Addictions and Answers

“When I told my boyfriend I loved him, he said No, I was 
merely co-addicted to him, and he felt suffocated by it.”

Friday, August 6, 2010
By Dave Moore & Bill Manville

BILL: Back in my single days, Dave, I used to hear it all the time. Some guy would meet a new girl, maybe the bedroom was great, but he couldn’t wait for the weekend to be over. “She made me feel suffocated,” he would tell me. I once mentioned this to Helen Gurley Brown—I was writing for Cosmo at the time. “I hope you notice,” she said, “they say this after they’ve taken the girl to bed, not before.” Dave, I thought those days were over. But here’s Janice, telling us her boyfriend takes any sign of affection or attention from her as “co-dependent addiction.” Doc, is that just a fancy, medico-sounding term wayward Romeos use to excuse their fickle nature?

DR. DAVE: Bill, you seem to be taking an old-fashioned, male-chauvinistic stance on this question. One of the definitions of healthy love is that it is given freely. Co-dependency enters when hidden issues of control and abandonment enter. Men can fear abandonment just as keenly as women. etc. – (Dave goes on here with further definition of healthy love vs. Coda.)

BILL: My friend, addiction therapist Lynn Telford Sahl, says her experience is that average woman thinks about sex about once a day, “unless they’re in the early stages of romantic love, which lasts for six to eight months.”

Lynn, the author of “Intentional JOY: How to Turn Stress, Fear & Addiction into Freedom,” went on. “What women are addicted to is the longing and desire for their man to fit the romantic illusion they see in the movies. Jennifer had been married to Mark, divorced and remarried twice, but still together. After twenty years of hoping he’d change, he still hadn’t, yet she clung to the “someday” fantasy. The relationship worked for him yet she could neither let go, nor get what she really wanted. Doesn’t this sound like the struggle women are in with losing weight? It’s the struggle that becomes addictive.”

DAVE: YOU GO ON HERE—another 400 words

Dr. David Moore is a licensed psychologist and chemical dependency professional who is a graduate school faculty member at Argosy University's Seattle campus. Bill Manville is a novelist and writer whose most recent work, 'Cool, Hip & Sober,' is available at online bookstores. Formerly the host of the No. 1 radio show 'Addictions & Answers,' he has been sober now for over 20 years.

Got a question about addiction? E-mail Dr. Dave and Bill at Anonymity is guaranteed.

Need to talk to someone right now? Dave and Bill recommend the 24-hour addiction hotline at Caron Treatment Centers: 1-800-678-2332.

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