For the first part of my life, I believed that I needed someone to complete me.
Daydreams abounded about someone rescuing me and causing everything else in my life to magically fall into place.
It’s a fantasy I’m sure that many of us have had at one point in our lives, or perhaps still cling to it today. Needing someone else to make us whole is often part of an overall obsessive compulsion with love, which some refer to as a “love addiction.”
Being a love addict isn’t an official diagnosis, but love addiction can be defined as:
A physical or psychological dependence on a mind-altering substance
A brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences
A dependence on or compulsion to any substance or behavior”
How does someone become obsessed with another person and cultivate the belief that love is the be-all and end all?
#1. You become completely immersed in your relationships
We all have a friend who gets a boyfriend/girlfriend and drops off the face of the earth.
It’s normal and good to be excited about a new relationship. However, if you completely lose your sense of self and forget about everything else in the universe then you are headed down an unhealthy path.
There are so many friends that I’ve lost contact with because the moment they got into a relationship, nothing else mattered. Time and time again the relationship would end and they would reappear, full of apologies, claiming that they simply couldn’t help themselves.
If you feel like you can’t stop yourself from falling head over heels over and over again, you may be addicted to that “love high.”
#2. You neglect your own needs
When someone becomes our reason for existing we begin to forget that we have our own needs to look out for. This can be as simple as neglecting our self-care routines.
A close friend of mine has a routine of going to the gym every morning when she is single; she will be feeling great and healthy. However, the moment that she starts dating someone new who doesn’t have the same gym routine, she will stop going to the gym to accommodate their needs.
A good partner will respect your time and needs, but if you don’t vocalize your needs to ensure that they are a priority no one else is going to do it for you.
#3. You expect your relationship to be a fantasy
I always believed that the “right” relationship would mean there were no fights/arguments and we would basically just be floating on a cloud of happiness forever.
This belief not only landed me in unhealthy relationships, but it set me up for extreme disappointment.
The honeymoon phase was always amazing and I would dive into my new relationships headfirst. After a few months, the rose-colored glasses would begin to fade and I was left wondering what the hell happened.
It took me a long time to learn that no relationship is a fantasy. We grow up with movies and music telling us that once we find that “special someone” everything will fall into place.
The reality is that no one can “save” us and relationships are a lot of work.
#4. You believe that being with someone will make you whole
One of my favorite shows is Crazy-Ex Girlfriend. The show features a woman who believes once she finds “the one” she will become whole again and everything will be alright.
The entire time I watched the show I kept having moments where it hit… too close to home.
Growing up I truly believed that if I didn’t have a relationship and it wasn’t perfect, that a part of me was broken. I really thought I needed someone else to make me whole.
“Love addiction” may sound like a silly term, but it is completely possible to lose ourselves in someone else.
I spent the first part of my life trying so hard to find the right person that I forgot to focus on figuring out who I was, and what my needs and dreams were.
Finally, I realized that I didn’t need someone to complete me and that throwing myself into my relationships wasn’t working.
I didn’t become whole until I finally put the effort I was putting into dating and relationships… into myself.