You might as well face it, you’re addicted to love…
My name is Marianne and I’m addicted to love. Or I was. A serial monogamist, they’d call me. Bouncing from one long term relationship to the next every two years or so. Usually finding the next guy to fall for before breaking up with the one I was currently with. Hey–after all, I didn’t want to be alone!
About five years back I was able to break the cycle and stay single for a good two years. And I have to say, though it wasn’t always easy–it was probably the best thing I could have done. Because by the time I did meet Mr. Right, I was ready for him.
So what’s wrong with serial monogamy? After all, it’s safer than a string of one night stands, right? Maybe so, says Jennifer Oikle, Ph.D., relationship psychologist, dating coach, and founder of MySoulmateSolution.com. But, she adds, it’s still a treacherous pattern with steep emotional costs.
“By never proving to yourself that you can stand on your own two feet, you whittle away your self esteem, and become dependent on having someone else around,” she explains. “Which means you are always anxious and afraid that your partner will leave you. Which can create a real sense of panic, of not being able to survive without your partner…that’s a form of self-imprisonment! You don’t feel safe alone, so you’ll put up with all sorts of negative behavior.”
In addition, she adds, you never get much of a chance to develop a confident sense of who you are–just who you are with someone else. “You never really get to figure out how cool you are, all of the little things that make you unique and charming, and enchanting,” she says. “They don’t get discovered because you are too busy trying to please someone else, trying to get them to love you, bending over backward so they won’t leave you. Thus, your needs never deeply get met.”
And when it does come time to go hopping to that next relationship without taking a breather? Well, you’re putting yourself in a situation you’re just not ready for. “You never truly let go- so you aren’t really emotionally available for a healthy love with the next partner- you short change both of you, by carrying this emotional baggage from the past.”
Because of this, you find yourself making the same mistakes all over again. And never finding that happy, healthy relationship.
YOUR TURN: Are you a relationship addict? We want to hear from you!