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Despite the love stories plastered all over Hollywood movies or the sweet nothings dripping from Hallmark cards, the truth is that relationships aren’t always so perfect. But before we dig into the heart of the matter, let’s take a quick inventory.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the longest period of time you have remained single?
- Are the movies, books, music and TV shows you enjoy all centered on romance?
- Do you fear being alone?
- Have you ever stayed with someone simply because you’d rather be with them than be alone?
- Is your self-worth based on whether or not you are in a romantic relationship and how that person views you?
Take a look at your answers; you can probably begin to figure out whether or not you are addicted…to being in love.
What Love Addiction Looks Like
Just like any other addiction, a cycle of relationship dependency can be hard to break. In the same way an alcoholic seeks solace in drinking, a love addict seeks out relationship after relationship, despite how unhealthy they may be, to try and fill a void.
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Their motivation is often fear. Whether it’s fear of being alone, emptiness, abandonment, not being enough or rejection, it’s this fear that keeps the cycle of relationship dependency churning.
Emotional abuse is often a factor in creating this cycle. When our sense of self is warped by repetitive words or actions that make us feel unworthy, we are more likely to become a dependent person that constantly seeks love to make us feel worthy and validated.
Breaking the Cycle
In order to break free from this addiction, we have to stop the dependency. We have to find a way to deal with life in a manner that does not rely on validity or self-significance falsely sought through a relationship.
Here are six ways that you can break the cycle and begin your recovery process:
- See it: Take a look at your behavior patterns and be honest about what you see. Review your relationships and admit if you are addicted to love or have developed a cycle of relationship dependency.
- Stop it: Once you notice the pattern, break it with a break. If you are not currently in a committed relationship, don’t date anyone for the next six months. Don’t use dating sites. Don’t let friends hook you up. Don’t send e-mails, texts, or phone calls that would potentially involve romantic connections.
- Review it: Now that you aren’t reviewing your dating profiles, looking for matches or going out on dates, take this extra time to reflect. Review the patterns you see in your relationships. Look for similarities with your childhood experiences. Gain insights into what may have shaped your behavior. Journal about it.
- Counsel it: As you evaluate your experiences, consider seeking professional help. A counselor can provide additional insight and assist you with breaking this cycle of love addiction.
- Picture it: Envision your life free of relationship dependency. What does it look like? How would you feel if you accepted yourself as whole without someone else? What would it be like if you were responsible for your own happiness and truly loved yourself?
- Do it: Love yourself. Accept your imperfections. Don’t seek someone else to fill those cracks. Move forward in your life with a new sense of acceptance and love that will stop you from spinning up the old cycle of relationship dependency.