"Addicted" to a Person? Real or BS, Guys?

I guess I am asking our esteemed male peers specifically because this is a friend’s tale of woe involving her erstwhile new b/f, but any response is always welcome. I wouldn’t imagine one partner in any relationship particularly more “prone” to this than another.

Is it possible to become truly addicted to another person, not just sex with another person, nor some other addictive behaviors indulged in with another person, but to actually be so smitten that you view the very presence of that person as “an offering of heroin to a hapless addict”?

My best g/f has a relatively new b/f, who was involved with a woman on and off for about 5 years before this new involvement with my friend. He’d been “single” for over a year before they met, altho he’d dated once or twice in that time. By his own admission (I know him too and have heard this from him, not just thru my friend), previous long-term “thing” was intense to the point of madness. He was over-the-top-in-love with her. She, on the other hand, enjoyed his ability to provide for her small family, and enjoyed his company, but would never commit. She wouldn’t even allow him to introduce her as his “girlfriend” to anyone. She left him for several 3 to 6 month periods over the whole course of their relationship, during which time she dated (and slept with) other men, and was callous enough to tell him all about it. He was miserable, jealous, anxious, and depressed by all of this, but simply could NOT let go of her. He convinced himself that if he could only love her enough, she’d give up her wild lifestyle and commit to him. He looked upon this as a direct challenge that he could meet, altho he is not a stupid person and at the same time, knew in his wounded heart that this was never going to happen.

Well, of course eventually she decided to dump him with finality, and after a year of pining, he finally has moved on and met my pal. A couple nights ago, he admitted that he couldn’t commit 100% to his new relationship with my g/f because he still had “an addiction” to this previous woman. He hoped to be able to get to the point of committing 100% to her, but in all honesty wasn’t there quite yet. He used the “heroin” phrase above. He said he knew the thing with the past woman was sick, that there was no future there, and that it might cause his own spiritual downfall, but he “still” harbored just a few of those old longing feelings that just would not die. Seems like describing addictive behavior to me.

I should add that the old g/f has not been in touch with him, nor seeking reconciliation as far as I know. He is a very up-front person and would have said something about it to my g/f. Additionally, my pal & I know a number of persons who are his co-workers, and they would have said something to one of us had the old g/f been hanging around work to see him, as she did frequently in “the old days”.

Now my g/f and this guy have not been dating 6 months yet, so it is reasonable that he might still have the last shreds of a previous attachment lingering around his heart…but (and here’s what scares ME): he has asked my friend and her son to move in with him, sometime in the next few months.

WHAT could he want by this? Why would anyone in her right mind want to live with him when he is still addicted to another woman? Why would he even ask?

What is this guy playing at? Have any of you ever been “addicted” to another person in this manner? What advice would you give to my g/f? She’s emotionally attached of course, but this red flag is enormous and she can’t help but see it waving frantically at her. I want to be of help.


I don’t know if I have ever been ‘addicted’ to someone, but I can tell you that there was this woman that I found myself wanting to be around all the time… We were friends at first… We would hang out with other mutual friends and the likes… When I wasn’t with her, I found myself thinking about her. We both had some bad things happen to us at this time of our lives, and we helped each other through them. I don’t know exactly at what point in our relationship you would say we were no longer just friends, but bf and gf. At the time, I didn’t realize how much this woman meant to me. It wasn’t until I had to leave to drive across the country (US, from Indiana to California) that I realized how much I really missed her, and her missing me as well. I don’t know if this qualifies as an addicition. After realizing how much this woman meant to me, I asked her to marry me. We will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary this December and are awaiting the birth of our second child any time now. I still find myself thinking of her when we aren’t together…

“Addicted to a person” is the exact equivalent of being in love with a person.

Don’t let your friend’s boyfriend trick you with words. He is simply still in love with the other girl.

From the site:

Lakai nailed it. My first girlfriend, I realized after we broke up, was addicted to me in the same way. In her case, it was because the rest of her life was basically crap, and difficult to deal with, so I became her escape. She needed regular doses of me to stay sane.

Addiction is simultaneously physical and psychological. The two aspects are one and the same. So just like a chemical drug, where (for example) the body no longer produces natural endorphins and needs the cocaine (or whatever), your friend’s beau has learned to be happy only when he’s with this other woman. Depending on how deeply ingrained this conditioning is, he may well be able to un-learn it, but I wouldn’t advise your friend to move in with him so soon.

I couldn’t disagree more. Infatuated, maybe, but love includes mutual respect and a sense of partnership. As with a lot of these things, the isssue is not the ex-girlfriend, but the guy’s unhealthy, self-centered approach to relationships.

