What is love? Are you addicted to amore? Relationship expert Jo Lamble explains the phases of love over the short and long term, as well as the problems that can arise from love addiction.
We all want to love and be loved – we are biologically programmed to find a mate. But most of us understand that love comes in many different forms. There’s the bubble of new love, when you first start seeing someone and all you think about is that person. There’s the mature love you feel for someone with whom you’ve been for a long time, when you don’t remember what life was like without them. The sparks might not be firing as much but there is a deep respect and companionship.
Problems arise when someone needs to be permanently in the bubble of new love. As soon as the intensity dies down, they begin to lose interest. It can feel as if they are addicted to love, but the real problem is that they have unrealistic expectations about what happens to love over time. Perhaps they haven’t seen long-term love or maybe they’ve been hurt before and their way of protecting themselves is to keep starting new relationships and not committing to anyone long-term.
Being addicted to love can also come in the form of constantly needing reassurance – always needing to be told that they are loved. This can set up a dangerous cycle where one member of the couple can regularly ask their partner if they are loved and the more they are reassured, the more they need to hear it and their self-esteem plummets. If your partner is always asking you if you love them, address the issue in a general way by telling them that you adore them but that you don’t think reassuring him or her is good for them.
For the rest of us, we can relax with the idea of wanting to love people and be loved over the course of our lives as well as knowing that we can survive on our own.