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Addictive Love
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Signs of Addictive Love
by Joanne Thimothe


Addictive love is engaging oneself in a relationship that is geared toward self-destruction.    You may often wonder how can some people stay on and on in a relationship in which they are treated like dirt. They stick around because of love.  How can love keep people from seeing that they are living in a substandard relationship? How can love give people a feeling of emptiness and loneliness even when they are with their partners? 


I have met a couple, Paul and Carla. They have had an on and off relationship for 8 years.  Paul was always negative.  He always found fault with whatever Carla did.  Carla, on the other hand, thought he was the best thing that happened to her.  After 8 years of breaking in and out of dating, Carla finally got the courage to get out of the relationship.  She opened her heart to another man. She is now married and just had her first child at 33. 


Signs that you are in an addictive relationship: 


  • It is a secret.  You do not tell your family and friends that you are seeing this guy.  Or if they find out, you try to multiply by 100 all the little things the guy does to make you happy.  And you divide by 1000 all the bad things he does to hurt you.  You find yourself defending him in front of your friends when they are telling you that he is not good for you. 
  • The relationship starts on the wrong foot.  You are on your second date and the guy wants to know you more, but that can only be done in his apartment.  Though sex is not demeaning asking for it before knowing the person shows lack of feelings and attachment to your date.  You are on a date and instead of receiving compliments, your date bombards you with the proper attire you should have worn, proper hairstyle and proper shoes.  If your date starts by constant criticism about your physical appearance, you can expect similar behavior all along the relationship. 
  • No interest in you.  Your date does not manifest any interest in you.  He calls you in his spare time but is upset when you call him because you simply want to hear his voice.  A typical dialogue is transformed into a monologue where you are only required to agree or disagree. 
  • No affection for you.  A loving relationship is a two way street.  If you are in love with a guy and realize that you are not getting any love back, you may be in a one-way street, not in a loving relationship.  The guy does not try to seduce you or make you feel you. He does not bring any romance to the table. 
  • No interest in your life.  After a year of dating, if your guy does not try to know where you live, chances are, he does not care about you.  A guy who cares about you will want to know where you live, who you live with and who your family is. 
  • You expect change.  Although you know you started on the wrong foot with the relationship, you stay in it anyway.  You think that one day things will get better because you will get use to them. After two years, he tells you that you have never been his girlfriend even though you have sharing good and bad moments.  However, you still stick around for another 6 years. 
  • You feel weak and guilty.  You want to end the relationship at the second date, but your manners prevent you from hurting a guys feelings.  You try to end the relationship many times, but every time your heart softens.  You remember his difficult childhood.  His mother was not present to give him the affection and love that he deserves.  You think that life was not fair to him but you will give him all the love he deserves. 

Addictive love should not be called love.  Love is not destructive.  Love looks for the well-being of both parties.  Psychologist Dorothy Tennov came up with the term limerence.  Limerence is the equivalent of  "being in love".  Limerence is the state of walking on air and obsessively thinking about and longing to be with the loved one.  When limerence is most intense, it is difficult to think about anything else or to see the loved one as anything but utterly wonderful. Key features include obsessive thinking about the limerent object, irrationally positive evaluation of their attributes, emotional dependency, and longing for reciprocation.   

Joanne Thimothe / March 16, 2003

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