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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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Love & Sex Addiction

 On Love & Sex Addiction

From: Janet

Sent: Thursday, March 04, 1999 11:21 PM


Subject: love addiction

Dr. Irene,

I've been dating a man for about 4 months now and he's been holding off on expanding our relationship to include sexual relations. He is 47 and never been in a long term relationship. I am 35 and am divorced. We both agree that this relationship is something that we would like to have grow.

Yesterday he told me that he is a recovering love and sex addict. I can now understand why waiting is so important for him. I feel that I am a strong woman and he said that's one of the reasons that he wants this relationship to work. I realize only time can tell if this will work. He told me that he can be loyal and I can trust him. He attends support groups and has a spiritual advisor to help him. He's asked that I help him also. I want to be supportive but I'm not sure that I can be strong enough for him to tell me when he's attracted to other women and not be jealous of that.

I've had a codependency problem in the past (my ex-husband was an alcoholic) which I felt I was dealing very well with. I've always been attracted to men who "need" me. I thought it was different with him because I didn't think he "needed" me in any way. I was very comfortable with this relationship. Now I'm wondering if I stay in this relationship and make it work is it because I truly love him or is it because he needs me?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you,


Dear Janet,

I don’t think you are asking the right question. My question to YOU is: What makes it OK for him to tell you what women he is attracted to? And why shouldn’t you get – angry! Telling you whom he finds sexually attractive is very, very disrespectful – as well as unnecessary! Why tell you? (Do you tell him whom you find attractive?) And be careful how you answer this question, because:

You are continuing to pay more attention to the other person’s stuff than you are to your own stuff. This is your biggest problem. If you cared more about yourself, why would you put up with this?

Rule of thumb: If you ask for nothing, that is exactly what you will get. If you ask for everything, you just may get it!

Best wishes and good luck,

Dr. Irene