Relationships. A word that’s definition completely differs from one person to another. Love addicts need to live in reality. They need to identify and reflect on intense fantasies, such as “this person can make me happy.” When we don’t know someone well, we can project all kinds of desires upon them. These positive feelings can create chemical highs within the body, but they are not based on truth, as we don’t have any real knowledge of who this person is. Only time and experiences with another person can provide us with this information.
If you suspect you are a love addict – don’t feel too badly about it. I was a member of the love addicts club for a good portion of my life and technically still am. I am too in love with love. We believe that we just can’t find the right one or that the early infatuation waned and we are no longer “in love.” Some jump from one relationship to another in search of that wonderful feeling they once had. Others stay, despite feeling dissatisfied, harboring secret thoughts of leaving, cultivating emotional affairs, or cheating from time to time, having no clue about the real problem. Love addiction is a little harder to define simply because by nature we are all addicted to love – meaning we want it, seek it and have a hard time not thinking about it. We need attachment to survive and we instinctively seek connection, especially romantic connection. There is nothing dysfunctional about wanting love.
Personally, I’ve had three relationships fuck me up completely. The first was making the mistake of being with my bestfriend, so after I ended things I finally came to terms with what I’d done, thinking that I lost him. I did. I lost my blanket of security. While I don’t regret any of it, I wish I could go back and not confuse love with infatuation.
The second was nerve wracking, I convinced myself that I loved him and that it was going to last. I needed comfort and I needed affection. He was my rebound, a phantom of the blanket of security I once had. I’d go back when I felt alone. While I didn’t know that back then it still fucked me up pretty badly. I broke him. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. He deserves the world and I wouldn’t take back any of it, but it was simply a selfish action of destruction.
This one. Oh god, how can I describe this one? Is it love or simply another period of infatuation? This guy simply has me wrapped around his finger. While I don’t want to “love” him and while I really wish I didn’t need him. It’s all still there. The hurt, the pain and the tears. There’s no escape. That’s what you get, that’s exactly what you get for being attached, for making a home out of a human being. It’s inevitable to say the least, you wish you could hold on, but it is no longer possible, because that shit is easier said than done.
When you’re addicted to love, you develop an unhealthy attachment to the passion and enthrallment that come with the beginning of a relationship. You may even have a long history of short romantic relationships; ending the relationship when or shortly after the excitement dwindles. This results in ever increasing negative consequences in the your life. You’re addicted to what is called: “the honeymoon phase”.
There is a difference between everyone being addicted at some point, and addiction and associated behavior causing detriment in one’s life. In his classic book, “Love and Addiction”, Stanton Peele identifies criteria that can help determine if the relationship is one based on addiction or not.
An addictive relationship is basically one that brings you pain, embodies a love/hate dynamic, and is frequently disrupted by conflicts, dissatisfactions, and emotional or even physical violence. It is addictive because despite being aware of how dysfunctional the relationship is, you keep buying into the dynamics, you keep participating in the conflict, you keep being focused on what the other person is doing wrong and what the other person needs to do to make things right.
In addictive relationships we leave the present moment and flee to the past or to the fantasy of a better future because we don’t want to actually acknowledge that in this moment; we are being abused, attacked, and harmed by someone who has said they love us. In this way we discount and invalidate our very own experience just so we can stay in the addictive relationship, just so we won’t have to make a change in our lifestyle, just so we don’t rock the boat. All I can say is, slow down. Breathe. Stop depending on people to fill up the void. Ask for help. Try to get better.
Your loved ones deserve better.
You deserve better.