How Do You Heal Love Addiction?
Love addiction is characterized by a chronic and compulsive desire for romantic love. In some, it may be characterized by the excessive pursuit of love to the extent that it has a detrimental effect on the person’s life.
For most people, love addiction stems from a desire to derive a sense of security or self-worth from the object of affection. This sense of security is reinforced during the infatuation stage, only to disappear and give way to disappointment when the initial intense feelings fade.
Love addiction can cause significant adverse effects on the person affected. Even so, most sufferers persist in their behaviors and actions because of the irrational belief that love will solve all their problems.
Why People Succumb to Love Addiction
Most people are addicted to love to some degree. Almost everyone wants to love and receive love. Most of us experience considerable difficulty preventing it from affecting other areas of their lives. Human beings require emotional connections to survive, and we all have an innate need to establish some connection with others.
Wanting a romantic relationship and working toward it is, therefore normal for most people.
The problem begins when these needs and desires give way to compulsive and chronic craving. Some may even develop unrealistic expectations of security and self-worth from the object of their affection. When the heat of passion wanes or the relationship loses its initial appeal, the person with love addiction may be left feeling empty and disillusioned.
Causes of Love Addiction
In contrast to many other behavioral conditions, the causes of love addiction are relatively easy to identify. These behaviors are commonly associated with inconsistent or inadequate nurturing from the parents and the lack of positive relationship models. For some, love addiction is a manifestation of low self-esteem. Unrealistic perceptions of romantic love and relationships may also contribute to the development of love addiction.
Breaking Established Patterns
Coping with love addiction often requires a realization and acknowledgment of patterns that make up our actions. Here are some tips on how to break habits that may become established during love addiction:
- Take a step back and observe your behavior. Make a thorough and honest assessment of your negative actions and their consequences in the course of your relationships. Resist the impulse to blame others and own up to your mistakes. Assessing your actions and their effects will help you determine the impact that love addiction has on your life.
- Refrain from any romantic relationship for six months or more. Avoid any situations that may lead to a romantic relationship as well. This will enable you to develop a life outside of the bounds of a relationship. It may also help you become more independent and less reliant on the need to be with someone else to improve your self-worth.
- Consider getting professional help. This is especially important if you feel that your love addiction has had a significant negative effect on your life. Therapy could also help you identify the underlying causes of your love addiction and enable you to deal with any mental or emotional trauma that has led you toward such behavior.
- Start to take responsibility for your happiness and satisfaction. Think about how you could enter into a relationship on your own terms instead of being compelled to seek out relationships to address a perceived lack or deficiency.
- Stay focused on reducing your relationship dependency. You might consider formulating a plan that you can follow every day. This will help you maintain your course and prevent you from giving in to feelings of loneliness and depression.
- Finally, accept yourself for who you are and what you can contribute to a relationship. Many people become addicted to love in the hope that a relationship will fill the sense of emptiness and lack of fulfillment that they feel inside. But if you can develop a sense of self-worth that isn’t dependent on a relationship, you will be in a much better position to develop a healthy relationship when the opportunity presents itself.
Healing from love addiction can be a long-drawn-out and challenging process. But getting the proper help and keeping focused on your goals will enable you to put the worst of the love addiction behind you and live a more balanced life.