The Dark Side of Attachment Addiction.

12 Feb 2017

Not so very long ago I found myself involved in two relationships back-to-back. Both are puzzling to me and I find that after four marriages followed by 13 years single, they made absolutely no sense. Yet the four marriages did not "make sense" either.

So, upon reflection, I began my search for self-knowledge and to learn the answer to the question, "Am I addicted to romantic love?"

It was not pretty nor am I proud of it. I have also been diagnosed as uni-polar, thereby enabling me (officially!) to wallow in depression and high degrees of anxiety. However, in the interest of mental health (I am in my second year of Recovery from alcohol addiction) I present the following summary for possible self-growth and sharing. Ultimately my hope is that I will accept my journey with the quest to better myself and leave behind the need to be involved romantically.

The first of the two was a younger professional, brilliant, and kind. I pressured him to say he loved me. He did not. Added to that, he wanted to keep our relationship a secret. We never went public. I became a burden to him with numerous health concerns. Two years later it was over. Truly over.

Moments after this relationship ended, another love appeared - perhaps as a rebound.

The second of the two was minutely older, from another religion and culture, was also brilliant, a professional, and deeply kind. While I did not place any pressure on him, it was the opposite dynamic. He was relentless in asking for my love, my buy-in to the relationship, and my presence in his life. Oddly and refreshingly, he worshipped his deceased partner. He placed her highest on his pyramid of adoration.

At first it was a lovely change from the divorced males I'd been around who complained constantly about their former spouses. This was new to me and I loved it. I loved that he had loved his partner of many years and wakened each day to her memories, while ending each day with them as well. Their home remains a shrine to her life.

Soon after the initial months, I realized I could not bring myself to be intimate with him in the their home. It was not working for me. I tried to keep our relations totally at my lake cottage. It then became important to be honest with him. I did this. He understood. Or, he tried to understand.

Unfortunately his worshipping of her above all entities and things was troublesome for my heart. I was the invader. That combined with a generalized lack of safety and the sense that my voice was not important lead me to review the union.

It ended with him making the final call. This worked for me since I could not bear the thought of hurting him in this way. And so, I leaned in, learned, extrapolated, and left. Oh, and neither of us enjoyed the other's cooking skills. Aaaack...

Am I a better person for having known both of these individuals? Absolutely. Yet I recognize my needs were not healthy. I walk on.

I am still learning - at the tender age of 67.


A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Feb. 12, 2017, 8:37 a.m.

Di What an amazingly honest blog. I was not sure what attachment addiction is so I looked it up and now I am confused. I can relate a bit to your story as I am onto to my 3rd major relationship and am still clueless about relationships and men. Not sure I have attachment addiction issues. I think as one gets older one can reflect and be brutally honest. I reall value you opening up and sharing your experience with us. Have you learnt more from writing this blog? Has anything really helped? Take care Leah



Feb. 12, 2017, 10:19 a.m.

Dear Di Please can I echo Leah's comments about your honesty and bravery in facing these issues head on and telling us about them. I hope that I can learn to be as honest to myself as you are to us. Good thoughts and happines to you.


Feb. 19, 2017, 1:59 p.m.

Please, all, accept my apologies for the delayed responses. Leah & Susannah ~ thank you for your authenticity. Attachment theory (Bowlby) goes along with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs if you'd like to look these up. Additionally, Buddhism addresses attachment as being aa form of suffering in the Four Noble Truths. Be well & wage peace. Lovingly, Di

Jane SG

Feb. 12, 2017, 8:42 a.m.

Hi Di, the greatest lesson in love which I have learned has been over the past few years as I have come to understand what it means to love someone unconditionally, without hope or expectation of reciprocation (as the man I love does not want me). It has been one of the greatest lessons in my life as I have had to learn about, and fight, my own intimacy issues, insecurities and demons. I have had to learn to handle rejection, which can feel extremely painful. I am now ready to really experience love; to love and be loved in return. To let someone in. However I am also ok on my own and would prefer that to someone who doesn't love me in return. Thanks Di.



Feb. 19, 2017, 2:01 p.m.

Oh, Jane ~ You sound so very strong & courageous. I like your perspective on unconditional love. The closest I have come to this is with my children. They are the loves of my life. Thank you & I wish you great further travels with love. Lovingly, Di

Jane SG

Feb. 12, 2017, 9:04 a.m.

