When I first started dating in my 40s, I fell in love with a man who was the wrong type for me. During the two and a half years we were together, we broke up at least three different times.
Even though I knew he wasn’t the right one for me, I remember the passionate longing I had for him during our time apart. Its intensity was so strong that I’d feel unbelievably grateful when he’d reach out to try and work things out again. Getting back together was pure bliss.
Yet it didn’t take long for the problems that created the break up to reappear, and we’d plunge right back into a relationship that wasn’t meant to be. Finally, after two and a half years, I said “Enough… We’re done!”
I knew we didn’t belong together, but I was not prepared for how hard it would be to let go of him. Even though I was the one who ended the relationship, I still felt so connected to this man.
The reason is purely physiological. Every time I thought about him, my body was releasing oxytocin, the bonding hormone that created the physical addiction I had to this man. It took me almost a year to break this hormonal addiction!
I don’t want you to have to go through what happened to me. That’s why I want to share 5 signs that will help you identify whether you are addicted to a man and what you can do to break the cycle if this is happening in your life.
Oxytocin creates a high that is often mistaken for love. This hormone can bond you to a man for up to two weeks after you’ve had sex. When you’re addicted, you can trigger its release into your bloodstream every time you think about him or see his picture.
The longing momentarily starts because the hormone creates a false sense that you are connected all over again. This feels very good when you’re in a relationship, but it really plays games with your head once you’ve broken up and want to disconnect.
Ask yourself what it is that you really love about a man with whom you feel an intense connection. I loved this man but truthfully, we were so different that my friends would often ask, “Why are you with him?”
I kept coming back to the relationship because it felt so good when I was around him – again due to the continual release of oxytocin.
Your relationship needs to be built on values you share and on how safe and taken care of you feel around the man. You want to feel emotionally safe as well, which is hard to feel when you are breaking up every 10 seconds.
Check in to see what you don’t love about him. This man and I kept breaking up for a reason. We really weren’t compatible.
He loved camping, and I loved staying in a hotel with an amazing mattress. He loved bar food while I liked healthy food. We simply weren’t playing on the same playground of life, which is important if you want to create a healthy relationship.
In hindsight, I have to admit that beyond the hormonal high, there wasn’t a great deal I liked about him. Plus, he had several of my deal breakers.
I kept hoping he’d change if he loved me enough, but that never works, and actually, it’s unfair to ask someone to change unless they want to. Today, I teach my clients that when they don’t honor their deal breakers, they are just settling.
Ask yourself if what he brings to the table is enough for the type of relationship you want to create with him.
Other than the oxytocin high, almost everything else in this type of relationship feels annoying, irritating and unsolvable. This happens because the relationship doesn’t have enough to sustain it beyond a hormonal connection.
The longing will come back, certainly. But as time goes on, you’ll also feel a sense of freedom from being out of a relationship that isn’t working.
An oxytocin addiction can stay with you for years. To break it, start by acknowledging its occurrence. Stop all contact with this man. Take him out of your phone. Eliminate his email address.
Don’t stalk him on Facebook. In fact, it’s wise to stop being friends so he doesn’t pop up on your newsfeed. And for sure, don’t meet up with him in person or otherwise. These are all ways that stop the addiction from starting all over again.
You can do it, but it takes time. Be kind to yourself, especially when you’re feeling frustrated that the addiction isn’t ending fast enough. Plan activities or take classes that are fun and feel good for you.
Get some friends together to build your support group. You will feel like a freak at times but know you aren’t alone. This happens to normal people all the time. The key is identifying the addiction, so you can take the steps needed to overcome the oxytocin high and move on.
Have you ever experienced an addictive relationship with a man? What did you do to overcome the addiction? Please share your tips in the comments below.
Tags Senior Dating Advice