Dying for Love: An Archetype

You have likely encountered her: She is dying for love. Always on the hunt for Mr. Right, her eyes scan every crowd looking for him wherever she goes. Unable to tolerate dinner or a movie out alone, and unwilling to go places or attend events unless available men will be there, she stays home alone a lot … but searches online. When out, Lucy’s made up and ready for a date whether at the Laundromat or picking up a few things at the corner store. You never know, he could be there — the man who will make everything okay. The one who will finally make her feel whole.

For a love addict like Lucy, every place has the potential for her to meet her one true love. Obsessed with finding the guy who will make her life complete, Lucy’s needful drama and intensity tend to turn men off. Sadly her relationships rarely go beyond the first few days, yet she doesn’t understand why.

Lucy is desperate. By calling too soon, too often and by getting intense too quickly, Lucy scares off perfectly good men and ruins relationships before they even get started.

To Lucy, external appearances are everything because that’s what she believes will draw in her man. Obsessed with her appearance (because you never know when you might meet him) she may have eating issues, such as bulimia or compulsive exercising, believing that a perfect body will help her in her quest.

As Lucy moves into her twenties, her all-consuming obsession with boys comes across as immature to other women. Often isolated when not dating, Lucy drops her few girlfriends at the first sign of interest from a boy. It’s unlikely she has many strong female friendships, as they are simply not her priority.

Lucy tends toward both anxiety and depression as her mood depends not on her own accomplishments and self-esteem, but rather on whether or not she has a guy hanging around or in her queue. Moods rise and fall depending on the state of her romantic life. Single means crushing depression and sometimes not wanting to live, dating = anxiety. While waiting for love she may invite casual sex as a substitute, hoping that just maybe one of these will “work out.”

Why She Seeks Treatment

Lucy’s obsessive behavior may develop into full-blown bulimia or a compulsive exercise habit. She may first appear in treatment for those behaviors. She may also seek help for depression and the mood swings that just don’t seem to get better. In therapy, she begins to open up about her romantic obsessions.

Lucy may settle on a married man, just to be “in a relationship,” but she’s secretly hoping and believing he will leave his wife. He never does. When the affair is revealed she is humiliated and ashamed. Depressed, she seeks treatment for her depression; while in therapy she explores her obsessive behavior around love and relationships.