We all have the right to fall in love with whom we chose. You cannot make someone love you, and it's their right not to. It is at that point when we need the widsome to move on. Which is what you have done Di. Xx



Feb. 19, 2017, 2:02 p.m.

Yes, dear Jane ~ Though it does hurt at times, and I sorely miss them, it is the right thing to do. Relationships end for many reasons. Sometimes it is a learning. Lovingly, Di


Feb. 12, 2017, 9:18 a.m.

Hi Di, I have always thought that I have attachment addiction. I have accepted that I don't feel right on my own. I have experienced the pain of rejection as feeling worse than grief. Being with someone who I felt addticted to was great when things were good but the fall felt like the person letting go of my hand from a cliff edge. I have learnt that the heady excitement and sparks, falling in love, being "madly in love" for me is dangerous. I dont seek or wish for it. A bit like your second experience, I am with someone who would do anything for me. There are no sparks, no excitement, but there is a lovely connection. He is kind and considerate beyond measure. I love his sweetness and so many of his qualities. It is never too late for us to get those early attachment issues ( or rather lack of) resolved. For now in terms of attatchment issues I feel at peace. I have a wonderful companion. I wish you what it takes to feel peace too. Peace and love to all. LP



Feb. 19, 2017, 2:06 p.m.

Oh, my. Yes, LP. The headiness of falling in love is such a rush yet is, for me, a warning light. Your calm love is intriguing to me & it is something for which I used to long. Now, I do not know if I am "fit" for love. Thinking. Lovingly, Di


Feb. 12, 2017, 10:20 a.m.

Thankyou Di for your honest share. I've had to look at why I'm consistently attracted to unavailable men. I'm 57 and have never had a decent fulfilling relationship with a man. It stems from my emotionally bereft childhood. I was not wanted as a child and I still have siblings who are openly hostile to my existence! My recovery began in Al-anon 15 years ago after being in a volatile relationship with an alcoholic. then 3 years ago I discovered SLaa. It has been an enormous help. I think most folks are addicted to something - food, work, perfectionism, fitness etc..never mind the more obvious ones.. We don't have to be ashamed any's not our fault our parents could not nurture us.. I've not been to CoDa, but I think they deal with these kind of issues too..



Feb. 21, 2017, 12:17 a.m.

Dearest Jackie ~ You are correct. We no longer have to feel shame. In fact, as you have assimilated from your experiences, the difficulties can wield a powerful strength and courage to be ever stronger in light of our experiences. Additionally, you are not alone in sometimes seeking unavailable men. Many, if not most, of us have done this. You can now go foward being spectacularly understanding of your healing needs. Lovingly, Di

The Gardener

Feb. 12, 2017, 11:19 a.m.

Dear Di - please don't take this personally but more and more I wonder WHY people marry? Peer group pressure? Looking for financial security? Few because they actually believe in the one time 'sanctity' of marriage. Whether you marry in church or registry office you make promises - so, each broken marriage equals a broken promise. Our family's marital record is worse than the royal family. Mr G's grand-parents split when his mother was 7, in 1900! Leaving her to be brought up by a Victorian grand-mother. Our 5 children married, one twice, four divorced. My b-in-law had two marriages, bitter break-up first, harming his children. One of our sons had a 'love at first sight' marriage, tempestuous and staggered to divorce.My parents marriage was awful, but did not put me off. Could any of us answer the question 'Why did you get married?' I presume mine was unconsciously to get away from my father. One of our daughters drifted into a relationship, then into living together, then into marriage, lasted 18 months. She took most of the blame - 2 months before the wedding I said to her father 'this will never work'. She is very down to earth, and admitted afterwards that she should never have married. I am married, but do not have a husband, I have an 'OH' who is totally dependent and cares for nobody. Just been to church, people lovely. I think LP's 'lovely connection' is marvellous - something to aim for, married or not. Verbose again, it's an AWFUL day. 3 days positive visit by eldest son followed by a week respite made me feel strong, and with a new will to 'work with' Mr G. But he won't be 'worked with' too far gone. Lot of Latin in mass today 'Dona nobis pacem' my watchword.



Feb. 21, 2017, 12:23 a.m.

Dear Gardener ~ I agree, marriage does appear to be an archaic custom that serves little purpose. Today, it is my belief, that the primary reason to marry is simply because we want to make a statement of our feelings toward this one person ~ making it public. The breakdowns can be horrific and deeply troubling for all those involved. It is my personal quest to refrain from blame (though this is pretty rampant in humans) when anything is amiss. It is my belief that many times someone's actions have little or nothing to do with me. It it their quest. Their phantom. I wish you peace, my friend. Thank you for your comments. Lovingly, Di


Feb. 12, 2017, 12:22 p.m.

