Love can be a Battlefield. Declare Independence on Addiction to Love
Our media is dominated by the idea of the perfect love story. Romance novels, romantic comedy movies, teen dramas, popular music; some are quaint and cute, others emotional or even tragic. But all feature idealized love as their core plot device.
It’s no surprise that many of us grow up with unrealistic expectations about love and romance that eventually lead to heartache and disappointment.
But what happens when this idea of perfect, idealized true love becomes an obsession? Can someone actually become addicted to love? The answer is yes.
For most people love and attraction are a natural part of life. Most of us can differentiate between an idealized Hollywood romance and reality. But for love addicts, love becomes a source of addictive emotional highs that distort the real nature of a relationship.
An addiction to love may not initially seem dangerous … but it’s a very serious mental and emotional affliction that interferes with a person’s ability to establish healthy, genuine relationships.
As with any addictive substance, those addicted to love can become paranoid, and defensive and even experience symptoms of withdrawal.
Love addicts have highly unrealistic romantic expectations that put unfair pressure on their partners. They are terrified of being abandoned and will do anything to prevent it.
Many love addicts experienced a lack of nurturing and love during childhood.
Literally starved for the nurturing they didn’t receive as children, they search to fill the emptiness left by their parents’ neglect. For them, even a highly abusive relationship is better than being alone.
When a child’s emotional needs are neglected they feel unwanted and unloved. This establishes a powerful lie in the child’s mind that can eventually lead to becoming dependent on love.
They feel they’re unworthy of being loved, and the only way to make the pain go away is to find someone who will give them all of the attention they were denied as children.
This kind of expectation places impossible responsibility on the partner of a love addict.
Realizing that their emotional pain and feelings of worthlessness don’t go away with their partner’s affections, but still terrified of being abandoned, the love addict can become resentful of their partner.
The early days of a love addict’s relationships are euphoric and happy. The addicted person feels like they have met their true love, that they are destined to be with them. The fantasy creates a surge of endorphins–a literal high from love.
But as the relationship progresses, the idealized romantic dream becomes a nightmare. Coming down from their high, they become emotionally needy, clinging to their partner.
Overwhelmed by the responsibility and pressure placed on them, the love addict’s partner begins separating themselves from the relationship.
Unable to accept reality, the love addict holds onto fantasy for as long as possible, unwilling to face the fact that their partner is moving away from them.
When the truth finally becomes impossible to ignore, they’ll begin a downward spiral of emotions. Feelings of hopelessness, abandonment, depression and panic are common.
Tormented by loneliness, the abandoned love addict will seek a new partner to heal their emotional wounds, thus beginning the cycle again.
The need to be loved at all costs is a serious mental condition that begins in childhood when you’re denied the nurturing, support and affection of a loving family. If left untreated, this addiction can have the same devastating effects as chemical dependency, alcoholism or sexual addiction.
Love addiction is often connected with co-dependency, sexual addiction and abusive relationships, as well as various mental and emotional illnesses.
If you feel you’re plagued by fears of abandonment, difficulty functioning without a romantic partner, and repeatedly resorting to desperate measures in order to ensure that your partner does not leave you, you can experience relief by talking with a professional therapist.
Don’t despair. There are treatment options available which can help you to recognize the experiences which caused your addiction to develop… and help you learn to cope with your loneliness and heartache.
You’re not alone. Don’t try to resolve your heartache alone.
Contact us today. We’ll help you find solutions.