Breakup happens all the time, but for people who are codependent or addicted to relationships, the loss of a boyfriend or girlfriend can be devastating. Relationship addicts need a relationship to feel validated. They don’t have a true identity of their own, and they judge their worth and value by who they’re with.
While they can be addicted to any kind of relationships, most are focused on romantic engagements. Some get married and divorced frequently, and others cling to their significant other so hard they drive that person away with their neediness. Then the search begins for another person to fill the void, and the pattern continues.
Breaking the Pattern
At some point, the addict will find himself or herself alone and feeling vulnerable because strong feelings for an ex just won’t go away. Research has shown that finding another person is the most common method of coping, but it’s far from the healthiest. Relationship addicts must learn healthy ways to get over heartbreak, and that doesn’t include looking for another relationship. Breaking the pattern of addiction isn’t easy, but it can be done. Here are some truths to remember.
Getting Over a Breakup
1. When a relationship ends, there’s a reason. Sometimes, the reason is simply that you and the other person just weren’t compatible. Remember that a breakup is a reflection of the quality of the relationship. It is not a reflection on you or your quality as a person. Conquering relationship addiction means not taking breakups personally, and understanding that the person who is no longer in a relationship with you is unavailable. According to Codependents Anonymous (CoDA), one of the main denial behaviors of someone who is codependent is not recognizing that a person he or she is attracted to is not available.
2. Research also shows that who you’re with isn’t equal to what you’re worth. In other words, the value you have as a human being is inside of you. It’s completely unrelated to who you’re dating or married to. There’s no shame in being single (pretty decent movie). Don’t let anyone (including your own mind) convince you that there’s something wrong with you if you’re single. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that you’d be happier if you had someone. Only you can determine that, and you have to be healthy mentally to even make that determination. That means conquering your addiction first.
3. You aren’t alone in your struggles. It can help you to learn about others who were having the same kinds of problems. If they conquered them, so can you. There are support groups for people who have codependency and relationship addiction problems. If you can’t find one in your area, you can connect with them online.
4. You will get through this, and you can conquer your addiction and get over your ex. Many people who are healthy today have addiction in their past. If you work on yourself and understand why you feel compelled to have a relationship, you’ll be able to take steps to be happy without a relationship. You have to know who you are by yourself before you can be a healthy half of a couple. Relationship addicts can go on to have strong, proper relationships with others, but it often takes time.
Struggling now doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a life to singledom. It just means you have some things to work through. Take the time to do that, and you’ll be much more likely to have a healthy relationship later. Heartbreak could still happen in your future, but without the ties of addiction holding you back you’ll be able to move on and still be happy and healthy on your own.