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Addictive Relationships & Sex Addiction
End Codependence & Addictions Martyn Carruthers, 2002

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

Abusive and addictive relationships hurt families and damage children.

Help for Love and Sex Addicts

Loving someone who loves you can be wonderful, while feeling addicted to your fantasies and fixating on people who remind you of your fantasies can be torture. Do you feel trapped in symbiotic or codependent relationships ?

Being with people who reflect your fantasies can trigger your brain to make endorphins - chemicals similar to addictive drugs. If you become addicted to your own brain chemistry, you may behave like other addicts. You want to maintain your supply or suffer unpleasant withdrawal symptoms!

As your illusions fade, a person may stop being a fascinating source of love and seem to become horribly normal - or worse. Your sudden drop of endorphins can cause craving ... which many people confuse with love. Do you blame a lover or ex-lover for your unpleasant feelings?

If your partner clings to similar illusions - you may form a closed relationship, often called codependent or symbiotic. Short-term codependent relationships can be called experience. Long-term codependent relationships can be called years of misery.

I help people manage and change all kinds of emotional issues, but working
with unmotivated, immature adults can be a nightmare! Codependent people
don't want to invest effort, they don't really want to change or to learn, they want a "Mom" to fix their problems for them. They want "magic". They present themselves as victims and want me to "fix" them by the end of next week.

Unhealthy relationships are often promoted as normal and desirable in children's stories, television shows, marketing and song lyrics. Do you cling to fairytale ideas such as love can solve anything?

Emotional Maturity

Mature people decide what type of relationship they want. Healthy relationships are fulfilling while addictive relationships may feel more dramatic and passionate - for a time. But addictive relationships limit choices and damage lives.

My husband complains that he has no friends but he pushes people away
... I mean good people ... and he expects me to fill all the holes in
his life where his friends should be.

Addictions bring short-term relief and long-term nightmares. Although some addictions are common and the consequences well known; many intelligent people become addicts. If compulsions and obsessions are included, few people seem to be free.

  • Does a relationship seem to make you physically ill?
  • Do you want to fall out of love - to STOP loving someone?
  • Are you fatigued, angry or anxious about your partnership?
  • Do you worry about when it might be safe to talk to your partner?
  • Do you need medications, alcohol or drugs to stay in a relationship?

You helped me realize that I used drugs to avoid conflicts!
After you helped me manage my emotions,
I had no need to medicate myself.

Addictions often fulfill a goal of I do not want to be me!. Perhaps you want to not-feel negative emotions. We can help you end addictive behavior, manage your emotions and solve relationship problems. But the longer you leave them - the harder it gets.

You answered our questions and you questioned our answers.
At every moment we felt you on our side - not against
each other - rather helping us both grow up.

What are Addictive Relationships?

Addictive relationships are often about boredom and frustration. Is a partner more committed to someone or something else (e.g. a parent or a past partner)? Is a partner incapable of commitment? (See Partnership Breakdown.)

Addictive relationships cause lasting damage. Unhealthy relationships, abuse or emotional blackmail provide constant stress and increase your risk of psychosomatic symptoms, and can also lead to love or sex addictions or to depression.

  • Are you addicted to love or sex?
  • Can you leave a damaging relationship?
  • Are you free to build a healthy relationship?

Are You in an Addictive Relationship?

Addicts try to control their supply. Love addicts may tolerate cruelty and indifference, perhaps convincing themselves that their problems are temporary. Sex addicts may believe that one day their partners will thank them for whatever they do.

Love addicts and sex addicts often avoid relationships with healthy people - perhaps calling them boring. Do these signs of addictive relationships resonate with you?

  • You justify staying in sick relationships
  • You avoid or ignore the guidance of healthier people
  • You know your relationship is unhealthy, yet you cling to it
  • When you consider ending a relationship, you feel anxiety or guilt

We help people solve emotional and relationship problems.

Ending Relationship, Sex and Love Addictions

How strongly are your relationship decisions influenced by ideas?

  • Addictions: e.g. "I cannot live without this person"
  • Transferences: e.g. "My partner is a substitute for a parent"
  • Beliefs e.g. "I'm not good enough" or "I can save this person"
  • Practicalities e.g. "Without this relationship I will be homeless"
  • Philosophies e.g. "True love is forever," or "Being alone is bad"

If you are a love addict, you may feel that you do have no choices; and that you cannot set boundaries. We can help you:

  1. Develop peace and integrity
  2. Learn healthy relationships skills
  3. Focus on your own desires, goals and challenges
  4. Change beliefs that make you feel unworthy of happiness
  5. End victim games: avoid being a helper, a victimizer or a victim

We can help you solve obsessions and compulsions, and our couple coaching helps partners understand each other and make changes that both partners want.

Do you want to solve any emotional or relationship problems?

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2002-2018
All rights reserved

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
please mention or

For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

Soulwork systemic coaching in Croatia & Serbia

Soulwork systemic coaching in Poland



Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email