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by Dawn Cohen
I can’t stop looking at women; even
if I were with the love of my life I keep
thinking the grass is greener elsewhere. My
relationships fizz out at three years max. Why?
ADear Wandering Eye
You are battling sex addiction. You
may not have sex with the women
you check out, or even want it. But you are
dependent on fantasising about strangers to
tame your terror of emptiness with a real lover.
It is harmless occasionally, but that is clearly
not the case for you.
Addiction is the name for a habit you know is
harming you but you can’t stop. Sex addiction
is the term for obsessions or compulsions
involving romance, fantasies or sexual activities
that are destructive to your well being.
It is almost impossible to give up this habit on
your own. You need Sex Addicts Anonymous
My new mother-in-law is a fucked-up,
critical, harpy, desperately phoning
my gal on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel sick
at the thought of her being there all the time.
I don’t think I can do it. My own mother was
clingy and difficult. Hannah
How hard it is when the other woman
is her mother. Does your partner believe
her mother’s dependence is appropriate? If
so, you are in serious trouble. If she wants
to escape the suffocation but doesn’t know
how, there is hope. Between the two of you,
negotiate how often and when you want her
mum to be around. Then develop a strategy
for dealing with her mother’s inevitable
But there are some dangers in this process.
One aspect of your partner will be tightly
bonded to her mother, while another part
wants freedom to be herself. The conflict
between her two wishes is probably so
intense, she will unconsciously feel more
comfortable if she could get you to fly the flag
for freedom, while she defends the maternal
She can then blame you for being selfish
and uncaring, while she feels like a virtuous
daughter. Another danger is you dumping your
own unresolved feelings from your experience
as a daughter on your spouse. Crucially, don’t
threaten to leave unless you are seriously
about to flee. Repeated threats to leave
are one of the most destructive energies in
relationships, second only to violence.
My partner likes talking endlessly
about her “inner self”. I like diving or
abseiling or competitive sport. She thinks I am
a Neanderthal. I think she is a navel gazer. We
are mad about each other, but can it work out
between us when I crave adventure and she
She craves adventure, but she likes
diving into the psychological world
whereas your adventures are physical.
Lesbian relationships are most likely to survive
if you share basic values about life, not
necessarily interests. But you do need to
have some activities you enjoy together, as
well as a capacity to talk things over when they
Talking things over is to a relationship like
training is to a sport. It’s essential for avoiding
injuries while improving your personal best.
Your relationship requires very brief periods
of talking things over, with a set agenda.
Discussion should be time-limited, goal-
focused and results based, otherwise you will
The opinions expressed in this column are the
personal views of the writer. They are not intended
a be a substitute for professional advice. If you need
medical or psychological help please see your local
GP or psychologist.
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