Fifteen years ago, I began my book How to Break Your Addiction to a Person, with these words:

Maybe the Surgeon General hasn’t determined it yet, but staying in a bad relationship may be dangerous to your health. It can shake your self esteem and destroy your self confidence as surely

as smoking can damage your lungs. When people say that their relationship with their partner-a lover or spouse-is killing them, it may be true. The tensions and chemical changes caused by stress can throw any of your organ systems out of kilter, can drain your energy, and lower your resistance to all manner of unfriend­ ly bugs. And often it can drive one to the overuse of unhealthy escapes, such as alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, narcotics, tranquilizers, reckless pursuits, and even overt suicidal acts.