Love addiction (also known as pathological love) refers to a “pattern of behavior characterized by a maladaptive, pervasive and excessive interest towards one or more romantic partners, resulting in lack of control, the renounce of other interests and behavior, and other negative consequences. Source:https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/finding-new-home/201902/what-is-love-addiction
Most of the time Love addiction is a result to abandonment.
For me this is very much accurate, I can pin point two key factors of abandonment in my life one intentional and one not intentional.
The first time I experienced great abandonment was when I was two-years-old.
I was in foster care due to my Mum having a very bad case of postnatal depression to which she required clinical care, as I had no one else to look after me I was put into the system.
My foster care ‘parent’ would lock me up in the laundry several times a day with soap forced into mouth. Whilst I was locked in the laundry I had to sit in the dark on the cold tile floors for hours on end, with consistent gritty taste if soap in my mouth. Being so young I couldn’t understand why this was happening. Also during my time I wasn’t allowed to sit on any furniture as that was for ‘their real children’ my foster parent always bellowed those words to me no matter where I was trying to sit.
The second key point that lead me on a road to love addiction was from the several times my Mum was unable to pick me up from school as she had been admitted to physiological clinics during my days at school.
This wasn’t intentional and I hold no anger towards my Mum, she was just unfortunately unwell and needed clinical care. But having your Mum drop you off at school and whilst saying good-bye you always exchange the words ‘I will see you at the gates after school’ A lot of the time I didn’t see her at the gates.
Now that you know the back story to why I have a love addiction, I can now go into detail to how this addiction affected me and my romantic partners.
I was always searching for love, searching for that feeling of falling in love. As I believed having a partner would fix all my problems and the feelings of abandonment would go away when I feel in love.
I didn’t have a lot of friends in my first high school, so to make me not feel so alone, I would find boyfriends throughout my years there. At least that meant my consistent dread of abandonment would subside. Some of these boys were sweet and treated me right. Others did not.
I would change myself ever so slightly to fit the version these boys had for a girlfriend in their head. Sometimes depending on the boy and their own personality I would be the rebellious, free spirited girl. Other times I would be the sweet and innocent girl. It all depended on who I was seeing at the time. I had no issue changing as long as it meant my feelings of abandonment would disappear.
Years went on with me changing and adapting myself to fit the image the boys wanted for a girlfriend. If me and a fellow would break up I would quickly be ‘in love’ with another person. As any moment by myself was a moment too long.
The things that mad me realise my love addiction was becoming a problem was when I started cheating on my boyfriends. I cheated on three. (That I recall)
It may seem odd that I can recall how many mens hearts I have broken, but it’s shameful to admit that I don’t recall all the boyfriends I have had. I have forgotten many of their names. I know its terrible but not uncommon with love addiction. Sadly cheating isn’t uncommon either.
It didn’t click straight away that my behavior was causing problems outside myself it took quite a few times of upset and heartbroken men to realise that what I was doing was wrong.
There were times when a boyfriend would call me and I would ignore their calls as I was in the arms of another man. I would only call them back when I was done and lie to them saying I didn’t have my phone near me. This would go on for weeks, if not months. Some would ask if I was seeing someone else others had no clue. The ones that asked I would deny and lie and keep on lying until I couldn’t keep up with my own lies.
Men act like nothing can hurt them but what messes with their heads and emotions the most is when the person they love cheats on them. It doesn’t just affect them at that moment it’s something that they carry with them for a long time until a good woman comes along and collects all his broken pieces and delicately put him back together again.
For a long time I wasn’t that good woman, I was the one that broke the men into tiny pieces.
I started seeing a councilor, social worker and psychologist to help me recover from love addiction.
I stopped seeing men and avoided any intimacy with men.
I needed to work on myself.
I openly talked to my councilor, social worker and psychologist about the issues I had. I come face to face with my own personal demons and tackled them head on.
Once I was in recovery, I started seeing men again, well only one man to be exact.
I didn’t rush into intimacy with him, or rush into a relationship.
From the start of us seeing each I was completely open with him about my past relationships and wrong doings I had done in them, especially cheating.
I didn’t want to start a relationship in a lie, as I had lied so many other times in past relationships and seen first hand the damage they do.
Luckily he was understanding and accepting of my past.
I think my addiction to love helped me understand and support him through his own addiction.
I wont go into detail as it isn’t my story tell but he felt alone and had an addiction, and wanted to fill that void of loneliness in him. Just like I had felt abandonment which I wanted to cover with love. With my own insight to addiction I was able to support him and give him the love and understanding that he needed to help him overcome his addiction.
I have now been with the same man for 8 wonderful years and been wondrously and beautifully married to him for three.
To anyone going through something similar, its not a weakness to get help. If anything, getting help is a strength. You are strong. You are brave. You can get through this. Help is available.