Your descriptions are telling: He goes from one woman with children, to another woman with a child. He seems to get his self-worth from being the provider, and doesn’t understand why paying the bills does not automatically buy him eternal devotion. And his attitude that “if he only could love her enough” would win back a woman who treated him like absolute crap for five years is downright creepy. This shows he’d rather have the appearance of a relationship than a mutually-supportive partnership.

This indicates to me that he feels women (and their children) are objects to boost his own self-worth, not as full human beings and equals. The guy may be a peach of a friend, but frankly I’d worry that he could turn into an abuser if he doesn’t get help, and fast.

Your friend needs to protect herself - and, more importantly, her son - from this guy’s troubling attitudes. She should insist that he get counseling NOW, before she even will consider moving in with him. If he refuses, she needs to get away from this guy before he decides he’s “addicted” to her. If she thinks there is hope for him, then by all means support him in his work to get healthy. But she should absolutely not move in with him until he has shown some real progress.

This, too. It sounds to me like he’s using his relationships to compensate for some deep-seated troubles. That’s why therapy or counseling is essential. He needs to address the root cause of his problem, not just get over his ex.

Addicted = love but addicted can also = co-dependent icky obsession relationship.

My friend has decided to halt all discussion of moving in together or even advancing beyond dating until the b/f can come to terms with what he feels and for whom. This is as much for the protection of her son as anything, and is wise.

It does clearly seem that he needs some counseling. I don’t see him as an abuser, at least not to other people, but I do think that he feels as if the other bad relationship was the best he deserved (he’s said things along this line when asked, very naturally, WHY he’d put up with what she did to him). He could be tempted to self-abuse, perhaps. Which would be very ugly.

It also seems from my observation as if whenever it appears to him that my friend WOULD be that helpmeet and companion he has said he desires, he becomes afraid and backs off as if someone on an equal footing with him in a relationship just cannot be accepted. I am completely guessing here and with no psychological training of any sort, but he seems inordinately depressed to even think someone might want a partnership with him, yet at the same time, highly attracted to the idea. He’s a very bright guy with an MA in business management, he’s a a fabulous conversationalist, engaging, witty and humorous, and fun to be around. But it seems he just cannot decide what he wants, or deserves.

I will pass your recommendations along to my friend. Do you suppose it would serve any purpose for her to agree to attend counseling with him, if he balks at the idea?


Bolding mine.

Where did you get this definition? Love is usually defined as an intense attraction toward a person or an object. I have not seen a dictionary use your version. Infatuation means an unreasonable attraction, not an addiction. An addiction does not always have to be unreasonable.

Maybe you meant that a relationship should include mutual respect and a sense of partnership? That would make more sense.

Hey, try www.dictionary.com. It says,

Do you love your mother? Do you feel an intense attraction towards her? I didn’t think so. Love = affection, sense of connection, concern for the other person’s well-being. It’s definitely not the same as addiction.

Sounds like the guy in question is obsessed with his ex-gf. Certain people just get under your skin, push your buttons in the exact right way, make you feel like absolute crap sometimes and fantastic others, in just the right proportions. People like this are often very manipulative and good at playing the string out in the right amounts. You’re your own worst enemy in a relationship like that because you stay around for it. I’ve seen it happen and yeah, allowed it to happen to me once. It’s 100% bad and can’t ever lead to anything good, but it’s tough to end. Kind like… a smack addiction.

I think your friend needs to walk away from this guy until he gets his head sorted out. She also needs to accept that it might never happen if it’s been going on for 6+ years now. She deserves someone devoted to her, not someone who’d leave her if his ex called him.

The OP’s description sounds very much like what abused women describe. Being with someone who treats you like shit, yet thinking that if you “just love him hard enough” he’ll change and everything will be daisy-filled grass and pink clouds.

So yeah, I guess the addiction exists, but it’s usually put in different terms. He’s hooked on an image of a person who doesn’t exist.

In her two books “Whining for Attention” and “Cancer Schmaner” actress Fran Drescher reveals how she and her longtime boyfriend/husband Peter Marc Jacobsen were high school sweethearts, had a solid marriage in Tinseltown, and how much it changed in one night when their apartment was broken into, she was tied up and raped while Peter was forced to watch with a gun to his head, and then they were robbed. She states that after that incident they were afraid to be apart from one another, and she could not be alone and make her own decisions. Eventually she realized how sick this relationship had become and left Peter “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was to leave that man.”

Then she finds out she had ovarian cancer, and survives it. Quite a woman, that Fran.