We all love the feeling of being in love.
Let’s face it, it’s pretty magical.
The butterfly feelings we get when we see each other, the sexy bantering of text messages that pop up on our phones throughout the day, the non-stop daydreams and fantasizing about the person when we aren’t together. Mmm, hmm…it’s all pretty fabulous.
But—many of us believe we need to feel this way all the time. So when another person wants out of the relationship or starts pulling away, we can make some really unhealthy choices for ourselves. We chase after someone who is emotionally unavailable or downright abusive.
Or we may chase the next “high” when a relationship ends because we get off on the “love sick” feeling at the beginning of each relationship. For some, going without it even for a few weeks leaves them feeling empty, scared, and alone.
How do you know you might be addicted to love? These are some of the telltale signs:
- You feel completely unglued when not in an emotional and intimate relationship with someone.
- You mistake intense sexual connection or chemistry with love.
- You’re afraid of setting boundaries and constantly work hard to make the other person happy so they won’t leave.
- You find yourself ghosting friends, work, and other commitments to spend time with the other person out of fear they’ll leave or lose interest if you’re not around.
- You obsessively bombard them with calls and text messages when you don’t hear from them because you believe you’re losing them.
- You stay in a sexual relationship with someone who doesn’t meet your emotional needs because it’s better than nothing. (I call this “taking breadcrumbs when you want the whole loaf of bread.”)
- You have a huge fear of abandonment due to previous wounds, and believe that “nobody wants to be with me” and “I’ll never find somebody else”—so you hang onto someone you know isn’t right for you.
- You equate validation and self-worth with another person being attracted to or wanting to be with you.
- You repeatedly go back to the same person who has been sh*tty to you over and over again, after promising yourself and everyone who cares about you that you won’t.
- You can’t remember the last time you weren’t either in a relationship or having sex with someone, even if you weren’t really attracted to or in love with them.
We’re wired to crave connection.
That’s a basic human need all of us have. But we’re also wired to fully honor ourselves by being true to what we know we need and want from a relationship. At the end of the day, we need to be the person to give ourselves all of the things we’re looking for in someone else before we can even consider being in a relationship with someone else.
It may feel painful being alone at first. It will definitely feel uncomfortable. But until we find the strength to get ourselves out of unhealthy relationships, we won’t ever know what a healthy one feels like.
Healthy relationships feel safe. We’re able to openly communicate what we want and need without fear that the other person is going to leave us. We don’t need to be in constant communication with them to know they still love us. If a few hours go by without them returning a text message, we don’t freak out because we know they’re probably just busy and will get back to us when they can.
We can receive instead of always feeling like we have to be the ones giving. There’s no “working hard to be loved” because the other person has shown us that they love us and will be there for us—even when we’re not at our best. Sex isn’t the only way you feel connected…it’s they way you express the deep connection you already have with each other.
If you feel like you may be a love addict, there are places you can go for help. Many therapists specialize in love addiction and can be found with a simple Google search or by asking a therapist you may already being seeing for a referral. There are also 12-step programs that can help, such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.
Even if you’re not sure you’re really a love addict, it’s always helpful to talk to a friend or someone objective who really knows you and can simply hold space for you to talk about what you’re going through. Sometimes, we just need an outside perspective on where we’re at and an ear to just listen.
Real love…it starts with us.
It starts with a deep connection with ourselves and a healthy self-esteem.
Until we foster that inside ourselves, we’ll continue to attract in people who don’t treat us the way we want and deserve. Sometimes being alone for a period of time is just what we need to make that internal shift so we don’t need anyone at all. And that’s usually when the best partners come into our lives.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy & Social Editor: Nicole Cameron