Addicted to Love: Drawn to the Rush of Romance

Hands with entwined pinkiesI was recently told a statistic that didn’t really surprise me, but was kind of an eye-opener nonetheless: Married individuals daydream about being single at least once a day. Well, I’d argue that single people dream about being in a relationship once in a while, too. The point is that the grass is always greener.

The other point is that there is some truth to the statistic, and people should be aware of what is happening biologically. The chemicals in our brains when we meet someone, start dating and “fall in love” are akin to being on a cocaine high. Dr. Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, coined this the “lust” and “romance” phases of love­—when things are exciting, albeit chaotic. This is not a sustainable way of living. Most people want to fall in love so they can settle down. A friend once said to me, “But isn’t doing your laundry on a Saturday with your partner what it’s all about?” Yes, a long-term relationship is comfortable, secure, stable, and, well, biologically speaking, perfect for raising children. You wouldn’t want to raise kids in a chaotic state of mind, would you?

Now, this final phase of love, which Dr. Fisher calls “the attachment phase,” is not that exciting, perhaps, but it really isn’t supposed to be. I think a lot of people get disillusioned by messages in the media, romance in films, and passionate sex in movies. It seems that if you want something exciting, you have to keep jumping from one relationship to another. And, trust me, many people do. Although many use the term serial monogamy, this can be a sign of a love addiction—people finding themselves addicted to the rush of romance.

Love addiction also has a flip side to it: It might cause you to stay in an abusive relationship. Love addicts often are afraid of being alone, and don’t like their own company. Love addiction can take over and cause people to make bad choices, fail to see red flags, and continue down a path with someone despite the obvious. Many love addicts have more than one partner.

We all have the tendency to be love addicts because, in the end, we all want love and connections with people, for that is how we grow, but a true love addiction is compulsive and obsessive in nature. A love addict may feel that true love will solve everything. A love addict may consume his or her mind with all things relationship-oriented. A love addict may fantasize about someone who is unavailable, believe he or she just can’t find the right one, or, once the early passion fades, fear he or she is no longer “in love.” Some may jump from one relationship to another in search of that excitement, while others stay in their current situation despite feelings of dissatisfaction, fantasies about leaving, or affairs both emotional and physical, and are prone to blame their partner(s) instead of addressing the matters at hand.

So how do we start to address a possible love addiction? Here are some guidelines I’ve come up with, for starters:

  1. Stop blaming the other person. If you are in a relationship, take a close look at what is going on. Are you being fair? Are you being honest? Are you being clingy? A love addict may expect the other person to treat him or her special, make everything, and fix things for him or her. If you are single, stop blaming the ex, take a break from dating, stop interacting with the ex, get into therapy, and talk to someone.
  2. Accept your feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, and loneliness on a daily basis. These are common feelings that everyone feels, but a love addict may try to fight them by finding a relationship. Recognize that you will feel these feelings and it is OK.
  3. Take responsibility for your life. This means your happiness and your successes. Take charge of your life, make healthy choices, and spend time doing the things you love.
  4. Learn to accept yourself. Accepting your partner, if in a relationship, is key, too. In the end, without acceptance we are continuously searching, and that is at the root of any addiction.

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  • Ashlee

    Ashlee

    November 2nd, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Sounds very similar to co-dependency… Oxytocin the hormone or chemical that is responsible for people falling in love, also plays a valuable role. I read a study that was scientifically published and it showed PET scan image’s, half of the sample were individuals on drugs and the other half were individuals who reported being “head over heels in love”. Scientists weren’t too surprised with the findings; the PET scans from the two very different sample’s were nearly identical. So when people say “your love is my drug- there is truth to it!”

  • bryan

    bryan

    November 2nd, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    I have been a love addict! I kept moving from one relationship to another for over 6 years and none of them was satisfying beyond the initial stage.reason was,as you might have guessed-I was looking for the initial high of being with someone. As soon as the relationship settled and I was comfortable with the other person, I would start to crave for that initial high and then start over.

    This exhausted most of my finances and left me and my former partners hurt.It seemed like I just couldn’t break the shackles.But I do not know how,it was sheer determination I think but I am now free of that addiction and will hopefully never have a relapse,so to speak. The day the last relationship ended,I told myself NO MORE and surprisiny I have stuck with my resolution. I have been single for over five months now (trust me that is an achievement by my standards) and couldnt be any happier :)

    It is a difficult situation to get out of and it’s so hard because maybe the it is true-maybe it is like a drug addiction,maybe our mind works similarly under the influence of the two-drug and love.but I just hope nobody has to go through this because it is destructive behavior and is no going to do any good whatsoever!

  • Logan gossett

    Logan gossett

    November 3rd, 2012 at 4:49 AM

    I don’t want to be single again, I just want my relationship to FEEL like it did wehn we were both single and just starting to date.

  • Jake

    Jake

    November 3rd, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    When you have found the right person, then everyday can feel like that start of something new. But even things that are new have those little kinks to work out and I think that this is where a lot of couples struggle. They want all of the smooth sailing without the bumps and kinks and there is no relationship out there like that.

  • Stephanie

    Stephanie

    November 5th, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    I agree with you Jake

  • Moushumi Ghose

    Moushumi Ghose

    November 3rd, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Thanks for all your comments. Yes, I do think love addiction is similar to co-dependency, perhaps a new term for an old phenomenon, of losing yourself to the point where it becomes compulsive or obsessive, which are key in addictions. It’s the compulsive seeking of attention and companionship which can be spiritually unhealthy for the soul, as well as developmentally for emotional growth.

  • Nicu

    Nicu

    November 5th, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    I have a sister-in-law who was a love addict. It was so hard to watch. She would meet a really great guy, start to settle down, and then take off. The reasons she gave for leaving were always different, but the common denominator was that she got bored. She loved the thrill of the hunt and was addicted to someone putting her on a pedestal. Now, thank goodness, those days seem to be behind her. She has been married for several years and has a new baby. Fingers crossed!!

  • gretchen

    gretchen

    November 6th, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    If those first few weeks and months of new romance weren’t so great then we would all settle for the first person who came along. But often that excitement wanes and then you find yourself sitting beside someone whom you can’t imagine spending one more day with! But when it’s right there are always going to be those little glimpses of feeling that spark over and over again, sometimes stronger than other times, but underneath it all that feeling will always be there.

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