Relationships: Intimate vs. Addictive- 4

Hopefully this week you have been able to identify if your relationship is healthy/intimate or has more addictive characteristics. Being in an addictive type relationship can be very stressful. Many people don't even realize they are in one until they read something like this or talk to a professional who is an expert in relationships. It's not a common theme talked about in relationships. But now that you are more aware, hopefully you can start working on things that you are identifying as addictive vs. healthy. An Intimate Relationship deals with things as they come along vs. the Addictive Relationship that uses denial to deal with things.

In an intimate relationship, the partners talk about things openly as they come up. If they cannot at that exact moment, they plan a time they can address it when they can both be present and listen to each other. When they do talk, they both listen and verbalize their feelings. An addictive relationship pretends everything is fine or just sweeps thing under the rug. This is usually to protect the relationship and keep them from having conflict. But conflict, when done in a constructive way, can bring more intimacy to couples. Avoiding it only builds a wedge.

In an intimate relationship, the commitment is based on a mutual true interest in each other's spiritual path, even if that means it might take that person away vs. in an addictive relationship where each other's spiritual growth doesn't really matter or count.

It is important for couples to understand and respect each other's spirituality. Notice I didn't say believe the same way or agree on everything. It is ok to have differences. However, it's very important to talk openly and try to understand those differences. In addictive relationships, a person feels threatened if the other partner doesn't believe the same way they do, so they try to force their beliefs on the other partner or try to get them to abandon their core beliefs. This is unhealthy and controlling.

In an intimate relationship, love is always an act of self-love vs. in an addictive relationship, love is wanting someone to love me at all costs.

Basically, when we learn to love, accept, and respect ourselves, it is easier to love others. The love we feel pours out onto them. In an intimate relationship, the love we feel automatically goes out to others we love. In an addictive relationship, it is all about trying to get that other person to love you. Many times it's never enough and comes at a high cost (because it's never enough). It feels like there is a limited amount of love vs in an intimate relationship where there is an abundance of love. The person loves themselves so they feel "full" and can easily pour that onto their partner. Now of course we are not speaking of the kind of self-love that takes and only thinks of themselves. It is a healthy self-love that God wants us to have so we can give it out to others.

We hope this week has been helpful in identifying what additive love looks like. If you have any questions or would like to come in to talk to us about your relationship, please give us a call or fill out a connection card. Joleen is taking a well deserved break this week and will return next week so we have tomorrow off. Thanks so much for reading and have a great week!

Taken from "Leaving the Enchanted Forest" by Covington and Beckett

Written by Natalie Chandler

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville