LOVE ADDICTION PROGRAM
First things first, answer the following questions:
1. Did you once think that if only someone loved you in that “special way” you would be happy for the rest of your life?
2. Were you/Are you pre-occupied with the notions of love as expressed in music, movies and fiction?
3. Have you ever tried to talk yourself into loving someone you weren’t particularly fond of because you needed the love NOW?
4. Have you felt the need to prop up or do a total makeover on your partner early on in your relationship rather than admit that he/she wasn’t right for you and end it?
5. Have you stayed in a bad relationship or repeatedly returned to an ex-partner because you couldn’t stand to be alone?
6. When you are in a committed relationship do you wonder if you chose the RIGHT one or fantasize about a lover from your past, thinking you should have kept him or her and then you would be happier?
7. Have you used the words “soul mate” in reference to how love should be?
8. Since age 18 what is the longest period of time you were totally unattached and not fretting about some love interest?
9. Are you able to take the time necessary to heal and do a thorough post mortem on a failed relationship before running out to find a new “friend” which quickly becomes a rebound lover?
10. Do you expect your lover to make you feel loved and lovable?
Love addiction is sometimes confused with Se Addiction, which is a compulsive pattern of pursuing sexual arousal independent of emotional attachments. Love addiction is a little harder to define simply because by nature we are all addicted to love – meaning we want it, seek it and have a hard time not thinking about it. We need attachment to survive and we instinctively seek connection, especially romantic connection. There is nothing dysfunctional about wanting love.
Love addiction, however, is a compulsive, chronic craving and/or pursuit of romantic love in an effort to get our sense of security and worth from another person. During infatuation we believe we have that security only to be disappointed and empty again once the intensity fades. The negative consequences can be severe and yet the love addict continues to hang on to the belief that true love with fix everything.
The causes of love addiction are fairly easy to identify: inadequate or inconsistent nurturing, low self-esteem, absence of positive role models for committed relationships and indoctrination with cultural images of perfect romantic love and happily ever after endings.
Here are some initial steps for breaking the love addiction pattern:
1. STOP what you are doing and stand back to observe your own behavior. Take an inventory of your dysfunctional pattern in your current and past relationships. Write it down. Be honest without blaming anyone else for your choices. Unless you are in a committed relationship, do not engage in any potentially romantic interactions for at least 6 months. That includes no texting, emailing, online dating sites, hook ups, introductions by well intentioned friends and family.
2. As you do your inventory look for the common themes in your relationships. Does there appear to be a similarity between your childhood experiences and your choices as an adult? If so, it is no accident!
3. If you are not in a relationship right now, consider getting professional help with your self evaluation before you begin your search again. If you are in a relationship, unless you are being abused, don’t make any decisions or demands until you look at yourself honestly.
4. Ask yourself how life would be if you took responsibility for your own happiness, successes and failures and loved yourself the way you want to be loved.
5. Make a plan and follow through on a daily basis. You will be lonely, sad and frustrated at times but in the end you will have the most valuable gift of all. You will know and love yourself. Only then can you choose well and have the real, albeit imperfect relationship you deserve.
6. As an act of love that will last a life time, accept yourself and the one you love AS IS. It may not come with a big red bow but it is one thing you can be sure everyone wants.
For our Love Addiction Program, a love coach will walk you through education, skill-building, and mindfulness techniques to help you break your relationship patterns. Healthy expressions of love will attract the right person and help you create a stable foundation to build a healthy relationship with your partner.