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Addictive vs. Healthy Relationships

Navigating relationships — both platonic and romantic — often can be a complicated and multi-layered task.

Even the act of defining what is normal and healthy in relationships can be daunting.

Many healthy relationships have some addictive qualities to them, and extreme intensity relationship themes often are present in the media. That which makes for great art often can result in interpersonal disasters in daily life.

But what differentiates a healthy relationship from an addictive one?

5 Comments to
Addictive vs. Healthy Relationships

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  1. So agree on the needing others to feel complete and not setting boundaries. Those are riddled in insecurity and lead to NOTHING good.

    I know for myself I had problems with someone who failed to honor my boundaries and well, we broke up. No, thanks.

  2. I work with people who have alcohol and substance addiction problems, typically they have the same problems in their relationships as they do with their addiction. The obsession, lying, unable to be satisfied, and more. Definitely not a good partner. Often addiction counselling turns into couples counselling sessions to ensure that the communication and repairing of the relationship occurs on a healthy and honest level throughout.

  3. I don’t believe that relationships are addictive the way that heroine, tobacco, or cocaine, or even gambling, is addictive. I don’t believe that relationships trigger the same dopamine-reinforcing neural pathways as do those substances and processes. To call bad relationships “addictive” is to muddy unnecessarily the lexicon. Some relationships are healthy, some are unhealthy. It all depends on the people in them, and how they’re feeling. If you’re in a relationship where you’re consistently feeling bad, it’s time to either fix it, get out, or endure it for the sake of a larger cause, like children, business, community, or whatever.

  4. I agree with you that true intimacy exists in relationships where love is not dependent nor obsessive, but is characterized by interdependence. Compromise and mutual concession are the basis for a healhty interdependence. Compromising leads to a deeper union and understanding, an understanding that we need to unite over our own personal calculations. In such a way, we develop respect for one another, even for each other’s weaknesses and this, in turn, leads to a deeper and longer lasting love.
    When couples are together in mutual support and understanding, they find joy in showing how pleasant it is to surrender, to concede and to make more room for the other. These are very intimate actions that increase the intensity of a relationship making it hard to break.

  5. I am glad that you emphasized that unresolved issues in family of origin would need to be addressed to stop the cycle of repeating addictive relationship patterns. In my experience, dealing with the grief that comes with abandonment as children, whether it be with a therapist or a sponsor in a 12 step program, will promote healing and a fresh perspective on what healthy intimacy looks like.


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