How Would It Work The Prospect Of Anti
Treatment of love addiction, like any other form of addiction, could take many forms. The most plausible starting place would be traditional therapies such as professional counselling, cognitive-behavioral techniques, psychoanalysis, or some combination of these and other widely-used treatment modalities that work primarily on the psycho-behavioral level . At the same time, considering the recent surge of research focusing on possible neurobiological sources of love addiction, it may soon be possible to devise adjunctive drug-based therapies that could facilitate treatment of problematic forms of love by working on underlying neurochemical substrates. In a recent paper , we identified four conditions for the ethical use of such anti-love biotechnology:
the love in question is clearly harmful and needs to dissolve one way or another
the person would want to use the technology, so there would be no problematic violations of consent
the technology would help the person follow her higher-level goals and commitments instead of her lower-level feelings
it might not be psychologically possible to overcome the perilous feelings without the help of anti-love biotechnologyor at least non-biotechnological methods had been already tried or thoroughly considered
Abandoning Commitments To Seek A Romantic Relationship
Love addicts are sometimes willing to back out of meaningful commitments like family reunions or weddings to pursue a crush or look for love. That need to be soothed by love can be so overpowering that it makes all the other aspects of their lives seem unimportant in comparison. Marriage and family therapist Shirin Peykar explains, Love addiction is a compulsive and chronic pattern of behaviour to soothe uncomfortable feelings and to feel worthiness through the love of another, which is unattainable. The belief that true love will save them is what gets love addicts into constant trouble because they often find themselves in toxic, unhealthy relationships. Only when they acknowledge their dysfunctional patterns of relating can there be healthy love on the horizon.
You Feel Like Your Partner Is The Only Thing Worth Living For
Because one of the pillars of love addiction is a dependency on your partner, breaking up with a partner can feel impossible, regardless of whether or not the relationship is toxic.
Whetstone said this dependence on a partner can be similar to a drug addict’s need for their drug of choice. A person may know their partner is bad for them but they can’t stop themselves from coming back.
“It’s like exactly like needing a heroin fix. You’ll moments where you go ‘This heroin is bad for me, it’s gonna kill me,’ but as soon that craving comes back, it’s all over. You’re gonna go do the heroine again,” Whetstone said. “This is a compulsion.”
The desire for their partner’s unconditional love is so great that when a love addict is broken away from them, life may feel purposeless and not worth living.
You May Like: How Many Americans Suffer From Addiction
The Difference Between Love And Love Addiction
Even for a securely attached personality, falling in love can be temporarily disorienting. We are all familiar with phrases such as she took my breath away or he swept me off my feet. Usually, however, this initial whirlwind is followed by a period of trust-building and the establishment of true intimacy based on mutual respect and understanding.
The above phrases often have a very different meaning for a love addict. They signal destabilization and loss of autonomy. Infatuation can mark the beginning of a downward spiral into obsession and constant preoccupation.
Why is this experience of falling in love so different for love addicts?
The answer lies in their motivations and underlying approach toward love itself. For the addict, falling in love is a means of escape, rather than an opportunity for growth. The addict seeks either to enhance pleasure or avoid pain. Rarely are their actions in love about the magic of genuinely encountering another person, flaws included.
Love addiction is a painful and debilitating illness, just like alcoholism. Here is a summary of the major symptoms, followed by a description of what might constitute alternative healthy behavior.
Last medically reviewed on August 14, 2014
How To Know If Youre Addicted To Love
Wanting to be loved and be in love is normal human desire. But for some people, the euphoric feeling of being in love can be intoxicating and addictive. Falling in love is a powerful and exciting feeling. True, genuine love is something thats meant to be primarily positive, although every relationship has its share of difficult times. Some people thrive only on the high of being in love and may even find themselves dependent on a volatile relationship simply for the rush that comes with its intensity a telltale sign of a love addict. Another common scenario for a love addict is searching for a new love once the initial high of their current relationship wanes. As with addiction to alcohol or drugs, love addiction has underlying causes that lead to the condition as well as consequences that come with it.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Video Game Addiction
What Are The Characteristics Of A Love Addiction
Love addiction is defined by a specific set of characteristics and behaviors. According to Pia Mellody, author of Facing Love Addiction, Possibly the most significant characteristic of love addiction is that we assign too much time and value to another person. Someone with a love addiction focuses almost entirely on the object of their desire. This, often obsessive, focus begins to have a negative effect on the rest of their life. According to Mellody, Love Addicts neglect to care for or value themselves while theyre in the relationship.
