When you discover true love, a healthy mutually devoted relationship, it can be a beautiful experience. However, like everything else in our lives, there can be too much of a good thing. If you find yourself completely reliant upon your partner you run the risk of crossing the line into addiction.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D., a relationship expert who has dedicated over 40 years to counseling couples explains: “We can get addicted to people just as we can to alcohol or food. It’s a form of self-abandonment where you use another person to avoid responsibility for your feelings.” This self-abandonment can cause us to completely lose our self.
Are you concerned you may be reaching this unhealthy territory? Watch for these signs:
You cannot bear to be separated from your partner, creating feelings of extreme anxiety during even the shortest time apart.
You constantly require your partner’s approval in everything that you do in order to be happy with it yourself. For example, you may share a story of a decision that you made at work simply to find out if your partner approves of the choice you made.
You keep score in your relationship, keeping track of every little romantic gesture or sacrifice one another makes, attempting to determine who loves who more.
You bring your partner with you anywhere you go, even when they may not be welcome, such as on a girl’s night out.
The idea of losing your partner can send you into a complete state of panic. You are unable to picture yourself continuing your life following the end of the relationship.
You find that you regularly engage in sexual activity with your partner in inappropriate places, or at inappropriate times.
Rather than owning your own style, you dress, do your make up and style your hair to impress your partner. If your partner dislikes anything it must go, regardless of how much you may like it.
You are more concerned with the idea of getting love and affection from your partner than you are giving it.
Your sacrifice responsibilities in your life such as work deadlines, school papers, or your grandparent’s anniversary party, choosing to spend time with your partner instead.
You begin to abandon all other relationships in your life, devoting yourself solely to your relationship. This includes co-workers, friends and even family members.
If your friends or family attempt to make plans without involving your significant other, you show complete disinterest. You find yourself feeling bored without your partner, regardless of who else may be around.
You give up any activities or hobbies that you previously enjoyed unless they can be done as a couple.
If your partner shows interest or excitement in anything that doesn’t include you, such as time out with friends, or an individual hobby, you feel personally offended.
You feign interest in hobbies and activities that you are not actually interested in simply because it is something your partner enjoys and will allow you to spend even more time together.
While you may make the effort to set healthy boundaries in your relationship, you struggle to stick to them.
You spend a significant amount of money on your relationship – buying gifts, paying for elaborate date nights and vacations, and treating your partner in any way that you can – to the point that you are spending money you don’t have, creating debt.
Whenever you are feeling insecure in your relationship you find yourself starting fights for no other reason than to draw your partner’s attention.
Your public displays of affection are so over the top that they make others feel uncomfortable.