I have recently learned that I am a relationship addict. I refused to believe that people could become addicted to people, but I have all the symptoms and then some. I wanted to share some of the beliefs that are attached to women in an attempt to educate other addicts.


A. Women traditionally have attached much greater significance and priority to relationships than men.
B. Women are often willing to make all kinds of sacrifices when the nurturance of the important emotional investment is threatened.
C. Society grants much lower status to relationships, emotional expression, nurturing and vulnerability than it does to individualism, self interest, toughness, measurable output and strength expressed as power over others.
D. Women’s strengths (emotional expressions, nurturing) are seen as weaknesses.
E. Men have the technological, physical and financial power in our society that create a power imbalance.
F. This imbalance of power in male-female relationship creates a typical dominant-subordinate arrangement. Dominates do not consider subordinates as equals.
G. Dominants rely on power not negotiation to get what they want. (You may have heard the following belief: When a man says NO it is the end of the conversation, when a woman says NO it is the beginning of negotiation).
H. Subordinates depend on pleasing the dominate for survival, thus they learn as much as possible about the dominates in order to please them.
I. Women’s dependence and subordination is reinforced as being normal. Much like depressed women are tolerated better by men than angry women.
J. This cause and effect connection between social climate and women wiring, creates a relationship addiction.
The good news about addiction recovery is that this faulty wiring can be re-wired with a healthy self-love that creates an opportunity for the addict to have a more balanced and functional relationship.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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