You’re probably familiar with drug or alcohol addiction. You might have heard of food or gambling addictions in the past. Heck. You might even know about sex addiction. But did you know that there is also such a thing as love addiction? Chances are that you haven’t. And that’s why it’s important to set things straight first.
The idea of love addiction is actually an oxymoron. Because the truth is that there is no love when addiction is involved. People who get addicted to relationships with other people aren’t experiencing the true and healthy kind of love in the purest sense of the word.
Love addiction is fairly common affliction and a lot of people might suffer from it without even knowing about it. Love addiction is considered to be as a disorder of intimacy.
David R. Hawkins, an expert on relationships and social dynamics explains, “What the world generally refers to as love is an intense emotionality combining physical attraction, possessiveness, control, addiction, eroticism, and novelty.” He asserts that a lot of us tend to misunderstand what it really means to love another person. He claims that perhaps love isn’t really what we think it is. Stanton Peele, an expert from Psychology Today echoes Hawkins’ sentiments.
He says, “We often say ‘love’ when we really mean and are acting out, an addiction-a sterile, ingrown dependency relationship, with another person serving as the object of our need for security.” Based on the musings of these two experts in the field, maybe love is actually a real addiction after all.
When an individual becomes addicted to love, then that person is likely to form a very unhealthy attachment to the feelings of passion and excitement that come with the blossoming of a new relationship. This person might even have a long history of being in short flings and romantic relationships that are bound to end the moment the magic starts to fade away. And when that person gets stuck in a loop of constantly getting into doomed relationships, it can prove to have very negative consequences on that individual’s life.
There is also another way in which a person with love addiction can exhibit some very dangerous behavior. Yes, codependency is a term that gets thrown around way too often especially when it comes to toxic relationships. But that’s only because it’s a relationship dynamic that seems to seep into various relationship archetypes. For instance, it’s not entirely uncommon for a mother and a child to have a codependent relationship.
In a codependent relationship, one person is going to depend on the other for emotional validation and acknowledgment. And this can be a bad thing because that person loses a sense of self-assuredness and independence. A lot of times, a person who is suffering from love addiction is someone who doesn’t take notice of their codependent tendencies. They see their short-lived relationships and codependency as normal aspects of love. And the truth that it isn’t. Many of the people who suffer from love addiction are completely oblivious to their own symptoms and conditions. They believe that the toxic experiences that they are having are completely healthy and normal.
Helen Fischer is another expert in the field of relationship psychology and she once mentioned in a TED Talk that all kinds of love is going to have some form of addiction in it. She says that love and addiction are two conditions that carry plenty of parallels such as tolerance, withdrawal, and craving. There is also a tendency for a person in love and an addict to have a singular focus. She claims that to a certain extent, we are all addicted to love.
There are plenty of loving relationships that can still be toxic and unhealthy. There are just so many factors that go into making up a romantic relationship that it can be difficult to generalize it all. Some theories assert that relationships that are forged in early childhood can have a profound effect on a person later on in lie. Also, the social environment as a person going through life can’t be ignored either.
Yes, there are many experts who assert that more relationships are composed of feelings of addiction rather than love. However, these same experts would also agree that there are certain traits and standards that constitute having a healthy relationship. Getting addicted to a relationship to a certain extent isn’t always going to be so toxic and detrimental.
First of all, a love must always be non-possessive and liberating at least to a certain degree. Second, love should always promote growth, development, and change rather than stagnation or regression. And lastly, love should always be founded on mutual attraction, trust, and respect.