“Love Addiction comes in many forms. Some Love addicts carry a torch for unavailable people. Some Love Addicts obsess when they fall in love. Some Love Addicts get addicted to the euphoric effects of romance. Others can not let go of a toxic relationship even if they are unhappy, depressed, lonely, neglected, or in danger. Some Love Addicts are Codependent and some are Narcissistic. Some Love Addicts use sex to manage feelings; others are sexually anorexic. The common denominator is this: unlike sex addicts, Love Addicts crave an emotional connection and will avoid, at any cost, separation, anxiety, and loneliness.”
Love Addicts are usually involved in a relationship that started with and/or endure some kind of intensity. Love Addicts often times experienced some kind of abandonment growing up. It may have been divorce or death but it can also come in the form of an emotionally unavailable caregiver, never feeling protected, or workaholic or depressed parent. This leaves a child to create a fantasy world in order to fill the void of the missing intimacy. What happens is the Love Addict continues to create fantasy in their adult life and so begins a never ending pattern of intense, fantasy-based relationships. This is the “I’m in love, cancel everything” syndrome.
Withdrawal from Love Addiction is often painful and can feel often times worse than a drug detox. The feelings of pain, anger, loneliness, shame, sadness, despair, frustration, and confusion can be overwhelming. And there is no average length of time for these feelings to subside. It just takes as long as it takes. It can also cause the obsessive behaviors to escalate, such as checking a partners MySpace page, looking through wallets and cell phone records, driving by their house, and asking friends for information about the persons recent activity, just to name a few. To manage the uncomfortable or painful feelings the addict will often medicate using anything to numb the pain. This can show up in the form of any other behavior or addiction that creates the feeling of escape or distraction. This can look like disordered eating, shopping, sleeping, excessive computer use or TV watching, excessive exercising, unmanaged depression, gambling, alcohol or drugs, etc.
Recovery involves learning about reality, what it looks like for you, and how to endure the discomfort of a entering a reality-based relationship while confronting the intense fear of abandonment. It also requires learning what boundaries are, how to set them, how to get your needs met appropriately, how to esteem & value yourself from the inside, and what healthy sexuality will mean for you. It’s important to remember…the
discomfort of healthy, realistic intimacy is only temporary. It gets easier and much more rewarding.
With support, recovery, and tools, the amount of time it takes to start feeling strong and healthy again can be significantly increased. It is important not to try and deal with it alone. Coming out of a Love Addicted situation can leave a person feeling crazy and completely out of sorts. Talking about it with others who have been through it, too, and who can identify with and validate your feelings is vitally important to recovery. Do not go it alone Take the first step and ask for help. It’s the most loving thing you can do for yourself.