Are You Always Changing Boyfriends Because You Get Bored? You Could Be Addicted To Love.
I like to indulge in things once in a while. But I make sure I don’t get addicted to any of those indulgent parts of my life. In fact, at some point, if I feel like I am getting too used to something, I back off. A lot of us are inclined to develop addictions to different things – alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, coffee, sweets, etc. But until recently, I didn’t know you could get addicted to love! Well, yes, we are doomed because apparently that’s an addiction too!
There’s no official diagnosis for this but mental health professionals say it’s very real. And believe me, it’s more common than you think. Do you feel you’re incessantly craving new, intense love? Do you get bored in a stable, long-term relationship even though it’s perfectly fine? You know, the rush of falling in love, the butterflies in your stomach feeling? Yeah, you could be suffering from love addiction.
What is Love Addiction?
People who suffer from love addiction usually develop it as a defence mechanism against psychological pain, rooted mostly in their childhood. It can be used to cope with relationship patterns and behaviours and also psychological issues. To understand love addiction, we must understand what addiction is. It can be classified as compulsively engaging in things that activate the rewarding stimuli in our brains.
Helen Fisher, an anthropologist explains, “Love addiction is just as real as any other addiction, in terms of its behaviour patterns and brain mechanisms. Besotted lovers express all four of the basic traits of addiction: craving, tolerance, withdrawal, and relapse.”
How does one develop love addiction?
People who have love addiction have had an unfulfilled childhood. So in adulthood, they develop a fantasy of being rescued by their lovers and fill the void by reinforcing the illusion of a connection. Therapist Caroline Becker said, “Love addiction develops when reality is too painful for the conscious mind to manage and so a fantasy version of a loved one and of life with that person develops.” She further added, “The love addict’s behaviour comes from an unconscious place of pain due to trauma from abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual) and/or neglect that occurred early in life. By focusing on someone else, the pain of trauma and/or neglect is avoided, remaining unconscious.”
Signs you suffer from love addiction:
Having serial short relationships
You jump from one relationship to another and every time it’s because you don’t feel passionate enough. All your relationships are short-lived, mainly until the honeymoon phase.
You’ve believed you were in love in all your relationships
You fall in love easily and you don’t know how to date casually. You claim to be in love with each guy you date until you move on and realise it wasn’t as intense as you’d thought.
You’re constantly looking for “the one” but nobody seems to fit the bill
You have an ideal perception of love and romance. So you’re constantly looking for your prince charming but you’re also constantly disappointed. You have to be your own knight in shining armour and rescue yourself!
When the intense passion simmers down, you begin to feel lost
That initial rush is what activates the reward stimuli in your brain. Once that simmers down, you feel withdrawal and crave something new more intensely.
Most of your partners have been emotionally unavailable
People who suffer from love addiction tend to go for emotionally unavailable partners who further withdraw looking at their clinginess. It’s a vicious cycle.
You ignore major red flags in the relationship
You get mad at them but return because you have hope that it will all work out. It does, after all – in fantasy.
You have low self-esteem and feel if you improve yourself they will like you better
Since you are under-confident, you feel if you made certain alterations to yourself, they will like you better. Except that doesn’t really happen because people who love you, love you for who you are.
Your partner is your priority and you’re not interested in anything/anyone else
At this point, your entire focus is on your partner. You’re not giving any time and care to your friends, family and yourself. That’s unhealthy because true love helps you grow and that involves every aspect of your life.
You can’t bear to be alone
Being alone brings back feelings of loneliness and creates a void. You find yourself slipping into other addictions. This is what needs to be dealt with first. If you’re happy being by yourself, you won’t “need” someone constantly.
ALSO READ: 5 Reasons It’s Completely Okay If You’re A Serial Dater Going From Relationship To Another
But when the intensity washes out, you find an excuse to take the exit
When you see love fading, you plan your exit like a bank robber plans his escape route. You convince yourself that it’s his fault and you move on to the next guy who can offer you the same feelings of intense love. And you hope he is the one. The pattern continues.