My Qualifier

A qualifier is one who fulfills the role for a love and sex addict.  He is the one who meets all the appropriate qualifications that she needs to repeat the cycle of her past.  She unconsciously selects someone so she can recreate with that person a relationship which is in part like the one she had with a parent or parents of conflict for the purpose of fixing her childhood.  Her qualifier is someone unavailable, suffocates her or mistreats her.  She will continue to trade him in for a shinier car and continue the pattern.  Until she becomes aware of the pattern and choses to change it.

Sarah met John.  She fell instantly in love with him.  He thought she was cute and enjoyed spending time with her. She loved the attention he gave her.  He had a way of making her feel like she was the only woman on the planet.  His entire focus was on her.  Sarah dated John for two weeks and found out he was married.  She was crushed, but instead of breaking up with him, she continued to see him.  They would see each other during his lunch breaks.  He would lie and tell his wife he needed to go out of town for business, but he would stay at Sarah’s house and play house with her.

Sarah hated sharing John with his wife.  He told her he stopped having sex with his wife.  This helped her feel a little better.  There were times where she accepted the arrangement of being the other woman.  There were times she absolutely despised herself.  She couldn’t publicly announce her relationship.  Her friends had no idea she was seeing a married man.  She continued this relationship for a year.  Never attempting to meet other people.  She feared running out of time, of having her own family.  She didn’t want this relationship anymore, but she couldn’t let it go.

John offered financial security.  He was always there when she needed him.  He was great in bed, and attractive. She feared giving him up.  She worried she would never meet someone like him.  She felt like John knew when she felt unsure of the relationship, because he would offer her promises and gifts when she became distant.  She knew he didn’t want this arrangement to end.  She was tired of getting scraps.  She wanted more, but was afraid to lose him.

Sarah met her qualifier.  John was hooked into this relationship as much as Sarah.  She knew this relationship wouldn’t last, and it would be just a matter of time before it was all over.  She knew she needed to leave, but continued to stay in this relationship.  She felt she couldn’t stop.

Sarah’s father was gone most of her life for business.  He left her home with her mother who was chronically depressed.  She had fantasies that her father would come home and rescue her from her mother.  She later found out her father had many affairs during his long trips.  Her mother found out and eventually left her father.  She was bound to her mother and only saw her father two times a month.  She eventually began to resent her father and envied his freedom.  This story haunted her for most of her life.  She continued to meet men who were unavailable and she continued to repeat the story of her past.

Sarah began attending Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous meetings after hearing about it through a friend.  She was unsure if she was a sex and love addict.  She continued to attend meetings and began to realize she always dated unavailable men.  She couldn’t believe how similar her story was to other women.  She didn’t feel alone anymore and she was able to increase her courage of letting John go.  He was a drug to her and she couldn’t stop.  She felt ashamed and couldn’t tell her friends.  Having SLAA, she was able to be herself and be honest.

She struggled with withdraws for quite awhile.  Every time she received calls from him, she refused to answer. She felt pain and agony every time she saw his phone number light up on her phone.  She obtained a sponsor after 2 months of attending meetings.  She made a commitment to her sponsor she won’t answer his calls.  She cried every night and felt like a part of her was missing.  This feeling felt very similar to the tears she shed when her father was gone on trips.  She felt like she couldn’t go on.  Her thoughts told her “no more” and her emotions told her different.  She continued her work and entered therapy.  She learned about herself and why she dated unavailable men. She developed skills to manage her feelings of loneliness.  She began to find her passion, instead of finding it in another person.  She learned what true love is and she stopped “falling in love” with unavailable men.

Elana Clark-Faler
  • Susan
    Posted at 09:24h, 17 June Reply

    That term qualifier really doesn’t sit well with me. The Alcoholic in my life told me if I wasn’t such a b**tch he wouldn’t drink so much. So I qualified him to become an alcoholic. I guess he really isn’t responsible for using. I have had to learn to take responsibility for my behavior and the steps and recovery have allowed me to do that.
    My only qualifier is ME, I am responsible for my behavior healthy or unhealthy, it is my choice. I can’t use the devil made me do it.

  • Elana Clark-Faler
    Posted at 13:57h, 24 June Reply

    You’re right. All individuals must take responsibility for their own actions. Their partners and families aren’t responsible for their drinking.

    The term “qualifier” is used in the sex and love addiction recovery program. Alcoholics are addicted to alcohol and sex and love addicts are addicted to patterns of behavior with people. Sex addicts typically don’t see someone as an individual. They see potential partners to act out sexually. Love addicts are in search of an individual to flirt or intrigue with or play out their fantasies. That is why the SLAA 12-step program came up with the term, “qualifiers.” Probably not the best word, because it objectifies or can dehumanize him or her.

    Sex and love addiction is tricky because we are dealing with patterns of behavior that play out in relationships with others, not patterns of behavior with substances. I hope that helps clarify the term.

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