“Nothing will work unless you do.” - Maya Angelou
People who are love addicts are not really addicted to love. They’re addicted to fantasy. They have a pattern of idealizing romantic partners and orienting their entire lives around getting that person to love them. They spend a lot of time obsessing about The One, and the rosy-hued future they will have if only The One loves them back.
They overlook the glaring red flags that The One is waving, usually some combination of addiction, anger issues, problems with the law, money troubles, difficulty functioning like an adult, chronic cheating, and emotional unavailability. Their obsession can sap them of ambition, cause them to ignore their friends and responsibilities, and generally be miserable unless they’re in The One’s presence.
If they do end up with The One, they are inevitably disappointed. The One was not what they imagined him to be. Now that they’re dealing with reality, they miss the high that fantasy provides. The relationship becomes chaotic, punctuated by tumultuous break-ups and (briefly) ecstatic reunions in hope that The One has changed.
The relationship ends for good when The One leaves. Or it ends when the Love Addict finally realizes that The One doesn’t hold the key to Nirvana and moves on in search of the person who does.
Living With Love Addiction Is Painful
Living with love addiction is painful because you give someone else the power to make you feel valued and give your life meaning. Because you have probably selected an unreliable and/or unavailable person, your self-worth spikes and plummets according to The One’s whims. If you continue to make your happiness contingent on externals – the perfect person and perfect relationship – you will wait a very long time (maybe forever) and lose meaningful moments and opportunities you have in the present.
The “love” you feel for The One is not love, but limerence: infatuation and an obsessive longing to have your feelings reciprocated. Limerence acts like a drug because it’s the result of a biochemical process that alters your neurochemistry. You become so dependent on the feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters zinging around in your brain that you crave more and more of The One, even if the reality of that relationship makes you miserable.
Although you can “quit” a person, you won’t become emotionally sober until you repair your most important relationship – the one you have with yourself.
Isn’t it time you felt better?
Healing Is Possible
The good news is that you have the power to live a meaningful life. When you learn to nurture and value yourself, you will no longer be dependent on someone else – especially someone else who is unreliable -- to do this for you.
Treatment with a therapist trained in love addiction can help you improve your relationship with yourself. If I have the opportunity to work with you, I will guide and support you as you acquire the skills to transfer your locus of power from outside yourself to within. Specifically, I will help you:
- Learn the difference between limerence and love
- Cultivate mindfulness techniques so that you can tolerate difficult feelings instead of being emotionally reactive
- Identify your core values and align your choices with them
- Utilize coping skills when triggered so you don’t run back to, or start a new relationship with, The One
- Set and work towards attainable professional and personal goals instead of pouring your energy into chasing the unattainable
There’s nothing magical about healing from love addiction; it’s a process and a discipline you develop over time. Repairing your relationship with yourself is hard work, but it’s the most important work you will ever do.
I’m here to help you when you’re ready.