Di, First off, Congrats on your Recovery! One day at a time. I have a number of 24/7's, (21 yrs)and I find the program VERY helpful in ALL areas of my life, not just keeping sober. As for relationships, these too I find are one day at a time. Relationships are like gardens, they need to be tended to daily to keep the weeds down and assist them in flourishing. I have been blessed to spend the last 25+ years in marriage with the love of my life. We have had a fine marriage - still on our "Honey moon"! It does take work, though most times it is a pleasure to do. It is NOT always easy, but for me/us, it is worth the effort. He has stood by me through many, many, many hospitalizations due to bipolar II, alcoholism, (He was my drinking partner. He also quit drinking to support my sobriety, 2 (L&R) episodes of breast cancer/mastectomies, etc.,etc.,. Luckily his life has been relatively "easy", and he has always stood along side of me with my roller coasters. So I am blessed, but I like to think so is he, for I stayed with him in all my crazy ness. There is hope.



Feb. 21, 2017, 12:26 a.m.

Dearest Cyndi ~ Congratulations on 21 years! And, I like your garden metaphor for relationships. They need tremendous care to flourish. It is an honor to read of the love of your life. Refreshing and healing. Yes, there is hope. Your journey proves this. Lovingly, Di


Feb. 12, 2017, 1:18 p.m.

Hi Di, I am touched by the honesty of your blog and how you are "learning" from your relationships. After the end of a 20+ year marriage, I found my self in two back to back relationships with complete opposite people. I had something to learn from both of them and have no regrets but have decided that I need to be on my own for awhile. I wish you well on your journey. Vickie



Feb. 21, 2017, 12:28 a.m.

Dearest Vickie ~ You are so strong. I commend you and am right there with you on having no regrets yet recognizing I need to be on my own right now. Thank you, from my heart, for your delightful authenticity. Lovingly, Di

Salt Water Mum

Feb. 12, 2017, 2:53 p.m.

I'm another fan of your honesty Di. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am still asking questions and learning too... like TG, I have questions about marriage and those promises made and broken. I am separated but, with children together, it's never a complete and total separation so it still gets messy. I was married to someone with many issues including addiction and I never want to go back there. But... I do mourn my marriage. I loved being part of a team and I miss that sense of togetherness. Us against the world so to speak. I look at family and friends and I ask myself - how do they make it work and I wasn't able? I do carry a sense of failure. A sadness about those broken promises, But I also feel brave and free now in a way I didn't feel when I was married. Cyndi, it sounds like you and your husband have something very special. It's lovely to hear to that. Hopeful. A lot of it is about timing and luck perhaps? And yes I do think we learn something about ourselves from each romantic experience. So, we can move on and try again... or not! I remember when we got married I was so surprised by how lovely it felt though. I didn't think it would make that much of a difference really. We had loved each other before the wedding day. But it did. I felt safe and a little bit treasured, a feeling I hadn't had to such an extent before. I miss that. But not the marriage itself. Take care, SWM x



Feb. 21, 2017, 4:43 a.m.

Dear Salt Water Mum ~ Your journey sounds extremely tough yet full of insight and courage. Being part of a team is dear to my heart as well. I wonder if we can find meanning in our team of being on our own with our precious children? Your words cause me to remember the "safe and a little bit treasured" part of romantic love. Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazingly strong. Lovingly, Di


Feb. 14, 2017, 1:04 a.m.

Dear Di You have made me sad and happy at the same time. We are all here to feel,touch,hear and listen.Also to love and be loved by a special one...or two...or whatever. Never stop believing that you will find love.Its out there,sometimes tight under our noses and we don't/can't see it.Does'nt stop it from finding you though and you finding it......;-) Take care of you- at 67 you are a youngster. Keep the faith,whatever you believe. We all dream and dreams do come true. My knight in shining armour came along 12 years ago and last year we got married.I waited 20 years for him and he had waited 60 years for me. Miracles and dreams are part of living. Live because life IS for living and,sometimes,trying again. RR



Feb. 21, 2017, 4:39 a.m.

Dearest Lacey ~ I love your story! Positivity galore. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. Lovingly, Di

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