Healthy, intimate, romantic love is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, love addiction – the endless, obsessive, dysfunctional search for romantic fulfillment – is not. When individuals are preoccupied to the point of obsession with falling and/or being in love, as love addicts are, they tend to behave in highly regrettable ways, just like alcoholics, drug addicts, compulsive gamblers, compulsive spenders, sex addicts, etc.
Interestingly, love addicts are not actually seeking love. What they’re really chasing, over and over, is the emotional escape provided by the rush of first romance, sometimes referred to as limerence. Limerence is when the heart races because you’re together and aches because you’re separated. It’s that brief period when literally everything about the other person seems fascinating and exciting – even the stuff that will eventually become annoying. During the limerence stage of a romantic relationship, potential problems are easily overridden by the excitement and the intensity of meeting someone new and attractive and funny and interesting who just might be “the one.”
Almost everyone can identify with this early, thoroughly fixated relationship stage in which the other person’s daily activities and very existence become an obsessive source of emotional excitement and distraction. That said, most people are not love addicted, and, as such, they innately understand that healthy romantic relationships evolve over time into somewhat less exciting but ultimately more meaningful long-term intimacy.
Love addicts, however, choose to live in limerence, relying on this neurochemical rush as their primary way to avoid feeling stress and other forms of emotional discomfort. They use the naturally occurring high of limerence for escape and dissociation, just as alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, compulsive gamblers, and other addicts use the neurochemical high of an addictive substance or behavior to numb out and not experience the ups and downs of life.
Help is Available
Sex and love addiction are puzzles that no one solves without support, direction, and accountability. Seeking Integrity Treatment Centers can provide this. So please, if you are struggling with sex or love addiction, let us help you. For information about residential treatment, contact us via email or phone us at (747) 234-HEAL (4325).