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What is Love Addiction?
Like sexual addiction, love addiction is nothing more than a unique way of regulating your emotions. Like sexual addiction, its consequences can have a devastating effect.
Love Addiction usually involves a pattern of frequent relationships that often begin with intense passion and which end relatively quickly. A variation of this is the involvement in long-term relationships with dramatic highs/lows, thus simulating a similar range of emotions as that found in short-term relationships. Often, these relationships are staggered, with multiple, simultaneous relationships taking place at different stages within the unique pattern. As the pattern continues, the negative impact that the “low cycles” have on a person’s esteem becomes greater and greater. Of course, this then causes a more definitive need for a new relationship (or new commitment to an ongoing relationship).
Those involved in a pattern of love addiction do not typically pursue this knowingly. It is their absolute belief that the person currently targeted is the one that was ‘meant for them’ and that they will be together for the rest of their lives. In fact, it is in this exact thought process that provides so much comfort and relief. In it’s extreme form, that of romantic delusions, love addiction can lead to the horrific stalking and violence episodes often portrayed in the news. Suicide and self-mutilation is also common in extreme cases. Most often though, love addicts tend to have a low self-esteem, are uncomfortable in social situations and possess a sometimes debilitating immaturity when it comes to personal relationships. Intensity is what drives the relationship, not reality. One exception to note is the successful professional suffering from romantic delusions involving the rescue of someone in distress. In such a scenario, the love addict fantasizes about walking into a fast food restaurant (or hiring a maid or some other person from a significantly lower economic class/culture) and rescuing them from their limited existence. This role of savior is then rewarded with unyielding love, respect and devotion.
Love Addiction is one of the more difficult addictions to identify…and to recover from…as it is so often marketed and so easily masked in today’s society. With addictions involving drugs or gambling, the behaviors are easy to identify and the consequences pretty straight forward. This is not the case with Love Addiction, where the self-perceptions and destructive behaviors are often in the mind of the Love Addict and not necessarily observed in their outward behavior.