Obsessive Love: Is Social Media Fueling the Search for Mr. Right?

Posted by on 01 05 12 in Love Addiction News | Comments Off on Obsessive Love: Is Social Media Fueling the Search for Mr. Right?

Everybody wants to be loved. Some of us go about it in what we think is a very progressive and hip kind of way – we use social media to help us find Mr. Right. But are we doing ourselves and others a disservice by putting all our eggs into the virtual basket? Is what we’re doing prompted by a healthy curiosity and eagerness to explore new relationships or is it rather a desperate search to end the loneliness we feel?

When does a search for Mr. Right deteriorate into obsessive love? How do we know if we’re veering off track? Can’t we make good use of social media without becoming obsessive about it? Here we’ll explore the subject of social media and how it can help, or hurt, the search for a person who may become a partner, a spouse, or a soul mate.

First, however, let’s cover what we mean by obsessive love, or love addiction.

Love Addiction: Signs, Characteristics and Symptoms

Maybe we think that what’s going on with us has nothing to do with addiction. After all, it’s a search for love, and that can’t possibly be considered an addiction, right? You might be surprised by some of the common signs, characteristics and symptoms of obsessive love, or love addiction.

  • Lack of nurturing and attention when young
  • Hidden pain
  • Mistaking intensity for intimacy, often referred to as drama-driven relationships
  • Compartmentalizing a relationship from all other aspects of life
  • Feeling isolated and detached, even estranged, from parents and family members
  • Maintaining an outer façade of total composure, of having it all together, while on the inside, it’s total disintegration and chaos
  • Avoiding rejection and abandonment at any cost – even to the extent of sticking in a really bad relationship for fear of being alone
  • Depression
  • Fear of trusting anyone in a relationship, inability to do so
  • Anger, suppressed rage, over early abandonment or lack of nurturing
  • Being highly controlling and manipulative of others
  • Being driven, desperate, and frantic in relationships with others and with seeking relationships to take to the next level
  • Defining wants as needs
  • Having a tendency to leave one relationship for another
  • An inability to be without a relationship – replacing a lost relationship immediately with another
  • Believing and defining what others would consider out-of-control behavior as normal
  • Living a secret double life
  • Tendency to trade sexual activity for love or attachment
  • Confusing sexual attraction with love
  • Refusing to acknowledge the existence of a problem
  • Using others, including using sex and taking advantage of relationships, to relieve emotional pain or lift mood
  • Continuing to question values and lifestyle
  • Perceiving attraction, attachment and sex as basic human needs, as necessary (to the individual) as food, shelter and water
  • Feeling a sense of worthlessness without a partner or relationship
  • Belief that a relationship is needed to make one whole, more of a woman or a man
  • Intense need to control self, circumstances and others
  • Having an escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior – constantly putting oneself in dangerous situations
  • Having an insatiable appetite in the area of sex, love or attachment and need
  • The presence of other addictive or compulsive behaviors or problems

Be aware that many of the above signs, characteristics and symptoms of obsessive love or love addiction are also elements associated with codependency and dysfunctional intimacy arising from childhood emotional and/or sexual abuse and abandonment issues. Treatment for obsessive love and codependency often involves trauma recovery therapy.

Let’s strip away all the layers of addictive love and boil it down to a simple and easy-to-understand concept. Addictive love is obsessed with finding the world in one person, one lover, one individual who will make everything perfect and right.

Thus, if we find ourselves using social media to fuel our search for Mr. Right, we may very well be suffering from obsessive love.

How to Know if We’re Veering Off Track

Surely, the proliferation of online dating sites, Internet searches to find prospective partners that may be just right for us, can’t be all bad. If it was, there’d be some kind of law against it, wouldn’t there?

Not exactly, since there’s the whole issue of personal freedom and individual rights. No one is forcing us to participate in social media. We do so of our own free will. That still doesn’t make it without its dangers, and that’s what we’re discussing here today. When we take it beyond the surface, diving deep and often into the compulsive use of social media in a frantic search for Mr. Right, that’s when we’re traveling close to the edge. We’re skirting the precipice and putting ourselves in danger.

Let’s look a little closer at obsession with respect to using social media. When we are obsessed, our behavior goes far beyond what is generally considered normal. It’s a behavior pattern of extremes. Instead of just Tweeting or updating our Facebook page once per day, we’re in a dither and sick to our stomach if we don’t do a jack-rabbit tweet or post every time a thought crosses our mind.

On the other hand, if we’re anxiously awaiting the response from this or that possible Mr. Right, we’re likely using excuses to check to see if we have any updates. Either that or we dream up bizarre reasons to send out more tweets and messages.

Don’t get us started on pictures. We just have to upload entire albums showing ourselves off in the best possible light. Tweet and let others know – especially that someone we’re dying to become closer to – that there’s a fresh new album just posted.

Got a blog we’re passionate about? Is it really our passion or is it a secret desire to attract someone we’d never otherwise meet? Are we on the lookout, the desperate and never-ending search, for Mr. Right? We could have a perfectly suitable partner or relationship in our lives right now, but that doesn’t stop us from looking afar for the greener pasture. We just know that our total soul mate is just waiting to make our acquaintance, and we’re going to do everything in our power, move heaven and earth, to make sure it happens. If we just have to post blogs non-stop, there may be more going on that just a passion about writing.

This, my friends, is obsessive love, using social media in our frenzied attempt to uncover Mr. Right.

