Rumors have swirled for months about basketball and reality TV star Lamar Odom. His erratic behavior and alleged disappearances are thought to have been caused by drug use, though neither Odom nor his wife of four years, Khloe Kardashian, have confirmed or denied the allegations. Hints of the troubles have made their way into recent episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, including a cryptic conversation between Khloe and her brother Robert. She compared Lamar's troubles to a catastrophic accident or illness asking, "Do you just leave someone who is struggling because they're, like, slowing down your life?" "No," replied Robert, the Kardashian-Odom's long-term housemate, but, "This is worse than that because he's really hurting you."
Khloe admitted in the same episode that, "I'm at war with myself. I want to help him but then maybe sometimes the best help is... stepping away." Known for her fierce loyalty to family and commitment to her marriage, this is clearly something she is struggling with. "It's getting bigger than me," she said. "I just feel like I might need some more help." The question becomes, when does your remaining with your partner shift from being loving and loyal to actually perpetuating the problem, and come with the price of your own health and well-being? Can you be supportive without enabling your partner to continue in his or her destructive behavior and addiction?
There is a difference between being loyal and supportive, rather than condoning your partner's problem and allowing it to continue. Choosing to stay and attempting to help the person you love does not mean you have to be unlimitedly tolerant of what is going on. Instead, you can remain an anchor who is clearly there to assist while also setting firm boundaries about what behavior you are ultimately willing or able to accept. In other words, you can make it clear that you love your partner and want to stand by them, but there are some steps that he or she must be willing to take that demonstrate ownership of the problem and willingness to take responsibility for it. Whether that means seeking counseling, joining a support group, seeing a doctor, or ultimately doing whatever it takes to handle the problem. Focus on what changes you need to see, and how long you feel you can continue to live in the out-of-control situation until your partner starts to make some adjustments. The idea is to avoid giving them an ultimatum, but instead give them the clarity of what you are willing and prepared to do in their journey to health.
Being in a relationship with a person who has an addiction can often make you feel as if you are helpless and out of control. Being clear about what you can and can't live with allows you to do something about it so that one way or another you can take yourself out of the battlefield you have been living in. Already it seems Khloe has implemented some of these tools by seeking marriage counseling. Hopefully their relationship can change for the better over time.
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