Four Tips to Avoid Picking an Addict
If you frequently have trouble with relationships, and continually seem to find yourself trying to make something work with an addict of one stripe or another, it’s tempting to place the blame elsewhere. “It’s just bad luck,” you might say to yourself, or even “Why can’t I just find a nice, dependable guy?” Although it might not be what you want to hear, the problem may actually be how you choose your partner, not some cosmic run of misfortune. This may especially be an issue if you or somebody in your family has a history of sex addiction, and sex addiction therapist Dr. Linda Hatch has some key tips to help you avoid making the same mistakes with your next choice of partner.
- Avoid Being Swept Off Your Feet – This may seem like killjoy advice, but getting rapidly swept up in a new relationship isn’t the wisest decision. The problem is that when you fall madly in love with someone or are intensely attracted to him or her, you’re likely to overlook potential red flags. If you want to make better choices, it’s prudent to take things slowly and really be conscious of whom you’re getting involved with. For this reason, Dr. Hatch says you should also be particularly aware of choosing somebody who’s your ideal “type,” because you’re more likely to be intensely attracted, feel familiar and consequently make the same mistakes. It may not be as romantic, but you should take it slow and steady.
- Ask Important Questions – Addicts tend to have difficulties with intimacy, and asking questions is the best way to figure out if this is the case. The first tip was helping you keep your eyes open to red flags, and this one is helping you spot them more proactively. Ask about the relationship history of the object of your affections, and be on the lookout for signs of commitment issues. This can naturally progress to finding out about how and why his or her previous relationships ended. This may involve asking more probing questions than you’re used to, but it will help you avoid picking the wrong person. It’ll be worth it to avoid the potential disappointment down the line.
- Ask What He or She Is Looking For – Similarly to the point above, you can often spot squirming, half-responses to questions about what he or she is looking for in a relationship: if she is ready to commit only “if the right person comes along” or he wants to “play it by ear” or any related response, there may be a problem. Again, this may feel like an awkward question to ask, but if you’re looking for something serious, you need to know he or she is too.
- Seek Advice From Friends, and Pay Attention to It – When you’ve chosen somebody you like, no matter how hard you try, your objectivity will be compromised. This is why outside opinions matter. Talk to trusted friends about your new partner, soliciting honest viewpoints and seriously paying attention to what is said. Your friends will have a more objective perspective than you, and if they’re unsure about the person, there’s a chance you’re making the same mistakes again. You can also meet your new partner’s family and friends: be on the lookout for stable, healthy relationships. Dysfunction in the family (or indeed, addiction) doesn’t necessarily mean your potential partner will have issues, but it’s a bad sign. Finally, if you have one, talk to your therapist about the individual to see what he or she believes from a professional standpoint.
Choosing the right person is never easy, and if you struggle with sex addiction (or any other addiction) it can be even more challenging. However, don’t give up hope. If you’re willing to take a step back, ask a few uncomfortable questions and look the truth in the face, you’ll be able to spot those all-important red flags and get out of a bad relationship. It still might not be smooth sailing, but if you need to abandon ship, you’ll have done it long before things get tragic. Keep it up, and you’ll find a healthy, reliable partner in no time.