Relationship Addiction vs Love, Date Smart! Chapter 3.4

Thursday, July 30, 2009 12:00
Posted in category Date Smart
<div class=\"postavatar\">Relationship Addiction vs Love, Date Smart! Chapter 3.4</div>

Post written by Rick Doyle and Dave Coleman (See Relationships page for author information)

Relationship Addiction vs Love

Date Smart! Chapter 3.4

In theory, a person needs to balance at least six primary relationships (at any given time) to achieve a stable lifestyle. Combing this information with the information you have gained from the Date Smart exercises you’ve done so far throughout the book will also be a major step towards determining if your relationship(s) at their core are founded in love vs addiction.  Those with SPECIFIC problems that have to be worked on will also need number seven.

These relationships are:

1. Relationship with self (time to read, work out, shop, pay bills, etc.)

2. Relationship with family (biological or adopted siblings, spouse, children, etc.)

3. Relationship with employer (showing competence and consistency)

4.  Spiritual relationship or belief system (church attendance, recovery programs, volunteer activities)

5. Friendships (groups, clubs, activities, neighbors, sports, outside interests that make you part of a community)

6. Intimacy/Passion, Dating, Sexual Relationships (self-explanatory)

7. Support Group Systems (self-improvement, self-help, 12-step recovery groups, bible studies, etc.).


A healthy person balances these relationships, with some moderate peaks and valleys. At times one particular relationship may require more attention. For a healthy person, the imbalance is often short-term and rarely hurts others. A person who is prone to unhealthy or addictive relationships will focus heavily on relationship number six within the first few dates. Their other five relationships suffer or become badly neglected. While the attention you get in this type of relationship may feel good initially, the price you pay usually results in you having to live with a short leash and severe control issues. The following is a list of Code Red Characteristics which indicate that a relationship is founded on addiction, rather than on healthy love. Our definition of addiction is continuing to engage in an unhealthy behavior despite the consequences.


A relationship is addictive IF:

1.  It’s used to escape loneliness, unhappiness, or fear.

2.  It exclusively claims (consumes) a person’s consciousness.

3.  One or both are unhappy or discontented with themselves.

4.  The relationship is used to fill a void.

5.  Constant exposure to that person is necessary to make life bearable.

6.  There’s a need to participate in every aspect of the other person’s life.

7.   The individual feeling of identity (wholeness) is dependent on the approval and complete acceptance of the other person.

8.   Outside interests are disregarded, including meaningful relationships with others.

9.   A single, overwhelming involvement with one person serves to cut you off from life; close you off from new experiences; make you feel less free, open and positive toward others.

10.  The center of a relationship has a damaged or diminished sense of self.

11.   The relationship is motivated by a need for personal security rather than just an appreciation of each other’s personal qualities.

12.   Jealousy and possessiveness are much a part of the relationship.

13.   One is unable to endure a significant separation (business trips, family travel, etc.).

14.   It usually ends abruptly with intense anger and vindictiveness.

15.  One is overly needy.


These 15 points can be combined with the relationship readiness questionnaire from Date Smart Chapter 2.5 to allow you to better assess your current condition or relationship health.

If you or your partner are experiencing up to five of these characteristics, it’s highly likely that the relationship will be sabotaged by unresolved issues or divulging too much information too quickly along with an excessive investment of time and energy. If six to ten of these characteristics are present, it is an indication that serious relationship addiction exists and your ability to successfully and painlessly terminate the relationship is unlikely. Professional help or termination of the relationship is strongly recommended at this point. If eleven or more characteristics are present, your future is predictable: intense pain, resentment, low self-esteem, fear, distrust, misery, and self-doubt. Recommendation:  Run – get therapy – join a nunnery or a monastery.


One of the biggest problems we observe is that people from addictive relationships transfer their intense neediness into new relationships. They come on too fast, demand too much time and attention, and overwhelm the other person with their need for instant love. For them, it’s a case of love on demand. 


