“Oh my god, this is it.”
“I think this guy is a keeper! We have this rare connection; it feels like I have known him forever. We talked for hours and the way he looked at me, I swear that was a once in a lifetime kinda look. It was just so…amazing! I could freak out right now. I can’t wait to see him againcI really think this could turn out to be something big!”
Ever had a chat like this with your best friend after the—hang on—yes, the first date? Let me remind you, this conversation occurs after spending just a couple of hours over dinner with a new guy. He is an absolute stranger; we have no idea what he is all about, what toothpaste he uses or which pair of jeans is his favorite.
And it’s not even relevant. The fact is that we can’t wait to hear from him again, that we can already see ourselves walking down the aisle into his arms and that we have just made this stranger our soul mate for life.
We have forgotten the checklist we had for a suitable partner, forgotten our last heartbreak and the agony we felt. Without even knowing it, we have just purchased a ticket for a ride on the ultimate emotional roller-coaster, yet again.
Some call it obsession, some call it insanity—it’s a bit of both really. You may in fact be addicted to love.
It’s time to look at some of the signs of love addiction a little more closely:
1. The first date—trouble starts
Okay, I guess it is normal to feel pretty excited if a first date goes well, and naturally you would want to see the other person again and get to know them better. But that’s about it.
However, the love addict will replay the whole date in their head and then start fantasizing about the next one, about how their friends would get along with him and what his parents are like. They will have planned their future together to the point that it becomes difficult to stay in the present moment, and hard to tell what is reality and what is in their head.
2. Where is my phone?
Glued to your phone? Thinking about him 24/7? Walking on air after hearing from him? Obsession is a massive part of love addiction.
I recall a time when I had just started dating a guy. I had it bad, I thought of him all the time. Every second sentence started with, “He and I are thinking of this,” or, “He and I are doing that.”
My phone sat on the table and I reached for it every 25 seconds with the passion of one that has found an oasis in a desert after traveling for days.
When it eventually rang, I picked it up with all the enthusiasm of an addict looking for a vein—causing a bewildered look of hurt on my friend’s face, followed by a diatribe of criticism and a flood of tears.
The love addict is fully consumed by thoughts of him, what he is up to, if he is thinking of them, when they will see him again. They simply can’t get enough of him and instead of concentrating on themselves, on their work, interests and friends, he becomes the center of their universe.
3. Three really is a crowd
Have your friends ever told you that you talk non-stop about him, that you repeat yourself and never learn from the last time? The love addict is never quite listening to their friends because their thoughts are drifting off to him.
If that happens, things have gone too far. Now the obsession is not only affecting our own well-being, it has started affecting others around us and our relationships with them.
Who wants to spend time with a friend who can’t think of anything but their toxic relationship? And it’s not like they haven’t heard the same story a hundred times already.
Our friends are a treasure; we must be aware of that and make them priority, and be present when we spend time with them.
4. Blind to reality
Every person has needs that have to be met by our partner and there are also things we simply can’t tolerate. Can we make compromises? Yes, and we should—that’s part of any healthy relationship.
But there have to be boundaries. For a love addict there are none. A love addict wants a respectful and thoughtful man who shows empathy—yet the one they have chosen disappears on them, forgets about them or doesn’t make them a priority.
They want someone who can express themselves, who is reassuring—yet they find themselves with a guy who barely talks to them about their feelings, doesn’t tell them they are beautiful and who leaves them in the dark about where they stand with him.
Love addicts become chameleons, they lose themselves and strive to meet the qualities of this ideal mate.
One minute they hate running, and the next they are on a rigorous training schedule for the next half marathon at his side.
When others would have long-accepted that this person wasn’t right for them, the love addict soldiers on, continually compromising—and finding multiple excuses for their partner’s behavior.
A fight brings up feelings of guilt, anger and then an immediate apology assuming they themselves are naturally to blame. This seems far better than being alone. With this mindset they are blind to reality and keep chasing the potential—doing anything to make their chosen partner right for them.
5. The never ending circle of insanity
Eventually the love addict finds themselves at the point of absolute exhaustion, anxiety and unhappiness. And most love addicts experience break-ups with lots of drama, tears and incredible heartache. They hit rock bottom, the person they had made their soul mate moves on, leaving them devastated.
And does the addict learn from this? Hell, no.
In retrospect, they will find that their so-called soul mate has had multiple faces over the years and every, single time they thought, “This is it; he is the one!” and, “I have never loved anyone like him.” Two months later, they will have introduced a new guy—the real deal of course—to their friends. They lose themselves in the relationship, and they push and pull until they crash and burn.
All of this this might sound quite confrontational, but I have learned that facing the naked truth creates an incredible awareness. The bad news: it’s not easy to change behavior patterns and the way thoughts and feelings have been programmed over the years.
The good news: through absolute honesty with yourself, hard work and the willingness to confront yourself with the source of this addictive behavior you can learn to put yourself first, love freely and be in a healthy relationship.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Ola Weber / Editor: Travis May
Photo: Pixoto/László Nagy