Love addictions involve a great deal of fantasy. As youll read later, love addictions form as a result of painful childhood experiences. Consequently, love addicts often have a fantasy of being rescued. Its as if the person they are longing for is the only person in the entire universe who has the power to take away their pain, give them everything they longed for and never got as a child, and make them feel safe, valued, and worthy. This magical thinking leads love addicts to cling to the relationship, even when the relationship itself is flawed.
Often these relationships are deeply flawed. Love addicts tend to select partners who have a fear of intimacy and will neglect the relationship. Yet, the love addict maintains a fantasy that everything will get better, their partner will change, and they will finally receive the love and fulfilment they so desperately crave.
How To Spot A Love Addict
Experts question whether we can describe a toxic relationship the way we talk about gambling or alcohol. But some have found that framework to be a helpful step in the road to freedom.
- Read in app
Send any friend a story
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.
Give this article
Tara Blair Ball, a relationship coach in Memphis, met her ex on Match.com. They instantly clicked.
He felt like my soulmate. It was the little things we both talked about the differences in the old Spider-Man movie with Tobey Maguire and the comic book. A lot of people didnt know about these details, and it just felt like this bonding experience.
On their first phone call, they talked for eight hours so long that Ms. Ball came late to work and was fired from her job at Target. I took that as a sign that I was supposed to be connected to him, she said, laughing.
When the red flags started to appear, Ms. Ball brushed them aside. He started acting jealous and wanted to know where I was, what I was doing, who I was talking to, how long I was going to be there and when I was going to be back. Instead of seeing warning signs, Ms. Ball interpreted his actions as affection.
We were quickly talking about marriage and moving in together. I felt like I couldnt be away from him for very long Id be in withdrawal.
You May Like: How To Overcome Addiction Alone
Feigning An Interest In Something Just To Impress A Partner
Its normal to become interested in something just because a crush likes it. However, theres a fine line between opening your mind to a new interest and feigning a passion for something just to impress someone. If you are willing to spend a lot of time rearranging your life around an interest that bores you, think about whether you are doing this just to win over a potential partner. In such a situation, love addiction may be at play.
Clinical psychologist Dr Carla Marie Manly cautions, Its normal and natural to show genuine interest in a partners hobbies, work, and other life interests. However, if this interest is over-amplified or a sheer pre-tense to draw in a partner, genuine love is generally not at work. When addictive tendencies lead an individual to pretend to be who they are not which includes feigning interests the relationship is not being built on truth and authenticity.
Feeling Desperate When A Partner Needs A Little Space
Do you find it intolerable when a partner puts even a little distance between you? Does your level of upset rise to outright devastation right away? That level of pain and anxiety is disproportionate to the situation and can indicate a love addiction. According to psychotherapist Joyce Houser in her book Someone To Talk To, you should talk to a professional about these intense feelings. Willpower alone is often not enough to overcome a love addiction, and therapy can play an important role in recovery, as can other sources of support such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Addicted To Coke
You Can’t Stop Thinking About The Other Person To An Obsessive Degree
When love addiction is portrayed on TV shows like “You” and “Love,” it oftentimes takes the form of the obsessive love addict. Love addicts who act out their addiction in obsession will fixate on the person they are addicted to, which can manifest in some dangerous behavior
“A lot of these abusive men are love addicts with mental disorders,” Whetstone said. “They stalk, they chase down, they threaten. They can be very dangerous.”
Cycling In And Out Of A Relationship
If you have a habit of breaking up with your partner and then getting back together, you may feel like youre in an episode of your favourite soap. While The Young and the Restless is fun to watch, you probably want a little more stability than Victor and Nikki have enjoyed.
Whats the issue with this one? According to Sharea Farmer, a social worker, someone with a love addiction may be more invested in what they can do for their partner and not who they are with their partner. This person may be in the cycle of breaking up and getting back together because they see their partner as needing them to survive, she explains. To some, this may seem like a normal part of relationships, but usually this person is only focused on improving their partner. What this means for the individual struggling with love addiction is that their identity is wrapped up in another persons flaws or vices.
When that happens, the love addict feels compelled to help reinforce those flaws, either consciously or subconsciously. Therefore, breaking up and getting back together is just one method of this unhealthy pattern continuing, adds Farmer. This creates a cycle in love addiction that looks an awful lot like co-dependence.
Read Also: How Many Drug Addicts In The Us
This Is A Pattern Of Behavior In Your Relationships Not An Exception
Whetstone said that love addiction relies on a pattern of behavior, so even if love addicts break up with the person they were initially addicted to, they typically move on very quickly to their next partner.