How to Use a Healthier Approach to Social Media

Let’s not go all bonkers here and worry that we’re going to have to commit ourselves to a 90-day rehab program for addiction if all we’ve got are a few symptoms of obsessive love by way of our use of social media in pursuit of Mr. Right.

That is, unless we feel like we’re going off the deep end. If that’s the case, by all means, it may be time for a time-out and some professional help. But, having said that, if we’re abusing substances, have other serious negative consequences as a result of one or more addictions, rehab may be our best and only way out of the mess we’ve created in our lives.

Assuming that the latter is not the case, though, let’s look at how we can adopt a healthier approach to using social media. After all, we do want to stay connected, to share our lives with others, albeit in a saner and less frenzied manner. Here are some suggestions any one of which, or all of which, can contribute to a healthier approach to using social media.

  • Take a break. Make use of software that blocks social network websites for a period of time. Maybe what you need is a little time away from Facebook or Twitter and other social networks. Not forever, but just for a while. There are software programs that have been developed as anti-procrastination tools for people who aren’t getting their work done because they’re always using social media. But it works just as well to decouple us from our tether to Facebook (or any other social media). One that’s noteworthy is “Anti-Social, a simple productivity application for Mac users that will lock you away from distracting media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other sites you specify for up to eight hours. Anti-Social is available as a free trial download good for five uses and a registered version for just $15 . If you’re at work and need to be more productive, instead of wasting time on the Internet, another software download is “Freedom,” which, for a $10 registered version, will lock you out of the Internet for an eight-hour period. Of course, if you need to get back on the Internet for work, re-booting will solve that problem.
  • Deactivate your Facebook account for a week. Maybe you feel you’re better able to handle your down-time from social media on your own. If that’s the case, take the step of deactivating your Facebook account for a week. That will likely be enough to either send you into a tizzy or make you realize that you don’t need to be so “connected” to social media in order to live. In fact, you may find that life opens up new possibilities and opportunities to you in the “real world” instead of the online non-reality.
  • Put someone else in charge of your passwords. If you’ve already tried being off Facebook for a week with the deactivation strategy and that didn’t work – because you went back on and reactivated, most likely in a response to a “we miss you” email from Facebook – you might want to consider another strategy that’s worked for some obsessive social media users. Hand over your passwords to a friend who will change them and be in charge of them. This is a tough one, especially for those of us who have trust issues. But not being free to just slavishly log on, tweet, post or update our social media pages may be just what we need to put some more balance and perspective into our lives.
  • Strive for more face-to-face interactions. What is the obsessive use of social media but relying more on the Internet for connection than actual real connection? There’s one way out of this and that is to go back to what’s worked for thousands of years for individuals to connect with others who may become prospective partners or solid friends: Engage in face-to-face interactions. For those of us who have buried our one-on-one relationships, relegating them to the rare occurrences in our lives, it’s a bit scary to go front-and-center with another human being. For one thing, there’s the whole eye-contact deal to overcome. We’re not used to being that close to another human being with whom we’re communicating on a more than just casual level. We may worry that we won’t know how to act or that we’ll say or do something stupid. Relax. This is a good way to begin the very real and profound type of human interaction that may eventually work its way into a more lasting relationship. And here’s another benefit. The more we go one-on-one with another human being, the easier it will get.
  • Put structure into your life. When we feel like we’re missing something, such as a relationship with Mr. Right, another technique that we can employ is to put structure into our lives. Instead of aimlessly wandering through the day, never having a plan, going from this to that and circling back to obsessively checking into our social media sites, make a schedule and stick to it. Identify one or two overarching goals for the day, prepare a plan to achieve them, and get to work. Okay, maybe this involves cleaning out the closets or arranging donation of unused, unwanted but still serviceable clothing and items to charity, or helping a friend with gardening or childcare, or tackling organizing the files that have been piling up on your desk at work. Keep it simple at first. Be sure that there’s a clear beginning, middle and end of the task so that you won’t have a tendency to feel overwhelmed. Once you’ve accomplished your task, tackle the next easy one on your list. By the end of the day, you will have satisfied several important needs. First, you will have increased your sense of self-esteem and self-confidence because you created a plan, adhered to it and completed it according to your timetable. Second, you’ve added to your list of accomplishments, which will undoubtedly make you feel better about yourself. And third, you’ve kept yourself busy and resisted the temptation to dawdle away the hours using social media searching for Mr. Right.

 

Stop Searching and Let Love Find You

As with any addiction, getting over an obsessive search for Mr. Right using social media may feel strange, uncomfortable, even scary as you go through the process of breaking away from your addictive behavior. You need to allow yourself time to learn new ways of interacting in the real world with others, to become interested in activities that will bring you in contact with others, broaden your horizons and add joy to your life.

In the end, the only real solution to overcoming an obsessive search for Mr. Right, whether using social media or not, is to stop the unhealthy pursuit. Let love find you.

Think this is impossible, that you cannot possibly find Mr. Right given your particular circumstances, where you live, how long you work, how all-encompassing your job or responsibilities at home? The truth is that you cannot force love. If you look for love so hard, you’re looking in all the wrong places. There are many insincere and dangerous characters lurking on the Internet, eager to prey upon lonely individuals keen to find Mr. Right. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim, and stop believing that there is, indeed, only one Mr. Right out there.

Every one of us deserves to love and be loved. When we turn our focus into helping others instead of trying to fill a hole inside us, the miracle that may occur is that love will appear, as if out of nowhere. When we’re not looking so intently for it, love will find a way into our hearts.