Brace yourself: I have some very bad news for you. Are you sitting down? Okay, then, here it is: Your relationship is going to end. So is the relationship after it, if you have one. And no, I am not peering inside your blackened soul to see the truth of your self-diagnosed unlovability. (Gotchya there, didn’t I?)) I am merely stating the obvious: All relationships end.
Think about it. Everyone either changes, or leaves, or dies. That includes you, by the way. Your relationship is going to end because one of the people in it will change, or leave or die. If you’re not the dead one, the same thing will happen to the relationship after that. And if you can’t handle this eventuality… baby, you’re screwed.
Sex and love addicts are generally people who can’t handle this eventuality, which makes every relationship a painful wait for the inevitable next shoe to drop. And they wonder why sex and love addicts want to recover. We get laid all the time. What are we so damned unhappy about?
Dr. Patrick Carnes, in his seminal work on sex addiction (no pun intended, except perhaps by Webster), Out of the Shadows, wrote: “Fear of abandonment is the constant theme in all addiction, including alcoholism. Within the sexual addiction, it is especially powerful.”
Carnes doesn’t talk about the love addiction much because, hey, you’ve got to specialize. But in my not-so-humble opinion, it’s worse for love addicts. For the addict, love is oxygen. Elizabeth Gilbert put it nicely in Eat Pray Love the Book, a portion of which was repeated in Eat Pray Love the Movie:
“I disappear into the person I love. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time — everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check.”
This, as you can imagine, leaves few resources for healing, personal growth and evening entertainment when “the person I love” does a disappearing act. How do you defend against that?
You can start by repeating after me: “All relationships end. All relationships end.” And don’t give away the dog.