Addicted To Love

Love, as they say, is a powerful drug. We know the saying, but we don't necessarily remember the warning or pay much heed to its inherent message. It's there for all to see, but like most other sayings that we know so well, its wisdom becomes secondary to the words.

Like all powerful drugs, the effects can be dramatic. Being in love (specifically, romantic love) can give us that “high” that makes us feel that all is well in our world. It can bring forth emotions and feelings that make us feel we are floating on clouds and hearing those angels play their heavenly harps. It can take us to another dimension where constant bliss is the norm.

And like all powerful drugs, we feel the after-effects if love is withdrawn. When a relationship ends, we go through the withdrawal symptoms and experience the world as a dark, depressing dungeon, devoid of any glimmer of hope or shimmer of joy.

What makes it even more difficult to wean ourselves from this addiction is that the world-at-large is constantly promoting the merchandise of love and encouraging us to be in love. It is actually quite easy to become in love with being in love. We are “helped” in so many ways to fall in love, no matter what. There is a constant urging for us to be in a romantic relationship, and it would seem that this world is designed specially for couples.

All well and good, because love makes theworld go around. But if we pursue love just because we need to be “in love”, then we run the risk of never really knowing what love truly is, other than being just a powerful drug that we need to get us through our lives. Addictions are at best, limiting, and love is no exception.

How do we know if we are in a real relationship or if we have succumbed to this intoxicating addiction?

The answer in very simple terms is: When the priority is more towards getting high on a love rush, rather than focusing on the partner as a person.

The most obvious give-away would be if we jump from one failed relationship to another with hardly a break in-between. When one relationship ends, we are desperately seeking to be in another one, no matter what. The compatibility of the partner becomes inconsequential; it is the rush of being in a relationship that matters more. In the end, the partner doesn't really count; it is only the means to a required goal.

Another situation where we could be in love with love is when we are in a relationship for the sake of being in one. We may be aware at some level that we may not necessarily love our partner, but we definitely love our situation. To be in a relationship, to be “in love”, to have a partner...when these things matter more than how we feel about the partner himself/herself, then there is the great possibility that we are love addicts.

Then there are the more dire situations where our safety or sense of sanity is sacrificed for this addiction – in abusive, loveless or even downright dangerous relationships where we resolutely remain in even though every sign shows that we should be out a long time ago. When the need to be involved in a detrimental relationship outweighs the suffering we go through, we are indeed looking at a severe case of love addiction.

One suggestion that I have for taking the first steps towards overcoming this addiction is something quite simple and basic. Sometimes, it takes fire to fight a fire, and that's the angle from where I'm approaching. If we allow ourselves to learn to love in a different manner that is free from external expectations, then we may understand that love has many different facets and not just restricted to the notion of romantic love. In this sense, perhaps we could seek to be involved on a personal level with caring of those in need, for example, to volunteer time in an orphanage or retirement home, pet shelter, meals program, homeless shelter – any place that would welcome a helping hand. It would be mutually beneficial for both sides as the one obviously receives aid of some sort, and the other learns to love from a different perspective. Caring for another or for a cause can sometimes open us up to a greater understanding of our own needs, as well as provide us with a sense of independence that we need to move forward in our lives.

Love is truly beautiful. We just need to experience it as authentically as we can, without the distorted expectations or interpretations placed upon it by others.


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