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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Men and Sex Relieve My Pain

Men and Sex Relieve My Pain

Sent: Monday, January 10, 2000 11:50 AM
Subject: E-Mail Advice

Hi Dr Irene,
My life seems to be heading into destructive paths and I have no control over it. Yes you do. You just have to recognize that fact. When I was young I was sexually abused and still now I feel ashamed of it. I am getting help for this now. Good!


The life I lead now is very dependent on men and sex, as I find my contact is through this and it relieves my stress and anger. Sex and "love," i.e., infatuation, to be more accurate, are your addictions. You use them to medicate your pain and blot out your feelings. Think: doesn't your fix accomplish about the same thing for the alcoholic? I find I cannot stay still for long, and am feeling down too. I am on anti-depressants for my depression. Good. That will help.


My big problem is that I met a man who I thought was my love of my life, and I still do. He said lots of nice words to me at the beginning about commitment, love and "You are my soul mate". I believed this from the beginning, as he seemed to show that he cared for me. So I became obsessive towards him following his footsteps. Mistake! Never, ever, ever (did I say that enough?) let another person become more important to you than you are! But, this is about self-caring, and you don't know how to do that yet.


He seemed the perfect man who knew where he was going, and was very positive. The sex was irrelevant for me. My emotions seemed to fall for this man. 


Then after a month he changed and became very controlling. We would go out, and he would be accusing me of seeing other men. The truth was - I was. I didn't admit to it and starting lying. The person your lying affects most is yourself. It affects your self-esteem and integrity, though I don't think your partner is any bargain. I became very passive towards him, letting him do what he wanted and come over when he could come over. He "talked" to me on the internet as he said, "I express myself better here than in person".


We parted several times and got back together again. He said he couldn't help it and to just accept him. I am confused. I will assume you mean he asked you to accept him with his anger. So I did. I said nothing, but I could feel my pressure, boredom, anger and trying to portray a image that was not there. Good! Feel these feelings! They are real. Listen to them. What is the pressure, boredom, and anger telling you? What is bothering you? Sit on it a while. Let your feelings talk to you.


I still think of him and still love him, but now I don't express how I feel towards him anymore - he does not want to hear it. So, I'm trying to move on and it is hard.   Shannon

Dear Shannon,

It's hard, yes, but moving on is the best thing you could possibly do for yourself. What you describe is not love. Take a look at the difference between love and infatuation (obsession, addiction to a person). Also see recovery from love addiction, as well as the rest of the Codependent Pages. A relationship is not just on one partner's terms. But, you are not ready for a relationship with anybody yet. 

First, you have to love yourself, and you can't do that without dealing with your love and sex addiction. Do this in your therapy - addiction is related to childhood sexual abuse - and in self-help groups. Do this by not having sex. Do this by not dating. Cold turkey. You need to walk the straight and narrow because, as you see, the other path doesn't work.

While you are abstaining from everything you are addicted to, pay attention to the feelings that come up in you - but don't act out on them. Process them. See what you are trying to tell yourself. Get in touch with the woman inside. That's your best friend. Learn to love yourself first. Only then you are prepared to love another - and accept their love in return.

Good luck to you,  -Dr. Irene