media and society, faith doctrine, and peers that state “women shouldn’t be…” or “women don’t…” and “if you were good enough you would…”. These overt and covert messages can deepen the shame and despair of female addicts from which they are desperately trying to heal. The impact of trauma and past experiences cannot be over looked and can leave profound wounds. Women can and do also struggle with sexually acting out, pornography, fantasy, and love/relationship addiction or avoidance as a way to cope – to cope with loneliness, fear, hurt, and anguish.
If you are a female struggling with sex, love, porn or relationship addiction or avoidance please know that you are not alone in your struggle. Getting connected to a skilled, specially trained therapist is critical to your healing and that you are so very worthy of healing. You have a right to achieve and maintain a healthy, authentic, connected life.