Addiction and the Relationships That Bring Trouble

Contributor: Kelly Everson, MA, you can see more of her work at

Couple having relationship problems, talking in a coffee shopMany adults do not realize that addiction covers more than gambling, shopping, food and substance abuse, it can also refer to certain types of relationships. An addiction is defined as an uncontrollable need that overtakes all form of rational thought and behavior. People suffering from an addiction often experience major personality changes, and if their destructive behavior is left untreated it can ruin their lives and those of the people around them.

Defining an Addictive Relationship

An addictive relationship is more common than many people realize, and it is not limited strictly to adults. It can happen to people at any age, and it is a painful experience that can affect to men and women’s health equally.

One of the common signs of an addictive relationship is that one partner is willing to do literally anything to keep their significant other with them. Instead of a relationship that is built on trust, love, and mutual understanding, it is based on simply being able to keep their partner with them at any cost.

Elements Not Found in a Loving Relationship

Mental health care professionals state that there are three components of addiction that are not found in a normal, loving relationship. These elements are:

  • An unrelenting obsession or constant thoughts about your partner.
  • The feeling of not being able to control your actions and behavior.
  • Continuing the destructive behavior even when the results are negative emotionally and physically.

Health care workers also state that while the signs of addictive behavior may be clear to everyone else, the person involved is often the last to notice the change in behavior. This can often lead to the disastrous results that unfortunately are too common in this type of relationship.

Understanding the Signs of Relationships That Bring Trouble

When you can begin to recognize and understand the signs of an addictive relationship, you can begin to change the behavior that is causing the trouble. One of the first things to understand is that an “addiction” is a behavioral response to feelings of insecurity, depression, anger, and anxiety, and that it is only a temporary fix.

These relationships that only bring trouble are not based on love and understanding, but instead on a set of demands and expectations that no one can possibly meet. This can set off the feelings of anger and signs of depression that are quickly followed by the all-consuming need to be with that person. This continual variation in feelings will eventually take a toll on everyone’s mental health.

Signs That the Relationship Is Trouble

Some of the common signs that you might be involved in an addictive relationship can include the following:


One of the first signs that this might be an addictive relationship is the amount of dependency one partner has on another. This can translate into a complete lack of trust, along with the need to constantly monitor the person’s every movement. Frequent texts and phone calls when you are apart are common, along with the need to be constantly assured that you are still experiencing feelings of love and devotion.

Frequent Loss of Control

Happy marriage at the and of therapy sessionThe need for constant reassurance can lead to feelings of anger and rejection if the partner does not receive continual affirmation of your love. This loss of control can be devastating emotionally and physically for both partners, and it often turns into an abusive cycle.

The pattern of one partner losing control and then trying to atone for their bad behavior can become codependent over time, especially if you decide to stay simply to appease and reassure your partner even if you are unhappy in the relationship.

Freeing Yourself from Addicting Relationships

When you are in a relationship that is unhealthy you can often lose touch with yourself and the other people in your life. This can be true no matter which side of the relationship you are on. The addictive and non-addictive partner can both become lost in trying to make the failing relationship work, and begin neglecting themselves and their friends and family.

Not only is this detrimental to your psychological well-being it can also be dangerous to cut yourself off from a caring and loving supportive network.

Admitting the Problem, and Working to Change Things

The first steps in recovering from an addictive relationship is too admit that there is a problem, and have the desire to change your behavior problems. Whether you are the one causing the trouble in the relationship, or simply supporting your partner’s destructive behavior the first step is to ask for help from a health care professional for cognitive behavioral therapy.

Whether you seek counseling and treatment by yourself or with your partner once you have admitted that there is a problem you will be on your way to enjoying a happy and healthy relationship.

Abusive Relationships and How They Affect Substance Abuse

happy couple outside talking and looking at each other.Being addicted to drug or alcohol is always hard. But fighting substance when you’re in abusive relationship is even harder. Abusive relationships negatively affect one’s sobriety and decrease person’s recovery process. Studies have even shown that many abusive and dysfunctional relationships are accompanied by substance abuse. Individuals who feel like they are stuck in abusive and unhealthy relationship can turn to drugs in order to escape their problems.

Additionally, individuals who had addiction problems prior starting the relationship have increased risk of starting their addiction all over again when the relationship is not functional. The reason is simple; people suffering from substance abuse are not able to deal with problems in healthy manner. The problem gets more complicated when the relationship is abusive, addicting and unhealthy which proves to be too much for them to take.


Addictive relationships are more common than most people think, and it can be detrimental to both partners. It is important to remember that in order for an addictive relationship to bring trouble it is necessary for both partners to be involved. With therapy and counseling the addictive behaviors can be treated and you can enjoy a happy and healthy relationship with the right partner.

About the Author:

Kelly Everson is a MA in English Literature and an American Author. Her work comprises of articles appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen health care websites covering beauty, skincare treatments, weight loss, diet and overall men’s & women’s health. When she’s not educating strangers with her writing, she’s most likely researching about new discoveries in health, fitness and beauty industry.

You can see more of her work at Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience with addictive relationships in substance abuse recovery? Where have you looked for support and encouragement to break ties that can be toxic?

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addiction. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 1st, 2015
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