Love addiction is more common than you think. Chances are that you or someone you know is guilty of this:
- Drifting off into a romantic daydream after watching The Notebook
- Regularly fantasizing about when and where you’ll get engaged
- Already picking out the theme and color palette, and bridal party for your wedding
- List of children’s names
You’re just missing your would-be spouse.
That’s right – you’re very single in Miami. You go out on plenty of dates, but they rarely turn into anything more. If things do turn serious, it happens at supersonic speed and you’re living together 4 months after your first date. Only then do you start having doubts. You wonder/worry/fantasize to yourself,
“What am I doing?” and/or “What if someone better comes along?!”
You start feeling distant from your partner. Bored even, but you stay because they treat you great. And really, a relationship is better than no relationship. But things aren’t the same as in the beginning. Secretly you’re wondering, “What the f*ck is wrong with me?”
If any of this sounds like you, you may be addicted to love.
By the time you reach your 20s, you’ve consumed enough rom-coms and Cosmo magazines that your perception of love may be distorted. In real life, love doesn’t come with knights on white horses or damsels in distress. It’s not a list of action steps to follow that are guaranteed to make you or him go head over heels.
Love is like cocaine to the brain.
Anyone that’s ever been in love will tell you about the “high” they felt in the early days of their relationship. That’s because the brain was, in fact, “high”. Intense romantic feelings of love trigger the brain’s dopamine reward system – the same neuronal pathways involved in addiction to substances like cocaine. When your brain gets used to the “high”, you go off in search of the next “high” (ahem…relationship). You’re also likely to feel sadness, despair, shame, and guilt before finding your next fix.
You’re never single for long.
Before you know it, you’re full on dating the nice guy from down the hall. Why not, right? You feel better around him. You don’t have to deal with the pain of heartbreak. Not so fast. Rebound relationships like these tend to follow what I call the “high intensity, short duration” formula. The unresolved issues from the previous relationship show up again, often in a more dramatic and intense way. Rebound relationships can last years, though never as long as the original relationship that caused the primary hurt. Those that jump from a long-term rebound to next are called serial monogamists.
Happiness and fulfillment never fill the empty space inside you.
Have you ever felt like achieving happiness and fulfillment as a person will elude you until you have the right relationship? Yeah, I thought so. Thing is none of your relationships ever seems to come close to those idealized versions in your head. And the excitement, anticipation, and newness wear off pretty quickly as you reach each “first” together. That’s probably because you’re looking for another person to be the source of your joy. I got more new for ‘ya:
Low self-esteem makes you more likely to be a love addict, too.
The good news is that it’s possible for you to overcome an addiction to love. Support from family and friends that understand what you’re going through is helpful. Hands down, though, the most important thing you can do is make a commitment to your personal growth and development. That’s where psychotherapy can help you shift and grow ASAP. With the support of a trusted therapist, you’ll become more aware of your feelings, recognize relationship patterns that aren’t working for you, and learn/practice behaviors that’ll bring healthy love into your life.
We hope that you’ll share this article with someone that you know that’s struggling with unhealthy or idealistic relationships. You can call us at (305) 501-0133 or click here to schedule a free 20-minute Clarity Consult to learn more about how we can help you improve your love and dating mindset.