Feel addictive love
Healthy love versus addiction: 10 signs of addictive love
Wonder if you are in love or lustful? Whether your obsession with someone is a sign of love or “addiction?” Whether you stay in a difficult relationship because you are addicted or in love?
It's complicated and lust, love and addiction are not always mutually exclusive. Endless analysis does not help or change our feelings because we are often driven by forces outside of our consciousness.
Initial attraction stirs up neurotransmitters and hormones that create the excitement of being in love and the strong desire to be close and sexual to the person. These chemicals and our emotional and psychological makeup can cause us to obscure reality and idealize the object of our attraction. The time we spend in the fantasy creates our need to be with him or her. This is normal when it doesn't take over our lives.
If it's pure lust, we're not too interested in spending time without sex or the expectation of it. We don't want to talk about problems in real life and we may not even want to spend the night. Fantasies are mostly sexual or involve the person's appearance and body, and we are not interested in fulfilling the person's needs outside of the bedroom - or maybe even inside!
Sex Releases Oxytocin, the love chemical that makes us nest with our partner. When we get to know our loved one, we may want to spend more or less time together depending on what we are learning. At this point, both our brain chemicals and our attachment are style and psychological issues can cause us to be connected through a romance or love addiction that feels like love but is driven more by our need for chemical rush to get feelings away from avoid giving up, depression, and deep self-esteem.
Excitement and desire can be heightened by intrigue or the unpredictability or unavailability of our partner. We may stay connected and even long for our partner, but our discomfort or unhappiness grows. Instead of focusing on it, our hunger to be with him or her is central, although disturbing facts or character traits arise that are difficult to ignore. We may feel controlled or neglected, insecure or disrespectful, or find that our partner is unreliable or lying, manipulated, raving, has secrets, or has a major problem, like drug addiction, or serious legal or financial problems. Even so, we stay and don't pay attention to our better judgment to leave. Increasingly, we hide our worries and doubts and rely on sex, romance, and fantasy to keep the relationship going. Out of sympathy, we might even be drawn in to help and "save" our partner and / or to try to transform him or her back into the ideal that we "fell in love" with. These are signs of addiction.
But lust can also lead to true love when we bond and get to know our sexual partner, and lust doesn't always fade. I've seen couples who have been married for decades and enjoy vibrant sex lives. However, true love requires that we recognize our separation and love our partner for who he or she really is. There is always some idealization in a new relationship, but true love lingers when it fades. As the relationship grows, we develop trust and closeness. Instead of trying to change our partner, we accept him or her. We want to share more time and life with one another, including our problems, friends and family. The needs, feelings and feelings of our lover happiness become important to us and we think about planning a future together. If the passion is still there, we are lucky enough to have both love and lust.
Love plus addiction
Love and an unhealthy bond can coexist or be difficult to tell apart. Because with addiction we tend to idealize our partner and often happily sacrifice ourselves. When differences and serious problems are largely ignored, minimized, or rationalized, we don't really see or love the whole person. Denial is an addiction symptom and supports the compulsion to hold on to the relationship. Facing the truth would create internal conflict over our fear of the emptiness and loneliness that underlie addiction. When our focus is on how our partner makes us feel, or how he or she feels about us, our "love" is based on an egocentric, codependent need.
Two ways of love
Healthy and addictive relationships have very different paths. Healthy partners don't fall in love. They "grow in love". You are not as overwhelmed by overwhelming, unconscious fears and needs. Compare the stages of addictive and healthy relationships:
- Intense attraction - feel anxious
- Idealize one another and ignore differences
- Fall in love and make commitments
- Get to know yourself
- Be disappointed
- Cling to the fantasy of love
- Try to transform our partner into our ideal
- Feeling angry and unloved
- Attraction and friendship begin - feel good
- The attraction grows when they know each other
- Acknowledge (or leave) differences
- Grow to Love Yourself
- Make commitments
- Compromise needs
- Love and acceptance deepen
- Feel supported and loved
Signs of relationship addiction
Addictive relationships can include sex addiction, and romance, relationship, and love addiction. Lust and love and love and addiction can overlap. When we heal, we can see if love lasts. We could even leave an unhealthy relationship and still love our ex. A few things can now be seen:
- Love at first sight can be triggered by many things, but it is not love and can be a warning sign. It takes time to love someone.
- Sex with strangers or frequent multiple partners is a sign of sexual addiction.
- Compulsive activities, whether sexual or romantic, that get out of hand, such as compulsive sex, stalking, espionage, constant calling, or texting, are signs of addiction.
- Ignore your partner's boundaries, and abusing, controlling, or manipulating him or her (including those who please or who save) are signs of addiction.
- Using sex or a relationship to deal with emptiness, depression, anger, shame, or fear is a sign of addiction.
- Using sex or romance as a substitute for vulnerable, authentic intimacy is a symptom of addiction. (Love bombs can help.)
- Staying in a painful relationship for fear of abandonment or loneliness is a sign of addiction, not love.
- The inability to commit to a relationship or keep in touch with someone who is emotionally unavailable shows fear of intimacy - a symptom of addiction.
- Too much or too little trust are signs of addiction.
- Sacrificing your values or standards to be with someone is a sign of addiction.
Healing from love addiction
Sometimes abstinence from dating for a while can help break the cycle of obsessions and compulsions that revolve around the other person. It is very difficult to give up compulsive addictive behavior without assistance because the unconscious forces that drive us and the pain of abstinence are overwhelming. Supporting a twelve-step program is highly recommended because abstinence is so difficult. If you continue to be in the loop, watch for signs of narcissism and emotional unavailability. There is hope and a way out. The restoration includes:
- Learn more about the symptoms of code dependency
- Heal the shame and pain of your abandonment childhood
- Build your self-esteem
- Learning to be assertive
- Learning to honor and meet your needs and to take care of yourself
- Risk being authentic about your feelings and needs
- Participate in CoDA or SLAA (Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous)
- Psychotherapy will help heal deeper, causal problems from childhood.
© Darlene Lancer 2014
Author of Code dependency for dummies and Overcoming shame and co-dependency: 8 steps to liberating the true you
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