S2/Ep6: Jerry Milenbach – Love Addiction and Codependency: Making Yourself Whole from Within

Guest: Jerry Milenbach






Recommended Books:

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Codependent No More or Codependent’s Guide to the twelves steps by Melody Beattie

Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody

Our first male guest

Warning signs to look for and habits that form an unhealthy relationship

Your story goes back to your first relationship.  Start there and then forward.

He met his first wife when he was 13 at camp.  Then he saw her in college in the dining commons.  He thought it was fate.  That was the first mistake.  Pushing the boundaries where he shouldn’t.  

The relationship lasted ten years.  He was on the Internet meeting people and rescuing then.  He met one lady in particular.


Why were you looking outside of the relationship?  It was validation.  He never felt whole.  It was not the marriage it was Jerry as the individual.  A love interest was the distraction.  Once you have security and knowledge you don’t got down that road.

He has wandering behaviors.  Was it sex related?  What was the catalyst.  The Internet was the emotional connection.  Increasing your self esteem.  You are being paid attention to on all levels.  No one person could satisfy that.  

He asked for the divorced from his first wife.  he had someone else right there.  He knew right away that he damaged something so precious. 

Is it because you couldn’t be secure on your own.  He had to have someone else lined up.  He regrets hurting his first wife. 

Why were you afraid to be alone.  There are two things here.  It is the emotional attachment.  That is the addiction.  He could not be alone.  It was scary.  he was not confident.  He stays in a box.  He has learned to do it.  He was criticized a lot and bullied.  He put the puzzle together late in life.  He wasn’t loving himself.  It was the idea that he just couldn’t be. 

He marries his on-line love interest.  It lasted 16 years.  He rescued her.  He needed to rescue so he felt better.  It was toxic.  He wasn’t cured.  He was a love addict.  It was co-dependent.

How did he get this way?  Was it how he was raised.  His parents divorced.  His mom was strict and he was a rebel.  His step dad was an incredible person to him.  It was the critical ways and the hard time his real father went through.  The bullying in middle school years created the place where he needed to be comforted and special.

What made the marriage fail?It became a roommate situation.  He craved physical intimacy.  I need more than that.  He likes feminist traits of cuddling.  Intimacy is just not the physical part.  He divorced her.  He was on-line right away connecting with a new relationship.

This is the third marriage.  It lasted five years total.  She asked for the divorce and this is what gets him.  This is where you look in the mirror and say what is the common denominator?  

He started to go to therapy.  It was incredible hard work.  

What does it mean to be co-dependent.  After amazing physical experiences you still wanted to know if she loved you.  He was checking to see if he was loved enough.  But maybe the emotional feeling wasn’t there.  You need validation.  He needed to hear it.  He kind of knew that he had a problem.  As a guy that is a different role.  He is Mr. Hallmark.  He liked to cuddle, write love notes, and it was almost too much.  He has a 21 year old son that expresses his emotions.  Don’t go overboard!  Women are smart and strong.  You should be independent first and better each other.  How to show what healthy love relationships are.  You complement me.  No one can complete you but you.  50/50.  No, you come to a relationship 100/100.  You do not need to be filled by someone else.  

From your male perspective.  How would she know if the partner had a love addiction?  Two key traits

1. Neediness


2. Controlling

Always needing to be in the know

What is the control?  Is it insecurity?  Yes.  

Lack of self confidence. Her emotions.  Her whereabouts.  The woman needs to be the source of attention.  

He created a Dream Team 

2 therapists

A support group

Did he become addicted to the therapy attention?  No, it was healthy and they were tough!  It was building strength and has the tools now.  He never understood the pieces of the puzzle and put it all together.

What does that look like now?

How is it living in this new space?

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He also got let go of his job and was compounded with the third divorce.  It set him back.  But he hit bottom.  He stayed in his room for five months.  He then joined a meet up group to get out of his funk  

Carrie Underwood’s song called Champion got him through.  It made the progress and process much easier.  It is about progress not perfection. It is work daily.  

You have a lot of female qualities.  How do you get the macho men to do the work?  You have to have communication.  It starts there.  The five languages of love.  You need to understand your partner.  

Put the positives of therapy.  Bring the positive things out there.  Partner to partner.  How do you work with different languages.  You are always going to grow as people. You want to grow together.  It is important that  you both need to understand both partners’ language and get on the same page.  We ultimately need to have these differences.  We want to grow healthily.  We need to understand our differences.  

Two years later post divorce.  With a lot of the growth to the path to being who he is today.  He is in a dating relationship.  He joined a group.  He decided to date and not jump in.  He didn’t like the idea of being a player.  He went on 5 dates a week.  He is very open.  He needed all three marriages.  He met someone who said she would not be number four!  He doesn’t need it is something he enjoys. 

Was each marriage different?  Was it the same mistake?  The women were different but his traits were the same. His traits all affected them differently.  Each one had their own learning experience.  

The inside landscape.  How do you know when your stuff is showing up?  How do you act differently?  He divulged everything to #4.  It is a check in.  When you have an inner child it stays with you.  It is who you are.  When it crops up, you have to say, I got this.  I can do this.  I got the relationship.  Knowing your partner knows it.  Don’t take on their life and yours.  You can’t do more than that.  How hard is it to do that?  You got the language down.  Is that hard for you to not spit out ten times a day, I love you?  It is hard for me on some days.  Allowing individuals to process their own feelings.  Don’t try to make people happy.  They can do it.  Let their partner have their own time.  He was a child and immature and he is now healthy.  

We all have our faults  Love someone for who they are.  You have to check in daily with yourself.  How can I be better each day?

Your gut knows it.  

Share parting words with our audience:  Jerry’s Favorite Quotes

“If you never heal from what hurt you, you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you.”

“You deserve the love you keep trying to give everyone else”

Be a better partner.  Do your best.  You can’t change someone.  It is your choice.  Do all you can do.  It is about taking care of yourself.  

You will positively impact our audience.  Thank you so much!