Inevitably, without specific treatment and a course of action, relationship addiction will consume you. If a high number of these characteristics are currently present in your relationship, you may be blinded or in denial. The tolerance you’ve developed to cope with dysfunction is a defense against facing the reality of what you’re putting up with. What was abnormal to you can become normal as you get used to living with it, making it harder to recognize as unhealthy.

In many cases, we find extreme solutions to cope with an extreme dysfunctional history. We can go for months, or even years, without dating or seeking meaningful contact. On the other side, many of us find it traumatic to go for even a day without having someone care about us or without having someone to care about. In either case, we’re seeing the opposite sides of the same coin – a person who is craving love, yet is afraid to express love and may even be incapable of feeling it. This individual is often so damaged at their core that shame, fear, and loneliness blind them from seeing the truth about someone they want a relationship with, no matter how obvious it is or who alerts them. How many times have friends warned you that someone wasn’t good for you? How many times have you looked back at relationships and realized you knew the person was going to hurt you long before they did yet you stayed involve with them anyway? How many times have you crossed over burned bridges only to find the unhealthy person you left was exactly the same way as before? How long will you keep convincing yourself, “This time it will be different?”

Hang in there, you are not alone in this chapter in Date Smart! and your life will change for the better.  If you’re scoring higher than you thought or you’re feeling that knot in your stomach with every page you read here, you are on the right track. It hurts because it’s true, but your ability to keep reading and learning about yourself and your relationship problems ARE the solution. Our job is NOT to fix you.  Our job is to ruin your dysfunction by making you aware of what, why and how it got this bad so that once you understand the core issues, their origins and make up it WILL get tougher to practice the things that once hurt you.  You will find with each new tool we give you and each new insight a new willingness and capability to improve your picking, improve your healthier relationships and to sever your unhealthy relationships. We’ll see you next week when we focus on The Perpetual Liar, How to Spot Liars in Action Date Smart! Chapter 3.5.

Please come back each week as we will post the next piece of each chapter broken down into posts that you can comment on, ask questions or share your thoughts. We will eventually update and post the whole book Date Smart!

*Special thanks for co-writing this article goes to Dave Coleman aka The Dating Doctor. Dave and I wrote Date Smart! back in Jan. 2000. The publication rights have now reverted over to us equally and, with Dave’s permission, I have edited the book and modernized some of the ideas we originally wrote. The book, Date Smart! is still available through some stores and you can contact Random House to request the book be reprinted. With enough demand they might just contact Dave and I to republish and possibly write another one. We are basically giving you the book to read in posts and encourage you to visit both Dave’s website and of course all parts of our website Neither the posts nor the book are in any way to be republished or sold or used without our express specific written permission and all posts are copyrighted and protected (ISBN-10: 0761521739, ISBN-13: 978-0761521730). Dave and I have written a number of articles together as well and so this serves as the byline. A huge thank you to Dave for sharing both our efforts and time to write what we hope are insightful, intriguing and informative articles that we share the creative collaboration and credit for working on over a number of years.

You can contact Rick by posting or by emailing:

askrickhead [at] topicisland [dot] com or read posts at Ask Rickhead

You can write Dave at:

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

22 Responses to “Relationship Addiction vs Love, Date Smart! Chapter 3.4”

  1. Ebbighausen511 says:

    July 27th, 2010 at 1:17 am

    I Really want a tatoo!!! Despite the fact that I am being told I can’t lol

  2. pymnUnconry says:

    July 24th, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Hello guys,

    My name is Mark and I am from Stirling in the United Kingdom. I have in recent past discovered this forum and I like it very much.
    I am a bit shy so I will not write much about me but maybe when I will get confortable, you guys will get to know me better!
    My main hobbies are playing piano and watching movies. I also like outdoor activites but the temperature has been horrible for the last days or so here in Stirling.

    I was wondering if anyone else here is from the united Kingdom too?

    I am glad to be a member here at now!


    PS: Sorry if this was posted in the wrong section. I could not find the right one!

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