Before Another Relationship Take Time to Work On You

A woman who's taking time for herself after a breakup on a solo hike looking out at the view of the mountains.

If you’re a person who’s always jumped from one relationship into another, often with the same type of negative person who isn’t good for you, you may be codependent or addicted to the feeling of being in love.

This is a learned behavior, often from childhood, where a person cannot have a healthy give and take relationship. Instead, she or he is always the giver in the relationship, sacrificing everything to try to keep the other partner happy. This can make you feel emotionally drained, unsatisfied, and ultimately broken when an unhealthy relationship finally fails.

While the end of a relationship may seem like the worst possible outcome, it can be a good time to reassess your life, your relationships, and yourself. This is a time to take a break, look closely at yourself and start changing those old, inaccurate perceptions that could be driving your behavior.

With the help of a therapist, counselor, or coach, the break between one negative relationship and the potential to get into another is the ideal time to work on you.

During this time, your focus should be on:

Understanding your behaviors.
Why you look for specific traits and behaviors in partners that turn out to be negative and destructive often goes back to how your parents treated each other and the children in the family. Understanding the roots of the learned behavior can help you to learn new, healthier, and more positive options.

Develop autonomy.
Being comfortable with yourself as an autonomous single person who’s not in a relationship is a very big step. Once you can love being with yourself, you can start to have a healthy, loving relationship with someone else.

Setting boundaries.
Often people with love addiction can’t set boundaries. They can’t say “no,” and so they’re constantly giving away their energy, their emotions, and even their sense of self. Learning to set boundaries is critical to being comfortable being yourself.

By learning to be comfortable with yourself, you can begin to deal with your own needs and your own misconceptions about relationships. Often people with love addiction feel unworthy of love, since they were never loved and provided with emotional nurturing from their parents.

As an adult, it’s possible to learn how to provide that self-empowerment, self-esteem and, self-worth. Becoming confident about who you are as a person will allow you to move forward and find someone who is able to provide a healthy, give and take relationship.

How long your break from relationships will need to be is really a personal decision. However, it isn’t a few days or even a few weeks, and it will take effort, focus, and willingness to go through some challenges and fight temptations along the way.

Remember, love addiction isn’t a disease, it’s a learned behavior. You have had a lifetime to learn and reinforce this negative behavior, so it will take time to learn new ways to look at yourself, at others, and to understand what you want and deserve in a healthy relationship.

Sherry Gaba LCSW

Certified Transformation and Recovery Coach

Sherry Gaba, LCSW is a Certified Transformation and Recovery Coach and the leading Psychotherapist on VH1’s Celebrity Rehab and Sex Addiction. She is also the author of “The Marriage and Relationship Junkie:Kicking your Obsession” on Amazon. Sherry maintains a private practice in Westlake Village, CA as well as facilitating Skype
and phone appointments.

For more information visit www.sherrygaba.com, take her quiz to find out if you’re a love addict, or sign up for a 30-minute strategy session.

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