“Becoming aware of the pattern is going to be the first step to stop the pattern,” Whetstone said. “You’re just going to move on and get addicted to another person.”
- Read more:
Face It Youre Addicted To Love
As an anthropologist, I think theyre limited by this view. Scientists have now shown that food, sex, and gambling compulsions employ many of the same brain pathways activated by substance abuse. Indeed, the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has finally acknowledged that at least one form of non-substance abuse gambling can be regarded as an addiction. The abuse of sex and food have not yet been included. Neither has romantic love.
I shall propose that love addiction is just as real as any other addiction, in terms of its behavior patterns and brain mechanisms. Moreover, its often a positive addiction.
Scientists and laymen have long regarded romantic love as part of the supernatural, or as a social invention of the troubadours in 12th-century France. Evidence does not support these notions. Love songs, poems, stories, operas, ballets, novels, myths and legends, love magic, love charms, love suicides and homicides evidence of romantic love has now been found in more than 200 societies ranging over thousands of years. Around the world, men and women pine for love, live for love, kill for love, and die for love. Human romantic love, also known as passionate love or being in love, is regularly regarded as a human universal.
Read Also: How Much Nicotine Is Addictive
Is It Love Or Is It Addiction
Many of us confuse longing and obsession with true love. Through two previous editions, Is It Love or Is It Addiction? has helped countless people find their way from the trials and confusion of addictive love to the fulfillment of whole and healthy relationships. As the author reveals, we can begin to work through relationship difficulties with compassion and lasting effect by increasing our awareness of the ways that we express love.
In this expanded third edition, Brenda Schaeffer draws on years of feedback and new developments to foster an understanding of love addiction: what it is and what it is not, how to identify it, and, even more important, how to break free of it. Stories of real people struggling to develop sound relationships illustrate the characteristics of healthy love and help readers to free themselves to find real intimacy. Included is the most up-to-date information about the biological basis of addictive behaviors and the impact of technology on intimate relationships. The author also explores the influence of past abuse and trauma on the predisposition to love addiction.
Whos Susceptible To Love Addiction
Although love addiction affects both men and women, its far more commonly in women. One reason for this may be that women tend to be more relationship-oriented and invest themselves heavily in all of their relationships as a rule. A love addict may be someone who hasnt fully developed their own sense of self and instead is reliant on another to feel complete. They make meaning of their own world through the closeness of that significant other and depend on them in order to be happy. Frequently people with an addiction to love may have dealt with childhood trauma such as abuse, neglect or abandonment. They now have a fear of rejection and a need to obtain the kinds of nurturing and attention they once lacked. Because they didnt have a model of what a healthy relationship is, they have no idea how to find one now.
You May Like: Is An Alcoholic An Addict
Having Irrational Fears Of Being Alone Forever
If you have an overwhelming fear of never being loved or never being in a relationship again, its important to explore the cause of it. A fear of being left, abandoned, or being alone forever oftentimes hinders my love-addicted clients from rationally evaluating their relationship, shares therapist Lynn Zakeri. Instead of assessing whether a partner makes them happy or is good for them, someone with a love addiction will experience a paralyzing fear of being alone. Its more like the love addict will fight hard to make their partner love them, rather than fighting hard because theyll miss the partner. It skews the entire premise of the relationship.
How To Overcome Love Addiction
As with any addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem and thats never easy. If youre showing some of the signs of love addiction, it could be worth reaching out to a trained therapist. The truth is that getting help is likely to be a lengthy and difficult process. However, doing the work will be worth it in the long run.
Love addiction often overlaps with other experiences like trauma and abuse as well as problems like sex addiction or substance abuse, making it more complicated to treat, explains Cohan. People struggling with this will likely benefit from talking with a therapist who is highly skilled in the dynamics of intimacy and trauma to help the person unlock their feelings, fears, and experiences.
You May Like: How To Kick Food Addiction
What Is A Love Addict
Love addicts tend to become involved in brief, intense romantic relationships. If they are involved in a long-term relationship, it is usually characterized by many highs and lows. In some cases, love addicts completely withdraw from romantic or sexual relationships to avoid feelings of vulnerability.
Love addicts tend to focus a tremendous amount of energy on romantic relationships whether they are involved in one, looking for the next one, or avoiding one altogether.
The causes of love addiction are rooted in childhood trauma. Individuals lacking self-esteem or who had less-than-nurturing childhoods may grow up looking for constant reassurance from others. Relationship addicts also tend to enjoy the feeling of excitement that being in love brings.